Menu
Search

Support local with our St. Lawrence Market holiday shopping guide

Local makers need you more than ever. With 120 vendors, merchants, farmers and artisans under one roof, St. Lawrence Market is the place to make the season special.

Support local with St. Lawrence Market holiday shopping guide

When restaurants and retailers shuttered up this spring, the one salvation on our daily walks were Toronto's food vendors. From butchers and cheesemongers to locally-run bakers, we keenly rediscovered all the incredible artisans and producers on our doorstep.

One of our favourites, St. Lawrence Market, never stopped operating during the pandemic – but Toronto’s go-to market since 1803 underwent some changes. In addition to revised opening hours, the one-stop shop shifted to improve the customer experience. Not only did the institution increase sanitization and physical distancing measures to make guests more comfortable, St. Lawrence Market also introduced advanced orders and curbside collection to make shopping seamless.

This holiday season, the market is committed to serving the good people of Toronto and all their seasonal needs. Festivities may look a little (okay, a lot) different, but that’s no reason to skip the celebration or look to the internet for gifts and knick knacks this December.

With over 120 vendors operating inside, there are bespoke products that are perfect for your holiday meals and gifts. Shop semi-precious gemstones at Bright Sky Jewellery and novelty greeting cards and candles at Giftworks, or pick up authentic French macarons at Aren’t We Sweet and homemade jams and jellies at the Saturday Farmers' Market.

Then pick up dinner from one of the independent family operated businesses – for over 40 years, Di Liso’s Fine Meats has been providing high quality, locally sourced products like dry-aged beef and oven-ready porchetta. Cheese fiends will find plenty to fill up their basket at Alex Farm Products, who have been providing Toronto with a wide selection of Canadian cheese for over 30 years. 

See below to learn more about a few of our favourite merchants at St. Lawrence Market who will be on hand with tips and shopping recommendations the next time you stop by.

St. Lawrence Market holiday shopping guide: 4 vendors to check out 

George Tsioros, Olympic Cheese

Support local with St. Lawrence Market holiday shopping guide | George Tsioros, Olympic Cheese

How long have you been at the market?

Olympic Cheese has been at St. Lawrence Market and owned by our family since 1958, so over 60 years. We used to have the butcher shop in front of us, it was called Olympic Meats and we offered both meats and cheese. I started in the market as a butcher at Olympic Meats and moved over to cheese as the years passed. We love cheese from all over the world.

What do you love about the market?

We love the atmosphere here. The people really make it lively, from the other merchants to our customers. It's nice to see everyone enjoying what they eat.

What are your favourite products?

We love to showcase Canadian artisan cheese. There are many great cheese products being produced in Canada especially in Ontario and Quebec.

What has been your biggest challenge?

During the COVID-19 health emergency, it's been a challenge every day. We just want to keep operating and keep all of our customers and staff safe. We do our best to still offer personal service and suggestions at physical distance.

What holiday trends have you seen?

We find that people are ordering boards and baskets as gifts for loved ones who they may not be celebrating with this year.Who wouldn't love the gift of cheese? People also tend to have smaller celebrations with their household so they are buying less but still enjoying cheese, antipasto and preserves. Christmas time is the time that spring milk cheese is available. It's a great product for this time of year.

What's your best seller?

Our best selling products tend to be the artisan cheese from Canada or Europe. There are amazing products and people especially like our goat cheese at the moment.

Ryan Yip, Yip's Kitchen

Support local with St. Lawrence Market holiday shopping guide | Ryan Yip, Yip's Kitchen

How long have you been at St. Lawrence Market?

I started this business in 2001, so I've almost been at the market for 20 years now. Before we were here, the spot was a European deli.

What do you love most about it?

I love the diversity – both the customers and all of the products you can get here. Usually, customers from all over the world visit us.

What's your favourite product?

My favourites are the barbecue pork and dim sum. We make the pork the traditional way and our customers really enjoy it. Our dim sum varies daily and includes items like sui mai, har gow, sticky rice, other dumplings and more.

What holiday trends have you seen?

Some customers are looking for catered holiday dinners for smaller groups this year, which we do. What's your best seller? Definitely the barbecue pork. When we reopened we had a lot of customers tell us how much they missed this dish.

Aida Koduzi, Rube's Rice

Support local with St. Lawrence Market holiday shopping guide | Aida Koduzi, Rube's Rice

How long have you been at the market?

I've been at the Market almost 20 years. I worked for Rube until he passed away (in his early 90s). His daughter took over the business and then sold it to me because she felt that I would honour the traditions that her father established – Rube loved his business and I love it too. Rube was one of the first merchants to start on the lower level of the market in the late 1970s when it was converted from wholesale storage to retail. I took over the shop 8 years ago and we still carry the best selection of rice in Toronto.

What are your favourite products?

Some of my products are very unique. I not only carry rice but also flour, nuts, dried fruits, beans and other grains. I like to source the best products. My favourite is the black forbidden rice. It's beautiful and has great flavour – it's a unique choice.

What holiday trends have you seen?

A lot of customers are giving food as gifts and stocking stuffers. They seem to be moving away from gift cards and looking for healthy and more personal options. We have packaged soup mixes that include all of your spices and ingredients – you just add water.

What do you love about the market?

I love its openness – how easy it is to interact and meet people. I love the market's lively atmosphere. I couldn't imagine working anywhere else. I like that I can share my experience with my customers. The products are amazing and we have the best quality and selection, but the experience is about so much more – its the number one market in the world.

What's your best seller?

Rice and flour are the steady sellers, but people are also purchasing some of the nuts, dried fruits and beans. I have a lot of gluten free grains and flours which are very popular.

Spiros Spiropoulos, La Boucherie

Support local with St. Lawrence Market holiday shopping guide | Spiros Spiropoulos, La Boucherie

How long have you been at the market?

I started working at La Boucherie in 1981. I took over the business in 2004 from the previous owner and in recent years, my son Andy has become involved.

What has been your biggest challenge?

It's been a challenge because COVID-19 has changed the shopping patterns of people. Food holidays are typically our busiest times of year. This year has been very different as people are having much smaller meals with fewer guests.

What are your favourite products?

We love steak, any kind of steak. There really isn't anything better than a great grilled striploin or rib steak.

What do you love about the market?

We love our customers, we have great relationships with them. It's always nice to see new and familiar faces.

What's your best seller?

Obviously steak! People especially love our bacon-wrapped filet mignon.

For opening times and more information about St. Lawrence Market, head to stlawrencemarket.com or check them out on Instagram @stlawrencemarket

Loading