People / Km2
Cabbagetown is a highly sought-after neighbourhood in central Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Administratively, it is defined as part of the Cabbagetown-South St. Jamestown neighbourhood. It largely features semi-detached Victorian houses and is recognized as "the largest continuous area of preserved Victorian housing in all of North America", according to the Cabbagetown Preservation Association. The average price of Cabbagetown over the past 12 months is $1,061,963, an increase of 8% over the same period last year. The average freehold price over the past 12 months is $1,276,745 as compared to the average condo price of $438,656 over the same period....Read More
Cabbagetown's name derives from the Irish immigrants who moved to the neighbourhood beginning in the late 1840s, said to have been so poor that they grew cabbage in their front yards. Canadian writer Hugh Garner's novel, Cabbagetown, depicted life in the neighbourhood during the Great Depression.
Lord Dufferin Junior and Senior Public School is located south of Gerrard Street. It was completely renovated and expanded in 1999 to serve students throughout the area....Read More
Nelson Mandela Park Public School is located on Shuter Street, south of Regent Park, with a broad multicultural mix of students from the area.
Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School (junior kindergarten to grade 8) was originally located on Winchester Street in Cabbagetown.
The area today known as Cabbagetown was first known as the village of Don Vale, just outside Toronto. Before the 1850s it consisted of farmland dotted with cottages and vegetable plots. It grew up in the 1840s around the Winchester Street Bridge, which before the construction of the Prince Edward Viaduct was the main northern bridge over the Don River. This was near the site where Castle Frank Brook flowed in the Don River. By the bridge the Don Vale Tavern and Fox's Inn were established to cater to travellers. In 1850 the Toronto Necropolis was established in the area as the city's main cemetery....Read More
In the late 19th century the area was absorbed into the city. It became home to the working class Irish inhabitants who were employed in the industries along the lake shore to the south in Corktown. Brick Victorian style houses were built throughout the area. The name Cabbagetown purportedly came from stories of new Irish immigrants digging up their front lawns and planting cabbage. In this era the Cabbagetown name most often applied to the area south of Gerrard Street, with the part to the north still being called Don Vale. It was a working-class neighbourhood, but reached its peak of prosperity just before the First World War, which is from when many of the brick homes in the area date.
After the war the area became increasingly impoverished. A large number of poorer residents moved in, many resorting to share one house among multiple families. The nineteenth century brick houses began deteriorating, and as landlords saw less value in the neighbourhood, they were not maintained. It became known as one of Toronto's largest slums and much of the original Cabbagetown was razed in the late 1940s to make room for the Regent Park housing project. A new immigrant influx also lead to the beginning of ethnic diversity in the neighbourhood. The remaining section to the north, then still known as Don Vale, was also slated to be cleared and replaced by housing projects. In 1964 a Toronto Star writer wrote that "Cabbagetown has become a downhill ride and if you're on way up, you don't dare stay there for long unless you live in Regent Park."
The construction of new housing projects was halted in the 1970s. In Don Mount this effort was led by Karl Jaffary, who was elected to city council in the 1969 municipal election along with a group of like minded councilors who opposed sweeping urban renewal plans. John Sewell led the effort to preserve Trefann Court, that covered the southern section of the original Cabbagetown. A bylaw was approved in the 1970s to ban any building higher than four storeys, in reaction to the high density high rises being built in neighbouring St. James Town.
The original boundaries of Cabbagetown were:
- Gerrard Street to the north
- Queen Street to the south
- Parliament Street to the west
- the Don River to the east
Prior to the government housing that replaced much of the original housing beginning in the 1940s, Cabbagetown encompassed the current neighbourhoods of Moss Park, Regent Park, St. Jamestown and Trefann Court.
Cabbagetown's current boundaries may be broadly defined as:
- Gerrard Street to the south (east of Parliament)
- Carlton Street to the south (between Sherbourne St. and Parliament St.)
- St. James Cemetery to the north (east of Parliament St.)
- Wellesley Street East to the north (between Sherbourne St. and Parliament St.)
- Sherbourne Street to the west between Carlton and Wellesley
- Parliament Street to the west between Carlton and Gerrard
- River Street/Riverdale Park to the east.
- Carlton Street to the north
- Sherbourne Street to the west
- Shuter Street to the south
- Parliament Street to the east
Cabbagetown was gentrified by affluent professionals, beginning in the 1970s. Many residents restored small Victorian row houses and became community activists. Darrell Kent, a resident and local businessman, is recognized by the community as having been the driving force behind the restoration of many of the area’s beautiful and unique Victorian houses. As Kent was a gay real estate agent, gay men and some lesbians made up the earliest gentrifying groups of Cabbagetown. They are still a significant part of the population today, and the area is considered queer friendly....Read More
In 1983 the Globe and Mail wrote that "Cabbagetown is probably the epitome of successful labelling. The core of the area—generally defined as being bounded by Parliament, Wellesley and Dundas Streets and the Don Valley—was once Toronto's skid row. Today, about a decade after the area was invaded by young professionals, speculators and real estate agents, there are still a few derelicts around to give the area colour. The houses, meanwhile, sell for upward of $200,000." 25 years after that article was written, some homes in the area have sold for more than $1 million.
Vestiges of a 1960s, counter-culture ambiance remain at vintage clothing stores, health food stores and a gestalt therapy clinic. A Victorian farm, once the site of a zoo, is located adjacent to Riverdale Park West, where a weekly farmer's market is held. A short distance away is the Cabbagetown Youth Centre, home of the Cabbagetown Boxing Club, a reminder of an earlier, and rougher, past. In recent years, some businesses from the nearby "gay village" of Church and Wellesley, have relocated to the area, attracted by cheaper commercial rents.
Despite gentrification, residents from public housing projects and affluent home owners mingle at a discount supermarket and a community medical clinic. Panhandling and drug-dealing are part of the urban landscape; so are gourmet shops, upscale boutiques and arts festivals, book launches and wine-tastings at local restaurants. Paradoxically, "The Gerrard and Parliament neighbourhood, located near Dundas and Sherbourne Streets, has the largest concentration of homeless shelters and drop-in centres in Canada. The area is also distinguished by a large number of rooming houses and other forms of low income housing."
In 2004 part of Cabbagetown became a Heritage Conservation District, protected by municipal bylaw. The district was established in two stages: first an area centred on Metcalfe, and later areas to the north and east of the initial area.
The boundaries of the combined district are currently:...
- St. James Cemetery to the north
- just east of Parliament Street to the west (i.e. excluding Parliament Street itself)
- Carlton Street to the south, including the south side
- Wellesley Park, the Necropolis and Riverdale Park to the east
The area south of Carlton Street and north of, but excluding, Gerrard Street, is under consideration for future inclusion.
The neighbourhood is home to many artists, musicians, journalists and writers. Other residents include professors, doctors and social workers, many affiliated with the nearby University of Toronto. Proximity to the financial district and downtown core have also made the area popular with other professionals such as lawyers, management consultants and those in financial services....Read More
Celebrities who have at some time been residents of Cabbagetown include:
- Larry Gains – boxer
- Amy Millan – indie folk/rock singer and guitarist
- Avril Lavigne
- Brent Butt - comedian
As part of a project called 'Cabbagetown People', historical plaques have been placed on noteworthy homes. A map of the locations has been erected in Riverdale Park West, and an index of the addresses, with the names of the former residents, is posted on a website devoted to this project. The people listed include:
- Hugh Garner
- Ernest MacMillan
- Betty Oliphant
- Al Purdy
- Gordon Sinclair