The distinctive multicultural neighbourhood in downtown Toronto, Kensington market is a tourist attraction with vintage charm. The wide variety of street stores include fish, produce, souvenirs, clothes and collectibles from legendary ethnicities. Chinese businesses abound with fresh fruits and vegetables at unbeatable prices. Tourists and locals can’t escape the bargain hunts this treasure trove offers. Tomatoes that sell by weight in almost all grocery stores can be bought at a throw-away price of half-a-dozen for a loonie! Seasonal fruits like juicy strawberries sell by boxes, and shoppers navigate the busy vendors who can also be heard hollering the low prices to attract pedestrians and onlookers. Restaurants are in plenty, serving seafood delights, spring rolls, hot dogs and poutine. The market has a lively street vibe to it and reflects spectacular vibrancy with the bold reds and whites of Canada-themed t-shirts, hats, key chains, and candy. Even if you didn’t plan to purchase anything, the ridiculously low priced fare means that you will end up carrying home bags filled with some of the most attractive items you can decorate your house with, or just cherish for a long time. The ideal place for anyone longing to experience a feel of historic Toronto, Kensington market never disappoints. The big draw of the year is the Kensington Market Winter Solstice Festival, celebrated as a parade on the streets of Kensington Market in December. This car-free festival attracts a big crowd of artists, musicians, carnival goers, bands and street food lovers. If this market can attract so much attention in the dead of winter, you can well imagine how popular it is!
Vinita Kinra is a Toronto-based author, editor, speaker and activist, best known for her short story collection, Pavitra in Paris, launched to critical acclaim in 2013. She is also a contributor for India’s largest English daily, The Times of India.