OLD AND YOUNG SEEM TO AGREE – KENSINGTON MARKET IS ONE “COOL” NEIGHBOURHOOD

It’s a National Historic Site and the locals fight hard to keep it that way. There are no big box stores here. The multicultural neighbourhood occupies a large tract of land from College Street to the north, Spadina on the east, Dundas on the south and Bathurst Street to the west.

The area is filled with food stores of every kind, a variety of upscale & downscale restaurants, nightclubs, coffee bars, vintage clothing shops, two synagogues, and re-jigged architecture of every description. Bellevue Park (now undergoing a complete renovation) is, without a doubt, TORONTO’s finest place to people watch.

Kensington’s long history as an immigrant working-class neighbourhood is changing into a more expensive place to live and do business. Don’t let the facades fool you. The Market’s shops and houses aren’t cheap to come by.

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KENSINGTON MARKET ALLEYWAYS MIX GRAFFITI-LADEN WALLS WITH MILLION-DOLLAR HOMES

The population of the Kensington Market district is about 5,000. Languages spoken here, other than English, would include Cantonese, Portuguese, Vietnamese, Spanish, Korean, Urdu, Serbian and Polish. Chinatown is next door.

ANSHEI MINSK SYNAGOGUE – PLAIN OUTSIDE, BUT A DECO MASTERPIECE INSIDE

synangogue4Typical of many TORONTO buildings, the Anshei Minsk Synagogue is dour on the outside, but a delight on the inside.  The Byzantine-style structure, with a deco interior, was completed in 1930 – a step-up from the original 1912 shtibel or small storefront synagogue typical of poorer Jewish immigrant communities of the time.  The founders were poor Jewish immigrants from Russia (mostly Minsk).

10 St. Andrew Street, Kensington Market.

<PHOTO – Robert Burley>