Life in Cabbagetown

Many of the Irish, upon arriving in the city, were put into closely packed, low income housing in the north. While much of the original architecture from Cabbagetown was removed to make room for Regent Park, we still have the greatest area of preserved Victorian style housing. Since the residents were impoverished, they planted crops on their property to sustain themselves. Popular for its cheapness and adaptability to the soil and climate, cabbage was grown on lawns of the poor; this is how Cabbagetown got its name!

In Cabbagetown there was plenty of jobs in the factories and other labour industries and women could have more work than previously before the famine. Not all Cabbagetown residents were struggling to make ends meet. Some of the town’s enthusiastic entrepreneurs accumulated a significant amount of wealth, such as Aunt Polly’s brother Robert John (R.J.) Fleming who began in trades and became a wise businessman and four-time mayor of Toronto.

There were many educational institutions in Cabbagetown such as Park School (which Aunt Polly attended) and Lord Dufferin School (which Vern McAree attended).

Cabbagetown was a very unique part of Toronto, and still maintains its old character in many parts of town.

Aunt Polly and her brother RJ Fleming