Heart of Toronto

11 Oct

images[1]That to me would be Kensington Market. The place where I bought my first pound of authentic Italian cheese, home made sausages and eggs sold in the open air. In 1974, there were Portuguese shopkeepers who butchered a live chicken if you wanted it freshly killed for dinner. They’re long gone but the market has survived.


Kensington Avenue, south of College and west of Spadina, is where most immigrants to Toronto went as soon as they found out about it. The meat, fish, veggies, nuts, fruit, spices and breads were sold fresh, cheap and in ethnic varieties not found in supermarkets. Over the years as I was lucky enough to live close by as a student, it was the stews made of the market veggies – a few days too old and cheap – that I could afford living on a loan. Kensington was simply “there”! Authentic, benignly chaotic, totally bustling, real and the home of buskers, counter-culturists, shopkeepers and a few daring restaurateurs alike. In the beating heart of the most multicultural city in the world. Kensington Market worked because it had always been the place of and for the people.
Kensington then
....and now

The other day I walked through the market once again. Found a new used fall coat in Bungalow, a rather chic boutique by Kensington standards. Ran into a few places like Flash Back still open and as daring as ever! Comforted is what I felt, and yet so much has changed, of course. Like all places of and for people, Kensington Market has kept up with the changes and is still beating with the energy of the city. I felt at home – just like I had back four decades ago. The very fact that Kensington Market is still there and vibrant shows how proud my beloved city of Toronto is of its immigrant history and heritage.

To honour the passing of time and the change of immigrant faces, here is a wall mural that captured my attention.

Not in China but in Kensington Market Not in China but in Kensington Market


Posted by on October 11, 2014 in travel journals


3 responses to “Heart of Toronto

  1. Lidia

    October 24, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    Beautiful post beautifully written. I was wondering when the next installment to your blog would be 🙂


    • peelinglayers

      November 7, 2014 at 9:41 pm

      Thanks! You know some cities are like Toronto – a place people either love or hate. Nice to know there are people like you who bother to read and leave comments…Luv ya for it.


  2. LK

    November 3, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    See comment above, awaiting moderation for 10 days now.



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