Neighbourhood: Cabbagetown

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Location: Area roughly bounded by Sherbourne Street and the Don River Valley, and Gerrard and Wellesley streets. Main intersection: Parliament and Carlton. Transit: Carlton streetcar, east from College subway station.

The name “Cabbagetown” was coined in the 19th century due to area’s poor early inhabitants, mostly Irish immigrants who had fled the Potato Famine, and who grew vegetables on their front lawns.

Most of the houses you see today were built in the late 19th century when the area peaked before taking an economical nosedive during the Great Depression. In the late 1970s, home buyers saw potential in this stock of stately Victorian homes and Cabbagetown was revitalized.

In this historic photograph dated October 8, 1923, new streetcar lines are being installed along Parliament Street. In the background are rowhouses, wooden hydro poles, and old-fashioned billboards. Photo caption: 'Parliament South from Prospect Street.
Cabbagetown, 1923: Installation of streetcar tracks along Parliament Street.
Find more historical images of Toronto at the City of Toronto Archives

The main street, Parliament Street, continues to evolve and has a mix of cafés, pubs and restaurants serving everything from Italian, Thai, South Asian and Mexican food.

The Toronto Necropolis Chapel entrance and steeple on a bright summer day.
Toronto Necropolis Chapel

A visit to this historical area should include a trip to Riverdale Farm – a real working farm in the middle of the city – and the two heritage cemeteries, St. James and the Necropolis, where organized walking tours regularly take place. Riverdale Park West neighbours the Don River Valley with its cycling and walking paths and leads to the site of a former brick factory, now called the Evergreen Brick Works, a cultural and culinary hub.

A chicken and a goat are in the barnyard underneath a windmill at Riverdale Farm, Toronto on a bright summer day.
Riverdale Farm