latin america emporium toronto

Toronto's popular Latin American grocery store closed after devastating fire

Torontonians are coming together this week to support Emporium Latino, a Kensington Market staple known for its homestyle takeout food and hard-to-find Latin American grocery products, which experienced a devastating fire over the weekend.

A three-alarm blaze broke out at the unassuming blue-and-white storefront at Augusta and Nassau late Saturday night, severely damaging the business and the adjacent apartment, and also affecting the neighbouring Jumbo Empanadas

In the wake of the incident, a GoFundMe campaign has been started to aid business owners Cecilia and Mauricio de Espinoza, who founded the beloved spot back in 1991 and live above it. 

It has already raised nearly $6,000 in less than 24 hours to help cover the costs of rebuilding and keeping the de Espinozas and their staff afloat.

"They fortunately have a place to stay with family, but it will take quite a while before we see them back in business though, the building is going to need to be rebuilt," reads an Instagram post from Kensington Market Pedestrian Sundays promoting the fundraiser.

"This is their hour of need, it's hard enough to run a small business let alone during a pandemic and having a tragic fire. Please consider making a contribution assist them."

Hey friends, kindly support the go fund me that has been set up to assist Cecilia de Espinoza & her family recover from the fire that burned down their apartment & beloved business @empolatino last night. (The link is in my bio.) I spoke with Cecilia today and she and her family are doing well (with the exception of their cat who was lost to the flames 🙏). They fortunately have a place to stay with family, but It will take quite a while before we see them back in business though, the building is going to need to be rebuilt. She told me that they will be missing us, but I assured her that we will miss them and their pupusas so much more! This is their hour of need, it’s hard enough to run a small business let alone during a pandemic and having a tragic fire. Please consider making a contribution assist them. Thank you. 🙏 Let’s show them some Kensington #Love! ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜🖤🤍🤎 #empolatino #emporiumlatino #latinemporium #gofundme #kensingtonmarket #colourful #kensington #mercadokensington #fire #tragedy #tragic #please #help #toronto #yyz #the6ix #4️⃣1️⃣6️⃣#supportlocal #PedestrianSunday #PedestrianSundays

A post shared by Kensington Market’s PSK (@pedestriansundays) on

Though there were thankfully no injuries sustained in the fire and the family is apparently doing well, their cat, who was in the apartment, was unfortunately lost. The cause of the inferno is still being investigated.

The shop, whose pupusas are so revered that they have even been referenced in contemporary literature, will hopefully be able to recover and reopen in the weeks to come as the community rallies to save it and offers its condolences.

Lead photo by

Austin Graff/Google


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