Toronto’s Kensington Market: The west side hangout for hippies

The first thing our cab driver asked us as we travelled from the airport, was “Why have you come to Toronto?”

t shirt humour in Kensington Market Double-Barrelled Travel

Canadians have a sense of humour, it’s just a pity that our cab driver was lacking one

We told him that aside from attending the travel blogging conference, TBEX, and visiting our good friend Dianna, we wanted to see what the city had to offer.

“Toronto has nothing. You should go to Montreal or Quebec. Now those are beautiful cities. But Toronto is boring, there’s nothing nice to see here.”

street scene in Kensington Market Double-Barrelled Travel

A colourful street scene of Toronto’s Kensington Market

Well, we’ve been here for more than a week now, and I’m happy to say that our cab driver was wrong. There’s a LOT to see in Toronto. In fact, as I write this post sitting in the sunshine in Dianna’s front yard, I realise that Toronto is a city I could happily live in, let alone visit.

Plant covered car at Kensington Market Double-Barrelled Travel

Who wouldn’t want to live in a city where people turn old cars into gardens?

So aside from unpatriotic cab drivers, what does Toronto have to offer? If you have a few days here, I would advise you get out of the downtown city centre and soak up the charm of Toronto’s neighbourhoods.

Diana lives in Little Italy, which is just near Little Portugal, so you can imagine the delicious types of food there is on offer around here.

graffiti in Kensington Market Double-Barrelled Travel

One of the colourful street art works that adorns a wall in Toronto’s Kensington Market

One of our favourite neighbourhoods we’ve visited so far though has been Toronto’s Kensington Market.

fruit stall in Kensington Market Double-Barrelled Travel

There are many fresh fruit stalls in Toronto’s Kensington Market, adding more colour to the area’s streets

Situated west of downtown, Toronto’s Kensington Market is a hippy neighbourhood and it reminded me of South America. It’s a little rough around the edges and the streets are full of colourful fruit stalls and cheap clothing shops.

budda graffiti in Kensington Market Double-Barrelled Travel

Yet another cool piece of street art – this time of Budda – in Toronto’s Kensington Market

There’s a lot of food from South America too, but if you don’t fancy that there’s also Central American cuisine on offer. You can dine on Mexican or tuck into some Jamaican jerk chicken.

Black lady singing graffiti in Kensington Market Double-Barrelled Travel

You’ll never tire of looking at all the different street art in Toronto’s Kensington Market

But for me, the best part of Toronto’s Kensington Market isn’t the food but the art that can be seen adorning its walls. And when I say art, I mean graffiti.

computer lap top graffiti in Kensington Market Double-Barrelled Travel

Each piece of street art in Toronto’s Kensington Market is more unique than the last

The street art adorns nearly every wall in Toronto’s Kensington Market and makes the neighbourhood colourful and creative. It’s easy to see why the hippies have moved in.

black and white graffiti in Kensington Market Double-Barrelled Travel

If you visit Toronto, make sure you explore its unique neighbourhoods because you’ll stumble across areas like Toronto’s Kensingston Market

Obviously our cab driver has never bothered to pay a visit.

Man with a fish graffiti in Kensington Market Double-Barrelled Travel

Toronto’s Kensington Market is a little rough around the edges but it’s certainly charming

 

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About the author

Carmen has been nomadic since May 2013 and the co-founder of Double-Barrelled Travel. She loves experiencing new cultures and learning new languages. She is having the most fun when skiing down a mountain, scuba diving in the Caribbean or curled up with a good book.

5 comments on “Toronto’s Kensington Market: The west side hangout for hippies”

  1. Dana Carmel @ Time Travel Plans Reply

    Sometimes it’s easy to undervalue the cities we live in – I know I’ve definitely questioned why anyone would want to make a vacation out of Los Angeles. But you’re right that the cab driver should explore Toronto in more depth to discover all that it has to offer. I’ve started doing that here in L.A., and I’m continually surprised by all of my new local finds. I will definitely have to check out Kensington Market whenever I get to Toronto – love the street art!

    • Carmen Allan-Petale Reply

      Hi Dana,
      That’s so true. And sometimes we’ve found that it’s only once you’ve been away from a place that you begin to appreciate how great it is. Like with our hometown of Perth – we’ve been away from it for so long and now we realise how great it is.
      We are going to LA later this year, so we’ll have to check out the neighbourhoods there.
      Def check out Kensington Market if you’ve ever in Toronto, it’s well worth a visit!

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