Building a Community Identity

Part of creating a sense of community and neighbourhood is in building on a neighbourhood's strengths, character and quirks.  Cabbagetown/Donvale has concentrated their indentity around the architectural heritage character.  Rosedale and Moore Park around their stately mansions and leafy streets.  While the city tends to identify Cabbagetown South as Moss Park on their maps in some respects our area has more in common with  the Victorian Neighbourhoods of Cabbagetown/Donvale.  Often viewed as the poor cousin of the more gentrified neighbourood to our north east the Cabbagetown Preservation Association has turned their attention to our neighbourhood.  Our neighbourhood is one of the oldest in the CIty and Heritage Conservation District Designation of Cabbagetown South is a work in process.   The Garden District ot our west is also under a study for Heritage Designation.

Street Festivals, Fairs and Parades all start as neighbouhood events.  In order to further build on our neighbourhoods sense of neighbourhood identity we can either fully embrace long standing Cabbagetown traditions such as the Forsythia Festival,  The Cabbagetown Festival etc. or create our own identity.  We have launched such neighbourhod events as the Cabbagetown South Art Salon,  Environment Evening Candle Lit Walks featuring heritage talks.  We could further embrace the history of our area focusing more on the lives of past residents or focus on lost buildings like the Dundas Street Fire Hall depicted here.

The naming of the laneways in the area has helped highlight past residents and business owners in the area.  We might consider Heritage Plaques or Heritage Murals or Mosaics depicting such things as old trams or horse drawn delivery vans that would have travelled our area streets.  We could celebrate the Irish connection of Old Cabbagetown or create new traditions such as a Mummers parade on New Years Day. We could join the Garden District and focus on a fundraising campaign for Allan Gardens, as Cabbagetown/Donvaile embrace Riverdale Farm.  Maybe the Parliament Street Library and Cabbagetown in Print could become a community rallying point.  The fictional Victorian Era police detective William Murdoch resided on Ontario Street in the Murdoch Murder Mystery series which was penned in our neighbourhood.  The first Gay Newspaper in Canada, The Body Politic was published out of a home on Seaton Street in the early 1970's.    

Turning our Laneways into a public art space or an outdoor space for an annual vintage car show could draw interest and a sense of community.  Placing Topiaries through the neighborhood street corners or suspended on street lamps and telephone polls in the area could give our neighbourhood a unique look and feel.   

The Ryerson MacGuyver Group suggested we establish a community events committee to obtain funding for and administer community events such as Street Theater,  Mural Painting Days, or Heritage Festivals.  They recommended we ensure that members of local busineses, residents and non-profit/service agencies are included in the planning and administration of these events.  We have a neighbourhood Dance Troop and both Ryerson and George Brown School and the soon to be opened Regent Park Arts Center whom we could coordinate neighbourhood events.  In conjunction with the Cabbagetown Festival we could launch a neighbourhood Chrysanthimum Festival Talk and Tour.  A neighbourhood tree tour conducted by volunteers for LEAF brought out a good crowd interested in the health of our neighbourhood tree canopy. 

Street banners depicting a Cabbagetown South Logo or themed mobiles could add interest to our area street lights.

Interested in volunteering for a community events committee or organizing and event? Contact us at            

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