Toronto neighborhoods are predominantly filled with charming old Victorian-inspired bay and gable homes. Side-by-side housing is common, always designated by coloring each side of the home a different color.
Described as an open-air public market, my expectations were to walk into an indoor set of the orderly stalls of vendors (such as my post on the Cleveland Market). Those expectations were blown up as the Kensington Market offered a different definition.
Kensington Market would be more accurately defined as a neighborhood of Toronto that holds a cluster of independent shops. Here, you’ll find everything from gluten-free bakeries and taco shops to tattoo parlors and marijuana dispensaries. What you won’t find is a lack of personality or color. One of the best ways I can define Kensington Market is visually loud. Pair that with a totally laid back energy and it makes for one of the most unique places I’ve been.
The most notable thing in Toronto, but to a heightened degree at the Kensington Market, is the graffiti. ‘Leave no surface unmarked’ must be an unwritten rule. Although we are used to associating graffiti with perhaps a rougher neighborhood, we quickly realized it is more acceptable here, if not welcome, and often quite beautiful.
Graffiti is not the only art in the market - there is quite a bit of stunning wall art as well, and every alley was sheeted in it.
Food at the Market
There are a LOT of options for food here, and it was timely that we showed up at lunch time. I opted for a salmon poke bowl which was deeeeeelicious.
And naturally when I saw a stand making fresh ice cream that they freeze and roll, I had to get it.
This sweet, rebellious, loud, beautiful, diverse, and delicious market was nothing I expected and everything I loved. It truly has formed its own personality unique to any market I've been to. I would highly recommend going if you find yourself in Toronto and you must go hungry. And as if that wasn't enough, it was a photographer's paradise.
And P.S. just because Kensington Market is next to Chinatown
If you’ve made it this far, I will reward you with this funny picture of a bubble machine in Chinatown. You’re welcome.