The Cabbagetowner


Holiday lights contest will kick off December 1

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: time for the 3rd Annual Cabbagetown Holiday Lights contest! 
In what has become a popular annual tradition, it’s time to show off Cabbagetown’s houses in all of their illuminated glory. Whether the inspiration leans toward Martha Stewart or maybe the Griswold Family, show off your decorating style or nominate one of your neighbours!
There are three ways you can enter:
– Post a photo to Twitter 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.
Photos can be submitted anytime between Friday, December 1 and Tuesday, 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 is live from Dec. 15 to Dec. 26  to not give too much of an advantage to those who submit early. However, don’t wait too long to enter or vote!
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, 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.
In order to spread the holiday joy around the neighbourhood, past 1st place winners are ineligible to win again, but we certainly encourage them to keep up the decorating spirit!
Last year’s winners are below:
Decorated tree on Wellesley Avenue holiday-lights-winner-web
First Place: Wellesley 3a Winning household: Steve O’Connor and neighbour Fiona

Row of Aberdeen Avenue houses with lights Jack Cox
Second Place: Aberdeen 1 Jack Cox being presented with trophy by CRA President Phil Frei

House on Geneva with lights mckenna petersen
Third Place: Geneva 1 Mckenna Petersen and her dad being presented with trophy by CRA Vice President James Wood


Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday: November 1977

Volunteer Eric Morse resumes his treasure-hunting through the 7 News, published in the former Ward 7, Toronto, that included Cabbagetown. Let’s travel back to Nov. 5, 1977.

Much of the social infrastructure of downtown Toronto was getting its start in the 1970s, and some institutions that are now solidly established in the community were still on precarious ground. The November 5, 1977 issue of 7 News had some good news about Nellie’s women’s shelter, following the previous issue’s bad news (“End of the Line for Nellie’s”). Nellie’s, which was about to be evicted by the YMCA from rented premises on Broadview Avenue as the land had been sold to a developer, managed a last-minute purchase of the property for the (now almost trifling) sum of $70,000. There were still hurdles to overcome as funding had to be found for a new fire alarm system and furnace, neither of which was covered by the CMHC loan that made the purchase possible. (The funding was clearly found as Nellie’s is happily still with us 40 years later and just had its 44th AGM in August – )

The Letters column reproduced in full a letter protesting Nellie’s closure, which had run (somewhat bowdlerized) in the Globe.

Seniors’ activism was getting a start in Toronto. The issue notes the expansion of Toronto chapters of Canadian Pensioners Concerned advocacy group (accompanied by a somewhat unsympathetic cartoon).

In 1977, eight years before the Air India bombing of 1985, the old City of Toronto had a comparatively small South Asian population and they were finding it hard to gain acceptance. A spokesperson for the community noted that the Ontario school system “ignores half the world.”

A quarter-page ad by Premier Bill Davis and Culture and Recreation Minister Robert Welch extolled the virtues of the brand new Metro Public Library (now the Reference Library and a venerated public space) at 789 Yonge.


Contrast, a black community newspaper, noted that an inmate gang at the Don Jail calling itself “The OHIP Gang” (because it gave OHIP so many customers), had been attacking attacking other prisoners of colour. MPP Ed Ziemba called on prison authorities to preserve law and order “inside and outside of prison.” 

And finally, with the onset of serious Autumn, Bonnie Sartori (“Bonita’s Eats”) has a soup recipe that “should last longer than most marriages do these days.” And it’s adaptable for vegetarian tastes. Feeds a battalion.

Crime Alert

Police seeking information on Sherbourne Street stabbing Oct. 31

Toronto police have reported that a man suffered serious injuries when he was stabbed at Sherbourne and Shuter streets at 5:27 a.m. Oct. 31.

A Toronto Paramedic Services spokesperson said the victim, about 35 years old, “suffered stab wounds and was taken in serious condition to a trauma centre.”

Toronto police closed Sherbourne in both directions between Dundas and Shuter streets for the investigation.

Anyone with information should contact 51 Division police at 416-808-5100 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), online at or text TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637).

Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday: The Legend of Stinky’s Park

Keith Lawrance contributes this week’s Throwback Thursday.

This story is about an area slightly outside of our boundaries but the story is entertaining enough that we thought you might enjoy it.

As you probably know, Regent Park was the original Cabbagetown and there are many stories there from days gone by. 

At the south-east corner of Sumach and Shuter Streets ( is a small parkette officially (although not creatively) called the Sumach-Shuter Parkette. The parkette was the former site of the Coulter Brass building until the early 1960s. On the southwest corner today is a small, but popular coffee shop called Sumach Espresso – but in the early 1960s it was a corner store run by an older gentleman. Children of the time used to buy bulk candy there, but the owner was notoriously impatient and the kids complained that the store had a peculiar odour. 

According to an account posted on the Cabbagetown Regent Park Museum website, one day the proprietor ejected a few of the kids and after one of the kids yelled “This place smells like you let off forty beer farts”, the children ran across the street to the parkette and colloquially named it “Stinky’s Park,” which caught on more widely in the area. It’s not clear if it was the source of the odour but, when new owners purchased the store, they found cash stuffed into the walls and floorboards – which must have taken the sting out of living next to Stinky’s Park somewhat. 

The original version of this story ( appears on the Cabbagetown Regent Park Museum website. The CRPM is currently raising funds( to create a new website and can be followed on also.

Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday: Bird’s eye view of Cabbagetown from 1876

This week’s look back in time is to our neighbourhood in 1876 as sketched by P.A. Gross ( In a remarkable feat of stamina over 3 years, Mr. Gross walked every street and laneway in Toronto while drawing 14,000 private and public buildings. His illustrations were then combined to create a “birds eye view” map that is 5 ft x 3 ft in size showing the city as it was at that time.

This section of the map shows the Toronto General Hospital on Gerrard St. E. between Sumach and Pine St. (now Sackville St.), and a much sparser housing landscape than we have today.

Image of Cabbagetown Map

See the entire map at Historical Maps of Toronto (

Note: If you look at the lower right side of the full map in the section showing individual buildings, you will also see an image of the Nasmith Bakery which we have written about in a past feature.

Did You Know...? Issues Safety and Security

Did you know… you can call 311 if you find hazardous materials like needles?

Some things are not just meant to be left lying around, including hazardous materials including needles/syringes and other types of paraphernalia. Staff at our Ward 28 office and Toronto Public Health have advised us that we can contact 311 to pick up hazardous material like needles or other paraphernalia. They move pretty quickly when it is reported that needles or pipes have been found in our parks and laneways. 311 is staffed 24/7.

They have also suggested that people can use a pair of kitchen tongs to safely pick up an item if you need to dispose of it before the city arrives. If you are attempting to pick up a needle, please put it in some kind of a hard container (ex. metal coffee can, Tupperware container) before throwing it in the trash. When contacting 311, make note of your reference number and if making multiple reports keep referencing that prior reference number. This helps the city track requests and ultimately deploy more resources where they are needed.

Disposing of a small baggie that might have contained drugs requires less caution than a needle. Certainly do wash your hands after handling, and you may wish to use gloves or tongs, but there is little danger to just picking up and throwing away an empty bag. Street drugs, even when cut or laced with fentanyl and other adulterants, do not pose a significant risk of opioid toxicity unless ingested. However, spotting a bag might be a sign that a needle or pipe is nearby.

Below are images of what a harm reduction kit might contain. In the images you will see two “spoons” used in the injection of drugs, as well as a blue tie off, alcohol wipes, and needles. Spotting one of these items on the street might mean there is other paraphernalia nearby. Other kinds of spoons are illustrated in the other image.
image of harm reduction kit contents image of 3 spoons

Local Interest Polls Programs

Parks & Trails wayfinding sign design – online survey

You might have noticed the new wayfinding signs in Riverdale Park West and in the lower Don Valley along the trails. This is part of a pilot project and the city would like your opinions on the designs they have used.

UPDATE: If you would like to share your views, the survey deadline has been extended until November 5: many people will be in the park on November 1 for the Cabbagetown Residents Association Pumpkin Walk, so take a few moments then to look at the signage and provide your feedback!

Pilot Project Survey on Parks & Trails Wayfinding Sign Design (

Local writer Doug Fisher has posted on his October 5 blog that the Cabbagetown Heritage Conservation District and Friends of Riverdale Park have provided their opinions already.

Crime Alert Crime Prevention Safety and Security

Crime alert: Local thefts – photos available of person of interest

The man pictured below is a person of interest related to some local thefts. If you see him, please contact Toronto Police at 416-808-2222.

Friday September 15 at Stout Irish Pub (, this person was captured on video attempting to enter a number of staff-only rooms and was found 5 minutes later in a staff washroom routing through lockers, purses and bags. He was confronted and left, but some money and cigarettes were later found to be missing. In another incident, a resident has posted ( that they believe the same person is responsible for a residential break-in and took money intended for a charity. Both incidents have been reported to Toronto Police. In a separate incident, he was seen in unauthorized areas around the Local GEST.

Click images for larger versions

If you have any information about this or any other matter of similar concern – call Toronto Police. Also, be sure to report crimes of any severity or value to the police as they monitor these reports and assign resources accordingly. If you would like to let fellow residents know also, please contact us and let us know what you would be comfortable with us sharing.

Toronto Police:
416-808-2222 for non-emergency inquiries
911 for emergencies and crimes in progress
Toronto Police CORE (Citizen Online Report Entry)
Toronto Police Bicycle Registration Form

how to report a crime - click for PDF


Vacancy for Office of Councillor in Ward 28 to be filled by appointment

Since Pam McConnell’s death in July of this year, there has been a vacancy for the position of Councillor. City Council voted on October 4 to fill the role by appointment instead of holding an election. If you are interested in applying for the position, they have provided candidate requirements on their website. An information session about the position will be held on Tuesday October 17 and the deadline for filing an application is 4:30 p.m. on Monday October 23.

Vacancy for Office of Councillor in City of Toronto’s Ward 28 Toronto Centre-Rosedale to be filled by appointment

More information about the appointment process is available on the City of Toronto website at

Local Business News

Welcome to Fancy Franks

Welcome to a new business in the neighbourhood – Fancy Franks! They opened Wednesday October 4 at 484 Parliament St. and they are packing them in already.

Image of storefront

Become a Member

Household Membership

Just $20 Per Year

Learn More

Newsletter Sign-Up

Learn More