Welcome to Kensington Market! Once known as the Jewish Market in the 20th century due to its influx of Jewish immigrants, the neighborhood has since seen a lot of comings and goings of different groups flocking to the area, from Portuguese to Latin American immigrants. Each new flock that settled here left a piece of their culture behind which has helped the neighborhood grow into one of Toronto’s most multicultural.
Known for its bohemian, one-of-a-kind food vendors, and walkable space, Kensington Market can feel a little overwhelming due to how bustling it is, but with this guide, we hope you can get a head start on what to see, do, and eat in Kensington Market.
1. Become the best gift giver by shopping at Blue Banana Market
What began in 2007 as an artist’s market with stalls has now become one of Toronto’s best known retail gift stores with visitors from all around the world. Stuffed animals in all shapes and sizes, handmade greeting cards, and pop art memorabilia are just some of the unique and quirky gifts you can buy for a special someone over at Blue Banana Market. Gifts are always hand selected with a mission to keep things eclectic.
2. Snack on the cutest edible treats at Daan Go
Toronto-based bakery, Daan Go is one of the cutest bakeries in the neighborhood. Owned by Christopher Siu who was the winner of Master Chef Canada Season 7, creates cute concoctions in the Daan Go Cake Lab, which has since grown to other parts of Canada. Grab a mixed box of macarons decorated in cute shapes like pandas, pigs, and tigers, or order a mousse cup that’s made to look like a bowl of ramen.
3. Grab a bite at one of these foodie spots
Kensington Market has been hailed as a foodie’s destination and because of its multicultural background, there are plenty of different types of foods to enjoy. What’s better is the neighborhood’s dedication to keeping its vendors local and straying away from bigger chains. Here’s a great list of restaurants to choose from:
- Rasta Pasta (Jamaican meets Italian-Canadian)
- Gus Tacos (One of the best in the neighborhood)
- Fresco’s Fish + Chips (Self explanatory, but some of the best in the city)
- Seven Lives (again, tacos. Tacos are one of Kensington Market’s most popular fare)
- Fika (for Nordic ‘hygge’ style coffee and goods)
- Haker (for unique and pretty plant-based food)
4. Take a stroll through a park on a sunny day
If the sun’s out, we recommend heading to one of two of Kensington Market’s parks: Bellevue Square Park or the smaller, Sonya’s Parkette. Both are cute, quaint, and have ample lawn space to spread out your blanket, grab some takeout from one of the aforementioned restaurants, and enjoy some fun in the sun. Sometimes there’s even live music.
5. Enjoy Pedestrian Sunday
Don’t make the mistake of driving over to Kensington Market on the last Sunday of the month from May to October. That day is known as Pedestrian Sunday, where the streets are blocked off to cars. On these days, feel free to walk around, do some shopping, enjoy local and pop up food vendors, street performers, and an outdoor drink on a patio.
6. Catch a glimpse of this community art piece
Every summer, this landmark community art project makes its stop in Kensington Market. From May to November, you can come see the Garden Car, an old Ford Sedan with bushes and a lawn in place of its hood. Part art project, part community garden, Kensington Garden’s “tiniest park” is a tradition we always enjoy seeing pull into the neighborhood.