THE JEWISH HISTORY OF TORONTO'S KENSINGTON MARKET
Discover Kensington Market’s historical Jewish businesses by using the map to explore the streets of the neighbourhood. Each landmark will tell you about the store that was once located at that very spot. Along the way, you’ll discover stories of family, food, entrepreneurship, and a commitment to community that lives on in Kensington today.
Kensington Market is known today for its bustling streets, eclectic character, diverse ethnic food shops and close-knit community. This unique neighbourhood can trace its roots back to the early twentieth century when it was better known as “the Jewish Market.” Storefront Stories tells the history of the Jewish businesses that once thrived in this part of our city.
The concentration of Jews in Kensington Market was partly due to the antisemitism that prevented Jews from moving into non-Jewish neighbourhoods, and partly due to personal choice. People wanted to live in an area where they knew others like themselves and where there were businesses that supported their way of life.
By 1920, Kensington Market was a bustling Jewish neighbourhood, serving all the needs of this largely immigrant community. Businesses ranged from food purveyors like kosher butchers, dairy stores, and bakeries to social gathering spaces such as restaurants, ice cream parlours, and billiard halls that functioned as social hubs for the residents.