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St. Lawrence Market in Toronto named world’s best food market by National Geographic

Nadine Bells
Shine On
April 5, 2012

It's no secret to locals, but the St. Lawrence Market, one of Toronto's gastronomic institutions, can now qualify as world-renowned. The market took top spot on National Geographic's list of the world's best food markets.

The list is part of National Geographic's "Food Journeys of a Lifetime," which spotlights the best food experiences around the world.

The 200-year old market ranked just above New York's Union Square Greenmarket and St. Lucia's Castries Market.

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"This farmers market emporium has operated since 1803, when it cohabited with Toronto's city hall. The area's mix of homes and businesses showcases urban regeneration. More than 120 retailers dispense everything from seafood to coffee," National Geographic posts.

"We are excited to be recognized on an international scale. The locals always knew this," market spokesperson Rebecca Grima tells the Toronto Sun.

Grima credits vendors' passion for food, excellent customer service, and wide selection for the market's world-class reputation.

"St. Lawrence Market is engrained within our city's culture. It has helped build the neighbourhood. When you look at all the merchants and the vendors in the market — it is so multicultural," Grima tells CTV.ca.

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Food & Wine magazine listed the Toronto landmark as one of the world's best in 2010, praising Ontario growers of sweet Niagara peaches and tart blueberry-like Saskatoon berries. Their "don't miss" pick: the Canadian-bacon sandwiches at Carousel Bakery.

Surprisingly, St. Lawrence Market wasn't even listed as one of Canada's top-ten farmers' markets by Canadian Geographic. Guelph Farmers' Market represented Ontario on the list instead.

National Geographic's picks for the top-ten food markets in the world are the following:

  1. St. Lawrence Market, Toronto
  2. Union Square Greenmarket, New York City
  3. Castries Market, St. Lucia
  4. Ver-o-Peso, Belem, Brazil
  5. Mercado Central, Santiago, Chile
  6. Kreta Ayer Wet Market, Singapore
  7. Kauppatori, Helsinki, Finland
  8. La Vucciria, Palermo, Italy
  9. Cours Saleya, Nice, France
  10. Borough Market, London, England

Which food market would top your list?

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