Thursday, August 18, 2005

The St. Lawrence Market

In yesterday's post, I mentioned that one of my favourite places is the St. Lawrence Market. This building has a long and colourful past. Out of curiosity I looked up the Toronto Archives, because I really wasn't sure how long this particular building has been around. I won't go into great details, but if you are really interested, you can look here Toronto Archives: St. Lawrence Market
As I was reading this article, I was becoming more and more intrigued about the history of this building, and the changes over the centuries. It celebrated it's 200th anniversary in 2003 with a big party open to the community.
Anyway, in the recesses of my mind, I remembered hearing that the building is haunted.
And I LOVE Haunted stories!
So here is what I found out today: (taken from the archives)

Police Station Number One was located on the main floor in the centre of the building and the jail cells were in the basement. Directly above, on the second floor, accessible by a staircase located in the entrance foyer, was the Council Chamber. This room was actually two stories high with a balcony above the north end which served as the public gallery.

In 1834, a week before the vote was to be cast on our city’s future, a group of people were standing on the second level being addressed on the fundamentals of the upcoming election. A creak was heard coming from the floorboards followed by a huge snapping sound when the entire western portion of the public gallery collapsed. 24 people were critically injured and 3 others, including the nephew of Colonel James FitzGibbon (the officer Laura Secord informed of an American attack during the War of 1812) died after they were impaled on the butcher hooks below.

As early as 1850, less than six years after completion of the new building, John George Howard, the City Engineer, presented the first of many reports on the condition of the building. There were complaints that the shops were too small and that flooding in the basement forced prisoners to be knee-deep in water. During a storm the creeks that at one time started their journey above Davenport Hill and flowed down into Lake Ontario would swell, flood the jail, and the helpless people shackled to the wall would drown or at the very least, hang knee deep in all the contaminated debris washing up from the open sewer that was backwashing in from Lake Ontario.
If those walls could talk... they’d scream!


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Anonymous said...

Where did you find it? Interesting read »