Rally for Maria of Kensington

Maria Sandu, after 42 years as a Kensington Market shopkeeper at 202 Baldwin Street may be forced to retire this month.  She and her husband Alexandru just received notice of a large increase in their lease, and it’s simply too much to keep her little spice and dry goods shop open. Her business is the oldest in the market.
Her little store is one of the reasons this neighbourhood is a National Historic site, contributing so much to the warmth and charm that makes this place so special.

You can't miss Maria.  Now 80 with beautiful white hair and a cherubic countenance, she sits alongside her outdoor table of dried fruits and nuts greeting customers, friends, and visitors from sunrise to sunset every day of the week.  While we all know how much Maria treasures the market and her little shop, she’s not just there 12 or more hours each day by choice.  Her constant presence is the only way she can make ends meet.

You know the old line: “A picture is worth...” so just watch this 3 minute video on Maria:


And this from May 8th in the Toronto Star:


CBC Radio did a story on May 7th ‘Here and Now’:

While there are broader concerns about evolving trends in Kensington, our focus is on Maria’s immediate situation.  She needs some financial flexibility to either keep her shop open a while longer or retire now with some dignity and a little financial security. The heritage of Kensington is not just buildings but the people who made this market such a special place. 

To make a real difference in her circumstances, we need to act NOW before her current lease expires in the next three weeks.

My name is Leslie Fritz, and I am a resident of Kensington Market. Maria is a long-time neighbour, and all of the funds raised are going directly to her, to use as she sees fit. I am making arrangements for the funds to be deposited directly into her account.


Leslie Fritz
Downtown Toronto, ON

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