Since the beginning of the twentieth century, Toronto’s Kensington Market neighbourhood has been home to a multicultural mosaic of immigrant communities: Jewish, Portuguese, Chinese, South Asian, Caribbean, and many others. Despite repeated transformations, the neighbourhood has never lost its vibrant, close-knit character.
In Kensington Market, urban planner and public historian Na Li explores both the Market’s dynamic history and the ways in which planners can access the intangible collective memory that helps define neighbourhoods like it around the world. Through examinations of memorable Kensington landmarks such as the Kiev Synagogue, Hyman’s Bookstore, and United Bakers Dairy Restaurant, Li traces the connections between the Market’s built environment and the experiences of its inhabitants, providing a sterling example of how to map the intangible value of this national landmark.
Li’s book will be a must-read for those fascinated with this iconic Toronto neighbourhood, as well as anyone with an interest in the role heritage and collective memory can play in urban planning.