Culture + Style

Where Vintage Shopping Buffs Get Their Fix in Toronto’s Kensington Market

Kensington Market is one of Toronto’s oldest and most treasured neighborhoods. With an immensely rich history, beautiful Victorian-style architecture and tons of cultural diversity, the area has celebrated both authenticity and change for as long as it has existed.

A hub for artists, nonconformists and activists, this charming neighborhood is not only home to some of Toronto’s best local eats, bars and grocers, but also encompasses some of the oldest and coolest vintage and modern shops in the city.

If you’re a vintage fanatic constantly looking for unique pieces that will add one-of-a-kind flair to your wardrobe, then Kensington Market is your one-stop shop.

Grab a coffee, tea or juice to go and get shopping. Here are the top shops to pop into while in Kensington Market.

kensington market
Bargain hunt through racks of clothes and goods. (Photo: Alamy)

Courage My Love

Trinkets galore! Open since the 1980s, this Kensington shop carries everything from clothes and jewelry to buttons and beads and will make you feel like you’re about to go back in time.

The soothing effect of the incense-filled space is enough to make you want to spend an hour or two browsing through countless handmade and age-caressed items.

Price point: $-$$

Exile

If retro is your jam, you have to check out Exile. This eclectic shop carries pieces from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. Whether you are shopping for a special occasion or a holiday, or just want to pick up that perfectly faded pair of jeans, Exile’s astonishing collection of costumes and vintage finds will satisfy all your style needs.

Price point: $

kensington market
Stop for a bite or drink between stores. (Photo: Alamy)

Bungalow

Clean lines and classic style abound at Bungalow. Carrying contemporary brands and carefully curated vintage clothing and accessories, Bungalow is a mixture of modern and retro.

But it doesn’t stop there: If you are in the market for old-school furniture, dishes, kitchen appliances or decor, Bungalow is like a giant showroom of all things vintage.

Price point: $-$$

Blue Banana Market

The perfect place to buy one-of-a-kind gifts, accessories and art, this giant venue has some of the most unique finds around. More on the modern side, Blue Banana is nevertheless very much out of the ordinary. Give yourself enough time to browse the different sections and be inspired by artisanal products.

Price point: $-$$

Street Crafts & Entrepreneurs

As you’re walking through the neighborhood, you’ll encounter several artists and entrepreneurs offering all sorts of handmade crafts or services. Hit up a jewelry stand and have a necklace customized on the spot. Browse through some original handmade art. And if you’re feeling adventurous, sit down for a 10-minute tarot card reading. These guys are the essence of Kensington Market.

Price point: $-$$

While these are my go-to’s, I heartily recommend that you hit up as many of the shops and stands as you can, for you never know which one will have that unique piece that you’re meant to have. When you’re done stick around for a drink, grab a bite and take in the street vibes; I promise you, you’ll never find another neighborhood with this much character and diversity.

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