There are a number of must-see venues in Toronto. I had limited time so I picked three starting with Kensington Market. This neighborhood is a noted tourist attraction, and has been a focal point of cultural life as artists and writers migrated here.
During the early twentieth century, Kensington was home to eastern European Jewish and Italian immigrants. The area became known as “the Jewish Market.” About 60,000 Jews lived in and around the Market during the 1920s and 1930s. After World War II, the Jewish community moved uptown and to the suburbs. Their exit was followed by the arrival of Portuguese, Latin American, Caribbean and East Africa immigrants. Today, Kensington retains its working-class, immigrant community and it is the main influence to the local culture. There are food vendors, every kind of ethnic restaurant, bagel bakers, food trucks, stores that sell vintage goods and others that hawk work clothes. Graffiti seems to be the signature design element of the market. The Market is now a Canadian National Historic site, and the city has a plan to protect the market with strict guidelines, one requires open-air display of goods on the boulevard. I love that one.
Next stop was Allen Gardens, a beautiful conservatory with six greenhouses.
You guessed it, under renovation. It took about twenty minutes to find the secret entrance to the place through the construction zone. Some areas were closed but there is still much to see.
The conservatory gardens are lush, almost as a jungle. Vibrant color and complex shapes delight my eye.
After the visual chaos pictured above, it is only fitting that the last image of the gardens would be serene.
Final stop of the day, the famous St. Lawrence Market. Where Kensington Market developed organically and is the neighborhood, St. Lawrence was planned. Established in 1803 as a farmers’ market, it now houses over 120 vendors of produce, meats, fish, poultry, pretty much anything you would want to put in your mouth. There are also restaurants if you can’t wait to get home and prepare your meal. I picked up a great barbecue beef bone for lunch, screwed up again, I should have bought two.
Next posting will be from Ottawa … here is a teaser.