Market Street Redevelopment

Market Street is a model of adaptive reuse that combines sensitive renovation of three heritage buildings with a significant building to complete the block.

Stretching the length of Market Street, from Front Street down to The Esplanade, the existing buildings predate the market shed of the South St. Lawrence Market. 10-12 Market Street was, for many years, the location of the Old Fish Market restaurant. The vernacular building was originally constructed in 1880 as a hotel and has been greatly altered over the years.

Large new storefronts at the ground floor can be opened up in warm weather to the new outdoor patios within a widened sidewalk zone. 8 Market Street (1899) and 87 Front Street (1858/1871) have been retained.

At the southernmost lot, previously occupied by a service garage, Taylor Smyth designed a new 2 storey retail building, aligned in height with 10-12 Market Street, to complete the block. The length of the ground floor has folding glass doors that allow a seamless transition between indoors and outdoors and encourage pedestrian use both day and night.

A collaborative design process to create a pedestrian-priority street involved a private developer and the City of Toronto’s Public Realm Section, who played an active role in developing new standards and policies to allow the project to be approved that are now being implemented City-wide.

The desire to create generous outdoor patios and vibrant retail frontages was challenging, given the physical constraints of the street and demands for parking and deliveries to the St. Lawrence Market. The innovative, “flexible” solution is a scenario where the western boulevard is occupied by patios in summer and transformed back to parking in winter. The change in use is clearly indicated through the use of both permanent and removable bollards and patio fences. Paving materials clearly indicate pedestrian and vehicle zones, in full compliance with AODA guidelines.

It is hoped that in the future, the City will consider closing the street to continue the pedestrian precinct of Market Lane Park, located one block north.


Woodcliffe Landmark Properties




16,000 sq. ft.


Completed, 2013


Ben Rahn/A-Frame Inc.

Awards & Certifications

2015 Ecclesiastical Insurance Cornerstone Awards for Building Heritage, Adaptive Reuse/Rehabilitation
2015 Toronto Urban Design Awards, Award of Excellence, Private Buildings in Context — Low-Scale
2014 Heritage Toronto Awards, William Greer Architectural Conservation and Craftsmanship Award of Excellence