Kensington Shopping Guide Part One

This week features a rather obvious choice, Kensington Market. We couldn’t have chosen a more perfect day to go to the market. The last Sunday of every month from May to October is Pedestrian Sunday in the Market. From 12-7 the streets are closed to thru traffic as vendors, musicians, artists, artisans and spoken word artists hit the streets. The place is crowded, but functions as an excellent place to shop, eat, people watch and get lost among the crowds. Of course due to the Markets size, and the amount of amazing stores, cafes, restaurants and people we have decided to separate it into two segments.

As one of our passions includes eating and sipping delicious coffee we could not help but start our shopping extravaganza off with a bit of munchies. As Sway is looking to cut out all dairy from her diet, and I am trying to make the transition from vegetarian to vegan, we opted for the Urban Herbivore. As it was busy and after lunch much from the menu was out. This actually pleased us as we were getting a little fed up watching restaurants (where we work) and supermarkets throw out vast quantities food that does not get used in time or is deemed not presentable. We constantly wonder why so much stock is ordered in, if it is only to be thrown out?

We settled on a lovely salad and went next door to Wanda’s Pie in the Sky for a sandwich. Wanda’s has delicious food and coffee. While, oddly enough we have never sampled the pie, the rest of our purchases have always brought a smile to our faces and we can only presume the pie to be excellent. Once fully fueled we headed off in search of beautiful things.

We passed by the Grilled Cheese House, where luckily enough, before we made the foray into being dairy free we sampled the sandwiches. Definitely recommended if you are fan of melted cheese on bread, it really does not get much better than this restaurant complete with picnic tables and dill pickles and potato chips with each sandwich!

To finish off the food part of this blog we must make note of the delicious Torito, a Spanish tapas restaurant only open during the evening. We first encountered Torito at the St Joseph Street Festival earlier this year as they were part of the local, slow food movement. One of their chefs allowed us to sample a delicious sorbet made from local strawberries and rhubarb. This place comes highly recommended if you are looking for a slightly nicer meal atmosphere while still staying in the market.

Of course Kensington has delicious markets, and while the Kensington bakery is absolutely fantastic I have to say we are partial to Cobs Bakery. Not only is the majority of their bread vegan friendly but they also do not sweeten their breads with sugar! And the staff is really friendly, the free daily samples don’t hurt either:)

On to the shopping…or rather window browsing.

Entering the Blue Banana is always a good time. They feature everything from fashion, to beauty products, home decor and journals and books. It functions kind of like a market featuring much of Toronto’s local talent. They have a local, fair trade coffee shop inside that is reputed to have some of the best coffee TO has to offer.

A little further down on Augusta is Bungalow. This store is great as it has both used and new clothing, all fairly reasonably priced. Head to the back of the store where you will find their second hand/vintage section nicely organized! Here, a little while back, we got an idea for two of the vests for the Kennedy line. One made from an old t-shirt for women. And for men, a vest made from old suit jackets.

Model Citizen
What a warm welcome! What an inspiring store concept I cannot help but share!! Not only does it feature the lines of local designers, the talented Julian offers silkscreen workshops. Participants leave with the skills to make all sorts of prints on all kinds of materials from the comfort of their home or studio. Nigel took the course, started a t-shirt line, and now sells his line at Model Citizen! It’s worth looking into if not to start a clothing line then to engage in a really creative hobby printing on fabric, paper or t-shirts.

Joy Apparel is another line they carry in their store and another brilliant concept! Each t-shirt has the face and story of a real person. The t-shirt inspires you to think about how we are all connected and how our actions impact each other and our world. It is a stand against racism and discrimination. With the purchases of a t-shirt you then upload a picture of yourself and a story to be bought and worn by somebody else. Seems so in tune with what we believe, it’s so refreshing to be in a neighbourhood that really believes in and promotes the power of the individual, and the strength in a community! Thanks to Meg for the introduction to these great lines in Model Citizen, and for her support of Local Buttons!!

The Funky Junky is a great visit. There is an endless supply of one-of-a-kind items ranging from records, pins, posters, kitchenware, suitcases, the list goes on! The recently held an out door auction where furniture, art, housewares and more were purchased at bargain prices. It was no task to convince me that this event was a lot of fun. It was a great day, with many more stops that would be worth a mention for their style or fine cheese for example!

See you there!

Urban Herbivore
http://www.fressenrestaurant.com/herbivore/index.html

Wanda’s Pie In The Sky
http://www.wandaspieinthesky.com/

Grilled Cheese
66 Nassau Street

Torito
276 Augusta Ave

Cobs Bread
http://www.cobsbread.com/home/

Blue Banana Market
http://bluebananamarket.com/

Bungalow
http://www.bungalow.to/Default.asp?id=8&l=1

Model Citizen
http://modelcitizentoronto.com

Joy T-shirt
http://www.joytshirt.com/

The Funky Junky
168 Baldwin St.

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