Toronto Book Awards

Kensington

by Jean Cochrane
photos by Vincenzo Pietropaolo
Published by The Boston Mills Press

2001 Toronto Book Awards Finalist

Since the late 1800's, the Kensington area of Toronto has witnessed the dreams and struggles of successive waves of immigrants. Countless thousands of European Jews, Hungarians, Portuguese, Asians, Blacks and other groups have come to Kensington and made it their home, their workplace, their village. To a large, multicultural segment of the city's population, Kensington remains a true community.

This remarkable pictorial presents an affectionate look at the history of the Kensington community. It is an anomaly in modern urban terms: Kensington is a place where, for generations, an attitude of racial and ethnic harmony has thrived. As one resident notes in this book, "The spirit of inclusion is what has made Kensington matter."

Kensington is part of the Boston Mills Press Toronto series. Proceeds benefit St. Stephen's Community House.

Jean Cochrane

Jean Cochrane's previous books include The One Room School in Canada and Down on the Farm, an account of the lives of children on family farms before the Second World War. Her work is featured in the series titled Women in Canadian Life, The Canadians, and The Growth of a Nation. A former reporter for the Hamilton Spectator, she also spent ten years as women's editor for the Canadian Press and wrote the script for the documentary The Visible Woman. She is now retired.

Vincenzo Pietropaolo

Vincenzo Pietropaolo is an award winning photographer widely known for his in-depth photo essays on immigrant cultures and workers. His work has been published and exhibited across Canada and abroad. He grew up in Toronto's west end and has been documenting life in Kensington since the late 1960s.

 

Kensington - excerpt

Those who try to call Kensington a slum get a bristling argument, even from people who worked very hard to get out or to get their sons and daughters out. It is a community - a place to live and work, where neighbours help each other, and where they tell you with pride about the people who became super successful and moved on.

Still, if it has been a neighbourhood of opportunity and dreams, it has also been a neighbourhood of immigrants and of vulnerable people who, in the early years, worked long hours for little pay and no benefits.

 

2001 short list