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We are introducing a brand new series of Photo Essays! Have a look at amazing Photo Sets all shot by talented photographers. Explore the vibe of the city, its hidden treasures, meet the Torontonians! This time, let’s have a look at Toronto through the lens of Viera Prievozníková!
Cabbagetown is a neighbourhood located on the east side of downtown Toronto that surely needs no further introduction. The name has become very well known as one of the most interesting parts of the city. Wonder why that is? According to the Cabbagetown Preservation Association, the community features “the largest continuous area of preserved Victorian housing in all of North America.” In 2004, part of Cabbagetown also became a Heritage Conservation District. Truly the most dominant feature of the neighbourhood is these homes, so finely restored during the 1970s and ‘80s. It’s a huge draw for homebuyers to live in one of these original properties, as these red brick cottages are set in enchanting lane-ways. And so Cabbagetown — once one of the poorest neighbourhoods in Toronto — is now a much sought-after enclave with a great sense of community, friendly neighbourhood pubs, and some of the best cafés in the city.
But the area wasn’t always as attractive to live in as it is today. The name “Cabbagetown” came from stories of new Irish immigrants planting cabbage in their front yards. The Irish had fled to Canada from their home during the Irish Potato Famine. After World War I, the area became increasingly impoverished and known as one of Toronto’s largest slums.
Luckily escaping the urban renewal plans that would destroy the unique history of the area, Cabbagetown took the path of continued renewal and restoration. This was thanks to many affluent professionals and community activists who moved to the neighbourhood in the early 1970s. Many of the new residents restored their small Victorian row houses. Today, the neighbourhood is home to many artists, musicians, journalists, and writers. The active community organizes quite a lot of special events that attract crowds of visitors throughout the year. The Cabbagetown Festival, held on the second weekend in September each year, offers many interesting events that lead to the festival’s highlight, a parade on Saturday morning. Cabbagetown is a warm community that welcomes everyone with a genuine interest in the neighbourhood. Go for a walk and have a look at the lovely homes yourself. We guarantee you’ll fall in love with them too.
If you want to read more about life in the neighbourhood in the past, grab the novel Cabbagetown written by Canadian writer Hugh Garner, who wrote about the neighbourhood during the Great Depression. This promises to be some interesting reading!
St. James Cemetery
Cabbagetown features two of the city’s oldest cemeteries, St. James and the Necropolis. The Anglican St. James Cemetery is the oldest cemetery in Toronto still in operation. It opened in 1844 as the burial ground for St. James Cathedral. The cemetery is home to the Victorian Gothic funeral Chapel of St. James-the-Less, which sits atop the highest point in the cemetery. The cemetery is the final resting place of many of Toronto’s oldest families and notable citizens, including whiskey magnate George Gooderham, founder of TD Bank James Austin, famous city architect E.J. Lennox, and 17th Premier of Ontario John P. Robarts, just to name a few.
Riverdale Farm is a three-hectare municipally operated farm in the heart of Cabbagetown that once served as the site of the Riverdale Zoo (from 1888 to 1974). After the Toronto Zoo moved to its new location in Scarborough, the site was restored as a farm, just as it would have appeared at the turn of the 20th century. It lies on the west bank of the Don River, close to the lovely Riverdale Park. One of the main attractions are the many animals that are bred in the barns scattered all over the grounds. Riverdale Farm supports the work of Rare Breeds Canada, focused on preserving rare breeds of animals.
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Meet the Photographer
Viera studies marketing communication. She has been devoted to documentary photography and fine art photography for 2 years. Amongst other styles, Viera is fond of street photography, portrait photography and art nude photography. Viera uses street photography to draw people’s attention to things often overlooked in everyday life.