On a recent trip back to Toronto, I was able to indulge in one of my favorite pastimes: exploring marketplaces. Over the years, I have been fortunate to do quite a bit of foreign travel, and inevitably, my hosts always attempt to show me their country's museums and art galleries etc, but my preference always remains to visit the markets. Nowhere do you see "real" life as comprehensively and simply as you can by meandering about a good market.
Wandering an outdoor or indoor market presents one with a multitude of sensory inputs that assail and delight eyes, ears and nose. The rich colours -- patterns and solids -- of clothing and foods capture and delight the eye, while your nose detects the aromas of pungent cheeses, the earthy smell of the butcher's fresh cuts of meat, the unmistakable odor of the fish stalls, and the complex fragrances of aromatic oils, incenses and perfumes at the various esthetic stalls.
In addition to the cornucopia of goods, markets are also stellar places for people watching. This, is also one of my favorite activities, especially as a photographer.
Our excursion started with a morning at the St. Lawrence Market, where we had a breakfast of their famous peameal bacon sandwiches, loaded with hot peppers. Then we were off and ambling through the aisles, doing some shopping, and a lot of sightseeing.
From there, we journeyed to the eclectic and supremely funky Kensington Market. Now here is a place simply made for the senses!
Not just for the characters that frequent the area, but also for the fantastic street art. Whereas I am certainly not a fan of the mindless graffiti that you see scrawled and plastered over much of the urban landscape -- mostly indecipherable script -- I do love to see street art that is obviously the work of truly talented artists. In this regard, Kensington is a treasure, and the eye is constantly drawn from one work to another, their colours, lines and subjects a constant surprise.
Now, of course, I have to plan a trip back to the Granville Market, but at the moment, I'm off down the hill to the Lonsdale Quay, my local neighborhood market, because, as you may know by now, I just can't pass by a good market!