Kensington Market

Collective Memory, Public History, and Toronto’s Urban Landscape

Na Li

March 23, 2016

Critical thinkers often ask what is missing, and it is this question that drove urban planner and public historian Na Li to explore the lively history of Toronto’s Kensington Market.

In Kensington Market: Collective Memory, Public History, and Toronto’s Urban Landscape Li reveals layers of history and memory about this renowned multicultural neighbourhood in the heart of Canada’s largest city. In less than one hundred pages, she conveys the importance of place, preservation, and memories.

“When I found myself in Kensington Market during one of my frequent visits to Toronto, I instantly fell in love with every detail of the neighbourhood,” Li writes. “Through close observation at different times of day, I have found that every detail comes alive with rich texture, that every encounter brings out fascinating stories, that every building records family history and community memories.”

She adds: “The traces that remain of these sites of memory bring alive what is invisible.”

Li concludes by calling on local residents to collect the memories of their neighbourhoods and on public historians “to help preserve a past to which they are emotionally connected.”

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