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Throwback Thursday: of narrow houses and political beginnings

A return to The Seven News, 40 years ago, as perused by volunteer Eric Morse.

The Feb. 25 1978 issue of Seven News is full of tidbits for us modern types. Currently, we are concerned at the rise of the Internet-driven ‘gig economy’, but we see its – admittedly more modest – beginnings in the temp agency abuses of 40 years ago. It was the lead story on Page 1; a snippet is reproduced.

The aforesaid gig economy is forcing many of us to accept that Freedom 55 is beginning to look more like Freedom 95. But just a couple of pages in, Seven News reported that there was growing opposition to the concept of mandatory retirement.

Ward resident Bob Innes is in a state of high dudgeon about George Rust d’Eye’s earlier article about the Don Jail. Innis is terrified that if the city keeps it around to long, it will end up getting re-purposed as – gasp – a jail!

A few issues back, Seven News had incorporated Harbourfront News as a centre section. Physically, there wasn’t much to Harbourfront back in the day – redevelopment had been announced by the Trudeau Government in the election of 1972 – but the complex now known as Harbourfront Centre was beginning to develop as a focal point for non-mainstream cultural activity. Here’s a map as it was then – except for the pioneering Harbour Square / Hilton Harbour Castle development on the eastern edge, nary a condo in sight. And of course, no streetcars.

Meanwhile on Page Three, and slightly closer to the Greater Cabbagetown Area, a little photo feature by Seven’s photographer Cherry Hassard on Toronto’s narrowest house at 383 Shuter St.

Forty years later, it seems to have put on no girth, but some height, and considerable value, listing at $788,000 in July 2017 (current photo from BlogTO).

And finally, way down in the corner of Page Three where you might completely miss it, a political star is born in the riding of Broadview-Greenwood.

The full stories introduced above are available at . The PDF archive is a remarkable achievement by Connexions, a collective dedicated to preserving social activism, of which 7 News is surely a shining example.

Posted in Throwback Thursday
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Gerrard and Parliament intersection to be closed 3 weeks starting mid-May

The City of Toronto and the Toronto Transit Commission will replace the streetcar tracks at the intersection of Parliament Street and Gerrard Street East. The expected start date of the work is: May 14, 2018, and the expected end date is: June 4, 2018 To accommodate this work, the intersection will be completely closed for three weeks. Sidewalks will remain accessible, and pedestrians will be detoured safely around the work area.

A pre-construction notice is being distributed in March to 34,000 residents via Canada Post, and posted on the Downtown Construction website for reference.

A Construction Notice confirming the start date and more details will be delivered approximately two to three weeks before work starts. 

Posted in Local Interest, Traffic and Parking
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Two overnight break-ins along Wellesley Street East

Two neighbours report break-ins through the back entrances to their residences in the early hours of Monday, March 5 in the same area of Wellesley Street East

Around 2 a.m. an intruder kicked the back door of one home and smashed the glass open; the person fled when the residents and the resident’s dog awoke and made noise. Police were notified and patrolled the area.

The second incident occurred around 6 a.m. when an intruder rummaged through the car in another resident’s garage, got into the backyard and then came into the home’s kitchen. The household dogs awoke and the intruder fled. The residents had a security camera operating and images have been turned over to the police.

Our safety and security lead for the residents’ association, Des Ryan, reminds us all to be vigilant and look out for each other, and to always report any incident to police as it helps them detect patterns and make the case for increasing patrols in our neighbourhood.

Posted in Crime Alert
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City releases Riverdale Park sign survey results

The city of Toronto’s Parks, Forestry and Recreation department has released the results of their fall survey about pilot signage in both Riverdale Parks and the lower Don Valley Trail.

Nearly 200 individuals or groups completed the survey, which asked questions around:
– The look and feel of the parks and trails signs
– The usefulness and readability of the maps on the parks and trails signs
– The effectiveness and clarity of new Emergency Information Signs

Results overall were highly positive, with the exception being some concern about the visibility of emergency information that were part of larger signs, rather than separate signs are they are currently.

Read the full park and trail signage survey results (opens a PDF).

Says Janette Harvey, Natural Environment Specialist with the parks department, “the online survey was promoted on the Cabbagetown Residents Association blog … I provided an update to all the stakeholder groups who participated in the project (approx. 30 groups in total, including Park People, Walk Toronto, Cycle Toronto, Heritage Toronto, Cabbagetown Preservation Association) with an invitation to complete the survey, and a request to help promote the survey through their networks.

“We promoted it via social media (twitter and facebook). While we did not collect geographic data on respondents, we did receive some comments related to Riverdale Park West specifically (these comments are reflected in the summary), so I do believe a local voice was represented in the results. The survey was meant to get feedback from a broad range of park and trail users, as these signs are meant to serve parks and trails across the city.”

Posted in Local Interest
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Throwback Thursday: Darrigo’s Groceries, 1947

The Toronto Archives – @Torontoarchives on Twitter   is a treasure trove of images and stories of Toronto past. 

Recently, the Archives published a series of photos of downtown businesses from the past century and included this image of Darrigo’s Groceries, which used to be at the corner of Spruce and Parliament streets in the 1940s.

If you have any old photos of the Cabbagetown neighbourhood you’d like to share as a “Throwback Thursday” feature, send them to, including information to identify what’s in the photo.

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Passionate about Cabbagetown? Consider serving on the CRA board

Do you like Cabbagetown? Would you like to volunteer some of your time and skills as a board director? We need people who have a passion for the neighbourhood and who wish to contribute to their community.
The Cabbagetown Residents Association (CRA) board of directors has constituted the 2018 Nominating Committee of the board. The Nominating Committee will receive director nominees for election to the board of directors at the Cabbagetown Residents Association Annual General Meeting, which will be held in June 2018, exact date to be confirmed.
If you are interested in becoming a board director, or you know of someone else who would be a great addition, please contact us at

The Nominating Committee will contact each nominee and arrange to meet in person to discuss the nominee’s interest in joining the board of directors of the CRA. The board meets on a monthly basis, and typically each volunteer director focuses on an area of interest, such as running community events, police liaison, city hall liaison, new neighbour welcome, or communications.
Read about the current board of directors
Read the by-laws governing the nomination process

Posted in Local Interest, Uncategorized
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Think Spring! Calling for sponsors and volunteers for the 47th annual Forsythia Festival

The CRA’s main community activity each year is the annual Forsythia Festival, set this year for Sunday, May 6, from 10 am. to 3 p.m. This is a free event made possible by the hard work of hundreds of volunteers, led this year by Forsythia co-chairs Shawna Pereira and Carolyn Jarman, and by the generous sponsorship of our local businesses.

Check out our 2017 sponsors – wouldn’t you like to be on this list for 2018? Please read more about how to support the Festival as a donor.

We also need volunteers to help supervise various activity stations at Wellesley Park on the day of the festival. Volunteer shifts are kept short to allow you enough time to enjoy some of the festival with your own family.

We need more than 100 individuals to do everything from face paint, to assist at the food and beverage area, to tie doughnuts to tree branches (which is way more fun than you might think.) We need people to help set up and take down all the tents and activity stations. We even need people to help as marshalls for our Festival-opening neighbourhood parade. If you would like to volunteer, we’d love to have you! Please contact us at for more details.

Posted in Events, Forsythia Festival

Throwback Thursday: Back to February 1978

Volunteer Eric Morse continues his exploration of the archives of Seven News, a community newspaper covering Cabbagetown in the late 1970s and early 1980s when this area was in the city’s Ward 7.

No, it wasn’t the day Mel Lastman called out the army. That was January 14, 1999. But on January 26-27, 1978, Toronto and environs got socked just as hard. Seven News doesn’t name the date, but other references confirm it. Your correspondent, who lived in Ottawa at the time, happened to be in town that pair of days, and recalls it as “the night the CN Tower didn’t blow over’, that being still a major downtown neurosis in those days a year and a half after its completion. Seven News, a weekly paper, ran this stirring front-page shot of Cabbagetown under the storm in its early February edition.

“You’re not alone.” The saga of Nellie’s continues with a touching article by Janet Howard about a fundraiser to help repay the CMHC loan to purchase their premises on Broadview. “Nellie’s Hostel will survive because we all have the sneaking feeling that we are not quite safe without it.”

Cabbagetown Boxing Club cleaned up at the Golden Gloves Tournament at the King Edward Hotel. Later Canadian champion John Raftery makes his appearance in this piece by Ken Hamilton.

Toronto Free Theatre produced a first play by Erika Ritter, who at the sime was a struggling writer trying to deal with the CBC. Reviewer Seth Borts thought its theme – a struggling young writer trying to deal with the CBC – was a touch overspecialized, but pronounced it well worth seeing. Really, the rotary phone in the foreground of the publicity shot is worth the price of admission all by itself!

For this week’s long read, your correspondent confesses sentimental bias – he has lived next door to 306 Seaton St. and across from 287 (now Number 9 recording studio) for the past 31 years, (as frightening as that may seem), and Page 3 features a major spread by George Rust D’Eye on the history of the street. This was the period when gentrification of Seaton Street was just getting under way.

The full stories introduced above are available at . The PDF archive is a remarkable achievement by Connexions, a collective dedicated to preserving social activism, of which 7 News is surely a shining example.

Posted in Uncategorized
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Two men arrested, charged with 14 counts related to auto vandalism

Toronto Police have announced that two men were arrested around 4 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 19 near Sackville Street. by undercover police officers.

Police issued a news release about the arrests just before noon on Monday, Feb. 19, with the following text:

“The Toronto Police Service, 51 Division, would like to make the public aware that two arrests have been made in the investigation into a rash of vandalism that occurred to vehicles in the Cabbagetown area.

“It is alleged that, at approximately 4 a.m. this morning, members of the 51 Division Major Crime Unit and the 51 Division Community Response Unit, were in the area and noticed suspicious behavior.

“The officers witnessed two people entering vehicles which were parked along Sackville Street and also committing damage to them. These suspects were approached by the officers and immediately ran. The officers pursued and were able to apprehend the suspects after a brief chase. Located were a knife and an ice-pick-type instrument on each suspect.

“The following were arrested and charged:

Estuardo Anfree Rivas, 21 years old, Toronto
* Mischief/Damage to Property not exceeding $5,000.00 X5
* Theft Under $5000.00
* Possession of Break and Enter Instrument
* Carry Concealed Weapon

Samson Bambino Carter, 18 years old, Toronto
* Mischief/Damage to Property not exceeding $5,000.00 X5
* Carry Concealed Weapon

The investigation is continuing and members of the public are being encouraged to continue being aware and vigilant of suspicious activity and to contact police and report any behavior that they find suspicious.

The investigators would still like residents to review their personal home security surveillance systems and send any video to police that may have captured vehicles being damaged or any other suspicious activity or persons.”

Please see the Cabbagetowner’s previous post on the auto vandalism, published Feb. 15,  for all the how-to tips on submitting video and reporting to the police.

Posted in Crime Alert, Crime Prevention

Family Day activities in and near Cabbagetown

Riverdale Farm, Regent Park Aquatic Centre, Regent Park Community Centre and Regent Park Ice Rink are all open on Family Day, Feb. 19, 2018.

Regent Park Aquatic Centre: leisure swim, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Please note that, due to technical issues, the hot tub and tot pool are both closed this weekend and on the holiday Monday.

Riverdale Farm: regular hours, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Regent Park Community Centre: Family movie and crafts, ages 6+, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Pancakes being served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Regent Park Rink – Shinny for all ages, 10 a.m. to noon and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. public skate is noon to 4 p.m. 

Posted in Events