September Focus: Cabbagetown as Tourist Destination

This month’s Focus post is on Cabbagetown as a tourist destination. Since the Business Improvement Area (BIA) puts a lot of effort in to this, Addy Saeed (a member of the Residents Association Board and BIA board) is the best person to tell us about it.


As a reader of this website, I’m sure you know or have a very good idea where Cabbagetown is located in Toronto but there are many Torontonians and Tourists that visit our great city and have never experienced all our neighborhood has to offer. I wanted to take this opportunity to focus on this topic and highlight some of the tourist traffic we see in our neighborhood.

How do they find out about us?

Travel Related websites:
There is a lot of content available online showcasing Cabbagetown as a great place to visit. For example, Cabbagetown is rated an average of 4 stars and is number 87 of 321 things to do when visiting Toronto as per Trip Advisor. These numbers, while not very high, work in conjunction with other attractions in the neighbourhood such as Riverdale Farm and the Necropolis to provide visitors with more reasons to come and visit the area. Here’s an example of a guide setup for Cabbagetown

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Guide-g155019-i8896-Toronto_Ontario.html

Cabbagetown BIA
What is a BIA? A Business Improvement Area (BIA) is an association of commercial property owners and tenants within a defined area who work in partnership with the City to create thriving, competitive, and safe business areas that attract shoppers, diners, tourists, and new businesses. The Cabbagetown BIA has been working diligently in taking care of the commercial spaces and organizing events in the neighborhood to attract visitors from all over the city. A prime example is the Cabbagetown Festival which a annual event organized by the BIA and celebrated its 38th birthday this year. The BIA also takes part in other initiatives such as street beautification, advertising activities including events at local merchants and help promote our area through our main website www.oldcabbagetown.com It’s worth noting that the BIA is currently in the process of rebranding its image and will be launching a new website in conjunction with our recently renovated office to bring a more customer centric approach to delivering information.

Pocket Maps:
This is a recent investment that the Cabbagetown BIA made to bring exposure to the great attractions available in our neighborhood. Under the program, these maps are made available at Hotels such as Sheraton, Novotel, Holiday Inn, Hilton, Hyatt, Best Western etc plus at local bed and breakfast locations for visitors to pick up for free and carry with them. Here’s a sample of what our current pocket map looks like:

http://google-maps-montreal.com/english/cabbagetown.html

Cabbagetown: The story of a Victorian neighborhood
I remember when I was looking to move into the neighbourhood and was doing research, I came across this book and upon reading it fell in love with the area’s history and architecture. The book is a great resource for our neighbourhood and brings people to see the largest continuous area of preserved Victorian housing in all of North America*. If you haven’t read the history of Cabbagetown, I strongly encourage you to do so. Links below:

Google Books
*Wikepedia: Cabbagetown

Attractions:

Cabbagetown Festival
By far the biggest attraction in our neighbourhood, it brings in excess of 15,000 visitors to our main street. Currently in its 38th year, the festival is the longest running festival in the city of Toronto and is held during the second weekend in September every year and hosted by the Cabbagetown BIA. There are other festivals that take place in the neighbourhood during the same weekend which include: Cabbagetown Short Film and Video Festival, Cabbagetown Arts and Crafts Sales, One Night in Cabbagetown Dinning Experience plus many more. For more information, please visit the website:

http://www.cabbagetownfestival.org

Forsythia Festival
Every May, Cabbagetown residents gather at Wellesley Park to celebrate the official welcoming of Spring. The event is held by the Cabbagetown Residents Association and celebrated its 43rd birthday this year. The fun starts at 10:00 a.m. with a parade departing from the corner of Sumach and Winchester Streets. Everyone is welcome and is encouraged to wear yellow! For more information about this event, please see link below

http://cabbagetowner.com/forsythia-festival/

Walking Tours
There are numerous tours of Cabbagetown that are organized by different groups throughout the year where visitors can take part in a guided tour, hearing about topics such as architecture and history, people that lived in our area or even a dedicated tour about famous people buried in Necropolis. There are also annual events such as the Hidden Gardens Tour and Cabbagetown Tour of Homes which are huge attractions, allowing visitors to enter and see private residences and hidden backyard oasis within the city. Here’s a list of groups that organize tours in the area:

Cabbagetown Preservation Association
Frommers
ROM Walks and Tours

A Taste of Cabbagetown
This is a new program started this year in conjunction with Yellow Pages where we showcase 8 to 10 eateries and patrons that have purchased tickets are able to sample different cuisines for free or take a seat at any of the establishment to enjoy dinner. It’s a great way for visitors to check out food available at different venues in the neighbourhood without having to order a complete meal. The next event will be coming soon so keep an eye on the BIA website or see more details below.

http://tasteyourneighbourhood.ca/event/cabbagetown/

As highlighted above, we have visitors that come here for the history, wanting to stay in small bed and breakfasts, or to enjoy eateries and festivals that our neighbourhood has to offer. This is by no means a comprehensive list of all the events happening in the area but rather a list of events that yours truly has been involved in and think are worth attending. If you have any events that we have missed or any ideas or suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment in the section below.

Addy Saeed is a proud Cabbagetowner, CEO and Founder of HeyAddy Investments and a full time Real Estate Sales Representative with Re/max. He is an active community member contributing on the management board for Cabbagetown BIA and the Cabbagetown Residents Association. He can be contacted by visiting www.cabbagetowninfo.com

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