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Toronto’s St Lawrence Market: Rubes Rice

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Toronto’s beloved St. Lawrence Market has been around for over 200 years – it was first labelled “Market Block” in 1803.

The original market buildings were made of wood and eventually replaced by stone and brick. The St. Lawrence Market North building is being redeveloped and will be under construction for the next two years.  Pre-construction archaeologists are looking forward to unearthing artefacts like butchers’ equipment, animal remains, glassware and ceramics – all of which will be on display when the building opens. Could there be a better time to take a look at the St. Lawrence Market and unearth some present day hidden gems?

Rube’s Rice

Merchant: Aida Koduzi

Rube’s Rice has been a staple at St. Lawrence Market for over 40 years. In fact,  original owner Rube Marcus was the first business to open in the Market’s lower level in the early 1970s. This specialty shop carries flours, nuts, beans and over 50 varieties of rice – from Saskatchewan wild rice to exotic varieties like forbidden rice and bamboo infused jade rice.


When current owner Aida Koduzi arrived as a new immigrant to Canada from Albania, she never imagined that rice would become such an important component of her life. Ten years ago Aida began working at the shop and rice bar alongside Rube and never looked back. When asked about how she became an expert in rice Aida said, “I fell in love with the Market.” She worked alongside Rube until his passing at the age of 92, learning how to run this beautifully unique business. When it became time for Rube’s family to sell the business Aida was the natural choice to continue the Rube “the rice man” legacy, knowing that she would honour the roots of this specialty shop. Aida handles all aspects of the business from working with rice and bulk food suppliers to assisting customers at the rice counter throughout the week.


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