Kensington Market - Chinatown Real Estate and Neighbourhood:
The neighbourhood name 'Kensington' is synonymous with the market in the heart of it, a cultural meeting place of all the diverse cultures that make up the city of Toronto. The area started out as a single lot owned by a man named John Denison, a 100-acre lot that was first used as a parade ground for a volunteer cavalry troop that he commanded during the Upper Canada Rebellion. The estate was subdivided in the 1850's and small plots were built for Irish and Scottish immigrant labours. During the early part of the 20th century, European Jewish immigrants came to the area and it became known as 'the Jewish Market' with over 60,000 Jews living there during the decades before the Second World War. Soon, waves of various immigrant populations came to the area and added their homeland's own colour and flavour, a veritable sensorium of different languages, cuisines and ways of life.
Victorian houses of all shapes and sizes can be found prevalently in Kensington, most from the late-era, a lot of which need some renovations and care. Many were built in in the era of the 1870's to 1890's and they feature many decorative accents and are moderate in size. The examples found in the heart of the Kensington area have market stalls on their front lawns and many sit back to the rear of the property where small alleys offer space from the activity of the marketplace. There are many new building projects being initialized in the area, including Victorian-era inspired townhouses that give a nod to the area's legacy.
The namesake market is a hub of Toronto and was recently designated a National Historic Site of Canada. It is a place to eat your way around the world, browse vintage clothing stores or even just stroll to take in the hustle and bustle. During the winter solstice in December, the neighbourhood holds its annual Kensington Market Festival of Lights, an entertaining parade of giant puppets, stilt walkers and fire breathers. It was inaugurated in 1987 as an invitation for the sun to come back on the longest night of the year. Lately, the parade end-point has been moved to the larger Alexandra Park to handle the increasing number of participants. Of course one must not forget Chinatown next door, and all of the colours, sights and smells that dazzle the senses, adding even more diversity to an already expansive neighbourhood.
Kensington has two alternative secondary schools: Oasis and West End and Ryerson is a combined Junior and Senior school. The area is a year-round hub of commerce and culture and can be thought of as the heart of the greater city of Toronto where all of the cultures and colours and ways of life that the city prides itself on, come together and mingle. It's a hot-spot for tourists, a tight-knit community for people who call it home and a vibrant and perfect sample of all the variety that you get in the city of Toronto at large.