Cabbagetown is the charming neighbourhood in the city’s east end, packed with rows of Victorian houses, cafes and the popular Riverdale Farm. Bordering around Parliament Street, the family-oriented community with the gorgeous manicured front yards love their local farmers market, their coffee at Cafe Olya, and rib night at 420 Smoke House.
While there are obvious reasons to love the area (homemade gelato from Grinning Face and the annual Cabbagetown Festival), the neighbourhood still holds its mysteries. Did you know some famous celebrities once lived in the area? And why the heck is it called Cabbagetown in the first place? Where are all the cabbages? Here are three things you might not know about the neighbourhood.
1. Cabbagetown was really named after cabbage.
Historical Cabbagetown began in the 1800s with the arrival of Irish immigrants settling into the neighbourhood. A poverty-stricken community, the residents grew cabbages on their front lawns to help with a diminished food supply. In the ’70s, the area was revitalized by restaurants, shops and homebuyers and today, it continues to thrive with boutique retailers and new developments.
2. Anjelica Huston’s grandfather lived on Wellesley Street.
Hollywood comes to Cabbagetown. You might not expect to find actress Anjelica Huston roaming around Wellesley Street but her grandfather once did. Walter Huston once lived at 328 Wellesley St. East, a Victorian row house and heritage property, and attended elementary at Winchester Street Public School. The house which was recently on sale for $1,299,900, is among other famous homes in the area. In 2006, singer Avril Lavigne listed her 2,500 square foot townhouse at 39 Broadcast Lane for $599,000.
3. Al Capone had a Cabbagetown hangout.
The old Winchester Hotel on the south-east corner of Parliament and Winchester has been standing tall since 1888. Originally the Lakeview Hotel, the landmark building was a favourite Toronto hangout for gangster Al Capone and singer Billie Holiday. Capone referred to the hotel as his “home away from home,” often booking the entire third floor for him and his mobster gang. Parts of the building remained empty for years until former restaurants like the Laurentian Room and Winchester Kitchen and Bar revived the decrepit hotel. Here are some historical photos of the building, then-and-now.
Photo via Jay Woodworth, Wikipedia