Reason to Love Toronto: The Stop’s summer solstice party brings delicious, boozy revelry to a barren laneway

Reason to Love Toronto: The Stop’s summer solstice party brings delicious, boozy revelry to a barren laneway

The Stop Night Market (Image: Gabriel Li)
 

Last summer, on one of the stickiest nights of the year, 1,200 people paid $50 each to enter the alleyway behind Honest Ed’s for an all-you-can-eat, all-you-can-drink fundraiser hosted by the virtuous locavores at the Stop Community Food Centre. Night markets have been a staple in Toronto’s Asian communities for years, and have lately spread throughout the city, turning humble parking lots into tasting nirvanas. At the Stop’s market, 27 chefs from restaurants like Yours Truly, Woodlot and the County General handed out street-friendly samples of their wares: duck yolk­–topped beef crudo and gooey pork burgers, and, at the sweeter end of things, barbecued strawberry s’mores and doughnuts made with sugar and garam masala. The chefs manned one-of-a-kind booths created by Ryerson grads and Toronto designers. (The biggest hits were Brockton General’s 12-foot-tall cardboard Pegasus, which looked like a prop from Clash of the Titans, and Cowbell’s all-ice booth, which served white sangria and Ontario rumtopf berry snow cones.) The night went off so well, raising $57,000, that the Stop is doing it again this month for two consecutive nights, with more than double the number of participating chefs (including Top Chef Canada contender Jonathan Goodyear, who’ll be collaborating with Splendido’s Victor Barry). Like the annual art-athon Nuit Blanche, night markets turn the city into a nocturnal playground for adults—one with artisanal burgers and craft beer instead of freezies and water fountains.

This is an excerpt from our annual Reasons to Love Toronto Now package. Click here to read the entire story.