Public markets impact
climate action, poverty, inclusive economies, access to fresh food, waste management, individual health, public health, community resilience.

Every neighbourhood should have them.

Collage of images: Group of people in a community garden holding herbs and vegetables; woman serving food in an outdoor food stall; open common area at Stackt Market
Underpass Farmers' Market, photo by Marina Queirolo
Afro-Caribean Farmer's Market, photo by Jonah Zapparoli
Market 707, photo by Scadding Court Community Centre

A little over a month ago, Toronto hosted the 11th International Public Markets Conference!

It was an incredible event and a milestone in our city's journey to be a Market City!

Enjoy this beautiful video that provides a snapshot of the experience. More to come as we harvest the learnings and impact of the conference in our city.

Read Project for Public Spaces Report!

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Toronto boasts 105+ public diverse markets. They:

  • Fill a mid-size public food distribution gap vital to our ability to supply food regionally.
  • Stimulate hyper-local economies.
  • Serve neighbourhoods.
  • Have proven they can adapt in the face of pandemics and supply-chain challenges.

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

That’s where we come in.


Market CityTO is on a mission to make Toronto's soul visible through its neighbourhood markets.

We work with Toronto’s intrepid market managers, vendors, city staff, researchers and policy-makers to activate the power of public markets.

Projects + Initiatives
11th International Public Markets Conference

Project for Public Spaces is excited to announce that Toronto will host the 11th International Public Markets Conference June 8-10, 2023.

Co-hosts: City of Toronto, St. Lawrence Market, and Market City TO. 

Scarborough Neighbourhood Fresh Food Markets | 2022 Pilot

Prototyping a new market model better suited to the urban context by adding two interconnected programs, Ontario Fresh Food Table & ScarbTO Mrkt Bucks, that enable more residents and entrepreneurs to participate and benefit.

Lead partner: Jennifer Forde, Scarborough and Courtyard Farmers' Market
Supported by: City of Toronto Economic Development Division and Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Alliance. 

ScarbTO Mrkt Bucks

An alternative exchange system benefitting residents’ income, food entrepreneurs, social inclusion, community health, prosperity, and resilience, belonging, and access to southern Ontario produce while keeping dollars circulating among Toronto and Ontario entrepreneurs.

Partners: Vision Quest/Red Onion Events, Golden Horseshoe Food & Farming Alliance, Feed Scarborough, Malvern Community Health Centre, Rising Sun Food Drive, St. Andrews Church - Scarborough, U. of T Scarborough Feeding City Lab. 

Co-create Market City TO

Collaborate with market managers, vendors and city staff to:

  • Refine the Market City TO strategy, Governance and business model.
  • Ensure the organization serves stakeholders' needs while increasing their ownership and participation. 
Making Public Markets visible!

Toronto has more than 130 Public Markets (PM) built from the ground up by strong community champions or key anchor organizations. They embrace diverse models, audiences and mandates that respond to residents’ needs and often deliver programs that address municipal gaps. 

Though long-treasured by city-dwellers as a way to connect to local growers and urban entrepreneurs while surrounded by a festive atmosphere, markets provide entertainment and access to arts, crafts, street food and fresh produce.  Still, the widespread benefits of public markets need to be discovered and appreciated. As such, many public markets exist on the margins.

From the St. Lawrence market, the only municipal market, to seasonal Farmers and Flea markets, to semi-permanent markets like Market 707 or the Ontario Food Terminal (Canada’s only wholesale market), these public markets are drivers of our local economy. These forms of retail are part of the mid-size distribution infrastructure that enables regional supply, inclusive and diverse economies and promote social connections at a neighbourhood level.


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We work with Toronto’s intrepid market managers, vendors, city staff and policy-makers to activate the power of markets.

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Marina Queirolo
Public markets & food systems specialist

6 recommendations to support public markets and strengthen the mid-size food distribution infrastructure that enable regional food

marketcityTO coordinates, supports, and manages projects that:

  • reduce friction and increase capcity for market managers and vendors.
  • strengthen the market network and ecosystem at the municipal, regional, and provincial levels.
  • develop the public market sector and the resilient regional public food distribution infrastructure our city needs.
Permits & Regulations

Enable public markets to work more effectively. Increase knowledge and institutional capacity to better support public markets and demonstrate their impact.

Equitable access

Support current and build new public markets to increase equitable access to both economic opportunities and fresh, culturally appropiate locally-produced food, especially for those most impacted by systemic marginalization.


Build the public market infrastructure to enable the delivery of local and culturaly appropiate food.

Education & Promotion

Increase education about and promotion of public markets and their role in city building.

Building a sector

Help managers, operators, vendors, and regulators realize the industry’s full potential by investing in their professional development.

City & Region integration

Integrate public markets into city and regional strategies.

Project For Public Spaces' Market Cities Network is a global forum for markets of all kinds and the people committed to their success. We’re honored to join as a Founding Member, a role where we can connect and advance leaders in the public markets field.

Supporting partnership from the Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Alliance and Hypenotic.

International partners with Project For Public Spaces.

Project partners with City of Toronto, St. Lawrence Market, Greenbelt Markets, Scarborough Farmers Market, and Canadian Farmers Market.

We respectfully acknowledge that the work stewarded by Market City TO takes place on many Indigenous nations' traditional territories.

Tkarón:to has been cared for by the Anishinabeg Nation, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, the Huron-Wendat, and its current treaty holders, the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. Now home to many First Nation, Inuit, and Métis communities, this territory is subject to the Dish With One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant, an agreement to share and care for the land and resources in the Great Lakes region peacefully. The dish with one spoon reminds people we only have one dish, one mother earth we can take from. Therefore, we should take only what we need, leave something for others, and keep the dish clean. It also demonstrates our collective responsibility to share equally. This area had been a gathering place for Indigenous peoples for centuries before colonization; they hosted the original markets.

The relationship between food, culture, land, and communities informs our work on Toronto public markets. As we work towards collectively reimagining Toronto as a market city and mobilize the partnerships to make it happen, we prioritize finding ways to support Indigenous food sovereignty in their territory. We respectfully acknowledge that the work steward by Market City TO is on traditional territory of many Indigenous Nations.