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Cabbagetown Walking Tour (Self Guided), Toronto

This neighborhood, located east of Toronto's downtown, was established in 1840. Once a small community of Irish immigrants and one of the poorest neighborhoods in Toronto, Cabbagetown was declared a historic district in 2004 and claims to be "the largest continuous area of preserved Victorian housing in North America". Check out the highlights of this region, as listed below.
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Cabbagetown Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Cabbagetown Walking Tour
Guide Location: Canada » Toronto (See other walking tours in Toronto)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 9
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.1 Km or 1.9 Miles
Author: ann
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Riverdale Park
  • Necropolis
  • Riverdale Farm
  • Necropolis Chapel
  • Wellesley Park
  • St. James-the-less Chapel
  • Winchester Street
  • Allan Gardens
  • St. Andrew's Evangelical Lutheran Church
Riverdale Park

1) Riverdale Park

The Riverdale Park in Toronto is located north of Gerrard Street, south of Bloor Street and Danforth, west of Broadview Avenue and is on either sides of the Don River. The original owner of this park was John Sadding, an estate manager and clerk for John Graves Simcoe, Governor of Upper Canada. His cabin is located south of the park on the Canadian National Exhibition grounds and was built in 1840. Originally the site was proposed for a 40,000 seat stadium but the plan was abandoned due to strong objections of local alderman, John Sewell.

The park has a soccer field, an ice rink, running track, tennis courts, two baseball diamonds, three playing fields and a swimming pool on the east side and a field house with restrooms and two sports fields on the west side. The eastern slope of the park was used as a landfill in the 1920s but was later planted with trees which were a part of the event hosted by Task Forca to Bring Back the Don. Crossing the Don Valley Parkway is a footbridge connecting the two sides of the valley and a north-south bicycle trail following the river. In 1790s, this bridge provided access to Eli Playter’s mill and property. Elizabeth Simcoe depicted this bridge in her watercolor painting called "Playter’s Bridge near York".

The Bridgepoint Hospital and Sun Yat-Sen monument are located at the south-east corner of the park and to its west is the city operated Riverdale Farm. Besides being used for recreation, it is also used by military for parades along with sports and is a popular tobogganing site in the winters.
Sight description based on wikipedia

2) Necropolis

Open since 1850, the Necropolis has been the resting place for some of the most renowned and historically important people in the history of Canada. The quiet, serene and picturesque graveyard has served as the final abode to people like William Lyon Mackenzie, the first mayor of Toronto, George Brown the founder of The Globe and the Mail, Joseph Burr Tyrrell, noted geologist, mining consultant and the man who discovered that dinosaurs roamed in Alberta's Badlands and Ralph Day, Toronto’s Mayor between 1938 and 1940.

Over the years the Toronto’s Necropolis has served as resting place for over 50,000 people. Apart from being the oldest cemetery in the city, the Necropolis is also one of Toronto’s historically significant sights. It is undoubtedly one of Toronto’s most beautiful cemeteries. The entrance of this historical cemetery has the visitor instantly transported to the early 19th century. This area boasts of some of the city’s oldest buildings. A brilliant landscape of greenery, with a sprinkle of antique architecture, the Necropolis portrays some of the finest high Victorian Gothic styled buildings that are well maintained.

The cemetery also has its collection of monuments and sculptures that contribute to the Necropolis’s reputation of being one of the city’s most beautiful resting places.
Riverdale Farm

3) Riverdale Farm

Toronto is a city filled with surprises and the Riverdale Farm is just one of them. At the heart of this buzzing city is a quiet, tranquil hideout that is no less than any country side. A perfect picnic retreat combined with scenic landscapes and an occasional bleat and bray of the farm’s residents.

These 7.5 acres of grasslands are sure to make for a day of complete fun and frolic for the entire family. The Riverdale Farm is not your typical modern day park where opinions and interests are split between which amusement ride is more thrilling and what arcade game is the more challenging. At the Riverdale Farm get in touch with the simpler things in life, such as taking a long walk with your family, sitting under the sun and reaching out to the country side of things. Representing the rural farms in Ontario, the Riverdale Farm offers you the experience of living a day in midst of greenery, simplicity and the country side, far away from the chaos of the city.

Located in the downtown community of Cabbagetown, the farm is open every day of the year from 9am to 5pm. Admission is free with parking available on neighboring streets. So don’t forget to visit this humble abode in one of the busiest cities in Canada.
Necropolis Chapel

4) Necropolis Chapel

The Gothic Revival styled Necropolis Chapel was built in 1872 by Henry Langley. Located at 200 Winchester Street, at the edge of Don Valley in the Cabbagetown neighborhood, Toronto, this chapel fits into the surrounding context of heritage conservation. The name Necropolis translates into City of the Dead and is the first non-sectarian cemetery. This chapel has a patterned gable roof with pitched gables raising high to a sharp ridge. Two different patterns of slate cover the roof and give it a unique multicolored appearance. The chapel has detailed trefoils, rich wrought iron-worked fences and a pointed barrel stone vault marking the entrance, leading to the central area of the chapel.

On the east side is a square tower which gives the edifice a picturesque, asymmetrical appearance and seems to shift the center of gravity of the structure and gives it an ascending diagonal axis. The structure is majorly built with yellow-bricks and has a jagged and pointed contour due to the steep roof and the tower. The eaves of the porch and barge-boards of the gables of the caretaker’s house and main gate are decorated with white sawn wood ornaments.

In the mortuary chapel lie the remains of Toronto’s first mayor, William Lyon Mackenzie and one of the fathers of Confederation, George Brown. This chapel has been maintained and preserved beautifully over the time.
Wellesley Park

5) Wellesley Park

Bordering the east side of the Cabbagetown district, Wellesley Park is a recreational green area which provides a tranquil and charming atmosphere. This public garden represents a nice joyful alternative to the sober Victorian Heritage buildings of the district. Throughout the year various festivals are organized here.
St. James-the-less Chapel

6) St. James-the-less Chapel

The Chapel of St. James-the-less is a High Victorian Gothic Revival style funeral chapel built in 1860 by F.W. Cumberland and Storm which is located in downtown Toronto. In 1990, the city declared the Chapel as a National Historic site. Edward, Prince of Wales planted a peach tree at the entrance of the Chapel during his visit in 1919. This church situated on a slight rise is made from materials like Georgetown grey sandstone, Ohio stone trim, slate, white brick and has a small parish, a soaring spire, short and square bell tower, rough-cut stone walls, steeply pitched roof, low eaves, and intricate woodwork with a nave, porch, tower and transept. The non-denominational chapel fulfils its vocation as a consecrated “mortuary chapel.” The chapel provides a picturesque view of its cemetery which was built in 1844, due its slight elevation. There are about 20 historic burial sites which are shown on guided tours around the chapel and cemetery where photography is permitted. The cemetery’s records were made on paper traditionally but are now scanned and stored in appropriately. .

As a non-profit organization, this Chapel collects revenue and invests it into its own development and maintenance. The regular lifecycle program takes care of the maintenance and repairs of the chapel. In 2002, a major refurbishment was done wherein the stone work was cleaned and woodwork re-varnished, the stained glass and furniture was also sent for repair and cleaning. The Chapel and crematorium were closed during this period. The renovated Chapel is now open for visitors from all over the world.
Winchester Street

7) Winchester Street

Being one of the main streets of Cabbagetown, Winchester Street is well known for the Victorian Heritage buildings, among which the Daniel Lamb House, the Winchester street Junior Public School and Georgian House. But it's the Winchester Hotel that is the most famous building on the street. This historic hotel dates back to 1888. It is also known as "The Bucket of Blood", due to the fact that it was one of the toughest drinking spots in the Cabbagetown area.
Allan Gardens

8) Allan Gardens

One of the prettiest places in Toronto to visit any time of the year is the Allan Gardens. Created in 1858, the Allan Gardens is the oldest park in the city. Established over one and a half century ago, it was initially called the Horticultural Park; however, it was renamed in 1901, in honor of the former mayor who donated land to expand the gardens.

The Allan Gardens is best known for its elaborate and wide selection of tropical, sub-tropical and exotic plant collection like- orchids, hibiscus, cacti and other flowering varieties that are not native to Canada. How the garden manages to do that, you may ask. It is all thanks to the conservatory that covers 16,000 square feet.

The conservatory, also known as the Palm House was constructed in 1910 to replace a much similar greenhouse that burned down in 1902. This amazing Victorian glasshouse is the main attraction of the Allan Gardens. Not only is it a favorite spot for tourists and locals, it is also popular amongst newlyweds, who love to take their vows amidst the beauty of the Palm House.

Although the conservatory may be the highlight of the Gardens, the open area of the park is a hit during sunny days in the city. Filled with authentic Canadian flora, the park is perfect for a picnic with friends, family and pets.
Sight description based on wikipedia
St. Andrew's Evangelical Lutheran Church

9) St. Andrew's Evangelical Lutheran Church

The Church of St. Andrew’s stands solemnly at the Jarvis and Carlton Street and is counted as one of the heritage sites in the city. The initial building was constructed during the time when Toronto was still known as the Town of York.

What stands today as an Evangelical Lutheran Church was originally an Old Presbyterian Church. During the early 19th century, when Toronto was the City of York, the St. Andrews Church belonged to the Presbyterian congregation. A split in the congregation in 1874 led to the construction of a new church which is till date known as the New St. Andrews. Those who stayed back in the area called their Church the Old St Andrew’s.

Renovation on the Church was carried out in 1878. The new edifice of the Old St. Andrew’s was designed by Henry Langley and Burk who built a simple yet elegant Gothic structure in stone and brick. The construction of the building was initiated by the Church’s first minister Reverend Dr. G.M. Milligan. The Church saw some very active years where membership grew steadily, however it all came to a standstill by the mid-20th century. The same time saw an influx of a number of Lutheran refugees from Estonia and Latvia. The Church was later sold to them and today the St. Andrew’s serves as an Estonian and Latvian Lutheran Church.

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