“When the Night Feels My Song”

By: pattihenderson

Aug 03 2010

Category: Weekend Adventures

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Focal Length:43mm
Shutter:1/0 sec
Camera:Canon EOS 7D

As I sit in my warm, sunny apartment on my first official day of holidays, I’m aware of the arbiters of hot weather (also known as cicadas) lilting outside my window.  A perfect day to recount another perfect day.  On Sunday, I continued my magical mystery tour of Toronto neighbourhoods; this time landing in Kensington Market.  A good friend suggested I check this “neighbourhood of Toronto neighbourhoods” out and I’m so glad she did.  Kensington is rich in history, culture, and grooviness!  It reminds me of Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco but without all the high prices and tie-dyed t-shirts…

Kensington began its “urban” life as a parade ground and command post for the Upper Canada Rebellion.  Shortly after the War of 1812 (you know, the war that Canada won against our fair friends to the south, but who’s counting?) George Taylor Denison, a soldier, purchased an area of land from Queen Street West to Bloor Street, in which Kensington sits today.  From such humble (or should I say rumble?) beginnings grew a neighbourhood rich in cultural heritage as Toronto became home to many hard-working new Canadians.  The neighbourhood has changed little over the years thanks to the strong voice of its own community leaders and politicians.  Luckily, it is still a place you can go and walk the streets unheeded by fast-moving cars and charmingly free of characterless urban architecture.  In November 2006, Kensington actually became a National Historic site. If you would like to know more about Kensington’s rich history, please visit here  and here.

I had an absolute blast walking the streets of Kensington, snapping away at whatever caught my eye.  Most of my shots celebrate the colours of the neighbourhood.  Flowers, fabric stores, fruit and vegetable stands, wonderfully artistic graffiti, t-shirts, and a bajillion bicycles.  In fact, I haven’t seen this many classic skinny-tired 10 speeds since high school back home.  It is also home to tiny coffee shops, vibrant restaurants with patios the size of pin cushions, and vintage clothing stalls.  If you would like to see more snaps from Sunday, including the one of Bob, above, please check out my new August Adventures gallery here.

What I didn’t find in Kensington was a cleverly named bookshop I hoped to visit:  This is Not the Rosedale Library.  When doing my pre-adventure research, this neighbourhood icon of literary culture cropped up in many “must-see” articles.  Unfortunately, TINTRL recently shuttered, leaving a gaping hole in the community.  If you are a book lover like me, and love book culture, you will find an article that I read today on the closing of this store interesting, and don’t miss the debate that follows in the comments section.  These are interesting times in the world of print!

And I guess you are wondering what the title of this blog post refers to?  It is the title of one of my all-time favourite songs by Bedouin Soundclash.  Why here?  The video for this song was shot on one night in the vibrant streets of Kensington.  Now that I have visited, the song and the place are inseparable.

Ok folks…I’m now “off like a bride’s nightie” as I like to say.  A long-awaited holiday awaits and I’ll be back in a week with fresh stories of photo adventures from the open road.  Wish me luck, and have a great week!


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