Real Estate Guide: Kensington-Chinatown

Chinatown’s shops and restaurants are a boon for both starving students and foodies (Image: John Vetterli)

  • toronto real estate board overview
  • located in sector: C01
  • average 2012 sale prices
  • all homes: $439,247
  • detached houses: $816,989
  • semi-detached houses: $687,513
  • townhomes: $433,988
  • apartments: $409,874
  • neighbourhood map: see map

There are few parts of downtown more storied than Chinatown and Kensington Market. Citizens of all stripes spend leisurely Saturdays wandering the fish stalls on Baldwin, the used clothing stores on Kensington and Augusta or the fruit vendors on most corners. And few neighbourhoods are as starkly dichotomous—the distinct cultures of Chinatown and the market mix only as much as geography requires. The market’s infamous population of neo-hippies and other left-leaners typically live and wander west of Spadina; the few Chinese families that are left after various exoduses tend to congregate east of Spadina, where family-name social clubs are still a common sight among the old houses on D’Arcy and Cecil. Caribbean and South American stores spice up the area. Baldwin Street, chockablock with restaurants, has a social scene all its own. Streetcars regularly rumble past Spadina’s late-night eateries, discount shops and green grocers. To the south sits Alexandra Park, whose Victorian-style houses, built in the 1880s and ’90s, share the area with a mass of social housing from the 1960s. The residential aspects of the neighbourhood vary widely, as do the residents: arts professionals on Sullivan Street, in the Grange and on Kensington proper; business folk in the gracious townhouses on Phoebe; condo dwellers in the Kensington Market Lofts; and students tucked into whatever ramshackle cubbyholes are available.

  • Sanderson
    327 Bathurst Street, 393-7653
  • Lillian H. Smith
    293 College Street, 393-7746
  • Osborne Collection of Early Children’s Books
    239 College Street, 393-7753
  • Merrill Collection of Science Fiction, Speculation, and Fantasy
    39 College Street, 393-7748
  • Contact Alternative School
    132 St. Patrick Street, third floor, 393-1455
  • Ogden Junior Public School
    33 Phoebe Street, 393-9110
  • Ryerson Community School
    96 Denison Avenue, 393-1340
  • Heydon Park Secondary School
    70 D’Arcy Street, 393-1710
  • Beverly School
    64 Baldwin Street, 397-2750
  • Subway Academy II
    64 Baldwin Street, 393-1445
  • Orde Street Junior Public School
    18 Orde Street, 393-1900
  • Kensington Comunity School
    401 College Street, 393-1290
  • Braemar College
    229 College Street, fifth floor, 487-8138
  • The Abelard Centre for Education
    203 College Street, 994-0661
  • Cornerstone Preparatory School
    163 Beverly Street, 977-1204
  • Ronald McDonald House Toronto School
    240 McCaul Street, 977-0458
  • neighbourhood hot spots

The Bellevue
Slightly west of the market, this bar and bistro features a rotating array of local chefs, and is a great spot for wine and people-watching. 61A Bellevue Ave., 647-640-8224.

Tap Phong Trading Company
Despite its huge sign, this general store, which specializes in professional and home kitchenware, is still an under-appreciated wonder, even for many Chinatown habitués. 360 Spadina Ave., 416-977-6364.