It’s hard to stay away from clichés while describing Kensington Market. The first few words that come to mind are ‘colorful’, ‘bustling’ and ‘ethnic’. Kensington market is practically a legend in Toronto and among the most photographed. It is chock full of shops and stalls selling a variety of produce. It also has quite an intriguing history with the original market dating back to the 1790s.
Kensington Market is best navigated on foot or perhaps a bicycle if that’s your cup of tea. This maze of alleys is located just west of Chinatown and is bordered by College Street in the North and Dundas Street in the South. The market is a wellspring of legumes, fresh fruit and dry goods stores. You can get your hands on some of the best meat and local produce on these congested little streets.
The market has a famous cheese shop. It sells only cheese and the variety is staggering. There’s also a Caribbean style fish shop where you can buy some fresh fish. Kensington Market affords you the opportunity to get some great bargains on fresh fruits and vegetables. The prices here aren’t as high as those in the rest of Toronto. Stroll through the busy streets and sooner or later something or the other is bound to catch your attention.
It’s a mixed up world in Kensington Market. You can shop for jeans, fashion accessories and loads of other baubles. It’s a good place to stock up on some cool vintage clothing and jewelry. If you don’t want to put a dent in your pocket, simply amble along the sidewalks and catch up on some window shopping.
The original market can be traced back to the British settlement in the 1790s. After that, many migrants from different countries happened to settle here. A majority of Toronto’s Jewish community homed in here during the early 1900s. By the 1950s, hoards of immigrants came in after the war and the market became multi-cultural. Currently, Kensington Market has become a melting pot of a variety of cultures including East-Indian, Asian, Portuguese, Caribbean and Ethiopian.
The entertainment fraternity hasn’t wasted any time in cashing in on the popularity of Kensington Market. Its name has figured in television shows and sitcoms like “The King of Kensington” and “Twitch City.” Not surprisingly, there was even a band called Kensington Market that recorded in the 1960s. Today, Kensington Market is an intrinsic part of the cultural heritage of Toronto and has become a popular tourist attraction. Artists and writers have moved into this area enhancing its cultural appeal.
When in Toronto, don’t skip a visit to the Kensington Market. Shop to your heart’s content while you soak in the sights and sounds of a multitude of cultural influences. Shopping and culture collide to create an unforgettable experience.