For over 35 years, the International Public Markets Conference has brought together leading public market leaders and advocates including a broad mix of government leaders, market managers, downtown planners, grassroots organizers, local food advocates, transportation experts, health care professionals, and educators from around the world to explore the cutting edge of market practice.
At this year’s three-day event on June 8-10, 2023, co-hosts Project for Public Spaces, the City of Toronto, St. Lawrence Market, and Market City TO invite you to help unlock the potential of market systems as equitable sources of well-being and opportunity in one of the world’s great Market Cities—Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
This year’s conference theme is Setting a New Table. Far too many communities currently do not have access to the benefits of public markets, and existing decision-making processes often keep those inequities in place. In order to create market systems for all, market leaders must do more than get a seat at the table—we must work with everyone who has been left out to reimagine the table entirely. This year’s program aims to support market leaders in putting promises of a fair food system, inclusive economies, and social cohesion into action.
The event’s working sessions will take place at the beautiful St. Lawrence Market, and we will also gather in a range of nearby venues and landmarks such as Stackt Market and St James Cathedral. This year’s programming will highlight Toronto’s wide array of public markets including a city-owned and operated historic permanent market hall, a lively market district spanning several city blocks, and many neighborhood open-air markets built from the ground up by community champions and anchor organizations.
Along with dozens of workshops, unconferences, and plenary sessions, participants will have ample opportunities to socialize at special evening events and daylong tours of Toronto’s extensive network of public markets.
We respectfully acknowledge that the 11th International Public Market Conference will be hosted in the traditional territory of many Indigenous Nations. Learn more.
Toronto is Canada’s largest city and a multicultural metropolis that is a leader in urban livability and home to more than 200 public markets and food initiatives. Internationally recognized for its leadership in food system work, including the 30-year-old Toronto Food Policy Council, Toronto is the perfect place to collectively imagine a citywide Market City strategy and mobilize the partnerships to make it happen.
Learning from challenges highlighted by the Covid-19 pandemic, including food insecurity and income inequality, the city is recognizing the full value of its municipal markets and grappling with the need to provide its residents with diverse forms of food access. The City of Toronto, St. Lawrence Market, and the newly formed Market City TO will bring together a variety of stakeholders to build upon existing equity-focused work and drive forward plans that recognize the importance of public food infrastructure. Conference attendees will have the opportunity to observe this process in action.
—Mayor , City of Toronto
In 2019, lessons from the International Public Markets Conference inspired the launch of the Market Cities Program at Project for Public Spaces. The Program aims to strengthen the regional systems behind the market stalls by connecting and supporting a diverse set of stakeholders through research, specialized training, and a network of peers