Cabbagetown is a vibrant, well-established community just a hop away from Toronto’s downtown area. Encompassed by sprawling Riverdale on the east side, and the downtown core on the west, the neighbourhood is a picturesque enclave of the largest, and best-preserved grouping of Victorian homes on the continent!
Once one of the most down and out neighbourhoods in the city, Cabbagetown has undergone a spectacular transformation into one of the most desired areas to live in Toronto. Cabbagetown is home to residents who take great pride in their beautiful community of century homes, thriving retail streetscapes and close proximity to one of the largest dedicated outdoor spaces in the city, Riverdale Park. Living here means indulging in fairy tale-like strolls through the small streets lined with draping, mature trees and past front yard gardens whose owners clearly take great care in cultivating. Cabbagetown really feels like a hidden, secret world within the oft-times chaotic wider city. Maybe one of the reasons for this is that its colourful history has left an indelible, unseen but felt mark on the neighbourhood.
From Rags to Riches
The Cabbagetown area as it is known today was prior to the First World War, known as Don Vale. At the time Cabbagetown referred to the area south of Gerrard Street (now known as Regent Park), so called due to the cabbages which poor Irish immigrants would plant in their front yards to help supplement their diet. It was a working class neighbourhood, which reached the height of its prosperity just before the First World War. Following the war and with the Great Depression, Cabbagetown and surrounding areas were hard hit by the economic and social ailments of the time. In the 1970s and 1980s wealthy professionals kicked into high gear the process of gentrification which saw residents turn to community activism and extensive restoration of many Victorian row homes. This process has increased popularity and concurrently raised property values in Cabbagetown to impressive heights- in just over three decades high-end sale prices have rocketed from about $200,000 in 1982 to over one million dollars in 2014. Currently though, Cabbagetown homes can still be found at more affordable price ranges. A similar, but unique process of revitalization, by way of mixed-use developments, is well underway within Cabbagetown’s historically impoverished southern neighbour Regent Park.
A Contemporary Small Town Vibe
Today, Cabbagetown still embodies aspects of 1960s counterculture and activism. Vintage clothing shops, health food stores and strong community hubs-- ok, Jet Fuel is actually a great coffee shop, but also one of residents’ favourite meeting spots! History buffs may already know that William Lyon MacKenzie, Toronto's first mayor, is buried at Necropolis Cemetery in the north part of Cabbagetown, near the Riverdale Farm, which is a slightly more popular summer day visit. A little-known fact is that the site of the farm hosted Toronto’s first zoo for 75 years, starting in 1899. Read a brief, interesting history of the zoo here. Another summer fixture in Cabbagetown is the weekly farmer’s market that jumps into action at Riverdale Park.
Families and professionals of all ages comprise many of the areas’ residents. They come, and stay, for the ambience of the community, the specialty shops and boutiques, gourmet restaurants, and cultural festivals and events which help residents weave a strong and dynamic social fabric.
Jet Fuel Coffee- This thoroughly independent, decaf-free (that's right, they refuse to serve it)
coffee shop has an air of rock and roll swagger that asserts itself in everything from the cool but efficient demeanours of the baristas, to the generously postered, bold red walls.
Labour of Love- If you're looking for clever greeting cards, stunning contemporary jewelry, and every kind of cool knick knack in between, go no further than this lovely little store. The service is fantastic, and you'll spend many a minute perusing their curated collection of local and handmade products.
F'Amelia- Fresh, authentic Northern Italian food right at your doorstep. With in-house made pasta, breads and salami, and a cosy dining ambience, this eatery is a Cabbagetown staple.
Real Estate Overview: 2014 Average Fourth Quarter Prices*
All Homes: $511,709
Condo Townhouse: $415,000
Condo Apartment: $366,000
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