Kensington Market is one of Toronto’s oldest and most multicultural neighbourhoods. As colourful in real life as its history, Kensington Market is filled with quirky little shops and eateries. Everything from thrift shops to independent coffee spots and fresh produce galore.
During our time exploring Toronto a lovely guide from Urban Adventures spent a morning showing us around this eccentric neighbourhood. We learnt all the ins and outs and now want to share with you our quick guide to Kensington Markets.
So, What’s Kensington Markets?
Kensington Market isn’t a market in the traditional sense of the word; rather than a heaps of stalls and stores shucked together in one super cool area, it’s basically just a really eccentric, very multicultural area of the city. The ‘market’ area is spread out over a few streets, with the majority being food and second hand stores, ranging from amazing finds to absolute junk.
We find Toronto a very walkable place. From downtown Toronto it’s only a 20 minute walk to get to the markets, going along Dundas and then right along Spadina.
Four streetcar lines provide direct access to Kensington. From the Bloor Subway: take the Spadina or Bathurst streetcar south, getting off at College. From Yonge/University Subway: take the College or Dundas streetcar west, getting off at Spadina.
What To Do/See
Kensington Market is, first and foremost, a market so of course the number one thing to do is wander through the many shops scattered along the streets. The area is known for having the freshest produce in the city along with amazing vintage/thrift clothing finds.
On Sundays during the summer time the streets are shut down to motorists and pedestrians take over the streets! The area becomes very lively, with live concerts and art exhibits on display.
We also recommend walking through Kensington’s back streets as they are filled with incredible street art and graffiti.
Where To Eat
If there’s one thing you should keep in mind when visiting Kensington, it’s that there is no local Starbuck’s. The area only allows for independent stores and restaurants, most family owned and run. There are a number of great places to grab a bite to eat…
My Market Bakery has some tasty fresh baked goods. Big Fat Burrito serves some delicious Mexican food, we highly recommend their Yam Burrito. The Grilled Cheese sells … well, grilled cheese sandwiches! Urban Herbivore is perfect for fellow vegetarians/vegans. Jimmy’s Coffee delivers the perfect cup of joe. Hibiscus sells delicious crepes and salads – all gluten free!
If you are interested in a guided tour of Kensington Markets we recommend checking out Toronto’s Urban Adventure’s Kensington Markets & Chinatown Tour. You can explore and learn about this famous neighbourhood for 2 hours while making note of all the unique places you want to head back to later.
If you want to see our experience wandering through Kensington Market check out our daily vlog below.
What’s the most unique neighbourhood you have ever explored?
Special thanks to Urban Adventure’s for showing us around Kensington Market. Our opinion is, as always, our own.
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