Kensington, The Grange, Alexandra Park - Toronto, Ontario neighbourhoods and nearby communities
The Kensington neighbourhood is defined by its popular multicultural outdoor market, which was the focus of the popular 80s TV show the King of Kensington. Kensington was originally part of the 1815 land grant to Captain John Denison, and was developed in the 1870s with very British street names. In the early 1900s, the area attracted many Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, who opened stalls in front of their houses to sell goods to each other, in the tradition of their Old World marketplaces.
To the south of Kensington is Alexandra Park (named for Queen Alexandra), the focal point of the namesake neighbourhood, which has the historical 1841 home of Sir Casimir Gzowski, a Polish immigrant who helped built the Grand Trunk Railway.
This neighbourhood attracted many Polish and Ukrainian immigrants over the 1920s and 30s, and since has attracted other immigrants from Germany, Greece, Italy, Hungary, and Portugal. Grange Park was an early Toronto establishment neighbourhood, and is named for the 1817 Grange House, built by prominent Torontonian D'Arcy Boulton Jr. In the late 1800s, the wealthy Torontonians moved further out, and the area was built up with dense worker's housing the new Canadians. In the 1960s many Chinese moved into the community as a chunk of the original Chinatown was required for the New City Hall. Grange Park is home to the Art Gallery of Ontario, Ontario Crafts Council, and Ontario College of Art, and therefore has many artists living in the community.
Motorists are just minutes from downtown, Lake Shore Boulevard and the Gardiner Expressway. The area is will served by streetcar service along Spadina, Dundas, and Queen which connect to downtown and the University-Yonge subway line, and along Bathurst Street which connects to the Bloor-Danforth subway line.
The area is served by 5 elementary schools,1 private school, 3 high schools, and 1 library. The Ontario College of Art & Design is adjacent, and University of Toronto and Ryerson University are nearby in downtown Toronto.
Kensington Market is Toronto's only year-round outdoor market. with merchants selling goods on the sidewalks in front of their homes. There's also ethnic shopping at Chinatown on Spadina Avenue, and Portugal Village on Dundas Street West. There's also the trendy Queen Street West with its fashion shops and restaurants, and the cozy Baldwin Village shopping district on Baldwin Street (just north of Dundas) between McCaul and Beverley Streets, notable for its cafes and restaurants.
The neighbourhood has a number of smaller parks, with playgrounds and benches, and Alexandra Park is the largest park and has an outdoor pool, a wading pool, an outdoor ice rink (in winter) and tennis courts (in summer) and a community centre with a gym and an indoor pool. Cultural facilities include the Art Gallery Of Ontario, Grange House, St. George's Church, and Ontario College of Art.
Kensington has many small Victorian row houses that were built between the 1870s and 90s. The houses in the Kensington Market have market stalls on their front lawns, with private areas in back. Alexandra Park has Victorian-style homes from the 1880s and 90s, with some smaller bungalows and semi-detached homes from the 1920s and 30s, a housing cooperative built in the 1960s, and some recently done lofts and condos. Grange Park also has Victorian row houses from 1870s to the 90s, with recent co-op housing around the Grange. Housing is in the low to low-middle price ranges/
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