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Property tax dates: First payment due March 1 for most

There are many options in Toronto for paying property tax, with most having a first payment on March 1 on the interim bill (set out before city council sets the tax rate for 2019). However, one option, the 11-payment installment plan, has a first payment of Feb. 15.

So check your mail, see what kind of plan in which you’ve enrolled, and get that payment date into your calendar.

Read all the details from the city notice:

The City of Toronto has issued its 2019 interim property tax bills – the first of two tax bills mailed annually. The 2019 final tax bill will be mailed in May.

Payment due dates for the interim tax bills under the three-instalment plan are March 1, April 1 and May 1.

For property owners enrolled in the Pre-Authorized Tax Payment (PTP) program, the 2019 interim tax due dates are:
• Two-instalment plan: March 1
• Six-instalment plan: March 1, April 1, May 1
• Eleven-instalment plan: February 15, March 15, April 15, May 15, June 17

Payments can be made through banks or financial institutions, by cheque or in person at the City’s inquiry and payment counters. Locations and hours of operation are available at Property owners should pay early to ensure payment reaches the City’s office before the due date.

Residents who have recently purchased a property and pay their property taxes through  pre-authorized payments or their banking or financial institution are reminded to update their account information with the City or with their financial institution to avoid incurring fees from misdirected payments. Property owners can sign up with Canada Post epost™ to receive a digital property tax bill. Visit for details.

Property owners can access their property tax account details by using the online Property Tax Lookup tool available at or by speaking to a customer service representative at 311, available Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Customers outside of city limits can call 416-392-CITY (2489) and TTY users can call 416-392-0719.

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Cabbagetown Lights 2018 – a tie for first!

This year was the fourth Cabbagetown Holiday Lights contest (#CabbagetownLights) and was another successful festive event. Once again, all the photos showed our neighbourhood in a great light. After all the votes were counted, for the first time ever, we have a tie for first!

The home of Paloma Ellard and Matthew Scott (and dog Panda) overlooking Wellesley Park from Hillcrest Park, and Bryan Hewitt and Steffen Ploeger’s house on Wellesley St. East,  share the crown this year.

Wellesley St. East was well represented in this year’s event, with houses on the street also coming in second place as well as tied for third with the Christmas Tree Lot on Spruce Street.

The contest received 375 votes, close to the number of votes received in 2016 (2017 shattered the record at more than 800). Like other years, there was a rush of votes at the very end of the contest period. Thanks to board director Tyler Fleming for running the contest.Congrats to the winners and all participants for another great neighbourhood showcase! And a reminder to all, it’s never too early to start planning next year’s lighting extravanganza.

You can view the full gallery of holiday lights photos on our Cabbagetowner Facebook page.

Posted in Events

Cabbagetown according to … Annette Robertson

Annette Robertson and her family live near Sackville-Amelia.

Best place in Cabbagetown for a bite to eat… Hey Lucy! Kids eat free on Tuesdays and the food is as delicious for grown-ups as it is for children.

Cabbagetown needs …  a fish monger.

Favourite block …  Metcalfe, between Carlton and Winchester. The old brick between the sidewalk and street, mature trees, and majestic Victorians always take my breath away.

Best public space …  The Necropolis, for its history and paths that double as a safe place for children to cycle/scooter.

Favourite store … Labour of Love. My husband has gotten me a piece of jewelry by local artists there every year they’ve been in business.

Cabbagetown pet peeve …  The neighbourhood’s inability to keep its restaurants in business. We’ve seen too many close in the 17-odd years we’ve been here.

Cabbagetown’s best kept secret … All the laneways and side streets that boast the same calibre of architectural gems as our signature streets.

Best reason to join the Cabbagetown Residents Association (CRA) …  To give a voice to the variety of issues facing our community, from safety to quality of life. 

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Winter safety tips, canine edition

Des Ryan is a CRA board director and our safety and security lead. Photo of Beckett by neighbour Michael Rowe.

Winter has arrived.

I know: Thank you, Captain Obvious.

If this winter is anything like previous winters, we will be lulled into a false sense of security with a few warm days, and then, BAM. The bitter cold will hit again.

A few quick reminders for those brutally cold days.

When you have to go outside, bundle up — really bundle up. And that goes for your dog as well. If your dog is like most, it will take one sniff of the cold air and turn around, leaving you standing there, all set for the “as required” walk. Your dog is not a fool.

But your dog still needs to piddle, so just bear in mind that, as cold as it is for you, it is cold for your dog as well.

This is not the time for that Trim-to-the-Wood grooming. If you do have to shave your dog down, or if your dog is a short-haired, think about getting a warm sweater or coat that covers from tail to neck and around the belly.

And then there are the booties. Seriously. The salt on our public sidewalks can be intense. If your dog is not the boot-wearing type, consider any number of protectants that can be massaged into paw pads. Be aware that ice can build up between the pads during the walk, causing irritation and/or pain. A cloth or your warm fingers to defrost the ice will help.

After the walk, be sure to wipe your dog’s paws off thoroughly to ensure that the salt and chemicals and whatever else they use on the ice doesn’t soak into your pup.

And, just as we burn up a little extra energy during winter months (some of us less than others, of course…), your dog burns up more trying to stay warm, even if you do just go for the Speed Walk around the block. Might want to give Sparky a little extra food during these cold months.

Finally, we all know that ethylene glycol (antifreeze) can be lethal if ingested. Knowing that dogs eat snow to hydrate during a walk, be sure to clean up any spills you may have when you fill up the antifreeze in your car. A very small amount is extraordinarily toxic for animals.

More cold weather tips for dogs are available at Pets are also welcome at all 24-Hour Respite Sites. More information about services, including the 24-Hour Respite Sites, is available at

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Toronto City Council highlights Dec. 4, 5 and 13, 2018

Council Highlights is a summary of selected decisions that Toronto City Council has made at its business meetings. The City Clerk’s full, official documentation is available at

Governance under 26-member Council
Council adopted an interim committee structure that includes four standing committees called Economic and Community Development, General Government and Licensing, Infrastructure and Environment, and Planning and Housing. In addition, Council established a Special Committee on Governance with terms of reference to consider how the reduction in Council’s size from 45 members last term to 26 members this term will impact the City’s governance structures and processes.

Appointments to committees and boards   
Council approved various Council member appointments to committees and City boards such as the Toronto Transit Commission and the Toronto Zoo board. Most of the appointments are for the first two years of the current 2018-22 Council term.

Housing Now action plan
Council adopted recommendations and motions aimed at increasing Toronto’s supply of new, affordable housing – including approval to develop 11 City-owned surplus sites identified for the development of affordable housing in mixed-income, mixed-use, transit-oriented communities. Council approved a set of guiding principles to facilitate delivery of the City’s Housing Now initiative.

Cannabis stores in Toronto   
Council voted in favour of permitting provincially licensed cannabis retail stores to operate in Toronto. The decision is Council’s response to Ontario giving municipalities the option of opting out of having licensed cannabis stores within their boundaries. The City will ask the province to grant it regulatory authority to restrict the specific locations of cannabis stores.

King Street transit pilot project 
Council decided to extend the King Street transit pilot project between Bathurst and Jarvis Streets until July 31, 2019 to provide time to further evaluate the pilot project before deciding whether or not to make it permanent. The goal in undertaking the pilot project a year ago was to improve transit reliability, speed and capacity on Toronto’s busiest surface transit route.

Toronto’s transit system   
Council adopted a series of motions concerning Toronto’s transit system, including noting Council’s support for keeping ownership of the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) with the City of Toronto. The City will pursue negotiating joint terms of reference to guide discussion with the Ontario government on the alignment of transit responsibilities, giving consideration to the City’s guiding principles on transit.

Massey Square bridge         
Council requested the preparation of a City report on a range of issues pertaining to the recent collapse of the pedestrian bridge at Massey Square. The report is to include recommendations on improving safety standards for privately-owned, publicly accessible bridges. Massey Square bridge connects an elementary school and nearby apartments.

Efforts to improve road safety     
Council directed the Budget Committee to consider allocating additional funds to Vision Zero as part of the City’s 2019 budget process to accelerate the rollout of the Vision Zero road safety project. Council’s direction to staff included the implementation of all remaining school safety zones by the end of 2019. The City will have installed 74 senior safety zones, 128 school safety zones and 268 community safety zones by the end of this year (2018).

Protecting vulnerable road users
Council voted to express its support to the Province of Ontario with respect to Bill 62, the Protecting Vulnerable Road Users Act. The bill, if passed, will allow for more serious consequences for drivers involved in collisions that seriously injure or kill a vulnerable road user. The term vulnerable road users generally refers to seniors, children, people with limited mobility and cyclists.

Funding for cycling infrastructure
Council decided to ask the federal government to fund the shortfall created by the cancellation of provincial financial contributions to support cycling infrastructure in Toronto over the next three years. In addition, the City will request the federal government to create a long-term strategy for investment in walking and cycling infrastructure in cities and communities across Canada.

Safety of vehicles for hire
Council agreed to ask staff to include recommendations to increase the training requirements of private transportation companies and other vehicles-for-hire in Toronto for the sake of public safety. Council’s decision on this item also calls for the establishment of a new public reporting process on the safety records/performance of private transportation companies and licence holders.

Appointment of Deputy City Manager   
Council appointed Tracey Cook as the City’s Deputy City Manager, Infrastructure and Development Services. Cook, who has been Toronto’s executive director of Municipal Licensing and Standards since 2012, is scheduled to start work in her new role at the end of January.

Collective agreement with firefighters 
Council approved a memorandum of agreement between the City and the Toronto Professional Fire Fighters, Local 3888 for a five-year collective agreement that takes effect January 1, 2019. The parties resolved 23 operational and non-monetary items during negotiations this fall, leading to an agreement in principle on December 4 and the signing of the agreement on December 5.

Future of Ontario Place
Council agreed to ask the Ontario government to work with the City on any potential future redevelopment of the Ontario Place site on the Toronto waterfront. In addition, Council will request the province to conduct an open consultation process on the site’s possible redevelopment. The province recently announced the dissolution of the governing body of Ontario Place and indicated an interest in redevelopment of the lands.

Council’s meeting schedule for 2019
Council adopted a meeting schedule for City Council and its committees in 2019. Twelve meetings of Council will be held, generally with two days designated for each meeting. The meetings will normally run from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2 to 6 p.m. Committee meetings routinely include evening hours, from 7:30 to 10 p.m.

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Cabbagetown according to … Tyler Fleming

Tyler Fleming has been a CRA board director since 2015 and is the founder and organizer or our annual Cabbagetown Holiday Lights contest.

Best place in Cabbagetown for a bite to eat … The House on Parliament is my go-to for dinner or brunch. For good sushi in a quiet spot, I go to Ki on Gerrard.

Cabbagetown needs …  More people coming to businesses and more commercial activity on Parliament closer to Gerrard.

Favourite block …  The stretch of Carlton heading to Riverdale Park that contains the old brick paving.

Best public space …  The Don River Valley Park and the Lower Don Trail are so close and just a great way to get a bit of nature in the city.

Favourite store … Steak and Chops or Epicure.

Cabbagetown pet peeve …  People who don’t shovel to keep the sidewalks clear in winter.

Cabbagetown’s best-kept secret …  The hidden park in the area bordered by Sackville, Spruce and Carlton.

Best reason to join the Cabbagetown Residents Association (CRA) …  To stay on top of what’s happening in the neighbourhood, contribute to community discussions and support great local community initiatives.


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Happy holidays! Our 2018 card winners

The results are in: this year we had six winners selected from Winchester Park P.S. and Sprucecourt P.S. for the Cabbagetown Holiday Card Contest. You’ll see five of them here: one parent declined having that child’s artwork shared outside the school. 

In this post, the five winning illustrations, from top to bottom, are created by:
* Manha, Winchester 
* Hahed, Winchester 
* Tashfifa, Sprucecourt
* William, Sprucecourt
* Lubaba, Sprucecourt 

Thanks to Sam Richardson and  Lindsay Matheson for organizing and the contest, which drew more than 400 participants between our two local public schools. The winners’ work has been framed and is on display over the holidays at Epicure shop on Parliament Street, and each winner gets a pizza party for her or his class, all sponsored by the CRA.

Many thanks to our three volunteer judges:

Kristie Prieur has 15-plus years experience in the advertising and marketing industry. Currently, she works for Reebok managing their Canadian brand marketing efforts. Just as Albert Einstein said, she believes that “Creativity is intelligence having fun.”

Karen Whaley is an arts marketing professional and an amateur art historian. She’s currently a full-time parent of two kids and a board member at Heritage Toronto, where she serves as Chair of their Awards Jury Committee. 

Betty White is a professional artist and art teacher. She taught art to children for 28 years at Montcrest School and continues to teach children in her Cabbagetown home since her retirement. She also actively exhibits her art work and had her last show in June 2017 at Teodora Art Gallery. Read more on her website. 

These artworks have been made into cards  printed and distributed to households within the CRA boundaries of Gerrard (south), Parliament (west), St. James Cemetery (north) and the Don Valley (east).

Thanks to volunteer graphic designer Chris Moorehead for designing the cards and CRA president Marc Simmons for organizing the distribution.

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Voting site now live for the 2018 Cabbagetown Holiday Lights contest

The day you’ve been waiting for has arrived! You can now cast your vote for your favourite Cabbagetown Holiday Lights, 2018 version.

Go the voting site between now and Dec. 26 to cast your ballot for your favourite neighbourhood decorations.

Want to add a new entry? If you use Twitter or Facebook, post your picture using the hashtag #CabbagetownLights or email it to Our volunteer contest elf will then get your image posted onto the voting site. 

Read all about the contest in our earlier announcement post!

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Throwback Thursday: Transit in Cabbagetown

Our historian Eric Morse has rifted on the news of the final Metropass featuring Cabbagetown artwork to explore transit and Cabbagetown. 
Last week we were greeted with the exciting news that the last TTC Metropass ever to be issued will be the December 2018 version, and will feature Cabbagetown!

In honour of this historic neighbourhood event, I was  inspired to pull together a  brief illustrated history of Transit in Cabbagetown, sourced mainly from the good bloggers at , and focusing on routes long departed.

Organized urban transit in Toronto began in 1849 with horse-drawn cars, and reached Cabbagetown in the early 1870s. The service, under a succession of private companies, was electrified in the course of the 1890s, and finally the TTC was formed in 1921.

The TTC routes that service modern Cabbagetown are the 65 Parliament bus, the 75 Sherbourne bus, the 94 Wellesley buses, and the 506 Carlton and 505 Dundas streetcars.

James Bow, a transit enthusiast and author, says that “by 1910, Winchester cars operated from downtown Toronto via Yonge, Carlton, Parliament and Winchester to Sumach Street. Parliament cars were looping downtown via Yonge, Front and Bay and running via Queen, Parliament and Gerrard Streets to Greenwood Avenue. Carlton cars bridged the gap between Gerrard and Carlton, as part of its service from Broadview and Gerrard to the Downtown via Gerrard, Parliament, Carlton and Yonge.”

Few images of the Winchester car actually on Winchester Street survive. Here’s one from 1923 of the tracks looking westward toward Sackville from where the double tracks became single, with a “wye” (Y) turn at Sumach. (The wye terminals allowed the use of single-ended cars (with a driver’s seat at one end only, as now. They must also have been dreadfully noisy neighbours.)

A second photo shows a Peter Witt car in service at Queen and Church in 1921. The Winchester end of the route saw a gradual decline in ridership (it’s not THAT far a walk from Parliament to Sumach!), was converted to bus service in 1924, and went out of service entirely in 1930.

The Sherbourne car came into service as far north as Carlton in 1874. For some years it then ran along Carlton to Parliament but trackage was extended up Sherbourne to Bloor in 1878, and in 1883 the route was split into the Sherbourne and Winchester routes. From 1891 to 1923, service on Sherbourne was run as a circular (“Belt Line”) loop (Sherbourne, Bloor, Spadina and King) and soon electrified. In 1923, the new TTC did away with the Belt Line and re-established the Sherbourne car. Here’s Peter Witt car 2102 at the Rosedale Loop at the top end of the run in April 1946.

Oddly, the remaining photos of Sherbourne cars are all of the Peter Witt design. We say oddly because James Bow notes in his description of the route that the Sherbourne trackage was a pre-First World War legacy, never extensively rebuilt.

“As a result, Sherbourne Street maintained a narrower “devilstrip” (the pavement between the tracks) that was not wide enough to allow two newer generation streetcars to pass.

As a result, Peter Witt cars were rare visitors to Sherbourne Street (although some did operate on the infrequently scheduled King-Sherbourne tripper service), and it’s likely that PCC cars never operated on Sherbourne Street in revenue servi

After the Second World War, with the tracks in desperate need of replacement, and the TTC favouring new buses over maintaining its streetcar fleet, Sherbourne Street became one of the first streetcar routes to be abandoned as part of the TTC’s post-war contraction of its streetcar network. Streetcars were replaced by buses on January 5, 1947, and the tracks were torn up or buried soon afterward.

Sherbourne streetcars are thus long departed, but (courtesy of my fun with photoshop), here’s what it would have undoubtedly looked like if it had still been around in this century (below).

The historic Parliament streetcar route, now succeeded by the 65 bus, is very old indeed, and its roots apparently tangled enough that in his Toronto Transit commentary, James Bow does not give a detailed chronology. Bow states that by 1910, “Parliament cars were looping downtown via Yonge, Front and Bay and running via Queen, Parliament and Gerrard Streets to a wye at Greenwood Avenue. Carlton cars bridged the gap between Gerrard and Carlton, as part of its service from Broadview and Gerrard to the Downtown via Gerrard, Parliament, Carlton and Yonge.”

There were no tracks north of Winchester until after the Second World War; they were built only in 1924, running up to an off-street loop  a stone’s throw from where Castle Frank station is now. It was the extension of the Parliament line to Bloor that killed the Winchester streetcar, and the construction of the Bloor-Danforth (Line 2) subway in 1968 that killed the Parliament car. The 65 bus succeeded it, and today there is only scheduled streetcar service on Parliament from Carlton to Gerrard.
TTC air-electric PCC (“Red Rocket”) #4196 waits at Viaduct Loop (now the Rekai Family Parkette just south of Bloor).

PCC 4377 heads southbound on Parliament while a Carlton PCC prepares to turn north from Gerrard in this 1965 shot. This is a lovely, atmospheric shot.

And finally, this dramatic winter scene of the 506 at Carlton and Ontario by your humble correspondent, which, coincidentally, can be found in The Tilted Dog Xmas Crafts Show coming up December 8!!.

All of the historic cars of the Toronto transit era from the 1890s onward can be viewed, lovingly restored, at the Halton Radial Railway Museum , just about an hour outside of Toronto. Two of them, the first electric-driven model from 1894

and Peter Witt #2894 (The Peter Witts were in TTC service 1921-1965), can be ridden!

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Cabbagetown Holiday Lights contest, 2018

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: time for the fourth annual Cabbagetown Holiday Lights contest!

In what has become a popular annual tradition, every December Cabbagetowners get to see our neighbourhood’s houses in all of their illuminated glory. Last year more than 800 people (a new record) voted for their favourite, with Paul and Thea Sywulych’s house on Spruce Street. taking the top prize. 

You can enter your own home or nominate one of your neighbours. There are three ways you can enter:

– Post a photo to Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #cabbagetownlights;

– Post a photo to our Facebook page timeline with the hashtag #cabbagetownlights;

– or email us your photo at 

Please include the address of the home in the photo so we can include the street name on the voting website and know how to contact the residents if their house wins.

Check out our gallery of photos of last year’s submissions (opens a link to our facebook page).

Photos can be submitted anytime between Friday, November 30 and Wednesday, December 26. By submitting your photo, you consent to your photo being reproduced on a voting website that will contain all of the submissions. Photos will be identified by the house’s street but no names or other personal identifying details will be published. 

The voting website will go live on Friday, December 14 to not give too much of an advantage to those who submit early. However, don’t wait too long to enter! The link to the voting website will be shared on and social media when it is live.

UPDATE DECEMBER 14: Follow this link to the live voting site site!

Whichever three photo submissions have the most votes by the end of the day on December 26 wins a trophy, a one-year membership to the Cabbagetown Residents Association (CRA), and bragging rights! The top three vote-getting houses will get to display a lawn sign marking their achievement. For the purpose of determining resident winners, when the same house is photographed more than once, total votes will be counted. Only one vote will be allowed per IP address; however, you can switch your vote anytime up until the deadline.

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