Building Toronto: Stories of the St. Lawrence Market Neighbourhood

2017, Heritage Toronto, History, Temporary Exhibit
city planning, history, neighbourhood, St. Lawrence Market, Toronto, urbanism
About This Project

Date: March 30, 2017 – September 2018

Partner: Heritage Toronto

Venue: St. Lawrence Hall, 157 King St. East – map

Project Members: Kelsey Cassin, Kristina Karakolis, Justine Kicek, Caitlin March, and Maureen Marshall


Building Toronto: Stories of the St. Lawrence Market Neighbourhood is a travelling exhibition that showcases the stories of Toronto’s built heritage in the St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood. Beginning with the Town of York’s early modest footprint, the exhibition explores urban development and the civic engagement of its population. Discover how our city’s first planned neighbourhood served as the building blocks for Toronto’s commercial, cultural, social, and political history.


This exhibition is intended to be family-friendly. As a travelling exhibition, we hope to reach a large number of people from various socio-economic groups and ages. The exhibition was also of interest during the sesquicentennial.


The initial venue of the exhibition is the foyer of the St. Lawrence Hall, where it will reside from March 30th to April 30th, 2017. From June 26th to July 28, 2017, the exhibition will move to the lobby of the Globe and Mail newspaper, located at 351 King Street East. The St. Lawrence branch of the Toronto Public Library will host the exhibition from October 30th until November 28th, at which point the exhibition travels to the Market Gallery located on the second floor of the St. Lawrence Market from December 1st through to the end of February 2018. While at the Market Gallery, the exhibition will expand to include ephemera, artefacts and potentially moving images. The exhibition was made possible through the support of the St. Lawrence Neighbourhood Association and Heritage Toronto. The iSchool also provided financial and moral support throughout the project.


Planning for the Building Toronto exhibit began in September 2016. The planning and research process took approximately five months. At the beginning of November 2016, we began researching archival photographs and images, and writing our interpretation for the banner text. The production of our social media strategy finished in February 2017. Our community partnership meetings and finalized contracts for the exhibition locations took a total of 8 months, with meetings beginning in September 2016 and ending in late March 2017. The exhibit opened on March 30, 2017, and continued to travel well into 2018.


Building Toronto: Stories of the St.Lawrence Market Neighbourhood used pop-up banners to showcase 6 sites around the St.Lawrence Market neighbourhood. Each banner had to be able to stand-alone and also work within the group of banners. Building Toronto: Stories of the St.Lawrence Market Neighbourhood featured the following buildings: St. James Cathedral, St. Lawrence Hall, The Sony Centre, St. Lawrence Market, and an introductory panel that told the history of the neighbourhood from past to present day and beyond.


We provided a social media strategy to the Marketing Manager who advertised our opening and posted on Heritage Toronto’s social media pages. Postcards were also printed by Heritage Toronto’s marketing team to serve as a takeaway from the event launch.


The event launch for the exhibition was attended by over 150 visitors and received a positive response. The event also featured 4 plaque unveilings and 6 speakers. The event brought together cultural and built heritage advocates, iSchool students, families, municipal politicians, and members of the St. Lawrence neighbourhood community.


We would like to thank all of our sponsors, particularly the St. Lawrence Market Neighbourhood and Business Association and Heritage Toronto for allowing us to realize this project.