To complete our second segment of Kensington we took on the task of the vintage stores, of which there is an abundance. To get ready we grabbed a coffee. We discovered a great new cafe and patio along Nassau street right next to Ideal coffee. Run by three young men, the coffee shop and soon to be liquor licensed cafe is a great place to meet with friends and relax on a patio where you are sure to always be treated to live music. A permanent piano sits in place all summer long where artists come to play throughout the day. The coffee, fair trade, shade grown and often from co-operatives is delicious, as was the bean salad Sway had that I snacked on.
We passed Ideal Coffee on our way back into the depths of Kensington and couldn’t resist one last Americano. Again, delicious coffee made by a cafe concerned both with its environmental and human aspects of coffee growing. We fell in love with the cafe due to the amazing music they have playing. From the barista’s ipod came some amazing music. We were so used to the mellow cafe music that his mix of hip hop and indie rock was a great reprieve for our ears. Sway got a few suggestions on a return trip from said barista. Don’t worry we’ll attach some audio so you can check it out.
On to our shopping. We first stopped at Tribal, a store which I often enter on my trips to Kensington. The store hosts some beautiful clothing from all over Africa. One brand in particular should be noted, Mama Muximo. The clothing is made in a coop in Angola using fair labour standards and sustainable materials. It is actually really reasonably priced for the quality and considering how it is made. Mama Muximo makes women’s wear only, mostly dresses and tube tops. Each piece is as unique as it is beautiful. Along the wall there is a set of beautiful pillow cases with a Kenyan landscape that we definitely think are worth your taking a look at. A little safari on your pillow is sure to bring on some amazing dreams.
We headed across the street and continued down the street where we entered almost every vintage shop in Kensington. Exile has two locations, and both are always full of fantastic finds. The front of the store functions as the vintage/second-hand clothing. Always nicely organized and in good shape. We spent time looking at the cute summer dresses on sale and wondering how we could make the men’s dress shirts into refurbished clothing-constantly looking for more ideas that are practical to making clothing from Haiti’s Pepe market.
Towards the back of Exile is their vintage costume section. Here you will find everything from western themed men’s and women’s wear, to 80s prom dress styles, vintage 50s dresses and so much more. They have a great selection of vintage bustiers as well for anyone looking to get into burlesque:)
Further down the road you will find many more vintage shops from Courage my Love, Fashion Old and New, The Rage, Sole Survivor where you can purchase vintage refurbished shoes or have your shoes repaired. You can spend an entire day looking through all the vintage clothing Kensington has to offer, it’s definitely a place to take your time, to indulge in the coffees and desserts along the way.
The Fairies Pajamas has two locations, one in Kensington which has all the newest designs and one on Queen St below the Black Market has the older styles and sale items. The designs of Fairies Pajamas are designed in Toronto and sewn in Nepal. Owner and designer Michelle Lynn Johnson works with a fair trade network in Nepal-very similar to what we would like to create with our Peace by Piece Kennedy line.
Finally, if you are looking for a bike in Toronto you can check out Bikes on Wheels, but it is a bit pricey. I recently just bought a bike from the Red Arrow. The bikes are second-hand and refurbished. The guy who runs the store is really friendly and each bike comes with a one month warranty and free labour if you are looking to have him attach a basket or lights.
We definitely missed a few shops, so we encourage you to go discover for yourself!
Ideal Coffee: 84 Nassau St http://www.ragetoronto.ca/
Red Arrow: 19 Kensington Ave http://www.facebook.com/pages/Toronto-ON/Red-Arrow-Bikes/38321911415
Exile: 20 Kensington Ave
Sole Survivor: 16 Kensington Ave http://sole-survivor.ca/
Courage My Love: 14 Kensington Ave
The Rage: 2 Kensington Ave http://www.ragetoronto.ca/
The Fairies Pajamas: 29 Kensington Ave http://thefairiespyjamas.com/