Spotlight on: Cabbagetown

My suspicion that Cabbagetown is one of the most underrated neighbourhoods in the city was confirmed this past weekend when I attended the annual Fall Festival.  Sandwiched between Regent Park and Riverdale, Cabbagetown is home to a peculiar mix of beautifully preserved Victorian homes and low income housing, budget grocery stores and gourmet import shops, and second hand stores and trendy boutiques.  Once a poor neighbourhood named for the tendency of resident immigrants to grow cabbages in their front yards, Cabbagetown is now a protected Heritage Conservation district with the largest continuous area of preserved Victoria housing in North America.  If you’re not familiar with this colourful neighbourhood, this coming weekend is a great time to check it out during the annual Tour of Homes (Sunday only).  Shell out the $30 to peak inside the neighbourhood’s stunning houses, or grab a coffee at Jet Fuel and take a free wander through the streets and to Riverdale Park.  While you’re there, be sure to check out the awesome jewellery and greeting cards at Labour of Love and the work of Mark Gleberzonart at M.J.G. Gallery.   Wait for a Tuesday to check out the local organic Farmer’s Market or make an evening of it and grab a bite to eat at one of the neighbourhood’s many under-rated restaurants.  Check out my full list below for more details!

Eat:

Omi sushi – Amazing high end sushi in a quiet, candlelit atmosphere.

House on Parliament – Awesome gastropub fare and an extensive beer list, perfect for a cozy, casual dinner or drinks before a show at the Phoenix.

Jam Cafe – Local, bistro style fare in a heritage building on Carlton (with free corkage on Sundays!).

F’Amelia – An Ossington style pizza joint in a quiet oasis on Amelia street.

Shop:

Labour of Love – For awesome (and usually quite affordable) handmade local jewelery, hilarious and unique greeting cards, beautiful wrapping paper and fun gifts.  This is a go to spot for Christmas and birthday gifts.

Eclectisaurus – Primarily mid-century modern housewares and small furniture as well as vintage clothing and accessories.

Various vintage and gourmet food shops and an awesome plant/flower market.

Walk/Tour:

Houses – The area east of parliament between Carlton and Dundas has got some of the most picturesque houses in the city.  From stone cottages reminiscent of the English country side to enormous Victorian mansions, this is a beautiful walk any time of year.  It was too busy during the festival to get many photos, so you’ll just have to trust me and go.

Riverdale Farm – The site of the original Toronto Zoo, the Riverdale farm represents a small Ontario farm as it would have been at the turn of the 20th century.  Wandering through the farm area downtown Toronto feels a million miles away.

Toronto Necropolis – One of Toronto’s oldest and most historic cemeteries, the site’s gothic buildings and forest lined paths make for a beautiful walk, especially in the Fall.  It may be strange to call a cemetery is awesome, but this one just is.

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