The Market Gallery: Introduction and Migrant Stories exhibit

By the Market Gallery Team –

Steps above the bustling St. Lawrence Market is the Mar­ket Gallery – an intimate, his­toric exhibition space. What was once Toronto’s first pur­pose-built City Council cham­bers now houses rotating ex­hibits that dive deep into the history of our city.

When the South Market was renovated in the 1970s and its second floor was rediscovered, City Council decided to convert it into a display space featuring art and artifacts from the civic collection.

The main display area of the Market Gallery is on the second floor of what remains from To­ronto’s City Hall from 1845 to 1899, which stood on this site on Front Street East. The first coun­cil chamber had been boarded up and forgotten for seven dec­ades after the civic government moved to what is now called Old City Hall at Queen and Bay Streets. The barn-style South Market was built in 1902. The council chamber was the only room of the 19th-century City Hall saved from demolition. The original exterior brick walls and fan windows of the council chamber were enclosed by the new market building and over­look the main floor of the mar­ket – whereas once they over­looked Lake Ontario.

Beginning March 7, the gal­lery will feature Migrant Sto­ries, a pop-up exhibit supported by the European Union’s In­ternational City Partnerships program and its Migrant Story Telling Project. Toronto and its partner city of Frankfurt, Ger­many, are working on a mul­ti-year joint program to share and amplify migrant stories.

The effects of forced migra­tion and climate change dis­placement have made the inclu­sion of migrants and refugees a topic of global significance. His­torically, Toronto and Frankfurt are arrival cities, and both rec­ognize the importance of mu­nicipal leadership on newcomer and migrant issues.

This is the first of various pro­jects in this Toronto-Frankfurt partnership. Migrant Stories uses video to highlight the real stories of migrants to Toronto, in their own words.

Also included are the sto­ry of and artifacts from the life of Lloyd Lindo, aka “Un­cle Lloyd,” a Jamaican British (Windrush Generation) migrant who arrived in Toronto in the mid-20th century. The Win­drush Generation were mainly Caribbean-born British subjects who migrated to Britain before 1983 but were later denied their rights; some were deported.

Admission to the gallery is free, from Wednesday to Sun­day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. To learn more, email marketgal­[email protected] or visit