Kicking Back in Toronto’s Kensington Market Neighborhood

A mural of a woman is painted on a red building in the Kensington district of Toronto.

A mustard-colored chair, with a model of the earth sitting on it, signified our arrival in in the Kensington Market neighborhood of Toronto.

For several hours, we strolled around this quirky district, appreciating its multicultural qualities, friendly characters, and unique businesses.

With lots of sunshine and a sapphire-blue sky, the weather was perfect for wandering and exploring.

Kensington Neighborhood Street Sign in Toronto with Chair
Toronto Street Scene
Kensington Toronto Streetscape
Kensington Market - Toronto

There were beds of happy daisies and hollyhocks,

Daisies in Toronto
Hollyhocks in Kensington, Toronto

cars befitting one with a green thumb,

Garden Car in Kensington, Toronto

vibrant murals,

Toronto School Mural

bikers with flair — and companions,

Man in costume riding in Kensington, Toronto
Woman biking with dog in Kensington, Toronto

and fun architectural details on gingerbread homes and shops.

House in Kensington Toronto
Street Art in Kensington Toronto
Detail of Kensington House - Toronto
Kensington Building Detail - Toronto
Street Light in Toronto College Street
Shop in Kensington, Toronto
Kensington Diners- Toronto
Piercing sign in Toronto - Kensington
Victorian Architecture in Kensington, Toronto

We spied churches and synagogues,

Church in Toronto - Kensington
Ukranian Church in Toronto
Synagogue in Kensington, Toronto

and moose on a balcony.

Kensington Toronto Maple Leaf Moose

After criss-crossing the district on foot, we yearned to fill our bellies with a big, fat burrito. We went heavy on the spicy sauce, making our tongues sizzle as much as our bodies had under the hot, hot sun.

Big Fat Burrito in Kensington, Toronto
Big Fat Burrito in Kensington, Toronto
Tips jar in Kensington Toronto
Kensington - Toronto

We returned to lanes bathed in late afternoon sunlight, and dotted with shadows and silhouettes.

Kensington Home - White Picket Fence - Toronto

A flame flickered in an old-fashioned lamp in front of the local fire station.

Firehouse in Kensington, Toronto
Firehouse in Kensington, Toronto
Firehouse in Kensington, Toronto

Before we knew it, it was time to hop back onto the metro and return to our home away from home.

Firehouse in Kensington, Toronto

Where in the World?

Photography & text © Tricia A. Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

Published by Tricia A. Mitchell

Tricia A. Mitchell is a freelance writer and photographer. Born in Europe but raised in the United States, she has lived in Valletta, Malta; Heidelberg, Germany; and Split, Croatia. An avid globetrotter who has visited more than 65 countries, she has a penchant for off-season travel. Tricia has learned that travel’s greatest gift is not sightseeing, rather it is the interactions with people. Some of her most memorable experiences have been sharing a bottle of champagne with distant French cousins in Lorraine, learning how to milk goats in a sleepy Bulgarian village, and ringing in the Vietnamese New Year with a Hanoi family. She welcomes any opportunity to practice French and German, and she loves delving into a place’s history and artisanal food scene. A former education administrator and training specialist, Tricia has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in international relations. She and her husband, Shawn, married in the ruins of a snowy German castle. They’ve been known to escape winter by basing themselves in coastal Croatia or Southeast Asia. Her writing has appeared in Fodor’s Travel, Frommer’s, and International Living.

34 thoughts on “Kicking Back in Toronto’s Kensington Market Neighborhood

  1. oooh, you’re making my homesick! I grew up in Toronto and spent many years shopping for food there. One of the best vintage stores anywhere, Courage My Love, is in the market. Thanks for sharing such great photos!

    1. Caitlin, I can see why – Toronto has so much character! After having lived in Europe for the past 10 years, it’s quite fun to find spots in North America with such a bohemian flair this summer. (We’ve just arrived in Santa Fe, NM tonight…) Unfortunately, we made it to Kensington rather late in the afternoon, so we didn’t have time to stroll through the market. Your favorite vintage shop sounds like a fun place to explore, though!

  2. Tricia, a brilliant capture of the spirit of Kensington Market. Just a few days ago we were there taking in the wild and wonderful sights. Virginia

    1. Certainly a fun corner of the city! Did you make it to any of the other neighborhoods, Virginia? We strolled through China Town, and had just touched into Little Italy when we realized the hour and decided to head back to my aunt and uncle’s home. Cabbagetown also sounds like a fun district to explore!

      1. Our home away from home in TO is West Queen West, a fashionista funky area. Some of our family lives in Cabbagetown, a fab place. West Queen West is a few minutes walking distance to Little Italy and LItt Portugal, and Chinatown, so I know the areas well. We love TO. I hope you are having a fab time. Virginia

      2. We are having a super time, Virginia! Prior to this trip, I’d only been to Niagara Falls in Canada, and so it was great fun exploring our neighbor to the north more fully. :) What a beautiful country it is, with an eclectic blend of very friendly, interesting people.

  3. Well, you’re certainly getting around. Toronto, Santa Fe, it’s kind of like throwing darts at a map? It’s a nice side of Toronto that I never saw when I visited.

    1. This is certainly the most eclectic trip I’ve been on lately. :) For business reasons, we had to go to St. Louis and the west, but we are throwing in fun destinations to see friends and family, and going to some spots that aren’t along the way too. I’ve always wanted to see Québec and Santa Fe! Do you have any recommendations for NM?

      My husband grew up in Toronto, so it was a fun trip down memory lane for him!

  4. Great series, Great photo’s, you took a shot of a Burrito sign and then got one, you took a shot of a Piercing sign……………….

    1. Mark, so sorry to disappoint! Must confess though, that I haven’t been pierced since I was 5 years old. The memory of the piercing gun and the resulting burn in my earlobes was enough! :)

    1. It’s my husband’s hometown too, and he hadn’t been back since the age of 9, so it was a fun exploratory trip for both of us. In fact, you might be there as a I type. What neighborhoods do you plan to explore and snap away in?
      Happy travels!

    1. Are you originally from Toronto, Antoinette? Before this trip, my only foray into Canada was at Niagara Falls. I loved the cultural diversity in all the spots we visited (Toronto, Ottawa, Québec City, and Montréal).
      …Perhaps you can make Toronto one of the stops on your upcoming ’round the world adventure!

  5. Lovely series. You really bring the place to life. I have been to TO a few times but as our time is usually devoted to catching up with family and friends, I don’t often get to explore like this.

    1. Belated thanks, Rachael. Is your husband also from Toronto, as mine is? We were also visiting family (mine) and had only one day to explore. With so many vibrant neighborhoods, we had a tough time choosing which ones to see, but I thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon in Kensington and China Town. Canada’s big cities have a lot of elements that really remind me of Europe.

  6. Hi Tricia! You truly have a great eye for detail. And Kensington is a true heaven for any photographer, such rich colors and patterns on every corner! I’ve found this amazing coverage of Kensington Pedestrian festival from this year, I think you’ll enjoy this!

  7. Tricia!! We are on the same wave length today! Just as I was commenting here I see I got a comment from you on my blog! :)

    These are great photos. How do you get that border around your photos like that? Your blog really inspires me to take mine to “the next level.” This weekend I’m going to TBEX in Toronto to learn probably what you’re an expert in: social media, media kits, travel photography etc, etc, etc. I finally got Twitter :P I’m nervous to go but excited for all that I will learn!

    1. Alli, funny indeed. :) To get that border, I have a little (free) plugin for iPhoto. My husband located it in the App store, so I’m not certain of the details, but I suspect you could Google it and find it. It’s pretty reliable, and I like the flair it adds to some pics.

      So, how was TBEX? I’ve never been to the conference before, but think it would be fun to mingle with other travel enthusiasts! There’s always a learning curve with technology. Until next time!

      1. I’ll have to hunt for that app! Looks super nice.

        TBEX was really good – it was nice being around equally travel obsessed people. There were also lots of opportunities to network with sponsors of the travel industry, but I don’t feel like I’m “there” yet in order to talk business. I have yet to turn my blog into one (currently thinking of ideas day and night). But it was really fun. The next TBEX is in Dublin in the fall. Should be finding out where the next North American one is soon! I definitely want to go again!

      2. Alli, TBEX sounds like it was a success for you. If we’re ever close to one (perhaps Dublin this fall), I’d love to go because I think the networking part would be quite fun. Were most of the sponsors there national/regional tourist boards or private tourist agencies?

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