Coming soon to downtown Toronto: a game-changing food hall

Beloved chefs and boutique purveyors will have kiosks in the soaring converted space

In Toronto’s vast, diverse food landscape, the tastiest international cooking was often confined to distinct immigrant communities or hidden in far-flung neighbourhoods. But the city is finally getting its own contemporary European-style food hall to showcase a spectrum of styles and flavours under one roof.

Repurposed from the Great Hall of a 1932 public utility building, the Waterworks Food Hall opens next month with 20-some food stalls offering sushi, ramen, fine wine, deli, barbecue and burgers from new and established chefs dear to Toronto foodies.

The 5,000-square-metre food market forms part of a larger rejuvenation of the defunct Art Deco waterworks by architects Diamond Schmitt, heritage restoration experts ERA Architects and Steven Fong Architect. It’s also the heart of the mixed-use development and a game-changer for the downtown lunch scene.

Credit: Doublespace Photography

The architects installed new skylights in the original pitched ceiling and nine-metre windows around the perimeter, invaluable when the outdoors is too cold for alfresco eating. Reclaimed wood from the original floors is used throughout the interior. Local firms Futurestudio, Design Agency and Cecconi Simone worked on the interior mezzanines, event spaces and food kiosks.

Meanwhile, improved circulation and payment systems enable visitors to order from multiple vendors from a central platform and pay once. Drinks are delivered directly to the table.

The massive adaptive reuse project opens directly onto historic St Andrew’s Playground Park, which was also redeveloped by Woodcliffe Landmark Properties, the company overseeing the Waterworks.

Lee restaurant. Photography: Doublespace

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