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In a Georgia state of mind: the “other” Cabbagetown

Your Cabbagetowner, to keep abreast of news and views about our corner of Toronto, searches daily throughout the digital universe for mentions about Cabbagetown.

And your C-towner is here to report: most of the news comes from a place many of you do not know exists.

For there is another Cabbagetown, dear Torontonians. And it is weirdly, wonderfully, like our Toronto Cabbagetown.

So here is your introduction to Cabbagetown, Atlanta, Georgia. The article quoted here was written by Gina Hannah for “Great American Neighbourhoods“.

Annotations from your Cabbagetowner scribe are in italics.

Cabbagetown, Atlanta: What it’s like to live here

On Atlanta’s east side [east side!] Cabbagetown is one of several neighborhoods in the city with a rich history [rich history!]

Adjacent to Atlanta’s oldest graveyard, Oakland Cemetery, [hello St. James and Necropolis] Cabbagetown is connected to Inman Park [aka Riverdale] via the Krog Street Tunnel, which is known for its street art and graffiti. [Broadcast Lane and so much more]

Its cultural heritage is one of Southern Appalachia, of poor families who moved from the mountains of North Georgia to Atlanta to work in the textile mills there. [We’ll match you one wave of Irish immigrants who worked in many industries.]

The community is resilient, having survived urban decay, gentrification, large structure fires, floods and tornados over the years. [OK, maybe no tornado, but we do have Hurricane Hazel 1956 and flooding, urban decay, block-busting, and gentrification.]

Long-time residents still gather and socialize at the Savannah Street Neighborhood House. [Translation: House on Parliament 🙂 ]

There are differing stories about how the neighborhood got its name: In one tale, the moniker is said to have been derived from the presence of cabbage heads grown in the gardens of residents’ yards. [We agree with that version!]

Another story says the name came from the number of grocer’s trucks selling cabbages in the neighborhood. In yet another story, the driver of one of those trucks flipped while turning a sharp corner, spilling dozens of cabbages on the road.

The neighborhood’s historic district, called simply Cabbagetown District, is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. [Hey, parts of our Cabbagetown are Heritage Conservation Districts. We’re with you on this one.]

The area is the location of one of the South’s first textile processing mills, the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill, which was built on the former site of the Atlanta Rolling Mill. Surrounding the factory was a neighborhood of small cottages and one- and two-story shotgun shacks. [Cottages: see Wellesley Cottages, and many more.]

After the mill closed in 1976, the neighborhood went into decline. During the 1990s, revitalization efforts ramped up, transforming the neighborhood into a community of art galleries, restaurants and shops. [We’re working on it. Not so many art galleries, but we’re home to an amazing concentration of dance companies. Restaurants and shops? Check and check.]

The community is an artsy, hip place with an edge, and it attracts a diverse range of residents. A “wallkeepers committee” manages the artwork on outdoor walls in the neighborhood. [“Hip place with an edge.” Let’s go with it.]

When the weather is good, residents can gather at Cabbagetown Park, located on Kirkwood Avenue, on the first and third Friday nights of each month for a picnic supper and movie. [Riverdale Park West movie night! Farmers’ market each Tuesday! And of course our beloved Riverdale Farm.]

Groups also gather at the park for yoga and other exercise, and parents take their children to the playground. [See Wellesley Park splash pad and playground, Riverdale Park West wading pond and playing fields. I do declare this Cabbagetowner has indeed done yoga in Riverdale Park, thanks to sessions set up by local yoga teachers.]

Each November, the neighborhood hosts the Chomp and Stomp bluegrass and chili festival in Cabbagetown Park. This event draws to Cabbagetown more than 100 chili cooks, including individuals and restaurants, 65 artists and about 20,000 people. Proceeds benefit the neighborhood’s parks and other public spaces. [We see you one spring Forsythia Festival organized by the residents’ association and raise you one Cabbagetown Festival supported by our local BIA.]

The festival also includes a 5k road race that attracts more than 15,000 runners. [This is getting freaky. Hello, Blair’s Run.]

The Cabbagetown Neighborhood Improvement Association is actively involved in historic preservation and land use, welcoming new residents and co-ordinating community events. [And your Cabbagetown Residents Association is here to help you in just the very same way, working with our historic preservation colleagues at the Cabbagetown Preservation Association.]

Posted in Local Interest
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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 will go live on Friday, December 15 to not give too much of an advantage to those who submit early. However, don’t wait too long to enter!
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


Posted in Events

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.

Posted in Throwback Thursday
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City Council appoints Lucy Troisi as Councillor for Ward 28

At a special meeting of City Council on Nov. 2, Lucy Troisi was appointed as Councillor for Ward 28 Toronto Centre-Rosedale. The appointment is effective immediately and until the current term of City Council expires on November 30, 2018.

A total of 31 candidates participated in the appointment process. Each candidate was given an opportunity to address Council and answer questions at the meeting.

City Council voted to use an appointment process to fill this vacancy, caused by the death in June of Councillor Pam McConnell, at its October meeting. The appointment process involved candidates indicating their interest by submitting an application and attending today’s special meeting. Initially 37 individuals had submitted an application but six of those did not participate in the final steps.

Troisi, a long-time city employee who grew up in Regent Park and now lives in Ward 28, told a CBC reporter the ward “has always been home.” She is currently the executive director of the Cabbagetown Youth Centre and a former manager with the city’s parks and recreation department. She said elsewhere she will be taking a leave of absence from the youth centre while she serves a year as city councillor.

Read the City of Toronto news release.

Posted in Politics
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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).

Posted in Crime Alert
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CRA safety and security survey

Your residents’ association directors would like wider feedback about Cabbagetown safety and security concerns so we can better plan education and interventions, and advocate on your behalf with the city and police.

We are running a Safety and Security Survey that we invite all residents to take. The survey will remain open for two weeks from Monday, Oct. 30 to Monday, Nov. 14. We will report on the survey results in a future newsletter.

Please take the Cabbagetown Residents Association safety and security survey.

Posted in Crime Prevention, Uncategorized
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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.

Posted in Throwback Thursday
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Autumn safety tips

Des Ryan is a retired police officer and a Cabbagetown Residents Association Board Director. He provides occasional articles on keeping safe and secure in our neighbourhood.

Unless you live under a rock, you are probably aware that school is back in session, everyone is back to work, and that the traffic in this city is likely worse than it ever was. Not only that, the days are getting shorter.

Thanks for that, Des, and what does that have to do with safety? you say.

Well, you may find yourself doing that pre-dawn or after-dinner run or quick spin on the bike in the dark. Or you may find that it’s a lot darker when your walking Bowser, both in the morning and at night. As a result, you may not be as visible to motorists as you were just a week or two ago. When it comes to your safety, See and Be Seen is a great mantra.

– Wear that reflective jacket.
– Consider a headlamp as well as activating the lighting system on your bike.
– Make sure that car stops before you cross the road with the pup because there is always the possibility that the driver just did not see you.

We recently held a safety and security walk with representatives from city hall and 51 Division of Toronto Police Services and we noted that burned-out street lights are a particular issue in these early-dark evenings. If you see a street or alleyway light not working, do not contact the city’s 3-1-1 line – they do not take Toronto Hydro calls. Kelly Sather, constituency assistant for the Ward 28 office, invites you to contact her at and she will expedite the repair with Toronto Hydro.

Another change is the falling leaves. As September moves to October, the number of leaves falling on our streets increases exponentially. Be aware that driving on wet leaves can be similar to driving on ice: stopping, starting, and, when there is any speed involved, even turning can be challenging. Give that car in front of you a little extra space, watch your speed, and remember that that not all pedestrians are wearing florescent yellow jackets.

And then, I’m sorry to say, there is frost. Yes, one day, sooner or later, you are going to walk out and see that crispy film on your windshield. At first, a shot of hot air will do it but, eventually, you will need to scrape the icy coating off by hand. Be prepared:

– Start looking now for that ice scraper you put somewhere special last spring so you wouldn’t lose it like you do every year.
– Make sure you have an extra container of antifreeze in the car.
– Schedule your appointment to get those snow tires put on to avoid spending an entire Saturday waiting at the garage with everyone else who put it off too long or, worse yet, find yourself slipping and sliding on the roads one morning after the first snowfall, cursing yourself (or whomever is responsible for car maintenance in your household) for not having recalled that snow does fall in Toronto every winter.

Back to frost on the windows: When you scrape the windows, do all of them. A tiny little hole just big enough for you to peep out of is not sufficient. You need to be able to see as much of what is in front, beside, and behind you as possible. I know you’re likely almost late for where you’re going even before you get to the car in the morning. I know it’s yuckier out than it looked from your front window. And, if you’re like me, I know you are still looking for your gloves so your fingers are getting cold. Take that extra couple of minutes to clear all of the frost and ice from your car windows. You need to be able to see your neighbour running up ahead, the cyclist coming up behind and beside you, and the old guy walking Bowser who suddenly decides that he needs to cross the street.

Safety is not an accident. It is an anticipated event. Be prepared and be safe. 

Posted in Safety and Security
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Shadowhunters TV series filming on Oct. 24

A TV series, Shadowhunters, is filming in two locations in our neighbourhood on Tuesday, Oct. 24.

And, heads up, the parking space bookings are among the biggest the Cabbagetowner has seen in recent memory. It seems half the ‘hood  street parking is reserved between 7 a.m. Oct. 23 and (with a couple exceptions) midnight Oct. 24 (the bureaucratic notice says 11:59 p.m. Oct. 24).

If you have any questions or concerts, please contact the location manager Richard Hughes at  (416) 896-8117

Film Location 1: Carlton Street between Ontario and Parliament streets: a  “walk and talk scene” from noon to midnight.

Film Location 2: Parliament and Winchester streets intersection: “car pulls up to stop light at intersection. Intermittent traffic stoppages under PDO supervision.” From noon to midnight.

Parking locations:

East side of Parliament Street between Wellesley Street East and Bloor Street East from Oct. 23, 7 a.m. to Oct. 25, 7 a.m.

South side of Winchester Street between Rose Avenue and Parliament Street  from Oct. 23 to 7 a.m. to Oct. 24 midnight.

Winchester Street between Parliament and Metcalfe streets: Oct. 23 7 a.m. to Oct. 24 midnight. 

East side of Parliament Street between Carlton Street and Wellesley Street East, Oct. 23 7 a.m. to Oct. 23 midnight.

West side of Berkeley Street between Doctor O Lane and Carlton Street , Oct. 23 7 a.m. to Oct. 24 midnight.

East side of Ontario Street between Carlton and Winchester streets, between Oct. 23  7 a.m. and Oct. 24 midnight.

Carlton Street between Sherbourne and Parliament streets, excluding rush hours: Oct. 23 7 a.m. to Oct. 24 midnight.

Posted in Film Shoots
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City Council highlights, Oct. 2, 3, and 4

City staff provides Council Highlights: is an informal summary of a selection of the decisions that Toronto City Council made at its recent business meeting. The City Clerk’s formal documentation is available at Among the highlights of interest to Cabbagetowners:

Creating new affordable rental housing

Council authorized financial incentives for the construction of 600 new affordable rental homes on provincial lands at 27 Grosvenor/26 Grenville Streets and in the West Don Lands. The City incentives include exemptions from development-related charges as well as from municipal taxation. In a separate action, Council authorized capital funding and City incentives to support another 298 new affordable rental homes at sites across the city through Toronto’s Open Door Program.

Home for Good

Council voted to authorize staff to take appropriate steps for the use of funding that the Ontario government is providing to the City under the program called Home for Good. The program will support the City’s provision of supportive housing and services for people who are chronically homeless and/or homeless with mental-health treatment needs.

Ravine strategy for Toronto

Council adopted a new Ravine Strategy for managing Toronto’s 10,500-hectare ravine system, directing that an implementation plan be developed and a Ravine Leaders Table convened. Staff were asked to consider incorporating the concept of ecological integrity into the final strategy. Related motions that were adopted address, for example, funding needed to support a ravine maintenance and litter strategy and to pay for a biological inventory and report.

Filling Ward 28 vacancy on Council

Council declared a vacancy in the office of Councillor, Ward 28 Toronto Centre-Rosedale (which represents Cabbagetown) and plans to fill the vacancy by appointing a person qualified to hold office in the City of Toronto. The selection will be made at a special meeting in the City Hall council chamber on November 2. The vacancy resulted from the recent passing of Deputy Mayor Pam McConnell. Application details are available on the City’s website,

Process for recognitions

Council voted in support of an approach presented by the Mayor to identify appropriate recognitions for the late Deputy Mayor Pam McConnell and Councillor Ron Moeser.

Heat in apartment buildings

Council called on staff to hold consultations to identify and report to the Tenant Issues Committee on ways to effectively deal with heat in apartment buildings, including maximum heat in apartment units. In September, many tenants suffered during a late September heat wave, in some cases as a result of their landlords turning on the heat and/or not turning on the central air conditioning that provides ventilation in tower-block apartment buildings.

Acceleration of Vision Zero planning

Council advised Transportation Services to include options that will accelerate Vision Zero planning, including the acceleration of the School Safety Program, as part of a progress report being prepared for the November meeting of the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee.

Drug overdoses in Toronto

Council decided to designate the Medical Officer of Health as co-ordinator of the City’s response to the drug overdose crisis, with the authority to direct and co-ordinate the City’s response across divisions and agencies. Council also agreed to make requests of the federal and Ontario governments to help with the response to, and reduction of, drug overdoses.

TOcore downtown plan

Council considered a planning document called TOcore: Proposed Downtown Plan that is in the works as a blueprint for growth and infrastructure in downtown Toronto over the next 25 years. This TOcore document will also provide an updated policy framework for downtown as the cultural, civic, retail and economic heart of Toronto and as a great place to live. Council directed staff to undertake consultation on the proposed plan, which is expected to lead to amendment of Toronto’s Official Plan in 2018.

Financial support for cultural facilities

The City is taking steps to establish a flow of property tax revenue designated to support arts and cultural facilities in Toronto. Council called for work on a new property tax sub-class for that purpose and also on making a formal request to the Ontario government concerning the new classification. This initiative is an effort to ensure that Toronto’s arts sector continues to thrive, helping make Toronto a destination for tourists and employers while contributing to a great quality of life for all residents.

Energy storage strategy

Council approved an energy storage strategy for the City of Toronto and asked staff to identify local opportunities for energy storage partnerships. Energy storage projects are seen as a low-carbon way to help achieve energy savings, provide local grid services, facilitate participation in provincial energy revenue programs and enhance the resilience of City facilities.

Symbols/flags promoting hate

Council asked for a review of City policies pertaining to displays on public property and for a report with recommendations to improve policies so as to hold event organizers/managers accountable and equip them to assess any symbol or flag, including the Confederate flag, used to promote hate and to remove them from events or from City property.

Backyard chickens pilot project

Council authorized a three-year pilot project permitting hens in backyard pens in Ward 5 Etobicoke-Lakeshore, Ward 13 Parkdale-High Park, Ward 21 St. Paul’s and Ward 32 Beaches-East York for personal consumption of eggs produced. Only residential properties – not apartment or condominium buildings – with sufficient outdoor space qualify for the pilot and participants will need to register with the City. The decision was part of a broader item about animals in the city.

Neighbourhood lending libraries

Council agreed to affirm its support for “little lending libraries” that are popular for sharing books in neighbourhoods, provided that the book displays do not pose a public safety concern or vision hazard. The General Manager of Transportation Services was asked to reiterate policies and protocols with staff to ensure support for these community initiatives.

Glenn Gould Day

Council agreed to proclaim September 25 as Glenn Gould Day in Toronto. Gould (1932-82), a Toronto resident whose birthday was September 25, acquired worldwide fame for his classical piano performances and recordings. His 1955 “Goldberg Variations” is the best-selling classical piano record of all time. The release of numerous albums of his music and the publication of many books about him have contributed to Gould’s continuing international renown.

Posted in Politics
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