The Ontario Food Terminal?
Ever wonder what goes on at the Ontario Food Terminal? Well, you’re not alone! We hope the following will help shed some light on what this amazing place is all about….
Who are the people behind the Terminal?
The Ontario Food Terminal is a fresh fruit and vegetable wholesale market.
Fresh produce comes into the Terminal from all over the world as well as from local farms, which the wholesalers and farmers then sell to various businesses. The Terminal is actually the only wholesale fresh produce market in North America that houses both wholesalers and local farmers. In other words, we’ve been promoting “buy” local for decades! Learn more about our wholesalers and farmers.
Those who buy at the Terminal consist primarily of independent green grocers, restaurants and food distributors (e.g., those businesses that provide fresh produce to hospitals, universities, and various other food outlets). Want to know who in your neighbourhood buys from the Terminal? You can locate your freshest neighbours now!
What is the Terminal?
When measured by the quantity of fresh produce distributed, the Ontario Food Terminal is the third largest wholesale market in North America after New York’s and Los Angeles’s. It also happens to be the only wholesale fresh produce market in Canada.
The Ontario Food Terminal sits on 40 acres of land –the equivalent of approximately 40 football fields! The operation and maintenance of the Terminal is entirely self-funded through fees collected from those who use the facility.
The facility houses 21 wholesaler storefronts and 400 farmer stalls during the local harvest season and throughout the year. An important function of the Terminal is to act as guardian of fresh produce. It provides plenty of cold storage space to accommodate large quantities and varieties of fresh produce and a place for regular safety and quality control inspections. There are many docks for easy and safe loading and unloading. The Terminal is a bustling place particularly early in the morning when buying is at its peak. One thing’s for sure fresh produce folks are morning persons!
Where is the facility located?
Located in Toronto adjacent the Gardiner Expressway, the Terminal is easy for trucks to access. You’ve probably seen it from the highway, but if you’re not sure you can pin point us here. There is plenty of parking on the premises, which will be free of charge for visitors to Taste of the Food Terminal.
Why do we have the Terminal?
The Terminal opened in 1954 when the market formerly located around the St Lawrence Market in downtown Toronto—the original location of the fresh produce wholesale market— became too small to handle the demand of the fast growing post-war population.
How do things work there, anyway?
Fresh produce arrives daily by truck at all hours of the day and when they do, the Terminal is open and ready to receive shipments.
In order to purchase from the Terminal you have to be a licensed business and registered by the Ontario Food Terminal Board. Over 5000 Ontario businesses buy fresh produce from the Terminal. These businesses consist primarily of independent green grocers, restaurateurs, food service distributors, caterers, florists, landscapers, garden centres, farmers’ markets and institutions.
These buyers arrive at the Terminal very early in the morning to select firsthand from among the incredible variety of fresh quality items. Although our fresh produce is distributed primarily throughout the province of Ontario, our fruit and vegetables are shipped as far as Newfoundland!
You can learn more about the Ontario Food Terminal by visiting oftb.com.