Kensington – Chinatown
Designated as a National Historic Site of Canada in 2006, Kensington Market is one of Toronto’s most distinctive multicultural neighbourhoods. Bordered by College St. on the north, Spadina Ave. on the east, Dundas St. W. to the south, and Bathurst St. to the west, this neighbourhood is known for its wonderful outdoor market feel, eclectic shops, vintage clothing, cafés, fresh produce, fish and butcher shops and bakeries. Throughout its diverse history, this neighbourhood has hosted a wide immigrant population. If you look closely you can see the influences of Eastern Europeans, the Azores, the Caribbean, and East Asia.
To the east of Kensington proper, and forming an important part of this district, is Chinatown. First developed in the late 19th century, it is now one of the largest Chinatowns in North America and one of six major Chinese-Canadian communities in the Greater Toronto Area.
Today the neighbourhood is a noted tourist attraction, and a centre of Toronto’s cultural life and home to one of Canada’s few cannabis cafés, boutiques, and head shops. Land prices in the area have increased sharply, but despite its increased appeal to professionals, Kensington still remains a predominantly working class, immigrant community. Since the mid 2000’s, residents and businesses have organized a series of Summer Pedestrian Sunday events. Live music, dancing, street theatre and games are among the special events on the closed streets.
To the east and south of the Market are three major down-town campuses including University of Toronto, OCAD University (formerly the Ontario College of Art and Design), and Ryerson University. Many students live in the small houses and lofts in the neighbourhood. The diversity brings a wonderful multicultural flavour to the district.