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Toronto's Problem 

From farmers’ markets to container markers and iconic places like St. Lawrence Market, Kensington Market, and the Ontario Food Terminal, Toronto boasts over 130+ public markets. 

But our public markets operate independently, and they have little capacity to collaborate and advocate for the policies and resources that they need to flourish.


Furthermore, public markets are not equitably distributed across our city, leaving vast areas without access to locally produced fresh food and economic opportunities for urban entrepreneurs.

Credit: This map shows 2019 public markets (larger dots) and grocery stores (blue dots). As we can see, many areas of the city do not have access to places to regularly purchase local food, now known as “food deserts”.

That is where marketcityTO comes in

marketcityTO is on a mission to make visible the soul of our city through neighbourhood markets. We work with intrepid market managers, vendors, city staff, researchers, and policymakers to activate the power of markets.

Imagine a network of public markets equitably distributed across Toronto, with a plan that allows them to work together. 


Imagine a network of public markets that ensures that every resident has access to fresh, nutritious, culturally appropriate, locally produced food—a network that builds places where people can actively participate in co-creating a robust social infrastructure that supports an inclusive, prosperous, and resilient Toronto for everyone, especially those most impacted by systemic marginalization and good jobs in a vibrant food sector.


Making real food & economic opportunities available for EVERYONE!

Recommended Actions

Six recommendations to support public markets and strengthen the mid-size distribution infrastructure that enables regional supply.

Part of a Global Movement

Cities such as London and Barcelona are investing in urban markets and recognize that they are part of the civic commons infrastructure that makes residents and cities thrive. 

Organizations such as URBACT and the Urban Markets project in the European Union are providing evidence-based support for what market organizations and residents have been saying for years. In the global South, cities like Buenos Aires directly operate “Ferias de Abastecimiento Barrial,” a mobile market model that supports local businesses and brings affordable fresh ingredients into neighborhoods. 

Across the world, community champions, civic societies, and municipal governments are integrating public markets into their city strategies and priorities. There is no need to do this alone or duplicate work done elsewhere. We can learn from others and adapt to the local context.

marketcityTO is part of the global movement led by The Market Cities Network, bringing together market operators from cities worldwide to work together, learn from one another and demonstrate the power of public markets and Market Cities, advancing climate action, increasing social connections and enabling inclusive economies.

Market Cities have strong networks for distributing healthy, regionally produced food and other goods. Market Cities provide multiple economic, social, health and environmental benefits essential for creating vibrant, extraordinary places for people to live, work and play

Market Cities Network, an initiative of Project For Public Spaces

Image: Monthly Zoom Call

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