Welcome to Cabbagetown:
Cabbagetown is a tiny central Toronto neighbourhood with a gritty past, and it still feels like an earnest, working-class borough even though the renovated Victorian houses now routinely sell for well over $1 million.
Home to well-heeled professionals and creatives, this LGBTQ-friendly community has a colourful, bohemian vibe with great summer festivals and lots of activities for singles, couples and families alike. Strong community organizations work to strengthen local businesses and protect neighbourhood heritage, while big green spaces and local schools keep people in the community. Cabbagetown is well-known for its cozy community feeling, with strong residents’ and business groups keeping festivals and community events going year after year. It’s the perfect spot for affluent folks who want to live in a quiet, diverse area surrounded by the many offerings of the big city.
Cabbagetown runs from Sherbourne Street on the west to Bayview Avenue on the east. The northern boundary runs across Wellesley Street East, up Parliament Street, and down Rosedale Valley Road; the southern boundary runs across Shuter Street, up Parliament Street, and across Gerrard Street. People of all ages live here, and while the neighbourhood is family-friendly, most couples don’t have children. The stock of single detached houses is small, and most folks here live in semi-detached or row houses dating to the turn of the 20th century. There are also newer condominium developments available at more accessible price points. The average after tax income is just over $72,000 per year. The average price of a single, detached home is $1.2 million, with condominium prices ranging from $420,000 to $1 million.
Cabbagetown is a close-knit urban neighbourhood that draws active, community-minded folks from all walks of life. The shopping district along Parliament Street reflects the eco-conscious, boho flavour the area is famous for. Stop in at Lennie’s Whole Foods, the Fair Trade Jewellery Co. or Labour of Love. A three are indie, local businesses that thrive here – and there are many, many more.
Every fall, the Cabbagetown Business Improvement Area association hosts the epic Cabbagetown Festival, offering an incredible slate of activities for Torontonians of all ages. Parliament Street is closed for street food, live music, world-class buskers, bouncy castles and the two-kilometre Blair’s Run, which raises money for the local youth centre. The Cabbagetown Theatre puts on live shows for local families. The Cabbagetown Short Film Festival screens movies at the nearby Daniels Spectrum in Regent Park. The Cabbagetown Preservation Society conducts 45-minute walking tours, and Riverdale Farm hosts the Fall Festival, complete with barn dance. Locals especially love the Cabbagetown Arts & Crafts Sale, which draws more than 20,000 people to Riverdale Park West to visit dozens of juried crafters and artists.
The neighbourhood has lots of green space, with Winchester Park near the western edge and the sweeping St. James Cemetery and Riverdale Farm on the eastern edge. This historic working farm offers more than seven acres of trails through vegetable gardens, wooded areas, and flower beds built to attract butterflies. Visit farm animals, go for a walk, or just sit by the pond.
Cabbagetown is also noted for its LGBTQ-friendly vibe. Gay and lesbian families led early gentrification efforts here, largely due to the outsized influence of local real estate agent Darrell Kent. Kent, who was gay, helped many of his friends and acquaintances see the tremendous potential he saw in the derelict Cabbagetown homes. The community today is a stone’s throw from the intersection of Church Street and Wellesley Street, home to the many of Toronto’s LGBTQ establishments, and hub of the city’s Pride festivities each year.
A little bit of history:
Cabbagetown was originally called Don Vale, a rural hub with nothing but a bar and a hotel for farmers heading into the city to sell their produce. The necropolis was established in 1850, and by the end of the 19th century the area was home to hundreds of working-class immigrants who toiled in the Distillery District to the south. Many of these were Irish immigrants who had fled the potato famine, and it’s believed that Cabbagetown was named after the cabbages they grew and cooked to feed their families. The community was annexed by the city before the turn of the century, and much of the housing stock dates from this time.
The neighbourhood was always low- and working-class. The Temperance Act combined with the First World War caused economic problems for the distilleries in the early 1920s, so Cabbagetown’s workers were especially hard-hit when the Great Depression rolled around in the 1930s. The southern area was later razed to make room for Regent Park. The area we now call Cabbagetown continued to struggle until the 1970s, when the current renaissance began.
What you'll fall in love with:
Few Toronto neighbourhoods have a community spirit as strong as that of Cabbagetown. Gentrification started in the 1970s, and the tremendous work required to renovate these homes created a camaraderie among residents that remains today. Those who took park in the reincarnation of Cabbagetown absolutely love where they live, and there are multiple residents’ associations working in the neighbourhood, along with a preservation society and a business improvement area association. The feeling of community draws Torontonians from across the city to this welcoming, progressive enclave.
Cabbagetown is home to the Sprucecourt Junior Public School and Winchester Junior and Senior Public School. Winchester, which is over 125 years old, offers a French immersion program and has a Toddler Learning Centre. The school also runs the Green Thumbs Growing Kids school vegetable garden, a flagship program.
Cabbagetown is also home to the Msgr. Fraser College’s St. Martin Campus, which offers high school education to non-traditional students, including mature students and immigrants.
Cabbagetown on a map
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