Cabbagetown South Safe Laneways Project

Our association recently met with a group called The Laneway Project to discuss solutions around problems with laneways in our area.   The idea is to see if there are ways we can change the design and function of our laneways to help deter unwanted behaviour.   Laneways are often being used as toilets, Illegal dumping, street level prostitution and drug dealing and drug use.  We need to take back our laneways by creating spaces that are attractive and safe for area residents to walk, ride bicycles, park their vehicles, play with their kids, exercise their dogs etc.. 

Several area residents have made great strides in taking on laneway gardening projects and engaging their neighbours in keeping the laneways green and litter free.  One big challenge that we need to raise funds for is the watering of these laneway gardens during hot dry spells in the summer.  We are working on getting information about who offers such services and what the cost would be to cover watering when the weather does not cooperate.   

We have created a small working group that will look at all our laneways to determine what laneways are in good condition and relatively problem free and those which need a lot of work.  We then hope to create a master plan for laneway revitalizaton that will look at improving laneway hardscape, lighting, solutions for graffiti and making the laneways safe and inviting.  We have organized some volunteers to lead a Primary Working Group to put together a community survey and call for volunteers to help form a Safe Lanewyas Committee.    

Here are a few starting points we need to discuss with Councillor McConnell and city staff.

- An active and growing group of area residents have adopted a greater interest in upping the level of stewardship of laneways.

- With a greater level of community education and fact finding, area resdients now believe that the City and Police Department do care about Cabbagetown South and are more empowered to be proactive and claim a more active and participatory role in the community and laneways by checking on their neighbours and “keeping eyes on the laneways”.

- The community has embraced the Cabbagetown South Community initiatives on improving safety and is evolving into a positive and active group of resdients who want these efforts to make long term improvements in the community, urban environment and urban health of the community

- Many long-time residents have seen a positive change over the past 15 years, especially recently and more residents are comfortable to use these routes as pedestrian and cyclists

- Many believe what the most influential community builders and urban planners have been saying all along, that having eyes on the street and the freedom to actively use the lanes by going outside and claiming the space is the best form of building community.

- Citizens are on board and are drafting a long term Master Plan for the entire Neighbourhood and are determined to implement this phased strategy through achievable best practice design and sustainable infrastructure.

- Currently, the lanes are used by a large number of families from Moss Park and Sherbourne walking the lanes in the morning and afternoon for school along the lanes north of Dundas and South of Gerrard, alongside residents using these lanes to walk and cycle to work-

- We see the great achievements one block to the east of us in Regent Park with best practice design guidelines such as permeable pavements, subtle but effective night lighting and an attention to place making. As a result, children play everywhere, people cycle and walk their dogs and they feel safe. We want the same for our community.

- We do not see status quo solutions to merely replace the existing paved areas, to make an effective improvement we are planning to do it well, sustainability and effectively while supporting the City of Toronto’s green initiatives and holding our community up as a significant community restoration that the City can look to as a precedent for others.


One of the great gems in Toronto for greening initiatives is the Evergreen Bricks Works. They have brought environmental solutions and utilizing our native flora and natural systems to correct many of our urban “problem” to the forefront. They have tremendous resources, Native plant nursery (that I am constantly visiting) and grants through their own funding program that are available to Schools and COMMUNITY greening initiatives.  For more information click here.

Check them out for Plant Lists and recommendations for many different conditions. They provide the largest selection of native plants in the GTA at the lowest prices seen anywhere.


Evergreen Brickworks: click here.

Live Green Toronto: click here.

In May of this year, Live Green sponsored a "laneway puncture demonstration" with the Laneway Project beside Fred Hamilton Park in Toronto which was sponsered by an RBC Fund

This was sponsored by an RBC fund:

FCM Green Municipal Fund: This could be promising.

TD Environmental Fund:

For more information City of Toronto Green Standards, click here.


The Parliament Street Library

Central Neighbourhood House

Robertson House

Sherbourne Health Center

Dan Harrison and William Dennison Community Housing 

Who to call about lighting issues

For the street lighting issues, Toronto Hydro maintains the street lights in the City. To report any issues they can be reached at 416-542-8000 or some issues can be reported online at

For Design & Construction Transportation Infrastructure, please contact Raffi Bedrosyan - Manager, Local Roads at 416-392-8227.

The Toronto Municipal Code chapter 598-6 does not specify requirement of house numbering in laneways. You can view this chapter at

All other issues 311 

City Planner re Lanescape George Pantazis can be reached at 416.392.3566 or via email at   

Laneway Improvement Committee (under construction)

Cabbagetown Safe Laneways ‐ Sub Committees

Pavement Conditions Bryan Jones

Work on "H" Section (N2 ‐ Dovers, Calgie, Callaghan) Design Standards (permeable, concrete, asphalt) Influence higher level decision makers Contact pavement designers at City (get their contacts)

Policing and Social IssuesNadeem Ahmed

Safe Laneways Reporting ‐ App (cost, legal, etc) Get street numbers on back of homes (contact owners)          Hire Students for work Fence off back areas (contact owners ‐ offer Project  Management services) Look into signage and cameras on Oskenonton

Greening with plants

Work on "H" Section (N2 ‐ Dovers, Calgie, Callaghan) Work with CNH to improve the back area Work with Library ‐ see if they want to help Plant Standards (Virginia Creeper, Boston Ivy, Boxes, etc) TD funds for green laneways Confirm laneway widths ‐ 6m standard 

Needles Record data, call 311 Call City Toxic Waste Hotline Need number for toxic waste hotline

Record data, call 311 Call City Toxic Waste Hotline

Greening with plants

Leaning Street signs/poles Residents to contact city Identify areas on map

House numbers along Laneways Contact Residents ‐ make request Get them quotes and help ‐ larger scope makes it cheaper

Building Up (Can Help with creating gardens by removing concrete. 

Contact Julian Dibenedetto 416 518 2110

Request area residents to install

Bright LED lighting w/ motion sensors ‐ 5000K

Lanescape Project click here.

Cabbagetown South - Safe Laneways ProjectMaster Plan 1.01. INTRODUCTION

The community of Cabbagetown South is a neighborhood in east Toronto bound by Carlton (north), Parliament (east), Shuter (south), and Sherbourne (west) Street.The Safe Laneways Project was initiated in September 2016 to help residents reclaim the use of laneways, within the community, by focusing on four primary safety issues; Pavement Conditions, Policing and Social Problems, Better Lighting, and Beautification. 1.1 Vision StatementAll laneways in Cabbagetown South are safe and inviting, for anyone to use, day or night. Laneways are a valuable and positive addition to the local residential and business community. 2. CABBAGETOWN SOUTH LANEWAY TODAYLaneways are often being used as toilets, illegal dumping, street level prostitution, drug dealing, and drug use. Several area residents have made great strides in taking these laneway issues and engaging their neighbours in keeping the laneways green, safe, and litter free.3. PLANNING PROCESS3.1 Forming a Primary Working Group – Safe Laneway Project LeadersWe have created a small primary working group, of about six volunteers, that will look at all our laneways, to determine which laneways are in good condition and relatively problem free and those which need a lot of work. The primary working group is responsible for:  Lead development of priorities and working strategies. Ensure all members of the community have the opportunity to contribute.  Develop a Master Plan.

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