kensington market garden car

People in Toronto worried as famous Kensington Market garden car gets towed away

The garden car in Toronto's Kensington Market has long been one of Augusta Avenue's most colourful residents, serving as a one-of-a-kind photo op for visitors and a tenured landmark on the north end of the eclectic neighbourhood.

But, locals observed a sad day for the market this week when the brightly spraypainted automobile-turned-planter was seen being towed away on a flatbed truck.

"Gone but not forgotten," one person wrote alongside a video they took while passing by the displaced art installation, which was shown loaded up and ready to be driven off.

Posted to Nextdoor on Thursday, the clip quickly garnered a flurry of comments from panicked residents who feared the worst: the end of the flowery fixture for good.

"NO! Not the green car! Why, who ordered this?" one person asked.

"Oh no no no," another lamented.

kensington market torontoThe filmer wrote that the scene was "heart-wrenching," and that they even asked the tow truck operators for details on what was to come of the beloved mainstay, but the drivers "weren't too talkative and were working fast."

The Kensington BIA confirmed to blogTO that the iconic hunk of flora-filled metal has seen its last day, and that locals indeed bid it farewell on Thursday.

But, they said the public need not worry, as a brand new garden car has already been planted in its place.

"The garden car is an absolute icon, Kensington Market wouldn't be the same without it," Natalie Czerwinsk from the area's BIA says, assuring the people of Toronto that the new piece still has a long life ahead of it. "We actually regularly replace the car — this is now our third iteration!"

The new car is a 1992 Sunbird named Meryl Street, donated to the market by actor Hayden Finkelshtain.

As explained in an Instagram post on the garden car's own account, the vehicle was prepped for its new life by high school shop students, then towed to the market, where it was revamped and painted by a team led by Yvonne Bambrick, who's been the project's "CARdener" since its genesis in 2007.

While it's not the exact car we've known and loved in recent years, it is just as eye-catching and ornate, and likely only distinguishable from its former self — which was around since 2012 — by those with a very good memory.

The car is stored away each winter and returns for summer months, when the neighbourhood's famous Pedestrian Sundays take place.

You can see the new-and-improved garden car up-close and in-person at the first Pedestrian Sunday of the season this weekend on May 28.

Lead photo by

Becky Robertson

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