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Kensington Market, Toronto, Canada

Located just behind Chinatown (incidentally, the largest collection of people from China outside of China), Kensington Market is a fresh breath of (almost fresh) air and an escape from the hustle and bustle of downtown Toronto business life.  Personally, I actually enjoy a bit of hustle and bustle (I lived in Seoul, South Korea for six months, which makes Toronto look slow).  However, the diverse collection of cultures and foods that I could find in Kensington Market was something I’ll never forget.

Moonbean Coffee in the Kensington Market. The coffee at Moonbean is Rain Forest Alliance Certified and bird friendly. Apparently that’s even better than being organic and free trade. It’s the coffee equivalent for hipsters of being vegan.

My favourite part about Kensington Market, and the area in general, is this stat:  34.59% of the residents in the Kensington walk to work, compared with only 7.10% of Torontonians from neighbourhoods elsewhere.  Some may argue that this is because the residents are too poor to own a car (definitely possible), but I will always remember the freedom I felt when I could walk down the middle of the street without having to watch for oncoming cars.  It felt good.

The hipsters and professionals have gentrified the area so much, some people can only afford half a house.

From my experience, the Market area seems to be mainly a large collection of hippies – determined to keep the Kensington Market from ever being especially profitable for anyone, hipsters – determined to pay too much money for new clothes that look like they’re old, yuppies – responsible for driving the rental prices too high, and everyone else.  The “everyone else” was my favourite part.  You can get food from Asia, the Middle East, and the Caribbean all in the same block.  It’s an experience unlike any other.

Apparently, having one whole building wasn’t “unique” enough. These stores needed to occupy the opposite sides of two adjacent homes. Regardless, if you like paying a lot of money for an old t-shirt you can have gotten from my dad’s closet for free, then you’ll love these places.

When you’re in Toronto, make sure you check out the Kensington Market.  I guarantee you’ll find something you like.

2 comments on “Kensington Market, Toronto, Canada

  1. philvb
    August 27, 2012

    Reminds me of Park City, UT before the rich and famous spoiled it.

    • bucketdave
      August 29, 2012

      I’m not sure if it will get there. The hippies are pretty strong. They run out any profitable business.

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