Toronto Kensington Market – A melting pot of flavours and colours Canada / Culture

Toronto is Canada’s largest city and is considered one of the most multicultural cities in the world. There are more than 140 different languages and dialects spoken in Toronto and half of its population was born outside of Canada. People from Asia, Latin America, Africa and Europe call this city their home and with so much diversity, it is no surprise that you can see, feel and taste that international vibe everywhere in Toronto Kensington Market.

Toronto Kensington MarketKensington Market Toronto

Kensington Market is like a rainbow of diversity that showcases its yearlong international influence through many facets. The origins of this multicultural neighbourhood date back to the 1880’s, when Victorian style houses were built in the area to accommodate Irish and Scottish immigrants. The start of a long history of immigration. In the 20th century Kensington Market was one of Toronto’s poorest neighbourhoods, but the arrival of Eastern European Jewish immigrants was the start of Kensington Market as they set up a market that sold items from around the world to cater for the immigrant communities. After the the Second World War the Jewish population left the area and settled in the suburbs of the city. Kensington Market was about to get even more diverse. In the following decades the community  became home to political refugees and people fleeing trouble spots around the world.  The George Brown college was sold in the 1990s causing a lack of student traffic for local businesses which resulted in numerous  closures, but like so often when one door closes, another opens, literally! Entrepreneurs from around the world opened businesses in the area and brought street food to Kensington Market.

This multicultural neighbourhood has been named “National Historic Site of Canada” in 2006 and is now a popular spot for locals and tourists alike.

When you walk along the colourful streets of Kensington Market you won’t know what to look at first. So many fascinating details that act like little mosaics making one giant art piece. One of the reasons I decided to visit the area is its great international food.

Rasta Pasta

Rasta Pasta Kensington Market Toronto

I’m a huge fan of international flavours and I had found a place online that specialises in Jamaican-Italian fusion cooking. Two of my favourite cousines combined into one tasty dish? Hell yeah, where do I sign up? The place is called Rasta Pasta (the name says it all) and is located right in the heart of the neighbourhood. There are two parts to it, one where you can enjoy casual sit down meals and the other site is a take away. I opted for the street food and got so excited at the great choices the menu had to offer. Their dishes , a selection of Paninis and pasta will set you back around 6$ – 10$. I went for “the Vatican” their famous Jerk Chicken Panini with coleslaw and what a good choice that was. Juicy jerk chicken all wrapped up in a toasted Panini. If When I make it back there I would love to sample some of the dishes from the sit down menu.

The Dirty BirdDirty Bird Kensington Makret Toronto

Just a few doors up from Rasta Pasta is another must try for every foodie visiting the area. Dirty Bird is like a happy marriage of chicken and waffles, but don’t be fooled, this place also serves classics but with a twist. If you have a sweet tooth, you will love selection of deserts. My personal favourite was the sweet potato ice cream. I couldn’t resist the temptation of trying their Dirty Fries: handcut fries with their special dirty sauce & seasoning, cheddar, fried onions and to top it all off some dirty mayo as well. This dish is one big bowl of goodness and possibly one of the best fries I have ever eaten! They now serve dirty poutine as well. Poutine is a typical Canadian (seriously tasty) fast food that consists of fries paired with cheese curds and gravy.

Besides being a foodie’s dream, Kensington Market also has some fantastic vintage stores, bars and an abundance of street art. Pretty much every alley and many of the buildings are covered in huge murals and graffiti by local artists.

Kensington Market Street Art

Kensington Market Street Art Toronto

Toronto Kensington Market

The street art and international cuisine international cuisine of Kensington Market really tell a story of a diverse neighbourhood that unites cultures from around the world.

Tell me, have you been to this part of Toronto before? What was your favourite thing about it?

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Toronto Kensington Market




  1. YUM! Dirty Bird looks delicious! I loved Toronto – it reminded me a lot of Sydney and I loved wandering around exploring! Great article 🙂

    • globalbrunch Says: June 27, 2016 at 4:01 pm

      I totally agree! It has jumped straight to the top of my favourite cities in the world. If Sydney is like this, then I can’t wait to explore it one day (hopefully not too far in the future ;))

  2. Been to the market several times and loved it. Thanks for sharing the reasons you love it too. Nice post and a good read.

    • globalbrunch Says: June 27, 2016 at 7:04 pm

      Did you grab something to eat as well? There are so many places that I would have loved to try! Thanks for your feedback and kind words.

      Happy travels!

  3. The timing of this is too funny – my husband literally wandered to Kensington yesterday in search of the Dirty Bird, ended up with something else because it was so busy on Pedestrian Sunday. I love Kensington, but you have to go on an empty stomach and with a full wallet 🙂

    • globalbrunch Says: June 27, 2016 at 8:22 pm

      No way! What a coincidence. Do you guys live there? I can definitely see why the Dirty Bird would be busy on a Sunday. Their food is so tasty.

  4. Looks soo colorful and yummy. I have not been in any place in Canada yet. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I have a not been to Toronto – other than the airport 😉 and so want to visit. It looks like a really cool place!

  6. I’ve never been to Toronto but my friend lives there. I’d be going there next year. Thnaks for sharing this post with us!

  7. The graffiti is fantastic down there! Thanks for sharing!

  8. I love street art and trying new foods! Thanks put putting Toronto on my radar, it looks like it has so much character. 🙂

  9. Great post! We were just in Toronto for a month and loved stopping by Kensington Market – such a cool place with awesome food!

  10. I have yet to visit Toronto, but it’s high on my list. I’ve heard great things about the city and your post helps solidify the rumors!

  11. […] Heading to Toronto soon and want to know more about the city? Check out my post on Toronto’s Kensington Market. […]

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