Join Me on a Walking Tour of Cabbagetown in the Heart of Toronto

by | May 4, 2017 | Canada, Toronto | 4 comments

I love Cabbagetown! Join me on a walking tour of Cabbagetown

This is my shortest trip ever for the travel blog: I live in Cabbagetown.


Today, I am going to take you on a tour of my ‘hood!

Toronto is a city of neighbourhoods

Cabbagetown is a tranquil and green neighbourhood in the heart of downtown Toronto.

Cabbagetown gets its name from the wave of poor Irish immigrants who arrived in Toronto in the 1840s. They were so poor that they grew cabbage in their front yards. Today, the green and white Cabbgetown flag is proudly displayed in many homes.

The wall mural in the photo above is on the outside of the LCBO in Cabbagetown. (For those who are not familiar with Ontario’s antiquated alcohol rules, the only place to buy alcohol is at an LCBO, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, a provincial crown corporation. The only exception is beer, which is sold at the Beer Store, a foreign owned and controlled private corporation. The Beer Store’s monopoly on beer sales has loosened a bit with a recent change that allows a few selected grocery stores to sell 6-packs.)


Cabbagetown is the largest community of Victorian houses in North America

Cabbagetown was a working-class neighbourhood that slid into impoverishment after the First Wold War. The Victorian homes deteriorated to the point where Cabbagetown was one of Toronto’s largest slums. A large section was razed in the 1940s to make room for community housing. The rest of Cabbagetown was slated for demolition in the early 1970s. A few local residents fought tirelessly to save Cabbagetown. A gay real estate agent started to restore and sell the Victorian houses. Mainly, he sold the restored houses to his gay friends. This was the start of the first wave of gentrification. Cabbagetown is still a very gay-friendly neighbourhood.

The second wave of gentrification brought young professionals to the neighbourhood because of its proximity to downtown.

The third wave of gentrification brought baby boomers who wanted to live downtown. We rode this wave to Cabbagetown!

Lately, young families have discovered the joys of Cabbagetown life. Now the streets and parks are full of kids. Unfortunately, as with all Toronto neighbourhoods, many families are now priced out of what was once Toronto’s largest slum.


Most of the houses in Cabbagetown are semi-detached

Some owners coordinate the restoration of their exterior with their neighbour. This gives a lovely unified look to semi-detached houses.

You do not hear any lawnmowers in Cabbagetown. There are no lawns! Front and back yards are landscaped for gardening … flowers, not cabbages. A whipper snipper is too much for the occasional patch of grass.

Most homeowners do not need to worry about shoveling their driveways in the winter. Half of the homes in Cabbagetown have no driveways and no parking. Residents can buy a parking pass from the city that gives them a license to hunt for a parking spot in Cabbagetown.

In the fall, the Cabbagetown Preservation Association offers its annual Tour of Homes. I go every year so I have seen many houses in Cabbagetown.

The Cabbagetown Preservation Association also offers free walking tours.

This is a typical worker’s cottage that has been fully restored

The stone facade on this cottage is an unusual finish

Even the local Tim Horton’s is in a heritage building in Cabbagetown

Visit a farm in the middle of the city

Riverdale Farm is a hidden gem in Cabbagetown. If you stroll through Riverdale Park, you will see the entrance to the farm.

You go back in time when you walk through the gates of Riverdale Farm. Here is link to a map of the farm.

Riverdale Farm specializes in pioneer farm animals. It is easy for children who grow up in downtown Toronto to visit a farm.

The Farm is owned and maintained by the City of Toronto. It is open every day from 9 to 5. It is free.

This horticultural horse welcomes you to the farm

The farm also has real horses

My sweet grandson is trying to feed some hay to the horse.

The cows in Riverdale Farm are friendly

This is the newest member of the lamb family

The kids are hard to photograph because they don’t stay still

I managed to catch one quick photo of this kid. He has a twin. You will have to visit yourself to see the twin. My photos are all blurred.

The ducks like the pond in Riverdale Farm

The crab apple tree in Riverdale Farm is almost at peak bloom

Toronto is flat, flat,flat.

Kids love this little hill in Riverdale Farm.

Berczy Park is a small park in downtown Toronto that has just undergone extensive renovations … to add hills!

Enjoy the woodland tulips in the spring

Last year, I visited Keukenhof Gardens in Amsterdam. It is one of the most beautiful gardens in Europe, with seven million spring flowers.

I love Keukenhof and its perfectly arranged beds. But I also love the natural woodland look of the tulips in Riverdale Farm.

 Does this look like the middle of a city?

The spring flowers in Riverdale Farm are almost at their peak

Riverdale Farm is adjacent to Riverdale Park

The southeast entrance to the park is monitored by this wise owl.

A raccoon is hiding in the tree. Toronto is sometimes called ‘Raccoon City.’ They prowl our back deck every night. Last summer, I disturbed one that was sleeping under the deck sofa in the middle of the day. I jumped and he ran!

This is the splash pad in Riverdale Park

Kids love running in the splash pad even when it is dry!

When the warm weather hits, the splash pad will be filled with kids. It is staffed by lifeguards in the summer.

In the background of this photo, you can see a row of houses that face Riverdale Park.

I have seen many of the houses in Cabbagetown because I go to every open house. The houses that face the park are lovely.

Dogs can run off-leash in the sports fields at the base of Riverdale Park

The dog owners look like they have as much fun as the dogs

This beautiful young woman enjoyed our only sunny day this week

In the winter, this is a popular hill for tobogganing.

Wellesley Park is a hidden park in Cabbagetown

Wellesley Park is a five minute walk north from Riverdale Park. It is a hidden park at the eastern end of Wellesley Street.

It has a spash pad and a playground; picnic tables and big shady trees. Pack a picnic!

Are you hungry? Time to check out the local fare!


F’Amelia is a popular restaurant in Cabbagetown

F’Amelia serves norther Italian cuisine. It is open all year. In the summer, it also has an outdoor wine bar. It is a very popular restaurant so reservations are highly recommended

This shop has the best croissants in the world

If you follow the blog, you know that I rarely say anything about food. This is the exception. These croissants are the absolute best.

This croissant shop has the worst business plan: The shop opens at 8:30 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It stays open until sold out. Sometimes it sells out in an hour. There are lineups out the door and down the sidewalk. The worst business plan works just fine with you have the best product in the world!

HOP is our local pub

House on Parliament has cold beer and delicious food. It is always packed.

The sun was setting as I took this picture.


Time to go to the HOP!

Cabbagetown is a tranquil oasis of green in the middle of Toronto

You can look across the school yard to the CN Tower in the distance, the beacon for Toronto.


Here is some useful information to plan your visit:

Getting here:

Take the #506 streetcar to the intersection of Parliament and Carlton. Riverdale Park is at the eastern end of Carlton Street.

If you drive, you can hunt for street parking.


Walking is the best way to see Cabbagetown!





Rose Ann MacGillivray

Rose Ann MacGillivray

World Heritage Traveller at
I love visiting World Heritage Sites, celebrating the world’s most fascinating places and cultures, and most of all, having fun on a trip. Join me on the road to fun and fascinating places. Thanks for reading – and remember to add your e-mail below for updates!
Rose Ann MacGillivray

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