Vintage Shopping in Kensington Market with my Sister

c with mannequin

While I've written a number of posts about a favoured part of Toronto, Kensington Market, I've never specifically concentrated on a main reason many people love this area -- the wonderful vintage shops that line both sides of Kensington Avenue. There are fourteen different vintage stores on this short street, which runs north/south between Dundas and Baldwin. It's a vintage lover's dream place, and there's no one better to go there with than my sister Camille, a fellow-fan of all things previously loved.

She and I learned to appreciate old things at a young age, after being brought to many the country flea-market by our parents. We know each other's tastes well, and can quickly pick out items that the other will appreciate/want or get a good laugh over.

After meeting in the market we made a beeline for that vintage strip, beginning at Exile.

exile vintage shop kensington market toronto

While this shop looks small from the outside, it is huge, going back a long way and getting much wider at the back. One thing they specialize in is getting people kitted out with awesome Halloween costumes. In addition to having lots of vintage clothes and accessories that can be worn as costumes, they have a wide range of new costume related things that you might not want to have secondhand, like wigs and hats.

But, while there is an abundance of choices year-round for people looking for costume items, they also have a lot of great stock for anyone looking for everyday or party clothes.

I quite like wearing men's vintage shirts as jackets over a tank top and skinny jeans and quickly found a great cotton shirt in the western shirts section. (There are some detailed pictures of the shirt and other things I got on the shopping trip at the end of the post.)

inside exile vintage shop kensington market toronto

cowboy shirts in exile vintage kensington market


↑ I got this shirt ↑

c with dress

hippie bear costime exile vintage in kensington market toronto

vintage shopping in kensington market toronto at exile

shopping for costumes toronto exile vintage in kensington market

Courage My Love is a shop I've been going to since I was a teen. I liked it then because it had things there that I could actually afford, as they offer a wide range, including reasonably priced jewellery (although they also have some very special pieces too), trinkets, beads, buttons and the like.

Courage is the place to check first if you're looking for cashmere sweaters. They have lots of beauties, for sure.

I picked up some of their hand-painted buttons to change up a couple of plain cardigans that I have, and Camille got a bunch of funny postcards and some jewellery as a gift for a friend.

courage my love vintage shop kensington avenue toronto

vintage cowboy boots and overalls at courage my love in kensington market toronto

window at courage my love vintage shop kensington market toronto

inside courage my love vintage shop toronto kensington market

c with embroidered purse

handpainted buttons at courage my love toronto

drawers filled with small vintage things courage my love kensington market toronto

↑ Every drawer has an interesting surprise awaiting within ↑

vintage enamal pots purses woolen blankets courage my love kensington toronto

cases of vintage jewellery courage my love kensington market

vintage sunglasses toronto kensington market courage my love

vintage cashmere sweaters and silk tops at courage my love toronto kensington market

vintage lamps at courage my love kensington market toronto

We made our way down one side of the street and back up the other

flashback vintage shop kensington market toronto

breathless vintage shop kensington market toronto

subrose vintage shop kensington market toronto

Kensington Market isn't only a place to shop, lots of people live there too.

historic houses in kensington market toronto

painted house kensington market toronto

vintage shopping in kensington market toronto

Then we agreed that it was time for lunch. There are so many places to eat in the market, serving all kinds of world cuisines, that choosing can be hard. That being so, I'd made a list beforehand of the top places based on Yelp ratings and the kind of food we could get there. (A couple of restaurants I posted about this summer were on that list : El Trompo Mexican and Jumbo Empanadas.)

We decided that Otto's Berlin Döner would be our destination so headed over to the north end of Augusta Avenue.

ottoss berlin doner kensington market toronto

ottos berlin sign kensington market toronto

doners at ottos berlin doner kensington market toronto

inside ottos berlin doner kensington market toronto

We both had a döner sandwich, grilled halloumi cheese for me, and chicken for her. Neither of us had tasted this type of sandwich before and both really enjoyed the food.

After lunch we walked down Augusta to Smart Wear, located just north across from that little park there on Denison Square.

smart wear kensington market

This is a unique place, for sure. I can't say I've ever been anywhere quite like it. It's a large space filled with a mishmash of things, the majority of which seem to be never-used vintage. They also stock lots of pro kitchenware including a large selection of cast-iron pots and pans.

It's a hard place to describe so I'll let the pictures do the talking ...

inside smart wear shop kensington market

vintage figurines in smart wear kensington market

vintage glasswear in smart wear kensington market toronto

wall hangings at smart wear kensington market

↑ I got something from this wall of wonder. Can you guess what? (See below for the answer.) ↑

Camille got some cotton tea towels (including one for me, which was really sweet), and I also got a pretty cotton nightgown.

Then we said our goodbyes, she went north and I south.

Here's my loot excluding the nightie and tea towel ....

vintage shirt

painted buttons from courage my love

new vintage artwork

vintage tile artwork with cobalt vases

↑ Displaying my new artwork with a few pieces from my cobalt glass collection.↑

Thanks for checking out my post. I hope you have a great weekend.
xo loulou

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3 Responses to Vintage Shopping in Kensington Market with my Sister

  1. Hena Tayeb says:

    looks like so much fun. what a great way to spend the day with your sister.

  2. Hollie Ramsey says:

    Oh my gosh, I’d go into some serious debt going into those shops. I LOVE the first one! That looks like my kind of store!

  3. Vix says:

    I can spend hours searching images of vintage shops for inspiration so this post is an absolute joy. I’ve already saved it for future reference.
    Don’t you and your sister look alike?
    I love what you bought, that shirt is super cool and the plaque is gorgeous. xxx

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