Our City Spotlight  series explores the neighbourhoods that make up Toronto and the GTA. Each month, we take a look at what makes these areas unique and what we love most about them. Join the discussion on our 
social media   and leave a comment below to share your favourite things about each neighbourhood!

This month we are featuring Cabbagetown, a charming east-side neighbourhood with a unique history and strong sense of community, in part due to active efforts to preserve its rich heritage and support its local businesses.

Cabbagetown has come a long way since its time as one of the poorest neighbourhoods in Toronto. It is now a much sought-after enclave boasting beautifully restored heritage homes, friendly neighbourhood pubs, year-round community events, a very well-known and well-visited park, and one of the best cafes in the city.

The neighbourhood has the distinction of being home to one of the largest areas of continuous, preserved Victorian housing in North America, an enclave which developed from the mid-19th century. Cabbagetown’s name derives from the Irish immigrants who moved to the neighbourhood beginning in the late 1840s, said to have been so poor that they grew cabbage in their front yard (Wikipedia). The area was revitalized in the 1970’s and 1980’s by new home buyers, who restored much of this neighbourhood’s fine collection of Victorian homes. Today, residents come from a wide variety of backgrounds, however they all share a strong sense of community spirit and pride in their neighbourhood.

There are a number of organizations and initiatives which work to protect the history of Cabbagetown and maintain its strong community. The Cabbagetown Preservation Association (CPA) was instrumental in the creation of the Heritage Conservation Districts (HCDs) in the early 2000s, and today it assists in the preservation of the architectural integrity and historic character of the area. The Cabbagetown Tour of Homes and the Cabbagetown Regent Park Community Museum help to display and celebrate the neighbourhood’s unique cultural, anthropological and architectural history. Initiatives such as the Cabbagetown Community Arts Centre (CCAC) are vital to the development of the community by providing opportunities for those across the city who may otherwise be unable to access them, a testament to the neighbourhood’s active efforts to enhance the quality of life for residents of the community and beyond.

Nearby Riverdale Park hosts the Riverdale Farmers’ Market, one of Toronto’s best, each Tuesday from May through October. The scenic 7.5 acre Riverdale Farm, home to farm animals and gardens, is open year-round with free admission and is also located within the Park, along with the Toronto Necropolis, the city’s first cemetery. The Cabbagetown Festival takes over the neighbourhood for 3 days in mid-September, with a number of smaller events happening in locations throughout the area, including an arts & crafts sale, a one-night local dining experience, a short film festival, walking tours and more.

In Cabbagetown you’ll find a mix of detached and semi-detached residences. Last year, detached homes in the area sold for anywhere between $700,000 to $2.4 million, with the mid-range sale price for detached being $1.2 million. Semi-detached homes sold last year for between $685,000 to $1.6 million, with the mid-range sale price being just under $1 million.

Cabbagetown truly is a charming historic oasis – a unique community nestled within the city!

Our favourite things about Cabbagetown

  • We love its its strong sense of community and active efforts to preserve its heritage, along with all of the local festivals and events held year-round.
  • Riverdale Park is a great place for a weekend stroll or picnic – and of course a visit to the Riverdale Farm is a must!
  • There are several inns and B&B’s located in the area, which is fitting given the quaint architectural style of the homes here!
  • Some of our favourite local restaurants include The Local Gest and F’Amelia.
  • For the local gossip head to Jet Fuel, a long-time local institution and one of the best cafes in the city.
  • Other great cafes include the darling MerryBerry Cafe & Bistro and Cafe Olya, casual spots for where you can grab lunch of delicious, fresh-baked goods.
  • The House on Parliament is a popular neighbourhood haunt with a laid-back atmosphere and daily specials.
  • It’s easy to love Labour of Love, a well-stocked shop with a random assortment of fun design objects (many made by local or Canadian designers) as well as home wares, jewellery, cards and stationery.
  • The Epicure Shop, a Cabbagetown fixture since the 1980s, is an independent grocery which carries a wide and varied assortment of local meats, cheeses, and unusual food products.

There are so many great things about Cabbagetown that we haven’t mentioned here – tell us YOUR favourites in the comments below!

Cabbagetown's name derives from the Irish immigrants who moved to the neighbourhood beginning in the late 1840s, said to have been so poor that they grew cabbage in their front yards. Cabbagetown is located on the east side of downtown and is bounded by Parliament, Wellesley and Dundas Streets and the Don Valley. Today's Cabbagetown is a thriving community for professional couples, families and singles.

The Cabbagetown neighbourhood was once described by the New York Times as "containing the largest collection of Victorian homes in North America". Cabbagetown's houses were built between 1860 and 1895 and most of these houses have been restored in a way that keeps with this historical neighbourhood.