Thursday, February 16, 2006

Kensington Market in Toronto, Canada

Toronto is proud of its cultural diversity and its restaurants. To best experience Toronto's multicultural history and its distinctive ethnic food, eat your way through Kensington Market.

Toronto's Kensington Market is located 2 blocks south of College St., 2 blocks west of Spadina, and 2 blocks north of Dundas. Its narrow streets and alleys were home to 80% of Toronto's Jewish population at the beginning of the 20th century. As these first immigrants prospered and moved north, they were replaced by Chinese emigres. As the Chinese prospered and moved even further north, they were replaced by Portugese, Jamaicans, Viet Namese, Chileans, and always those looking for good food and good bargains. Now the Market area reflects each of these cultures and their foods.

Begin your eating tour with dim sum at the Bright Pearl Restaurant on St. Andrew near Spadina. Dim Sum is served all day from traditional carts pushed by friendly women happy to show you their offerings. Across the street is the old Minsk Synagogue, one of the last remnants of the Jewish past. Continue along St. Andrew and look at poultry, African crafts, Chinese herbs, fruit and vegetables. Turn left on Kensington and explore the vintage clothing stores, the best in Toronto.

If you need to restore your energy, buy an apple at any of the fruit markets, or sample cheese at Global Cheese further north on Kensington. If you need caffeine, have the best cappuchino in Toronto at the Moonbean Cafe on St. Andrew.

Proceed north on Kensington to Baldwin St. which is filled with cafes, bakeries, headshops, craft stores, discount designer clothes, butchers, and shops displaying an array of dried nuts and fruits in open air bins much to the delight of snacking birds.

Continue west on Baldwin to Augusta. This street which runs from Dundas to College now offers everything from discount shoes to jumbo empanadas, handknitted sweaters to massages. At night the street is alive with music and Toronto's new "hot" restaurants.

The best empanadas are at Jumbo Empanada but on the weekends the Latin American shops all offer empanadas and papusas. In summer, the outdoor patio of the Bellevue Cafe on Bellevue west of Augusta is a great place to have lunch or dinner. Or, follow your nose and have a burrito or a carne asada tortilla in any of the streetside cafes. The Free Times Cafe on College at Major St. serves nourishing Jewish food and on Sunday Bella's All You Can Eat breakfast buffet.

For dinner return to Augusta to have unique tapas at Torito or pad thai at Supermarket or an excellent prix fix French meal at La Palette. Vegetarians delight in the varieties of rice and toppings at the Rice Bar.

You can spend all or part of a day eating, shopping, people watching and experiencing history in this exciting Toronto neighbourhood.

For exact locations and hours check www.toronto.com

1 comment:

spiedies said...

I grew up in Toronto and I love Kensington Market! Don't forget the great vintage cloth stores and the Spice Markets as well. Thanks for letting everyone know how yummy a multicultural market can be. It's also an interesting way to tour the great diversity of Toronto using your tastebuds.