Thursday, October 22, 2009

remaking st. lawrence market: bonus features

Before reading this post, check out the related installment of Historicist.

Mingling amidst meat. Photo by F. Ellis Wiley. City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 124, File 12, Item 7.

The F. Ellis Wiley fond on the City of Toronto Archives website is a treasure trove of images that preserve changes in the city during the 1960s and 1970s in glorious colour. The site has preserved Wiley's organizational scheme, which allow for leisurely flips through sets of buildings (many downtown, many long gone), parks and tourist attractions. His set of pictures of St. Lawrence Market pictures from the early 1970s through late 1980s provided a springboard for a post on the changes the local landmark experienced during that timespan.

Warning! The pictures after the fold may not be suitable for those made squeamish by certain food items sold in the open. Reader discretion is advised...but you know you're going to look anyways. You survived the first picture, after all. Admit it. ADMIT IT!

Sausages! Photo by F. Ellis Wiley. City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 124, File 12, Item 6.

Beyond the brighter look of the north market building when these pictures were taken in the early 1970s (due to its lack of aging at that point—the first vendors set up shop in the waning months of 1968), what blew me away was the sheer volume of pictures devoted to butcher counters...open air butcher counters. I suspect health officials would have a fit if displays like the following were set up today.

Photo by F. Ellis Wiley. City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 124, File 12, Item 10.

Photo by F. Ellis Wiley. City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 124, File 12, Item 16.

Photo by F. Ellis Wiley. City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 124, File 12, Item 24.

I suspect once new meat coolers were permanently installed in the south market building in the late 1970s, the number of unrefridgerated/packed with ice meat items on open display that weren't dried, preserved or smoked dwindled significantly.

Are father and child picking a pet or dinner? Photo by F. Ellis Wiley. City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 124, File 12, Item 22.

A closing sketch from the August 6, 1973 "What's Happening" column in the Toronto Star:
The chic arrive early, but everyone brings his own basket or shopping bag and just keeps stuffing in the goodies. Prices aren’t cheaper: if anything, eggs are dearer by the dozen. Shopping is just an excuse for many though—the St. Lawrence is a morning-long gabfest and a feeling that you have a farm-fresh start on your neighbo[u]r.
I rarely experience a gabfest at the market but I always feel like I've made a good start to my Saturday whenever I head down there, even after sampling too much cheese, mustard, sausage and wine. - JB

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