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Winner of the 2013 Special Jury Award from the Toronto Urban Design Awards, Market 707 is a bold urban intervention that resuscitated a former sleepy sidewalk in front of the Scadding Court Community Centre into a lively commercial space. The market, composed of repurposed shipping containers, transformed the dormant residual urban space along Dundas West at Bathurst Street into a safe and engaging community-gathering place. The market is a significant player in Toronto’s locavore movement offering culturally diverse cuisines from local farmers and food vendors and services including a bike-repair shop offering tune-ups to local cyclists and an artist collective.
Market 707 exemplifies sustainable building practices by re-purposing derelict shipping containers, reducing construction costs and materials. Each container was modified to include roll up doors and canopies for shelter as well as the necessary power and water infrastructure to support a small food vending business. The mismatched street furniture, provided by each vendor, fills the former gap in the urban fabric with an open-air cafe. By using shipping containers, an inherently modular and moveable unit, Market 707’s design accounts for future growth. As funding opportunities become available the market will expand to include the adjacent alley, connecting the market to the entry of the Scadding Court Community Pool.
With a very small investment, Market 707 has removed much of the financial risk involved in starting a business, creating an opportunity for young adults, newcomers and first time business owners’ to access a large client base eager to consume their multi-cultural and inexpensive culinary delights and service offerings. Market 707 was quickly recognized as a sustainable business model that can be replicated to create affordable markets tailored to the needs of unique communities. Market 707 demonstrates how creatively playing with the urban planning process can result in innovative uses for unproductive pockets of land throughout the city.