There are 35 mustards open for tasting at Anton Kozlik’s Mustard shop inside Toronto’s busy St. Lawrence Market. The Bordeaux Green Peppercorn is my favorite but the Hot Russian and Grainy Creole are pretty good too. Especially as a dip for the hefty peameal Canadian bacon sizzling on the grill.
The Market is housed inside three brick buildings dating back to 1831, with 120 food vendors like Kozlik’s in the South Market building. On the mezzanine floor, a private group of about 40 are taking a cooking class in Miele’s Market Kitchen, outfitted like the loft kitchen of your dreams. Light is streaming through the huge arch windows and the place smells wonderful. You can also rent out 10,000 sf of contemporary space at the North Market building, popular for its weekend farmer’s market.
Back at the mustard shop, proprietor Jeremy Kessler tells me that Canada grows 95% of the world’s mustard. I say I thought the good stuff comes from the Dijon area. Kessler says it does, but they use Canadian seeds.
“How come more people don’t know about that?” I ask.
“The typical way with Canadians is to do something well and then zip it,” says Kessler. “Self promotion isn’t really our thing.”
Instead, Torontonians focus on you, your group and the quality of the overall experience and service. While waiting for colleagues alone at the bar at Le Papillon on Front for dinner, there must have been five service staff who came over to say hi. You will experience that same hospitality everywhere from the downtown business hotels to the university area museums.
Regarding infrastructure, Toronto is very much a city of the future. A wealth of adaptive reuse architectural venues, like St. Lawrence Market, make it a leader in urban sustainability. That mix of modernity, history, art and commerce inside a tight central core delivers some wickedly creative group experiences.