Market St. revival a testament to late developer Paul Oberman

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“Paul certainly stands out in my mind as being really exceptional in the projects he took on, the enormity of the challenge in conserving these buildings and the cost,” Pedersen says. “He wasn’t daunted by the complexity. In that way he is certainly a leader in demonstrating what developers and builders can do to support heritage conservation in the city.”

Lewis faced similar challenges with Market St.

Restoration of the 1850s buildings was complex and Lewis says that when they removed the paint from the old fish market, which is halfway down the street, they found the bricks were so deteriorated they had to turn them around one by one.

And although the design for Market St. had been approved in principal when Oberman died, the bulk of the work lay ahead.

“It took another two years to get all the processes and paperwork in place,” says Lewis. “There were a lot of different moving parts to getting it approved.”

Market St. is now a unique Toronto road, the only street purpose-built for patios, says Mark Van Elsberg, an urban designer for the city.

The street doesn’t have elevated sidewalks and curbs, a concept that allows the restaurants to open patios out front and still maintain walkways for pedestrians, who will be separated from traffic by metal bollards. In the winter, the bollards come down to make room for on-street parking.

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