Click individual photos to enlarge and enter the Lightbox Gallery.We are introducing a brand new series of Photo Essays! Have a look at amazing Photo Sets all shot by talented photographers. Explore the vibe of the city, its hidden treasures, meet the Torontonians! This time, let’s have a look at Toronto through the lens of Carlos Bolivar!
Kensington Market: One of Toronto’s Unique Neighbourhoods
The charm of Kensington’s rich multicultural mix comes from its many vintage boutiques, cafés, fresh air markets, and local stores. It boasts diversity and colour like no other spot in Toronto. This neighbourhood is a true hot spot for Torontonians and visitors. The unique community lies between College Street to the north, Spadina Avenue to the east, Dundas Street West to the south, and Bathurst Street to the west.
Home to many beautiful Victorian homes, the area was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 2006. With its many murals, art work, and interesting characters who visit Kensington’s many cozy cafés (located mostly along Nassau and Baldwin streets), the area has become one of the most photographed places in the city. During the summer, it buzzes with large crowds of visitors. It’s also a very frequent location for outdoor festivals, farmer’s markets, and live street music performances.
How did Kensington evolve into such a special place it is today? In the first half of the century, Kensington was known as “the Jewish Market,” as about 60,000 Jews lived here and ran their family businesses — such as bakeries or tailor stores. There were 30 synagogues in the area at that time. After the Jewish inhabitants had slowly moved away to newly developed neighbourhoods in the north, Kensington changed its face after a large number of immigrants and political refugees from different backgrounds moved in. Diversity is the most visible feature of this open community that is also known for the most delicious street foods in town. The many restaurants offer a large variety of cuisines. Small shops are packed with goods from Europe as well as second-hand and vintage clothing. Several alternative bookstores flourish here — including Who’s Emma, the Anarchist Free Space, and Uprising Books.
You might call Kensington Market the centre of Toronto’s cultural life, as many artists and writers live in the area now. The community has succeeded so far in keeping away large corporations and has built on the concept of local, organic, and unique spaces. When Nike tried to open a new store here, the plans were rejected by a strong demonstration against the brand and its treatment of workers in a creative way. People dumped dozens of running shoes painted red in front of the premises. So don’t be surprised not to find any of these global brands here, but that’s what makes this neighbourhood so likeable.
Trivia: Have you noticed the many extensions built onto the front of the buildings? This unique architectural feature would be against by-laws in other places in town.
The 10th Year Anniversary: Pedestrian Sundays Celebration Returns to Kensington
Kensington Market is one of the most walkable neighbourhoods in the city. This is celebrated every summer when the streets shut down to motorists and pedestrians take over. Concerts, good food, art exhibitions, and interest groups promoting ecology or anti-globalization claim the streets. So make sure you reserve one of your Sundays for Kensington! The next dates are: August 25th, September 29th and October 27th so let’s all hope the weather turns out well.
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Meet the Photographer
Colombian photographer based in Toronto, started with analog Photography in 2003, then jumping to the digital world in 2005. His photographic areas are mainly street, landscapes, portrait and beauty.