Travel: Guide to Kensington Market, Toronto, Canada

kensington market toronto

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.

kensington market toronto

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.

kensington market toronto

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.

kensington market toronto

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.

kensington market toronto

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.

kensington market toronto

There are lots of independent boutiques such as Blue Banana Market. Or visit Kid Icarus, who sell greeting cards and hand-printed items.

kensington market toronto

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.



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I am Emma and with my husband Mark write Foodie Explorers, which is a food and travel website.

I am a member of the Guild of Food Writers and British Guild of Travel Writers.

We have a wide range of judging experience covering products, hotels and have judged, for example, for Great Taste Awards and Scottish Baker of the Year.

Along the way Mark gained WSET Level 2 in Wine and I have WSET Level 2 in Spirits as well as picking up an award with The Scotsman Food and Drink Awards.    

Usually I can be found sleeping beside a cat.

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