Neighbourhood: Kensington Market

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Location: Between Dundas and College, west of Spadina Avenue. Transit: Queen’s Park subway station, Carlton streetcar westbound.

Among the best street markets in North America, the Kensington Market area is a maze of narrow streets and alleys, many of which are lined with brightly-coloured Victorian houses. During the 1920s, when it was a predominantly Jewish neighbourhood, families would set up stands in front of their homes and sell their goods to one another. The current market traces its roots to the 1920s, when families of the then-Jewish neighbourhood would set up stands in front of their homes to sell goods to one another.

Today the neighbourhood is one of Toronto’s most diverse areas.

The rich multicultural mix is obvious in the shops packed with goods from Europe, the Caribbean, the Middle East, South America and Asia. A visit to Kensington Market is like a sensory trip around the world. It’s also a treasure trove of vintage clothing shops tucked in among eclectic restaurants and cafés. On busy days, the market is every bit as lively as street markets around the world: a cacophony of sounds, piles of produce, exotic spices and sweet treats.

During the summer, the area goes car-free on the last Sunday of the month as the streets are taken over by shoppers, street performers and the quirky inhabitants of the neighbourhood.