Kensington Market

With a rich heritage going back to the middle of the 19th century, Kensington Market is one of Toronto's oldest districts. Consisting of more than a dozen blocks, this well-preserved section is officially known as a National Historic Site of Canada. The neighborhood is home to cafes, shops, restaurants and other small businesses that are accessible by TTC streetcars. Click to book your Kensington Market By The Sidewalk Food Tour.

History

Kensington Market
The area that's currently known as Kensington Market was settled by working-class immigrants from Ireland and Scotland in the late 19th century. Row houses lined the rapidly growing neighborhood just outside of Old Toronto. Quite appropriately, the new arrivals built homes in the Victorian style. The beginning of the 20th century was characterized by a flow of new immigrant waves from Eastern Europe and Italy. A significant Ashkenazi Jewish community was established in the area within a few decades. In fact, some parts of the district became known as the Jewish Market. Bakeries, tailor shops, delis and other small businesses that were operated by Jewish owners lined the streets. There were more than two dozen synagogues in the neighborhood by the 1930s. Click to book your Kensington Market By The Sidewalk Food Tour. Just like in most North American cities, the demographics of the area rapidly changed after World War II. Refugees from the Azores settled this well-established part of Toronto. The Vietnam War also led to a significant influx of Vietnamese refugees into the neighborhood. African, Middle Eastern and South American immigrants further transformed the urban landscape in the 1990s. Today, the district is one of the most diverse within the boundaries of Toronto. Some of the area's notable historic landmarks include the Kiever Synagogue and Anshei Minsk, which are among the oldest Jewish places of worship in Toronto. Spanning several blocks, Wales Avenue is lined with Victorian residences that overlook Bellevue Square Park.

Dining, Drinking and Shopping

From quaint cafes and European-style bistros to corner delis and casual restaurants, you'll find a variety of dining options in Kensington Market. El Trompo, Hungary Thai, Latin Taste and Pho Noodle Bar offer delicious ethnic cuisine. The Kensington Brewing Company and Otto's Berlin Doner have fresh beer brews on tap. You can also enjoy sidewalk dining at cozy establishments such as Cafe Pamenar and Wanda's Pie in the Sky. Most of the restaurants and cafes are located along Augusta Avenue and Kensington Avenue. As you stroll this avenue, you'll also see several grocery stores, meat markets and other traditional businesses that sell sundries. Dozens of retailers and service providers are also based in the district, mostly along Baldwin Street and Spadina Avenue. Urban Catwalk, Kia Icarus and Bungalow highlight the diverse retail scene in this chic section of Toronto.

Visiting Kensington Market

Considered one of the busiest northbound and southbound roads in Downtown Toronto, Spadina Avenue marks the eastern border of Kensington Market. The 310 and 510 TTC streetcars stop at several points on this busy thoroughfare. The 306 and 506 streetcars drop passengers off on College Street, which defines the neighborhood's northern limit. Click to book your Kensington Market By The Sidewalk Food Tour. Carrying eastbound and southbound traffic, Dundas Street marks the district's southern perimeter. You can take the 505 streetcar to this heavily commercialized street. Bathurst Street clearly identifies the western side of the neighborhood. Several TTC subway stations are also within walking distance from this historic part of Toronto. After getting off at St. Patrick Station, you can walk west on Dundas Street to reach the market area. Parking at this historic section of Toronto is limited, so shoppers are encouraged to take advantage of the streetcars and subways. Having the Green P label, two parking lots are open to the public near the shops and restaurants.

Click here to visit Kensington Market official website.

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