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Monday, April 29, 2013

Cabbagetown redux

lawn ornament at 435 Sackville
Just back from a week of Toronto wandering, camera still cooling off after hundreds of shots of that city's wonderful architecture, feet weary from pursuing the many stories it tells.

Visited a few spots that link together the lines of Al's poem 'In Cabbagetown'.

 I think Al Purdy would laugh at how neatened up everything is, compared to his days at "the Cabbagetown house on Sackville Street," immortalized in the poem.

Al's place - from which he escapes to the zoo
The Cabbagetown Preservation Association is clearly a force to be reckoned with. They appear to be behind the area's Heritage Conservation District designation, the naming of 55+ public lanes after notable people and historic events associated with the area, lawn signage marking homes of Cabbagetown personages, and the 'Cabbagetown People' display in Riverdale Park. These markers make a ramble through the gentrified area an informative pursuit.

east of Sackville, south off Salisbury
Al Purdy Lane - entirely too neat
Cabbagetown People in Riverdale Park - Al's on the reverse

Cabbagetown Person #27

Interestingly while I was in Toronto, I was reading 'Cabbagetown', Hugh Garner's classic novel about the depression, written in 1950. Of Cabbagetown's borders Garner, who "lived in it when it was a slum" says this:
" was situated in the east-central part of the city, its boundaries being Parliament Street in the west, Gerrard Street on the north, the Don River on the east and Queen Street on the south."  Enter, the revisionist historians and the social housing folk.

Today, the natty Cabbagetown Heritage Conservation District street signs delineate a Cabbagetown bordered by Parliament, Gerrard to the south, the Don Valley and Rosedale Valley Rd. to the north. "Movin' on up', like The Jeffersons' TV theme optimistically celebrated. I'm not making this stuff up.

Do I hear a derisive snort from our 13-years gone friend Al?

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