Cabbagetown People

The Social History of a Canadian Inner City Neighbourhood

Cabbagetown People aims to pursue and disseminate such questions as to which prevailing local conditions and circumstances enabled this community to become established and to thrive. Accordingly, the social history of Cabbagetown can provide us with many valuable lessons about the evolution, function and success of the Canadian inner city. We research the day-to-day existence of these outstanding people, and lead educational tours of the community for schools and other groups.

Our Program has honoured several remarkable lives from Cabbagetown's past by installing commemorative plaques at residential and other strategic places throughout the neighbourhood.

Project Chair, Sheila Schirmer, conceived the vision several years ago, believing a neighbourhood like Cabbagetown should have such a program. In 2001 the concept, and a comprehensive plan, for Cabbagetown People was presented to the Board of the Cabbagetown Preservation Association. Since then, the Program has been managed by a volunteer committee of dedicated people, passionate about culture, heritage and social history.

Since 2002, more than 50 "heritage heroes" have been commemorated by plaques at residences, businesses, and other properties throughout Cabbagetown, and the Program has evolved to adopt a second commemorative role, recognizing the many other "heroes" - pioneers in various fields - and their fascinating and inspiring stories of energy, imagination and fortitude. These stories will become part of a social history document which will trace the historical periods in the development of Cabbagetown, from the Colonial Period (1788 - ca 1870), the First Development Period (1870 - 1900), the Consolidation Period (1900 - 1930), the Period of Decline and Urban Renewal (1930 - 1970) to Preservation and Gentrification (1970 - Present).What makes Cabbagetown People a truly unique program is that it honours a broad range of historical individuals who have made contributions, and salutes not only famous persons, legendary figures, or people who have distinguished themselves in their occupations or careers. It celebrates the ability of any individual to be a “hero” and of ordinary persons to do extraordinary things.

We have installed an Orientation Directory in Riverdale Park West. Offering an informative overview of the Program, the Directory serves as a heritage resource and educational complement to the many existing walking tours of Cabbagetown.

On June 7, 2006, as part of our Program for Schools, we launched our guided walking tours throughout Cabbagetown, for students and teachers, in both English and French. We have developed various materials which can serve as stand-alone resources or be used to pre-teach students before they tour.  These include a 74 page teacher resource booklet in French, interactive games and surveys for students, in English and French, and an informational DVD also in English and French, and available at www.cabbagetownpeople.ca

Cabbagetown People has gained wide exposure through a number of organized walking tours led by the CPA, the walking tour program for students, Heritage Toronto, the Royal Ontario Museum, and has been featured on a short film produced by Rogers Television entitled, "Legends of Cabbagetown", as part of their "Structures" series on the history and architecture of Toronto.

Cabbagetown People with its focus on social history provides a very nice balance to the built heritage of the Cabbagetown neighbourhood.

For more detailed program information, or to book a private or corporate Cabbagetown People walking tour, please visit: www.cabbagetownpeople.ca