The Cabbagetown Regent Park Museum has launched its first publication, Polly of Bridgewater Farm: An Unknown Irish Story (Cabbagetown Press, 2009). Catharine Fleming McKenty, who is the granddaughter of four-time mayor of Toronto, R.J. Fleming; and the great-niece of Aunt “Polly” Noble Verner, who ran the Cabbagetown Store, in Toronto during the late 1800s; wrote this novel about her great-aunt.
This fictional account of Polly’s early days follows her from her birth just outside Dromore, Ireland in 1837; her survival of the Big Wind of January 6th 1839; the Irish Potato Famine in the 1840s; and the May 14th 1847 crossing of the Atlantic; to the family’s arrival at Grosse-Île near Quebec. The Canadian portion of her journey takes her first to Montreal, and then to Toronto where she married a young tailor, John Verner. Together they set up their business, later described by John McAree in his book, Cabbagetown Store.
This 240-page book, although fiction is based on actual historical events and people. There are 36-pages of colour, which include illustrations of scenes from the time, as well as family photographs. Original illustrations were created by Polish artists, Darek and Elzbieta Wieczorek.
Cabbagetown Press is an educational publishing division of The Cabbagetown Regent Park Museum.