Cabbagetown Festival Update
by Judi McWilliams
A Place to Experience!
Recently our trusty Festival Nomad had paid a visit to Cabbagetown in the eastern section of downtown Toronto. Cabbagetown sits right at the corner of Parliament and Gerrard Streets. Although he shared a few pictures with me and talked about his experience, I can now say that today I realized that Cabbagetown is a place you need to experience! Today we were at the Cabbagetown Festival. We had picked up the festival program guide prior to the event. It, in my opinion, is one of the most professional and organized programs I have seen. We were excited to get there. We were told in advance that “parking” might be a challenge, but the Festival Nomad’s patience paid off. A couple of laps of the block and sure enough, a spot opened up. We could hear 'bag pipes' playing in the distance and realized we were just in time for Cabbagetown Festival parade. Now I will almost start our journey by telling you the end … this Cabbagetown Festival was an experience! I had told you about their amazing program. It detailed all the events of the day, times, locations, etc. But, it seemed the Festival Nomad and I just tucked the program into our camera case and just “went with the flow”! The quaint side streets were lined with neighbourhood residents offering large “garage/yard” sales. It seems almost every other home had antiques and treasures for sale. The young “entrepreneurs” included a bunch of “little kids” selling homemade lemonade from their stand. Their sign was hand written. They were organized and extremely “business like” with a production line. At the other end of a street were “bigger kids” selling lemonade and pop. They offered musical entertainment (playing their electric guitars and drums). The homes in Cabbagetown are immaculate and offer wonderful architecture. The gardens are full of splendor and charm. Many have waterfalls and water features adding to the atmosphere. You can really see the pride of this Town! Right in the heart of mostly concrete city full of hustle and bustle, sits this calm, quite neighbourhood.
Walking the Festival
Most of the main arteries were blocked off from downtown Toronto traffic. The streets were lined on both sides with vendors in tents offering an array of merchandise, jewelry, cd’s, unique crafts, and clothing. The store merchants also put their wears on the sidewalk for sale and for tasting samples of their fine foods and beverages. The smells were alluring from the fresh corn on the cob grilled on an open fire. There was curry chicken, fiats, cool fresh fruit smoothies rice, pork on a stick, veggie grills and lots of healthy choices. Different types of clusters of musical entertainment sprung up on corners offering many varieties of music. The guitars came to life as did the beat of the drums from a group playing African Drums. The flow of the Cabbagetown Festival was fantastic. It seemed never long in any line-up and you seemed to always get the best views even though crowds had gathered. The Cabbagetown Festival offered a diverse, unique, and very eclectic array of activities and events. The art-in-the-park was a huge surprise. The ambience of the tents offered a unique setting as the tents and artisans were laid out through the park. It was not too crowded and there were plenty of places with benches for folks to sit, or they could sit on the lush cool grass. The large trees provided just enough shade for people to stay cool, all in amongst the tents. In my opinion, the artistic/artisan works being offered were “elite”, professional and extremely high quality. To my surprise also was that they seemed to be affordable. The Festival Nomad and I took advantage of this wonderful festival setting and strolled through the adjoining Riverdale Zoo. This, I would describe, was an “experience”! It is set in a historical setting nestled by the babbling brooks surrounded by old worn wood rails along the pathways. Chickens run free throughout the zoo grounds to much delight of the children visiting. A lot was being offered this day at the zoo as well. They had kids face painting, fishing pond, clay making in the old stone building, crafts and lots more. The Festival Nomad and I wound up and down, back and forth. We were drawn to each area by the sounds, smells and excitement in the air. The Cabbagetown Festival is an experience of community pride …. It’s worth taking the time … you won’t be disappointed!
2010 Cabbagetown Festival
by Festival Nomad Correspondents, Connie and Tom McAleese
Another Great Day...
Another great day to take in Toronto and all it has to offer. This time the Cabbagetown Festival. Unfortunately, we did not arrive in time to support all the runners for the 31st Annual mini-marathon for the Cabbagetown Youth Centre. The proceeds from the run go to support youth programs, such as their after 4:00 program. Next we went to see the Cabbagetown Festival parade which started on Parliament Street. From there we listened to the music, and checked out arts and crafts show. There were many information booths to investigate along the route! A choice of great International food was available, Mexican, Chinese, Indian and South Asian! All this as we walked from Wellesley to Gerrard. The organizers had planned everything from a Pancake Breakfast and Corn Roast at the Riverdale Farm to an arts and crafts show in Riverdale Park. The Cabbagetown Festival had so much to offer its visitors! You could spend time with a Tour of the Dance Studio, take a Neighbourhood Walking Tour, watch a Karate Club demonstration or even see a performance of The High-Flying Adventures of Peter Pan put on by the Cabbagetown Theatre Company! The entertainment along the way was great! We watched and listened to singing and dancing in front of the Filipino Centre. We joined the beat of Steve Grant and Green Code! There were many other groups to listen to throughout the two day Festival, including Samba Squad, Robert Demers, Donna Green and the Moo`d Swings and many more. All in all in was a great festival that had so much to offer!