Cabbagetown is one of Toronto’s most picturesque neighbourhoods. It is bounded by Wellesley Street to the north, Gerrard Street to the south, Sherbourne Street to the west, and the Don River to the east. A site of historical interest, it contains within its bounds two of the city’s oldest cemeteries, St. James and the Necropolis. It’s also close to public transit and the Don Valley Parkway.
While Cabbagetown used to be filled with fixer-uppers, most homes have been fully renovated to take advantage of increasing interest in the neighbourhood. It now comprises the largest continuous area of preserved late-Victorian housing in North America, and is famous for its picture-perfect gardens. Semis and fully attached homes in every 19th-century flavour – from Gothic Revival, Queen Anne, Second Empire, and bay and gable – are available. Many artists, musicians, journalists and writers make their home here, as well as professors, doctors and social workers, many of whom are affiliated with the nearby University of Toronto.
The neighbourhood celebrates its sense of community every September during the Cabbagetown Festival, which includes a pub crawl, as well as a street and film festival.
There are many explanations for the name ‘Cabbagetown’, but the most commonly accepted one is that poor Irish immigrants, fleeing the Potato Famine, moved to the neighbourhood beginning in the late 1840s and grew cabbage in their front yards.
Old Cabbagetown, located at the intersection of Parliament and Carlton, was where the parliament buildings of Upper Canada once stood. Much of the original neighbourhood was razed in the late 1940s to make room for the Regent Park housing project. The Cabbagetown name came to be applied to the Victorian neighbourhood a few blocks to the north, which had previously been known as Don Vale. Corktown, to the south of Regent Park, dates to the 1820s and now includes some of the original Cabbagetown.
Wellesley Park (Wellesley Street East and Rosedale Valley Road) is a favourite with parents during the summer thanks to its wading pool for kids.
Riverdale Park (201 Winchester Street) is home to Riverdale Farm. Free to the public, Riverdale Farm is located on 7.5 acres of land. Visitors are welcome to walk its pathways through wooded areas, around ponds, and into its gardens. You can chat with the farmer during daily chores that include animal hay feedings, egg collection and cow milking (every morning at 10:30), or visit the Simpson House wood-fired brick oven on Tuesday mornings to watch volunteers preparing and baking bread. A farmers’ market is held every Tuesday from May to October (3:00pm to 7:00pm), and children’s birthday parties(1-8 years) can be hosted in the Meeting House.
Around for over 25 years, the Cabbagetown Co-operative Nursery School (2 Lancaster Avenue), located in a sunny room in the Cabbagetown Youth Centre, values play as its most important teaching tool. Parents elect the board that runs the school and are strongly encouraged to become involved with their child’s education.
Established 157 years ago, the Nelson Mandela Park Public School (440 Shuter Street) is the oldest school in Toronto still standing on its original site. Other local grade schools teaching Junior Kindergarten to Grade 6 include Regent Park-Duke of York (20 Regent Street), Sprucecourt (70 Spruce Street) and Rose Avenue Public School (675 Ontario Street), while Lord Dufferin Jr & Sr PS (350 Parliament Street) and Winchester Jr & Sr Public School (15 Prospect Street) go up to Grade 8.
The School of Toronto Dance Theatre (80 Winchester Street) was established in 1968 to teach contemporary dance to its students, and provides professional instruction, summer school and adult recreational classes.
Cabbagetown is a closely-knit neighbourhood serviced by a diversity of merchants catering to every taste and budget, many of whom have been in business for decades.
House on Parliament or HOP is a must experience pub with dark-wood accents that pours local & global beers, plus chic bar bites & British fare. Or as my dad says ... Nobody goes there anymore as it just too busy. Say hello to Tania, Beau and Duncan.
454 Parliament St, Toronto, ON M5A 2H6 Phone: (416) 925-4074 / 11:30am to 2:00am
F’Amelia is a rustic cottage Trattoria with hearty Italian food & world wines, try the antipasti, pizza or homemade pasta ... a great patio destination.
12 Amelia St, Toronto, ON, M4X 1E1, Phone: (416) 323-0666 / 5:00 to 10:00pm
Pear Tree Restaurant is a cozy spot with a fireplace & patio, serving French, Italian, Canadian & Cajun dishes, plus and excellent weekend brunch.
507 Parliament St, Toronto, ON, M4X 1P3, Phone: (416) 962-8190 / 11:00am to 11:00pm
Chew Chew’s Diner is more than a whistle stop for your all day breakfast. Great selections, fast service and delicious.
186 Carlton St, Toronto, ON, M5A 2K3, Phone: (416) 924-7583 / 8:00am to 8:00pm
Red Cranberries Restaurant has a warm vibe, eclectic menu selections from mango shrimp to burgers to apple martinis. The food and service is excellent.
601 Parliament St, Toronto, ON M4X 1P9, Phone: (416) 925-6330 / 11:00am to 11:00pm
Jet Fuel Coffee Shop is a Landmark ... an Indie espresso joint with a passion for cycling, plus house-baked pastries & exposed-brick decor. It’s all about the coffee, atmosphere and the regulars die hard loyalty. A must to experience.
519 Parliament St, Toronto, ON, M4X 1P3, Phone: (416) 968-9982 / 6:00am to 8:00pm
Starbucks ... Yes there is one but we don’t mention it in the same breath with Jet Fuel!
492 Parliament St, Toronto, ON, M4X 1P2, Phone: (416) 929-2497 / 6:00am to 10:00pm
The Epicure Shop is Family-owned and operated since 1980. It prides itself on offering a variety of fresh specialty & organic breads, delectable desserts and pastries. On top of having a bunch of great café-style food to go, they offer a lot of great high-quality grocery items.
473 Parliament St. Toronto, ON, (416)-928-0291 / 6:30am to 6:30pm
Daniel et Daniel is an outstanding caterer and event planner with a quaint storefront selling upscale ready-made entrees, desserts, cakes & cookies. I frequently use them for my agent open houses. One of Toronto’s Best!
248 Carlton St, Toronto, ON, M5A 2L1, Phone: (416)-968-9275 / 7:30 to 6:00pm
Absolute Bakery and Cafe has been a quiet Cabbagetown favourite for French and Sri Lankan baked goods for years. The bakery is one of those modest mom and pop operations with minimal frills. There is a line up of regulars all day long for their sweet and savoury treats.
589 Parliament St, Toronto, ON, M4X 1P8, Phone: (416) 929-2700 / 7:00am to 10:00pm
St Jamestown Steak & Chops is our butcher shop, deli & green grocer featuring excellent sandwiches, salads & outdoor seating. Mark and his father before him have been a neighbourhood quality-service institution!
516 Parliament St, Toronto, ON, M4X 1P3, Phone: (416) 925-7665 10:00am to 7:00pm
Kendall & Co. Design and Decor is a Full-Service Residential + Commercial Design Firm with a portfolio spanning the country. Functional designs for enjoying life to the fullest, has been their paramount for 20+ years. Trust Kendall and Kevin!
514 Parliament St, Toronto, ON, M4X 1P4, Phone: (416) 363-9914 / 10:00am to 6:00pm
Menagerie Pet Shop is an independent mainstay shop for fish, reptiles, birds & other pets plus natural food for dogs & cats. Very friendly and knowledgeable staff!
549 Parliament St, Toronto, ON, M4X 1P7, Phone: (416) 921-4966 / 10:30 am to 7:00pm
Cycle Solutions is a full service bike shop. They have access to nearly any cycling product that you can imagine, with value pricing. They welcome special orders, custom builds, and their knowledgeable staff can help you with any bike questions. Note: Plan ahead for your spring tune up as they have hundreds of loyal riders.
444 Parliament St, Toronto, ON, M5A 3A2, Phone: (416) 972-6948 / 10:00am to 6:00pm
Lennie’s Whole Foods and Health Supplements is stocked with a variety of vitamins, supplements & herbal products, plus natural foods. Lennie’s is great! The staff are knowledgeable and helpful and they have a great selection of products.
489 Parliament St, Toronto, ON, M5A 3A3, Phone: (416) 920-3777 / 10:00am to 7:00pm
Me to We is an innovative social enterprise that provides products that make an impact, empowering people to change the world with their everyday consumer choices. All good but check out their store, their philosophy and on line. Help Another!
225 Carlton St, Toronto, ON, M5A 2L2, Phone: (647) 288-0104