Why is the City sponsoring a design competition?
The St. Lawrence Market Complex is a great source of pride among Torontonians and the North Market site within the Complex is deeply significant, with a very lengthy history.
The aim of this architectural design competition is to generate fresh new ideas for the North Market site, obtain the very best design possible, and engage the interest and imagination of Torontonians in the process.
St. Lawrence Market Complex has a history of design competitions. The design of the 1850s North Market building was the result of a competition, as was the current South Market building. In the spring of 1899, a jury that consisted of the City Engineer C.H. Rust, architect E.J. Lennox and Robert McCallum considered four sets of plans and selected architect John Siddall’s plans as the winning design for the (current) South Market. No doubt, then as now, the City looked to the design community to provide inspiration and creativity.
In this 21st century competition, the City seeks a model of energy efficiency and sustainability and an example of urban design excellence, one that is also mindful of the heritage context and history of the St. Lawrence Market and the surrounding neighbourhood.
Who is running the design competition?
The competition sponsor is the City of Toronto. The City’s Facilities & Real Estate Division and a Professional Advisor retained by the City will jointly administer the competition.
What are the timelines for the design competition?
The schedule can be found here: Competition Schedule
Who can enter the competition and what is the process?
The competition is structured as a limited design competition. Stage I is a Request for an Expression of Interest and pre-qualification process. Stage II is a limited design competition.
Interested architects/firms that have a License and Certificate of Practice as per the Architect’s Act and Regulations in the Province of Ontario can enter the competition. Those architects/firms not from Ontario can participate jointly with an Ontario firm. However these architect/firms outside of Ontario participating in a joint venture are required to notify the Registrar of the Ontario Association of Architects in writing that they are responding to an Expression of Interest, and if they are selected to go to Stage II they will comply with the provisions of the Architects Act and Regulations there under in the Province of Ontario.
The deadline date for Stage I Expressions of Interest is January 8, 2010. A qualified team of City staff and the Professional Advisor will select a short list of three (3) to five (5) architectural design teams to go on to Stage II.
Those architectural design teams selected to continue to Stage II will develop design submissions that will be evaluated by a jury of seven members. The jury, chaired by the Professional Advisor, will select a winning design.
Who is on the jury?
The jury will be composed of seven (7) members, all qualified individuals who can not only speak to the design of the building and heritage context, but have specialized interests in sustainability, markets, planning, urban design, courts, community and the arts.
A short biography of each juror will be provided on the website at the onset of Stage II of the competition.
Will the public have a say in choosing the winning design?
The jury alone will be charged with choosing the winning design. The competition will include a public exhibition where interested members of the public can view and comment on the design submissions of the Stage II competitors, and the public’s comments will be made available to the jury for their information. This public exhibition is expected to occur in May 2010. Details regarding times and location will be posted on the website.
What is going to happen to the Saturday Farmers’ Market and Sunday Antique Market during the construction period?
The Saturday Farmer’s Market and the Sunday Antique Market will continue to operate during the construction period of the new North Market building. The City will be relocating them in a temporary market structure at 125 The Esplanade for up to three years. This site is immediately south of the South Market and is currently used as a parking lot. See more details.
What is the City of Toronto proposing for the property?
In December 2008, City Council adopted a redevelopment strategy to replace the existing St. Lawrence Market North building with a four- storey, multi-purpose facility. The established Farmers’ Market and the Sunday Antique Market will be retained in a ground floor market hall (with mezzanine), and Toronto Court Services’ court rooms and administrative offices will occupy the upper floors. A new 250-space underground parking garage will serve the building and the wider St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood. Read the City’s staff report.
View backgound information about the City’s and the St. Lawrence community’s efforts to redevelopment the North Market property.
Why does the City of Toronto want to redevelop the existing North Market property?
The St. Lawrence Market North building is currently only used on weekends for the Saturday Farmers’ Market and the Sunday Antique Market. Although the building is available for rental on weekdays, the lack of adequate on-site parking, adequate loading facilities, poor acoustics and the lack of standard building facilities (such as up to day and appropriate power outlets, drain systems and washing facilities) have limited the use of the building for other events.
This redevelopment project will replace the one-storey building with a new four-storey, multi-purpose building that is more environmentally sustainable, more energy efficient, and respectful to the heritage fabric and history of the surrounding neighbourhood.
This redevelopment project is also an investment in the future of the St. Lawrence neighbourhood. The vendors in the South Market and surrounding restaurants and businesses would benefit from increased exposure due to the foot traffic generated by Court Services (which is estimated to be 800 to 1,000 people a day). A new building with more ground floor space and building amenities will not only ensure the continued longevity of the Farmers’ Market, but attract other weekday exhibitions and events.
The St. Lawrence Market is already a significant tourist attraction. A new building that has the dual civic functions of a public market and court house would greatly contribute to this area as a destination place.
What is the budget for this project and where will the money come from?
The estimated construction budget is $58.1 million. The initial outlay for this project will come from the City’s capital budget. Every year, City Council approves a multi-year capital budget to fund the on-going maintenance and replacement of the City’s major infrastructure such as transit and roads. The capital budget also funds the construction of new libraries and community centres, and a facility like the St. Lawrence Market North building is no different. These sorts of projects are vital for renewing the City.
However, this project differs from a library or community centre in that the new North Market building has a strategic partner that will contribute some of the financial resources, thus minimizing the burden on taxpayers.
The underground garage is being funded by the Toronto Parking Authority which derives its revenues from parking. As a result, the initial capital outlay for the underground component of this project will be reimbursed by the Toronto Parking Authority.
In addition, Court Services will no longer have to make rental payments to a private third party. Instead, that rental payment will accrue back to the City, offsetting another component of construction debt.
Why is the City proposing courts for the upper floors?
The buildings in the St. Lawrence Market Complex have always been very multi-functional. One of the earlier incarnations of the North Market (dating from 1831) included a second storey town hall and the original City Hall (which was retrofitted in 1902 into the current South Market) contained a police station as well as a market for vegetables, fruit and poultry. The St. Lawrence Hall had retail uses and at one time, it was home to the National Ballet of Canada as well as a men’s hostel.
Court Services’ court rooms and administrative office functions are currently scattered in separate locations. Its court rooms are located in Old City Hall and its office functions are in an office building for which pays rent to a private landlord. People are often forced to go from one location to another and back again, depending on the nature of their business. By consolidating Court Services’ into one purpose-built structure, the public would benefit from improved customer service and increased program capacity.
For the City as a whole, there will be financial benefits as Court Services will no longer make rental payments to a private third party. Instead, that rental payment will accrue back to the City.
Finally, having a strategic tenant such as Court Services for the upper floors will benefit the proposed underground garage which will be run by the Toronto Parking Authority.
What will happen to Market Lane Park during the construction period?
All efforts will be made to minimize the impact to the park during the construction period. All efforts will also be made to prevent any damage to the trees in the park.
Will Market Lane Park also be redesigned as part of this competition?
The Development Parameters call for an animated park frontage with large windows that open up in the summer months. Therefore, the new building must engage this park, and the west elevation of the new building will require careful consideration.
The project’s construction budget unfortunately does not include the redesign of Market Lane Park itself, and the winning design must be able to “stand on its own” with the possibility that Market Lane Park might remain as is for the foreseeable future. Architectural design teams are welcome to include design ideas for the redesign of the park as part of the overall concept in their drawings. However, Market Lane Park is not part of the juried competition and proposed concepts will not be part of the scoring system.
Who prepared the Development Parameters?
The Development Parameters were prepared by the St. Lawrence Market North Working Committee. This group was established by City Council in 2003 to provide a forum for the community and City staff to develop a set of planning and urban design guidelines for the property.
More information on the Development Parameters and the Working Committee.
Why is the City proposing that the site be redeveloped to include underground parking?
The current North Market building was built in 1968 without any on-site parking. At that time, the surrounding area was primarily occupied by industrial uses with lots of available parking. Since that time, the area has experienced a great deal of residential development. Many surface parking lots that used to provide parking for the St. Lawrence Market have been redeveloped.
The lack of on-site parking is one of the most critical issues facing the North Market building. Although many shoppers take public transit or walk, many others arrive by car. The lack of convenient and adequate parking spaces has contributed to the underutilization of the existing building and has limited the City’s ability to rent out the building for various functions.
The City has studied ways to reduce auto use to the new North Market building and efforts to will be made to implement them. Learn more by reading the St. Lawrence Market North Travel Demand Management Plan.