It's easy to market Toronto's coolest area!
Kensington Market is probably the best-known area in Toronto, which is home to all manner of independent businesses. We visited as part of a combined food tour through neighbouring Chinatown and Kensington Market. In this guide, we'll share what to see and do whilst visiting Kensington Market.
The area isn't a market as such; more of a collection of walkable streets with food shops, cafes, restaurants and bars intermingled with specialist and vintage shops. Here you can get everything from freshly baked bread to the smelliest cheese via artisan chocolate and ending up buying some vintage clothing too.
History of the Market
The current Kensington Market area was first developed in 1815 by George Taylor Denison. This estate was divided into plots with the Scottish, Irish and English immigrants building their homes on the land. The 20th Century saw Jewish immigrants from mainly Russia, Eastern and Southern Europe making it their new home. From the 1950s the area has become increasingly culturally diverse which shows in the choice of businesses that can be found here.
Where is Kensington Market?
Bordered by Spadina Avenue, Bathurst Street, Dundas Street and College Street, it's on the northwestern edge of Chinatown. The nearest subway station is St. Patrick.
What to Eat and Drink
There really is something for everyone here. Savoury options include the massive burgers at The Burgenator, cactus sandwiches at Torteria San Cosme, doner kebabs at Otto's Berlin Diner and there's Urban Herbivore for vegan needs. For sweet stuff there's a wide variety too, like churros at Panchos Bakery, cherry pie at Wanda's Pie in the Sky or CXBO for artisan chocolates. While you can have both sweet and savoury at the Toronto Popcorn Company. Then get your coffee fix from Jimmy's Coffee or stop off at Thirsty & Miserable for a beer (I'm assuming they are Black Flag fans!).
Where to Shop
For foodies, there is Global Cheese and Cheese Magic, for those of you who like a chunk of cheese and those with a love of meat there's Sanagan's Meat Locker.
There are lots of independent boutiques such as Blue Banana Market. Or visit Kid Icarus, who sell greeting cards and hand-printed items.
When to visit
Anytime! However, from May to October, the streets are car-free on the last Sunday of the month. if you’re visiting on a Monday, many of the smaller stores are closed. Don't be put off if visiting in winter as we did, all the businesses we wanted to visit were open.
Kensington Market Slideshow