Throwback Thursday: Cabbagetown spring, 1978

Volunteer Eric Morse takes a look back at spring, 1978, with a selection of stories from the April and May issues of Seven News, a community newspaper published in Cabbagetown.

The front page photo and story in the April 22 issue is about the funny-looking “lonely house” in the middle of the St James Town stretch of Parliament Street. You know the one – the last Victorian house left in the development, at 600 Parliament St.

The author explains that the owner had held out against Meridian while they were assembling the real estate in the mid-60s, so Meridian responded by redesigning the development around the property. There it stood, as photographed by Seven’s indefatigable photographer Cherry Hassard.

It looked somewhat undernourished in 1978 when Hassard shot it, with an (apparently vacant) storefront already replacing the Victorian facade. You wouldn’t recognize the place 40 years later (with an east-west gable added, and the new cladding and commercial shopfront and all), but it’s still the solitary holdout, paying its freight as “One of the Biggest Washers in GTA”. And still, as the article puts it, affording several thousand people a birdseye view of the backyard.

George Rust d’Eye has two long reads in this issue, including an article about John Ross Robertson (1841-1918), Toronto publisher and founder of The [Evening] Telegram, who owned a mansion at 291 Sherbourne St., just south of Gerrard, pictured in the article as it was when Robertson owned it.

The next issue notes that Cabbagetown had a 100th anniversary celebration. Who organized it and how they decided that it was the 100th birthday is not stated, but it took place in what is now Anniversary Park, and we have this charming kid-and-pony photo from the event.

Some stirrings of progress toward what was to become the old Regent Park Community Centre at 8 Sackville Green are documented in a brief story.

The 6th Annual Forsythia Festival took place May 7 in Wellesley Park, where it’s still held today. At the time, the dog show was more prominent than it is today.

On the same page in the same issue (May 20), Seven News goes for some balanced coverage under the headline “Dog Dirt Denounced”. There was a major and somewhat umbragineous meeting of Cabbagetowners at the “new farmhouse” on Riverdale Farm to discuss the dog-do crisis in Riverdale Park.

News reporter Howard Huggett contributes a brief history of the Broadview streetcar line.

On the subject of streetcars, which Cabbagetown is temporarily without, your correspondent made a fascinating pilgrimage to the Halton County Radial Railway in Milton. It’s an under-promoted repository of Toronto’s transit history with three working antique cars restored to splendid condition giving rides on a two-kilometre km track, and it’s well worth a day trip.

And finally, Seven News celebrated its ninth year of publishing. It was in the middle of a
fundraising /membership campaign to replace government grants that had lapsed earlier in the year, and the campaign was doing well. (it must have done well as Seven News was around until 1985!)

The full stories introduced above are available online.

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