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Kensington Market Toronto

Kensington Market Toronto is a district just north-west of the downtown area of the city. The market has been in business almost a hundred years, with some of the original stores still surviving.

It became a National Heritage Site in 2006, which still doesn't save it from constant threats of re-development.

Toronto Kensington Market lies roughly between College Street to the north, Spadina Avenue (and China Town) to the east, Dundas Street West (and China Town) to the south, and Bellevue Avenue to the west.

The heart of the district lies along Augusta and Kensington Avenues.

Visiting the market may be best on Sundays, particularly the car-free Sundays during the summer.

These are usually the last Sunday of the month but it's best to check out the market's website (see link below) for up-to-date information.

Kensington Market Toronto -- History

The market began when mainly Jewish immigrants moved into the area in the early 1900's.

Since then other refugees have added their own flavor to the mix. On our recent visit we saw Senegalese and Tibetan restaurants, as well as Indian stores and restaurants. I particularly liked the 'Hungary-Thai' restaurant -- not a combination you're likely to find in many parts of the world.

Stores and Culture

Tom's Place on Baldwin Street has been a Toronto fixture for over fifty years now. The store sells men and women's clothes with an emphasis on European fashions.

Another interesting clothes store is Courage My Love, selling and renting vintage clothes. Located on Kensington Ave, it's a mecca for those, such as schools and amateur theatre groups, putting on plays that span the time period of Victorian to about the Fifties.

Being a market, you can do your grocery shopping at the many stores selling vegetables, meat, cheese and so on. Many are still original but, controversially, some chains, large and small have begun to sneak in.

It's buyer beware, if authentic craftsman/woman is what you're looking for. If, like most of us, you're a shopper looking for a bargain, you won't need to worry about it.

Kensington Market Toronto has also become home to the counter-culture and some of the wilder political groups, which makes for interesting 'sights' on the streets and reading on the wall posters.

As the University of Toronto and George Brown College are just to the north of here, students are the major driving force for both these relatively recent introductions.

Knowing most of the 'sights' will be perfectly respectable doctors or lawyers in a few years time, as did so many of my own University contemporaries, takes a lot of the edge off the 'statement' the 'sights' are trying to make.

Kensington Market is about food and clothes, basically, a 'rest-of-the-world' companion to nearby China Town's food and hairdressing.

If you've enjoyed this market page, you may also want to visit our page on another, even older, Toronto Market -- St. Lawrence Market.

For the latest information on Kensington Market, visit their site here.

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