Toronto's Kensington Market is famous for more than one reason. It is a friendly neighbourhood known for its multi-cultural flavour, it was the setting of one of the country's top-rated television shows, "The King of Kensington", and shopping in Kensington Market draws millions of people to the area every year.
Of these 3 features, the shopping stands out. When you say the word "Kensington" to someone who lives in Toronto the first thought that comes to mind is shopping.
Kensington Market is west of the downtown core. It is bordered by Spadina, Dundas, Bathurst and College. You can think of it as a big square full of activity, including plenty of shopping opportunities.
There are clothing stores, novelty shops, grocers, furniture outlets, bakeries, specialty shops and souvenir stores. It is a major draw for both Toronto residents and tourists.
Kensington Market is easy to get to. Many people use Toronto's subway and streetcar service to make their way over to the market. Whether you live in the city or are visiting it is a good idea to take public transit or walk because parking in the Kensington area is limited.
A lot of Toronto residents travel to the market on bicycles. In recent years a business improvement association was established. They helped bring in bike racks to make it easier for customers to park while they shop.
When you shop, shop, shop and then want to drop, you don't have to worry; there are plenty of places to stop. Kensington Market has several bars and restaurants
where you can refresh yourself with something to eat and drink.
In the summer months you have the option of enjoying one of the many outdoor patios that are open within the market.
Toronto's Kensington Market has close to 40 clothing stores, including trendy shops, unique outlets and vintage stores. You can find modern and funky, as well as classic and elegant items.
Brand new designs and second hand merchandise are both up for sale. There is also a wide variety of accessories at reasonable prices to go along with the clothing.
The area is known for its rare selection of furniture stores. You can choose from old, new, classic and retro designs. Your furniture from Kensington is sure to be a conversation piece.
If you have come across a great recipe that you are anxious to try, but don't know where to find that special ingredient it is calling for, you will likely be able to find it at a Kensington Grocer.
There are over 40 grocery stores in the market; a lot of them on Baldwin street. All carry fresh products daily. Below is a list of the different types of grocers you will find in Kensington. Each of the stores would fall into one; possibly two, of the categories.
- Fruits and Vegetables
- General Grocer
- West Indian and Jamaican
- South and Central American
- Herb and Spice
When it comes to Toronto souvenirs, Kensington Market is considered one of the best places to shop. For example, Blue Banana Market offers customers one-of-a-kind gifts and creative art work.
Those who frequent Kensington Market say when you have trouble finding a gift for someone, "Blue Banana is the place to go". As you walk around you will discover many other places to purchase souvenirs in Kensington.
Kensington Market also has some specialty shops that are unique to the area. You will find beautiful arts and crafts that you won't find elsewhere in the city.
As well there are linen shops, there is a bike shop catering to bicycle enthusiasts, and a couple of stores that specialize in organics, including beauty products.
The Market is closed on Holidays such as Christmas, but otherwise it is open 7 days a week. The grocers open early in the morning, but some of the clothing outlets don't see customers until 11 a.m. Most stores do stay open until 7 p.m. though.
If you have spent any time at the Kensington Market in Toronto you will notice that the atmosphere is rather uplifting. People are friendly; some of the store owners like to play their favorite CD's, a lot of artists live and work in the area, and you are often greeted with a big smile.
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