Co-creating marketcityTO one project at a time

marketcity TO is an emerging initiative supported by the Golden Horse Food and Farming Alliance, anchored on the work led by market managers and operators since 2015. 

Drawing on the interest and expertise of its participants, marketcity TO collaborates with others to strengthen the public market ecosystem for the benefit of managers, operators, vendors, regulators and the City at large. Building a network of partners to accelerate innovation and strengthen the mid-size public food distribution infrastructure residents and entrepreneurs deserve.  

Our approach to building this network of diverse markets is anchored in partnerships and projects. We believe that by working together, we strengthen relationships and build the trust that will ultimately inform the organization's shared governance model. This approach takes time and will result in a more resilient organization that is distributed and benefits market managers, vendors and regulators.

To date, marketcity TO has worked with and collaborated with more than 50 local and international partners. Including City of Toronto Economic Development Division, St. Lawrence Market Complex, StreetArt Toronto, Foodshare Toronto, Evergreen Canada, Canadian Urban Institute, The Stop Community Food Centre, Scarborough Farmers' Market (Vision Quest/Red Onions Events), Building Roots, Underpass Farmers' Market, Apple Tree Group, Neighbourhood Food Hub, Afro Caribean Farmers' Market, Muuse, Foodpreneur Lab, Trinity Bellwoods Farmers' Market, Dufferin Grove Farmers' Market, Withrow Farmers' Market, Leslivielle Flea, Toronto Flea, Lesliville Farmers' Market, Black Creek Farm, Malvern Urban Farm, Toronto Flower Market, Ontario Vintage Market, Hippie Market Life, The Bentway, Ontario Food Terminal, Thorncliffe Park Women's Committee, Toronto Urban Growers, Scadding Court, Humber Shore Farmers' Market, Fred Victor and Deeply Rooted Farmers' Market, Johl Whiteduck Ringuette/Nishdish Cafeteria, Red Urban Nation Collective and Eat more Scarborough.

Provincial and National organizations: Farmers Market Ontario, BC Farmers’s Market Nutritional Coupon Program, Nova Scotia Farmers Markets, Canadian Farmers' Market and Calgary Dollars, Greenbelt Foundation, and Northcrest and Ontario Minister of Agriculture. 

Community Agencies: Feed Scarborough, Rising Sun Food Drive, Malvern Family Resource Centre, Centre for Immigrant & Communities Services, TAIBU Community Health Centre, Grant African Methodist Church and The Church of  St. Andrews’s Scarborough.

Academia: University of Toronto Scarborough Campus Feeding City Lab, OCAD University and Toronto Metropolitan University.

Private sector: Arup, DTHA, Westbank Corporation, 100Km Foods, Grace & Gather, Fresh City Farm, Think Fresh, Stackt Market and many of the small and medium businesses selling at markets across the city. 

International: Project for Public Spaces, Bloomfield  Development Corporation in Pittsburgh, and Seattle Neighborhood Farmers Markets.

Thanks for your commitment and contributions. 



Marina Queirolo, BA, MES PI. – Urban Regional Planning from York University

Marina Queirolo, the founder of marketcity TO,  has been championing the work required to build Toronto as a market city. She has been informally “doing” the backbone work required for public markets together and collaborating with city staff to unlock the power of public markets and build a sector. 

Marina is a community builder and entrepreneur by nature and a designer and marketer by trade. Less than two years after moving to Toronto, she started her own business in the food industry and joined the Toronto Kitchen Incubator housed at FoodShare Toronto. As part of her business plan, she started selling the product at farmers’ markets. Being part of that weekly community ritual of bringing people together around healthy local food and activating a public space helped her realize she had found “her tribe.” A place where her passions and approach matched the values of other small entrepreneurs and not-for-profit organizations in the food sector.

In 2010 she joined the Evergreen Canada team as a Food Program Manager. This work provided an opportunity to have a more significant impact on the local food community. In that role, she developed the site’s food and public market strategy and action plan, resulting in a portfolio of programs promoting food literacy, community development, local entrepreneurship, and placemaking. This role included managing a year-round weekly farmers’ market recognized as the City’s largest and most highly regarded market under her leadership. Furthermore, she developed the public market program with a combination of revenue tools contributing to Evergreen’s Brick Works social enterprise. Promoted to Evergreen Senior Program Officer and part of the consulting services team, she led projects in urban innovation and community economic development in Toronto.

A member of the Toronto Food Policy Council (TFPC) since 2013, she created the TFPC public market working group in 2015. Marina collaborates with city staff and sector stakeholders in that role to strengthen public markets. In 2019, Marina spoke at the 10th Public Market Conference in London, UK, organized by Project for Public Spaces, representing Toronto’s Market Cities project. 

In 2017, Marina received the Canada 150 Outstanding Neighbour award from MP Carolyn Bennet for her community work. Marina has a BA in Graphic Design from the University of Buenos Aires and a Master of Environmental Studies, Specialization in Social and Community Planning, from York University, Toronto, Canada. 

In early 2020, as TFPC public market project lead, Marina secured Toronto’s role as one of the three pilot project cities in the Market Cities Initiative led by Project for Public Spaces. In partnership with HealthBridge Foundation of Canada and Slow Food International, the initiative aims to advance a new vision for public market systems at the scale of cities, regions, and beyond. Under her leadership, she coordinated the research and engagement that resulted in the first City of Toronto public market map and an international report.

In 2021, she joined the St. Lawrence Market Precinct Advisory Committee in the City of Toronto. She led the bidding process to secure the 11th International Public Market Conference for the City of Toronto. She delivered the Scarborough Fresh Food Pilot, an initiative that increases access to locally produced fresh food and economic opportunities in underserved communities in Toronto's East End. 

In 2023, marketcity TO was the community and lead implementation partner to the City of Toronto and St. Lawrence Market to deliver the 11th International Public Market Conference. In such a role, Marina led the design of the Toronto content and volunteer program, secured all the local, provincial and national partners, and led the fundraising efforts and implementation of the mobile workshops, tours and special events. 

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

Get in touch ->

Marina Queirolo
Public markets & food systems specialist