Perhaps the best way to describe Toronto's Kensington Market is to start with it's ability to resist change. I've lived there, drank there, shopped for groceries, played, fought, eaten, seen some great bands, or just hung out there, and it's always managed to stay the same.
Sure, a lot of businesses have come and gone over the more than thirty five years I've been hanging around, but it still manages to hang on to the same old Kensington vibe.

 
   Same, only different.

 
   From time to time, over the years, some big chain grocery store, or coffee shop will attempt to open a franchise within these few blocks, but are either shouted down in City Council meetings, vandalized, -if they actually begin building, or fiercely boycotted if they manage get to the point where they're open for business. In one infamous incident, a couple of dozen pairs of sneakers splattered with red paint were dumped in front of a Nike owned space which was trying to surreptitiously break into the neighborhood under the guise of promoting cultural identity. They (Nike) were gone within a week.
   Small, independent, mom and pop businesses. The kind of place where you can actually see an haberdashery next to a fish shop, across the street from a dive bar, which is next door to an army surplus shop...
   That's Kensington. It might look like hipster paradise now, but before they showed up, it was the punks, and before them it was the hippies...


   Same, only different.


   The little enclave of Kensington proper, has long been a starting point for new Canadians originating from countries all around the globe. Many Irish, Jewish, Eastern European, Vietnamese, Portuguese, Central American, Caribbean immigrants, among others, got their first start opening businesses in Kensington selling foodstuffs from their countries of origin to fellow expats. To Canadians born here, who are willing to explore new tastes, it's long been a gateway to exotic foods from far away lands.
   It ain't for everyone though. It's noisy; sometimes cramped; it's a bit of a magnet for the so-called 'undesirables,' it can smell positively rank during garbage pick-up on hot summer nights, but for those of us willing to tolerate such trivial inconveniences, the returns are easily worth it.
   It's a pretty safe bet that visitors and inhabitants of the market fifty years from now will be able to view images or video from the past, and completely relate to them.

 
   Same, only different. 

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