It was Cabbagetown Festival, 30 years ago when I spent a Saturday touring around Parliament Street and the area to the East. At the end of the day, I bought my first house for $90,000. It was a great location and has just recently re-sold for over $700,000. Of course, in the interim, like a good REALTOR, I have moved a few times…it is a hazard of the business…you think you have found the perfect home and then you see the next perfect home…I like to think of myself as keeping the economy and the construction business alive and well.
Downtown Toronto: Cabbagetown
The “Thing” about Cabbagetown is it’s a small town in a big City. It has its own Shopping Area, Park, Schools and everyone knows their neighbor. The Riverdale Park is the centre of everything with a Market each Tuesday during the warmer months, the Forsythia Festival in early Spring, a Craft Festival at the time of the Cabbagetown Festival in September and a year-round working/teaching farm. One must, of course, have children or dogs to become a true Cabbagetowner, either will suffice but are mandatory accessories these days. Nevertheless, let me introduce you this Village in the middle of a big City.
Cabbagetown Restaurants and Cafés
Cabbagetowners try to be supportive of the shops on Parliament Street but with the exception of a few there is a strong turnover. Restaurants are plentiful as well as ethnic diversity in food. Some of my local favorites are the HOP (House on Parliament), a great Pub, Gingers for Vietnamese Pho and few can compare to Devil Chicken at Raashna on Wellesley at Parliament. Daniel et Daniel in the neighborhood means you will never have to cook again…but if you do, you can grab a slice of real life at the “No Frills Grocery Store” at the corner of Spruce and Parliament Street.
Coffee abounds but a favourite place to be abused is the Jet Fuel Cafe’. You can have a great coffee there and be verbally abused by the owner, lovingly named Johnny Jetfuel. Do not order a non-fat, no-foam Latte in a double cup (my usual Starbucks order) or you’ll be told “You’ll get it how I make it, with 2%, in one cup, and if you don’t like it-see ya!!” However, if you can be flexible, it’s addictive and the Jet Fuel Cafe’ is the centre of the Cabbagetown Community.
Don’t be intimidated by the would-be Lance Armstrongs walking around in skin tight bicycling outfits. Johnny was a Bicycle Courier in earlier years and it has become the hangout for some really fit. However don’t worry! There are lots of real people, even Realtors like myself.
Cabbagetown Farmer’s Market
Tuesday is my favourite day during the warmer weather. The Cabbagetown Farmer’s Market happens from 3-7pm in the Riverdale Park and is organized by the Friends of Riverdale Farm. For information and updates about what is available, when and who comes, check out this link. Elizabeth Harris is the Managing Director and has done a marvelous job of making the market a Community Event and a great place to shop! Check out some of my Flickr photos.
Schools have always been an issue to young Cabbagetown parents but with the involvement of more parents in the School activities the levels seem to be improving. What better way to educate your children then to school them in a diverse classroom made up of new Canadians from all over the World? What better way to prepare a child for the future.
The sense of Community, its’ proximity to Downtown Toronto, its’ walk-ability, its’ diversity and downright friendliness make Cabbagetown one of the top places in Toronto to live. Check it out or contact me and I will be proud to show you around.
Cabbagetown Real Estate
The long-promised reworking of the original Cabbagetown
For years Cabbagetown residents awaited the long-promised reworking of the original Cabbagetown — reborn in the 1940s as Canada’s largest and oldest social housing project, Regent Park.
It had a controversial history due in part to the design. The lack of through streets isolated the 69-acre neighourbood, creating a ghetto.
In the past 10 years it has become home for many new Canadians and their families making for a lively and diverse neighbourhood as well as bringing lots more street traffic to Parliament St, south of Gerrard.
In the past couple of years some of the tenement housing has come down; cranes have gone up and so have nicely designed apartment and condominium towers. Streets are starting to appear where barricades existed and now cars and residents can saunter on the newly landscaped thoroughfares. Banks, coffee shops and a new Sobey’s Fresh market is creating an extended shopping area south of Gerrard St.
The good news: There are some really well-priced and well-designed apartments in the new buildings as well as some excellent rental and geared-to-income housing. It is exciting to see the long-awaited changes and be a part of a new and changing community.
The bad news: The next few years will be full of construction in the area: An aquatic centre is supposed to be ready for the Commonwealth Games, a large community centre is scheduled, as well as more new housing units over the next 10 years.
The bottom line: Getting in early by buying into a project of this size will probably be a good investment as long as you are patient and look at it in the long term. Being a pioneer is sometimes risky but fun as you watch the development up close and personal.
What Happened at Aberdeen and Parliament?
I am a creature of habit. I get up very early, exercise, respond to emails and head to Johnnie Jet Fuel’s for a (you’ll get it the way I make it!) Latte’.
The early morning music can be a bit too stimulating so I often find myself standing outside and watching the new construction at the south-west corner of Aberdeen and Parliament. Most mornings I end up shaking my head. Sorry, but I don’t get it!
In an area full of Victorian peaked roofs and gables, what is that “Square Bunker” doing there? We have an active Cabbagetown Preservation Association and an Old Cabbagetown BIA, not to mention that Cabbagetown is protected by the Toronto Historical Association. Were they not on their watch? Were they asleep at the switch?
Granted, I do not claim to have the have the eye of Toronto Star Columnist Christopher Hume but the only thing that I see that fits with the Community aesthetic is some dark red brick.
What worries me is that some sources have told me that the buildings to the south are owned by the same person and once a precedent has been set we may see more. Please feel free to comment below. I promise to keep an open mind, so …convince me, please!