It is said that the Irish immigrants who made their way to this area in the late 1840's are said to have been so poor that they dug up their front yards so they could plant cabbage crops. Whether that's the true origin of the name Cabbagetown is debated but 150 years later, it's a cherished title. Few neighbourhoods in the city of Toronto can be said to have undergone such radical changes as Cabbagetown. It was once a very blue-collar neighbourhood that was hit hard during the depression and it stayed that way for many years but one would find it easy to forget when sipping on a latte in one the area's many bohemian and cosy cafes.
Cabbagetown was described by the New York Times as containing 'the largest collection of Victorian homes in North America' and fore-sighted homebuyers started acknowledging some potential in the area, buying up run-down Victorian houses, restoring them to their original elegance with quirky architectural touches, bright colours, delicate iron-work and lovely gardens and landscaping. This renaissance of the neighbourhood has instilled a sense of pride in the community and a good example can be seen in the Cabbagetown neighbourhood flag: a green cabbage on a white background that can be seen hanging in windows of shops and homes.
One of the oldest attractions in the area is Riverdale farm, modeled after a 19th-century Victorian farm replete with the cows, horses, pigs, sheep, goats, chicken, ducks and geese. It is open seven days a week and admission is free. Riverdale Park sits just adjacent and contains sports fields and access to the Lower Don Recreation Trail which is perfect for running, biking and hiking. Cabbagetown is home to many respected schools such as Jarvis Collegiate, a public high school and two schools, Lord Dufferin and Winchester Public Schools, contain both junior and senior sections.
Cabbagetown retains many touches from its counter-culture credibility in the 1960s as one can find many vintage clothing stores and health food stores that mingle with gourmet shops and upscale boutiques. Neighbourhood events include wine-tastings, art openings and book launches. The constant activities and inter-mingling of cultures and classes that is seen on the streets of Cabbagtown is exactly what you would expect from such a historic neighbourhood that has been witness to many formative chapters in Toronto's history.