Statement on Legal Action to Restore Public Control of St. Patrick's Market

September 30, 2019

Statement from Local Councillor Joe Cressy (Ward 10, Spadina-Fort York) on Legal Action to Restore Public Control of St. Patrick's Market

TORONTO – "As our downtown grows, it is vitally important that our publicly-owned properties and buildings are used for the public benefit, to provide the vital services and facilities that our vibrant and dense communities need. The City of Toronto has just taken a critical step toward restoring public control, for public benefit, of one of these vital assets in the downtown - St. Patrick's Market.

Situated on bustling Queen West at 238 Queen St. W, St. Patrick's Market is a heritage structure visible in the backdrop of television programs produced from the iconic 299 Queen Street West across the street, and broadcast across Canada. Bequeathed to the City of Toronto in 1837 to become a public market benefitting residents of Toronto, St. Patrick's Market has the potential to be an iconic, city-wide and local destination.

Regrettably, St. Patrick's Market has been underutilized since 1989 when a 50-year lease was signed with a private operator. In court documents released today, the City is asking the Ontario Superior Court of Justice to terminate the lease on grounds that the private long-term leaseholder has not complied with key terms of the lease that require a publicly-accessible food market to operate in the building, and the building has been chronically vacant. To the deep frustration of the City, local neighbours, and many others, St. Patrick's Market has effectively been vacant for more than year now, accumulating litter and graffiti.

It is unacceptable that St. Patrick's Market has been left derelict by a long-term tenant, and I strongly support the City of Toronto's legal action to terminate the private lease.

The court's decision is expected in winter 2020. Following what we hope to be a decision in the City's favour, we will undertake a robust public process to decide on future uses of St. Patrick's Market. We will consider its original intention as a public market, our plan to revitalize the adjacent public park, and other community and cultural uses that are so critical to support in our downtown communities.

The City of Toronto's legal action to terminate the private lease and restore public control of the property is a necessary and critical step toward a future for St. Patrick's Market that all Torontonians can be proud of."