Stackt, the much-anticipated market made out of shipping containers, is open for business in Fort York.
The market, developed from 120 new and reclaimed shipping containers, is located in what was once an empty lot at 28 Bathurst St. near Front Street. The location, which was vacant and unused for years, is now complete with bars, restaurants and shops.
In a news release, Stackt describes itself as a “new cultural and community hub” that will “provide a place for Torontonians to gather, connect and discover, encouraging authentic community interaction and satisfying the need for a fulsome public space in the centre of downtown.”
There will be over 30 containers dedicated to retail vendors and services, with the market boasting a unique variety of brands, ranging from fashion to prepared meals, doughnuts to furniture as well as space for services, studios and startups. There will also be numerous arts and culture programming events happening at the market.
Matt Rubinoff, founder of Stackt, said the vision for the market was developed when he was living in the Fort York area and noticed a lack of interactive public space for community engagement.
Rubinoff said part of the reason that using shipping containers is a good idea is because they are “module built” and easy to assemble and dismantle on site, allowing the market to move and develop in other areas if needed.
Toronto Coun. Joe Cressy, whose ward encompasses the space, told Global News that the agreement between Stackt and the city ensured at least 15 per cent of the containers would be reserved for community economic development.
“More than 15 per cent — it’s going to be closer to 30 per cent — of the spaces are going to be for local community groups associated with food security and environment issues to help ensure that this is not only a space for business but a space for community, too,” Cressy said.
However, the market will only be temporary as the location is currently scheduled to become a park in the next few years.
The city is still in the design stages of developing the park.
“Rather than have the land sit vacant while we design and construct the park, we created an innovative temporary solution to turn it into a vibrant shipping container market,” Cressy told Global News in January.
While the market’s appearance is all black for the time being, Stackt’s lead artist has plans to change the design of the space to make it more colourful and community driven.
“We were really looking to build a contemporary cultural hub,” said Jacquelyn West, arts and community lead at Stackt. “What we’re hoping to do is really create a welcome place.”
West said the space will transform with new elements like walkable murals and contemporary art installations.
Stackt currently has a two-year lease on the land. Once the lease is up, the market will be removed.
—With files from Ryan Rocca and Kamil Karamali