Often described as trendy, Kensington certainly is that, but not in the mainstream sense. While a couple of corporate giants have joined its mix of businesses, the area has long maintained an independent streak. Loyally frequented by students from two nearby colleges and inhabitants of surrounding residential areas, its numerous boutiques and restaurants as well as tea and coffee shops lend it an upbeat bohemian atmosphere.
• A wide range of gift shops, fashion boutiques, furniture and home décor shops can be found along Kensington’s intersecting main arteries of Kensington Road and 10 St NW. Small shops like Livingstone & Cavell Extraordinary Toys and Mañana Imports and Gifts are cornerstones of the neighbourhood’s independent identity as are fashion boutiques like Kismet and edgy home décor shop Kilian International Design.
• This is the city’s premier coffee district. Higher Ground is a popular first-date spot, while the fragrance of in-house roasted beans drifting down 10 St from The Roasterie attracts a dedicated indie-alternative crowd.
• One of the city’s few remaining independent bookstores, Pages Books on Kensington carries unique and hard to find titles. It’s also a hotspot on the city’s literary scene, hosting readings by authors and poets.
• A popular lunch destination, Kensington’s tidy selection of restaurants includes Vero Bistro Moderne and Delicious Thai. For sweet treats, there’s Crave Cookies & Cupcakes and Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut.
• The intersection of 10 St and Memorial Drive NW provides easy pedestrian access to the walking and biking trails of the Bow River corridor as well as to downtown via the Louise Bridge. The CTrain in and out of downtown stops behind Safeway on 9A St NW.