Toronto Neighbourhood Guide

Downtown

Kensington

History of Kensington

Kensington was originally part of a 100 acre Park Lot granted to Captain John Denison in 1815. By the 1870's, this district had developed into a middle class Anglo-Saxon neighbourhood with distinctive British street names such as Kensington Avenue, Fitzroy Terrace, Oxford Street and Wales Avenue.

The Kensington neighbourhood began to change in the early 1900's when Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, started to settle here. Excluded from the Toronto business community, Kensington's Jewish families opened stalls in front of their houses, and sold goods to each other. This Jewish market was the start of an old world marketplace in the heart of the Kensington neighbourhood.

Since the 1940's, Kensington has attracted immigrants from all parts of the world, and it is now one of Toronto's most culturally diverse neighbourhoods.

Ed Note: Toronto Mayor Mel Lastman was born and raised in the Kensington neighbourhood.

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