The Cabbagetown Southwest HCD Study recommended that an HCD plan be developed for Cabbagetown Southwest, based on the identified cultural heritage value and heritage attributes of the neighbourhood and in accordance with the Ontario Heritage Act and the City of Toronto’s terms of reference for HCDs. It also identified a draft list of properties that contribute to the heritage value of Cabbagetown Southwest. You can learn more about the boundary, heritage attributes and contributing properties below.

The boundary includes 603 properties, including the Ontario Street Parkette, and has been extended to include Anniversary Park at the intersection of Gerrard and Parliament Streets, as well as the property at the northwest corner of Gerrard Street East and Parliament Street.

The proposed boundary excludes properties fronting Poulett, Shuter, and Milan Streets (except for 270); as well as the properties fronting Berkeley Street south of address numbers  230/249C, and properties fronting Ontario Street south of address numbers 218/219. This area was excluded as it was primarily developed outside the district’s period of significance (1856-1945), however individual properties within the area have been identified for further research and potential individual inclusion on the Heritage Register.

This map shows the proposed boundary of the Cabbagetown Southwest HCD

The district’s Cultural Heritage Values are based on:

  • Its design and physical value relating to a high degree of craftsmanship evident in the detailing of the brickwork, wood work, bay window treatments, roofs, porches, windows, and doors; and its concentration of Victorian Bay and Gable residences and late 19th and early 20th century architectural styles that represent Toronto’s early residential development
  • Its historical and associative value relating to its history as a diverse socio-economic neighbourhood; and its street and laneway configurations reflecting the original Park Lot subdivision
  • Its contextual value relating to the cohesive architectural character from a narrow period of development; and its consistent building heights, articulation, massing, and use of material
  • Its social and community value associated with existing and historic institutions that have served the neighbourhood

Heritage attributes are the physical, spatial and material elements within the district that convey its heritage character and that should be conserved. They include buildings, streets and open spaces that are a collective asset to the community. Heritage attributes can range from physical features, such as building materials or architectural features, to overall spatial patterns, such as street layout and topography.

Historical and Associative Attributes:

  • The extant long narrow north-south blocks with their I-configuration laneways that reflect the original park lot orientations and their owners’ subdivision of their properties over time as the city developed
  • The narrow lots that reflect the subdivision and development of the area by small scale builders who built out short stretches of row houses
  • The mixture of housing typologies including small Ontario Worker’s Cottages adjacent to larger more ornate Bay and Gable houses that reflects the historic socio-economic diversity of Cabbagetown Southwest
  • The historic and existing institutions within the neighbourhood that serve its diverse population
  • The historic industries that moved into the area, such as the Acme Dairy Company, Evening Telegram, and Imperial Optical Factory, among others, that influenced the built form of the area, and employed the local population

Design and Physical Attributes:

  • The low rise predominant scale (1-3 storeys for residential buildings)
  • The proportion of the street wall to the street
  • The distinctive fine-gain buildings with their generally 2 storey main wall and distinct roof expression
  • The balance between cohesiveness of the architectural expression of the district’s built form as expressed by its built form typologies, and the distinct and unique architectural details of the individual buildings
  • The buildings’ relationship to grade: the entrances are at grade or slightly raised; and the front yards extend to the building face
  • The buildings built to their side lot lines or with a narrow set back that contribute to a continuous street wall
  • The datum lines and rhythm created by the soffit punctuated with front gables
  • The articulation of the elevations with by windows and porches
  • The vertical expression of the elevations accentuated by the narrow lot, the vertical rectangular windows, the steeply pitched gables, and the bay windows
  • The relatively similar (2m to 3m) setbacks of all houses; (with the exception of a few older buildings that are either up to the property line or very recessed)
  • The historic architectural styles: Victorian, Second Empire, Italianate, Georgian
  • The concentration of Second Empire and Italianate buildings on the commercial streets
  • The predominance of gable roofs, with the exception a few localized mansard roofs
  • The predominant use of brick, and the overall quality of the ornamentation of masonry, including the use of polychromatic brickwork and stone detailing, as well as intricate and decorative woodwork

Contextual Attributes:

  • The cohesiveness of the neighbourhood’s built form that is reflected in the short period of build out and intensification
  • The long north-south residential streets, and the east-west commercial streets with consistent heritage character
  • Its relationship to the rest of Cabbagetown
  • The contrasting scale with the large scale developments of Moss Park and Regent Park to its south and east

Social and Community Attributes:

  • The existing and historic institutions that have served the neighbourhood including the Lee School, Central Neighbourhood House, the Toronto Public Library, the Yonge Street Mission, St. Michael’s Homes, Street House Community Nursing, and Children’s Book Bank to list a few
  • The mixture of housing typologies that reflect the historic socio-economic diversity
  • The Gay Liberation Movement of the 1970s and the subsequent influx of members of the LGBTQ+ community
  • The historic and continued operation of resident and community associations in the downtown east side

Properties within the Cabbagetown HCD were individually evaluated to determine whether they contribute to the neighbourhood’s heritage value. Contributing properties are those that have design, historic and/or associative value and that contribute to the neighbourhood’s heritage character.

Properties were identified as contributing if they satisfied the following criteria:

  • Constructed during the Development and Intensification (1856-1919) or the Residential Decline and Industrialization (1920-1945) periods
  • Is a prevailing typology such as Bay and Gable or Ontario Cottage; and/or
  • Maintains its integrity and/or has contextual value as part of a row of historic buildings