Two Colorful Toronto Neighborhoods

For last week’s Travel Photo Thursday entry, I posted a series of photos from my June 2011 trip to Vancouver. Now it seems only fair that I share some photos from my short visit last week to another great Canadian city –Toronto, Ontario. I’ve already told you about the Bata Shoe Museum on Bloor Street and will be publishing more about Toronto soon. For this week’s Travel Photo Thursday, we’ll take a walk through two vibrant Toronto neighborhoods.

The Colorful Toronto Neighborhoods of Chinatown and Kensington Market


There are actually several Chinese communities in Toronto. I visited the busiest of those located downtown on Spadina Avenue. It’s one of the largest Chinatowns in North America.

Motorcycle in Chinatown Toronto

Spadina Avenue, Chinatown Toronto

Chinatown Market

Market on Spadina Avenue, Chinatown Toronto

Chinatown Toronto

Market on Spadina Avenue, Chinatown Toronto

Chinatown Tea Shop

Chinese Tea Shop

Sign in Chinatown Toronto

“Low Consumption, High Enjoyment”

Gate at Trolley Stop on Spadina Ave

Chinese Gate at Trolley Stop

Kensington Market

Turning left onto Baldwin Street from Spadina Avenue, the neighborhood transitions from Chinatown to Kensington Market. One of the oldest neighborhoods in Toronto, it’s designated a National Historic Site of Canada. It is a multi-cultural area with eclectic shops, restaurants, galleries and performing arts venues.

Mexican Market in Kensington Market Neighborhood

Mexican Market, Kensington Market

Chocolate Addict in Kensington Market

My Kind of Neighborhood

Fruitstand in Kensington Market

Corner of Baldwin and Augusta

Augusta Avenue, Kensington Market

North on Augusta Avenue

4 Life Natural Foods

4 Life Natural Foods

Electric Theatre in Kensington Market

Extra-terrestrial Mural at Electric Theatre on August Avenue

Artist at Electric Theatre

Artist at Electric Theatre

Painted Car in Kensington Market

Painted Car in Kensington Market

Le Kensington Bistro

My Choice for Lunch — Le Kensington Bistro

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53 thoughts on “Two Colorful Toronto Neighborhoods

  1. Leigh

    I haven’t explored either area for years. Because my son lives in Toronto we always end up doing the same things. I do remember delicious food from the Kensington market – especially Jamaican totos (sp??). Last year I was in Toronto 5 times and managed to get all of one blog out abut the city.

    1. Cathy Post author

      Much more great food for me to sample in Kensington Market, too. Somebody told me about a place called Hungary Thai — yes, goulash & thai food!

  2. Nancie

    What a great tour, Cathy! I spent a lot of time in Toronto when I was in corporate Canada. Never really had the much time to see the city, unfortunately. It was always business, business, business. The next time I head home I’ll have to stop and be a tourist for a few days.

    1. Cathy Post author

      Kensington Market was very cool. I’d love to try more food places there. I only had time for my old standby — the French bistro (I’m kind of addicted to Croque Monsieur).

  3. Lisa @ Gone With The Family

    Glad you enjoyed Toronto – it is a colourful, interesting city! I haven’t been to Chinatown or Kensington Market for years but Emma and I are planning to head into the city more to do some exploring. We may start with St. Lawrence Market tomorrow.

    1. Cathy Post author

      Oh, St. Lawrence Market! Another great place in Toronto. I didn’t make it there this trip, but was there a few years ago. I’m sure you and Emma had lots of fun!

  4. Marlys

    In any big city we visit, anywhere in the world, I always ask where the Chinatown is. (I’m Asian, but not Chinese). It is always an interesting part of town and I’m always sure I’ll get to eat something that I’ve missed eating in my 30 years away from Asia).

  5. Ayngelina

    I am so sorry that we didn’t meet when you were here but you found my two favourite neighborhoods! Toronto has such a big Asian community this is actually only one of three Chinatown’s in Toronto but definitely the most accessible.

    1. Cathy Post author

      Wish we could have gotten together, too — next time, I hope! It’s really interesting about the size of the Chinese community in Toronto.

    1. Cathy Post author

      I’m sure that if I’d had more time, I could have found a few unique spots in Chinatown. As much as Chinatowns may seem to look alike, there’s always something under-the-radar to find. Next time….

  6. Norbert

    It’s funny how there’s a Chinatown in pretty much every major city in the world. Oh, I love Kensington Market… it’s so funky and artistic! I didn’t know about it, but now it is a plus when I visit Toronto.

    1. Cathy Post author

      Funky and artistic are good terms for Kensington Market, I think. And it’s right next to Chinatown, so it’s easy to visit both.

  7. Linda

    I was fascinated to see these. When my son was living near Buffalo he often went across to Toronto and he loved it. Raved about Chinatown, but I only ever saw photos taken inside of restaurants (it’s possible he only went in winter!), so it was great to see the things he’s talked about. The more I read and learn about Canada the more I want to go there! If Fate had been kinder I would have been Canadian since my dad went over in the early 50s with the intention of mom & I following once he’d set up a job and house, but there was a severe polio outbreak, which freaked him out since I was small, and he returned to England :=(

    1. Cathy Post author

      Funny the different turns that life can take. The polio scare was was going on when I was little, too. It must have been so hard for parents back then with that fear. Glad you liked the photos, Linda!

  8. Andrew Graeme Gould

    A particularly interesting post for me, Cathy, as I’m eager see more of Canada after the delightful time I had in Vancouver last year. I love Chinatowns everywhere, so thanks for the walk through this one. The “singles club” looks like a bit of a worry, though… Never mind, there’s always the chocolate shop in the other neighbourhood, instead!

    1. Cathy Post author

      Another thumbs up for the chocolate shop! Yes, that singles club really intrigued me — difficult to say what that’s all about.

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  10. Abby

    How fun! It reminds me of a much bigger Austin, with all of the unique little businesses. I’d love to go there someday. Everyone says it’s one of the most diverse cities in the world!

  11. Erik

    Toronto’s not that far away from me- I really need to consider getting up there. We visited a few times when I was younger, but I’ve really enjoyed all you posts on Toronto, so I’m going to find time to get back there!

  12. Pola (@jettingaround)

    Kensington Market is one of my favorite spots in Toronto. There is always so much going on, so much to see and each time I visit, there seem to be new places everywhere. In Chinatown I had great dumplings at one of the small restaurants on Spadina. Great city and a very nice post. 🙂

  13. insideJourneys

    Love your photos, Cathy. I’m glad you were able to experience so much of Toronto. I had Kensington Market on my list, but never made it. It’s great to see it hasn’t lost its charm.

  14. Sabrina

    These outdoor markets and little shops are so much fun to visit when traveling. I’m sad I didn’t get to see any of this when I was in Toronto a few years ago, but I just didn’t have enough time. Maybe I’ll be back for this 🙂

  15. Jeff Titelius

    You have really captured the communities in your writing as well as photography!! I love all Chinatowns I have visited so far and this one is surely on my list. Love the artwork captured above as well!!

  16. Leslie (Downtown Traveler)

    That is one colorful car! Great photos. I also enjoyed Toronto’s Chinatown– had tasty bubble tea there 🙂

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