Toronto’s Cabbagetown neighborhood has a rich history and multicultural residents. It is one of the most popular neighborhoods of Toronto’s downtown east with a strong community spirit. It was once one of the poorest neighborhoods in Toronto, but now this culturally and historically rich area absorbs many artists, doctors, young professionals and established families.
As a Toronto real estate agent, I would like to show you all the attractiveness of the charming Cabbagetown neighborhood in this article.
History of Cabbagetown
The history of Cabbagetown dates back to the 1840’s, when a large number of Irish residents immigrated to this area. Even the name of this neighborhood comes from cabbages planted in the front yards of the Irish residents’ homes. Cabbagetown was a home to working-class people who were employed in different industries along the lake shore.
According to the Cabbagetown Preservation Association, the gentrified semi-detached Victorian houses of Cabbagetown are known as “the largest continuous area of preserved Victorian housing in all of North America”. About 50% of these beautiful Brick Victorian-style homes were renting houses back in the 1840s.
Now the picturesque Cabbagetown neighborhood is located between Sherbourne Street and the Don Valley, south of Bloor Street East and north of Gerrard Street East.
Demography of Cabbagetown
The population of Cabbagetown is about 12,900 residents. 53% of the Cabbagetown residents include married couples and about 51% of them are in working age. In Cabbagetown, the median age is 13% higher than Toronto. About 30% of the population are immigrants and most of them are from the United Kingdom, United States and China.
Architecture of Cabbagetown
As I mentioned above, the home architecture in Cabbagetown is famous because of its cherished streetscapes lined with detached and semi-detached Victorian homes. You can find many old but renovated houses in different architectural styles, including the Bay and Gable, Gothic Revival, Second Empire, Georgian, and Worker’s Cottage.
Among other old architectural styles in Cabbagetown, in two streets of the Cabbagetown South Heritage District (Nasmith Avenue and Gifford Street), you can find the Arts and Crafts style. This style dates back to the time of the Industrial Revolution. The whole history behind these old homes make you feel like living in a small, well-kept town from the 19th century.
Saint Luke’s United Church
This beautiful church was built for worship in 1887 at 353 Sherbourne Street, Cabbagetown. The stonework and stunning stained glass of this neo-gothic style church is marvelous. It has two round towers, one at 100 ft at north-west comer, other at 72 ft at south-east comer and the openings have ashlar trims. There are memorial windows with the names of four prominent Toronto businessmen who were active members of the congregation.
Winchester Street Theatre
This red brick beautiful building was first built as St. Enoch’s Presbyterian Church in 1891. It is one of the few bold Romanesque Revival structures in Toronto and there’s no similar style building in Cabbagetown. In 1968, it was changed to the Toronto Dance Theatre by Peter Randazzo, Patricia Beatty and David Earle who were dancer/choreographers. Winchester Street Theatre is now known as “one of the foremost modern-dance companies in Canada”.
You can see the prominent characteristics of Romanesque Revival style in its round arches over windows and doorways, rounded towers, thick masonry walls and a brick or stone asymmetrical façade.
Best schools in Cabbagetown
This family friendly neighborhood has many high ranked public and catholic schools. One of them is Lord Dufferin Junior and Senior Public School which is an elementary and middle school covering PK to 8th grade programs. Its old building was established in the 1920s. It is located at 350 Parliament Street, Cabbagetown.
Related articles: Top 5 Toronto Catholic Elementary Schools
Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School is an elementary, junior high and high school, which looks like a Notre Dame in the heart of Cabbagetown. There are also Sprucecourt Public School, Winchester Public School, St. Paul Catholic School and Gabrielle-Roy Elementary School in the neighborhood. So, if you have school age children, don’t worry about living in Cabbagetown. You have so many excellent options available.
Recreation in Cabbagetown
The most favorite and beautiful green space in Cabbagetown is Allan Gardens. This 16,000 sq ft conservatory park was opened in 1860. It has a playground, off-leash dog park and picturesque view of gorgeous flowers and sculptures.
It is located between Sherbourne, Dundas and Gerrard Streets. There is a beautiful glass-domed Victorian structure in Allan Gardens which was added later in 1910. The park is filled with lush vegetation year-round, cacti, turtles, begonia, bromeliads, gesneriads, orchids and many tall tropical trees. It has a special system of pathways linking north to south and east to west.
Allan Gardens was listed on “the City of Toronto Heritage Property Inventory” in 1973.
Read More : Toronto’s Dovercourt Park Neighborhood
Where to eat in Cabbagetown
The welcoming and friendly community of Cabbagetown is well suited in the stunning tree-lined streets and its cozy bars and pubs. This quiet neighborhood has some special culinary options that you better not to miss.
F’AMELIA RISTORANTE is one of those places. It is a culinary establishment serving one of the best North Italian foods in Toronto. They also have a vegan menu for special pasta and pizza. It is in a cozy rustic cottage with a spacious glass atrium and patio. There is a joined wine bar with bar snacks right next door. So if you love tasting a home-made Focaccia or delicious Italian antipastos, you can enjoy the homely ambiance of F’amelia.
Peartree is a pleasant restaurant serving French, Italian, Canadian and Cajun foods. They have continental dinners and brunches in an amazing place with a fireplace and patio. You can also enjoy the wonderful taste of fresh beer.
Sukhotai is another fine restaurant in Cabbagetown serving authentic flavors of delicious Thai foods. The food is exceptionally tasty especially with the particular taste of Thai sauces and spices. You will love the curry taste of this small but lovely restaurant.
Having various options on the menu, Salt & Tobacco can drive the customers really crazy. They have delicious pizza, wonderful pies (gluten free and vegan options) and a pleasant selection of beers on tap. Everything will be quickly ready in this lovely place. Their menu is unique and you have a great selection of toppings for your pizza. It has all you need for a local friendly restaurant.
But if you are a coffee addict, Jet Fuel would be your favorite destination. The smell of coffee and its velvety foam with delicious pastries will make a delightful day. If you go there, try their special drink “Jet”. Tasso is also a bakery and coffee shop with their buttery smooth croissants. They open only on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but the quality of their pastries is worth it to try.
Cultural entertainment in Cabbagetown
The Cabbagetown Community Arts Centre can be a great place for music and dance programs for children in the neighborhood. There is also a Public library at Parliament Street with big windows and bright space for study. Cabbagetown Youth Centre also has many different sports, arts and crafts programs which is located at Lancaster Avenue.
But the most popular event in the neighborhood is the Cabbagetown Festival which is held every September. It normally begins with a special march, different ceremonies and different activities and entertainments for everyone especially kids.
It is one of Toronto’s original street festivals in the heart of the city. You can find many unique items there, such as local craftspeople showing their handmade products. Kids will love the magic acts, reptile shows, balloons, face painters and stilt walkers with all the free popcorn! Watching the mini marathon, parade and community yard sales can be a lovely experience.
Toronto’s Cabbagetown neighborhood with its excellent greenspaces, good access to streetcars and beautiful tree-lined streets might be another one of the best neighbourhoods in Toronto for families. It is a friendly neighborhood for all kinds of residents coming from a wide variety of backgrounds. This community-friendly neighborhood with all the excellent schools and local farmers markets can be a good place to grow a family in those astonishing Victorian homes.