Cabbagetown is such a fun neighbourhood to walk around and explore it's magnificent architecture and whimsical neighbourhood landmarks. One of the signature Cabbagetown signposts are the many little laneways that are sprinkled throughout the neighbourhood. The following information on how these laneways got their names is courtesy of the Cabbagetown Preservation Association, a model neighbourhood association which was Founded in 1989 to preserve the architectural integrity and historic character of the Cabbagetown neighbourhood in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Cabbagetown is one of the largest areas of continuous, preserved Victorian housing in North America. http://www.cabbagetownpa.ca/
Garner Lane - after Hugh Garner who was born in 1913. In 1919, when he was 6 years old, Hugh Garner’s parents immigrated to Canada from Yorkshire, England. He grew up in Cabbagetown at 550 Ontario Street (demolished) and, like many underprivileged children, played in the back lanes, alongside train tracks and in the Don River Valley. Garner did not perform well in school work (especially grammar) but in writing, he excelled. He began working in publishing at the Toronto Star newspaper as a copy boy in 1929. During the Depression, Garner traveled across Canada and the United States working as a general laborer before fighting in the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s. With the outbreak of WW II, Garner joined the Navy and served on convoy duty in the north Atlantic until 1945. Hugh Garner’s writing voice came from his own experiences of a hard life as an “underclass” Canadian with his 1950 novel Cabbagetown being an example of such expression. In his writing life, Garner penned over 100 short stories, 17 books, a multitude of periodical pieces, radio and television scripts, and his autobiography One Damn Thing After Another. In 1963, Hugh Garner won Canada’s Governor General’s Literary Award for Hugh Garner’s Best Stories, A Collection. He died in 1979.
Darling Lane - after Darling Terrace at 562-566 Parliament which was built in 1877 by William Darling.
Flos Williams Lane - after Flos Jewell Williams who was born and grew up in Cabbagetown. Williams lived at 5 Rose Avenue, attended Jarvis Collegiate and the Toronto Normal School. For many years, she taught school in Toronto including an engagement at Rose Avenue Public School. In 1915, Williams moved to Calgary as a newlywed. Later in her life, she penned three novels and several short stories. She became known as one of the strongest women writers of western Canada.
Clara Lane – after the daughter of the Venerable Samuel J. Boddy, Ms. Clara Boddy was an original house owner on Aberdeen Avenue. The Boddy Estate lands were subdivided and sold for housing development along Aberdeen Avenue by Ms. Boddy.
Reverend Boddy Lane - after Samuel Johnson Boddy, D.C.L. who was born in 1826 and who later lived at 21 Winchester Street. Boddy was a reverend who immigrated to Canada from England in 1858. Having held the position of Assistant Minister of St. James Cathedral, he set forth to establish a new parish in 1863. St. JamesThe-Less afforded Boddy an interim location near Parliament and Wellesley Streets until the Anglican parish of St. Peter’s was created in 1866. At that time Reverend Boddy opened the facility and was named rector. At the time, he resided at 21 Winchester Street. Reverend Boddy can be credited for sending a representative to Chicago to study the street paving methods of the day and for seeing to it that streets in the area of Cabbagetown were paved for the first time. Upon his death in 1905, Boddy had held the position of Archdeacon of York for nearly 25 years.
Ishbel Lane – after Lady Aberdeen, born Ishbel Mari Majoribanks, and wife of John Cambell Gordon, 1st Marquess of Aberdeen and Temair, Governor General of Canada 1893-98.
Neutral Lane - after the First Nations tribe of people who shared with other tribes in the ownership of the land. In 1871, approximately 28,484 Native people lived in the area.
Hume Lane - after Rowena Grace Hume, M.D. who was born in 1877 in Galt, Ontario as the youngest of 12. After completing her undergraduate work at the University of Trinity College, Hume furthered her studies in England and the United States. After returning to Toronto, she became one of the founding members of Women’s College Hospital where she held the position of Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology for two decades. Hume dedicated time to work in the community with a special interest in the Salvation Army’s Harbour Light Centre, the Fred Victor Mission and Alcoholics Anonymous. A resident of 226 Carlton Street, Dr. Hume was well regarded in the neighborhood but died at the hand of an intruder, a 28 year old transient.
Cat Mint Lane - after the aromatic wildflower Cat Mint, a Eudicot of the Lamiaceae/Mint family, that grows at roadsides and fence lines such as those found in Cabbagetown laneways.
Flicker Lane - after the large woodpecker most commonly seen on the ground, where it forages. It plays an important role in the woodland communities because it excavates tree cavities, which are subsequently used by other species. Areas such as the Don Valley and Rosedale Ravine nearby form a desirable habitat. Flickers are Piciformes of the Picidae/Woodpecker family.
Iroquois Lane - after the First Nations tribe of people who shared with other tribes the ownership of the land. In 1871, approximately 28,484 Native people lived in the area.
Jefferys Lane - after the commercial artist, historian, author and illustrator Charles W. Jefferys. Jefferys 3-volume work Picture Gallery of Canadian History received critical acclaim. Charles W. was the son of Charles T. Jefferys and first husband to Jean Adams. Their home was located at 402 1/2 Wellesley Street.
Prohibition Lane - after the 20th century social movement which prohibited the sale of alcohol without prescription. So oppressive was the movement, that many sought to overcome it through bootlegging practices or by obtaining a doctor’s consent. It is said that in one single day, a Cabbagetown doctor of good repute wrote over 700 prescriptions for the use of alcohol giving them to local residents of all socio-economic ranks. Prohibition ended in 1927.
Schawlow Lane - after Arthur (Bud) Schawlow who was born in 1921 and who lived at 436 Sackville in the 1920s. He attended Winchester Public School and later, on scholarship, the University of Toronto where he earned a PhD in 1949. During his years at university, he spent his spare time playing the clarinet and taking an active interest in listening to and playing in Toronto’s early Jazz scene. Schawlow received the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1981 for co-founding the laser with his brother-in-law Charles Townes.Mickey Lane – after
Mickey Wilson, who was the owner of the Winchester Hotel during Prohibition. Wilson engaged in the common practice known as “rumrunning” by taking alcohol across Lake Ontario to the U.S. for sale during this time.
Magic Lane – after Doug Henning who was born in Fort Garry, Manitoba in 1947 and who became interested in magic by the age of 6. With a Canada Council grant to study magic, Henning pursued training as a teenager in Toronto. Broadway musicals such as The Magic Show, and Merlin featured Henning at the top of the billing. In his career, Henning had 8 Emmy award nominations and he won an Emmy award for NBC’s Doug Henning’s World of Magic program. By 1994, Doug Henning ran as a Canadian parliamentary candidate for the Natural Law Party. His residence was located at 94 Winchester Street. Henning died in 2000.
Arthur Goss Lane – after Arthur Goss who was born in 1881 and moved to Cabbagetown at the age of 6 years where his family lived at 20 Metcalfe Street. He attended Rose Avenue Public School. After his father’s sudden death he began his working life at age 14 as an office boy in the City of Toronto Engineer’s Office on Front Street. While working for the City, he was staffed to the position of City Photographer, a posting that he held for almost 40 years. During his career, he captured many images on film and created countless photos of early Toronto including Cabbagetown and the Riverdale Zoo. He died in 1940.
Eddy Lane - after the Eddy family who lived at 495 Sackville. Mr. Eddy was a clerk for the Canadian National Railway. The Eddy children attended Rose Street School and Winchester School with the family shopping at Power’s Grocery Store at Parliament and Carlton and at McMorran’s Butcher at Sackville and Amelia. The family attended Jarvis Street Baptist Church.
Tweedy Lane - after a Mr. Tweedy who built the structures at 5, 7 and 16 Parkview Avenue. Coltsfoot Lane - after the wildflower, a Eudioct in the Asteraceae/Aster family, found at roadsides, cultivated land, bluffs or erosion banks such as the lanes of Cabbagetown or the erosion banks of the Rosedale ravine.
O’Riordan Lane - after Mary O’Riordan D.V.M. who was born in 1925 in Ireland. “Dr. Mary”, as she was known, was said to be the first female veterinarian to be licensed to practice in Ireland. By 1963, she immigrated to Canada and lived in Toronto where she worked in an animal hospital. O’Riordan subsequently owned her own animal hospital and offered her clients the service of house calls. In 1975, her book Dr. Mary’s Animals was published and as a result, she became more widely known in the community as Dr. Mary. O’Riordan was one of the founders of Cabbagetown’ s annual Forsythia Festival and she was a director of the Toronto Press Club. She resided at 160 Amelia Street where she died in 1993.
Goatsbeard Lane - after the biennial wildflower that commonly grows by dry roadsides such as those of the Cabbagetown lanes. Goat’s-Beard is a Eudicot of the Asteraceae/Aster family.
Edensmith Lane - after Eden Smith who was born in 1858 in Birmingham, England. Smith and his wife Annie were residents of Toronto at 34 Salisbury Street. In 1882, Smith began his practice of architecture. At first, he designed several churches to service the growing population of Toronto. Among his designs to take form were The Church of St. Thomas on Huron Street, The Church of St. Cyprian in Seaton Village and St. John the Evangelist on Portland Street. After 1888 his work shifted to residential designs. His work includes many homes in Toronto’s early municipalities including Wychwood Park, Rosedale, The Annex and Forest Hill. Smith favored and was influenced by the Arts and Crafts Movement. His “state of the art” design of the public housing complex on the corner of Spruce and Sumach Streets in Cabbagetown was built in 1913 and stands as a rare example of early public co-operative housing projects. Smith died in 1949.
Yen Lane - after J. L. (Allen) Yen PhD who was born in 1925 in Canton, China. Yen was first appointed to the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering at the University of Toronto in 1952. There he became a Professor of Electrical Engineering and contributed to the theoretical and experimental advances made in the new fields of signal theory, communication and digital signal processes. In 1967, Dr. Yen shared in receiving the American Academy of Arts and Sciences Rumford Medal for advances in Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI). Yen was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He died in 1993.
Al Purdy Lane - after Al Purdy who was born in 1918. Purdy is considered by many to be the most accomplished Canadian poet of the English language though his history of work includes written work in broadcast media of radio and television. Born in Wooler, Ontario, Purdy came to Toronto and resided at 435 Sackville Street in his youth. He is said to have enjoyed spending time people watching at the Riverdale Zoo. Purdy spent 6 years in the RCAF. Over the course of his career, Purdy penned 33 books. He received Canada’s Governor General’s Literary Award in 1965 for Caribou Horses and once again in 1986 for Collected Poems. He received the Order of Canada in 1982. He died on the morning of Good Friday, 2000 at the age of 81.
Tony Brady Lane – after Tony Brady, founder of Cabbagetown’s spring Forsythia Festival, made historic plantings of forsythia. They stand in Wellesley Park. Forsythia is a member of the Oleaceae family, the genus Forsythia with parentage from East Asia’s Forsythia Suspensa x f. Viridissima.
Fresh Air Lane - after the commonly used term used to identify different initiatives that held the common goal of helping children from disadvantaged communities by giving them the opportunity to get away from city heat, noise and the risk of contracting tuberculosis. Fresh air was considered a cure for tuberculosis. “Fresh Air” initiatives were common in major cities in Canada and the United States. Many Cabbagetown children had the opportunity to attend summer camps such as the one run by the Toronto Star at Bolton, or the one at Jackson’s Point operated by the Salvation Army.
McNamara Lane - after the McNamara family who operated the market store located on the southeast corner of Sackville and Carlton Streets. While not a formal lending institution, the general stores of Cabbagetown exemplified the challengingeconomic circumstances under which many Cabbagetowners lived and the standard of personal attention given to them as clientele of the store.
Gordon Sinclair Lane - after Gordon Sinclair who was born on June 3, 1900 at 375 Carlton Street. Sinclair started a career in journalism with the Toronto Daily Star in 1922 and traveled extensively as an assignment reporter. Moving to the increasingly popular medium of radio in 1942, his daily CFRB broadcast of Let’s Be Personal made him a local pop star. By 1957 he moved to the CBC and took on the role of a panelist on the hit Front Page Challenge. The program eventually became the longest running television program in Canadian history. He is remembered for his written works Footloose in India, Cannibal Quest, Will the Real Gordon Sinclair Please Stand Up and Will the Real Gordon Sinclair Please Sit Down. Sinclair became an officer of the Order of Canada in 1979. He died in 1984.
Chipping Sparrow Lane - after the bird Chipping Sparrow that acquired its name from its frequently heard chipping call notes. Parks, gardens and woodlands such as those in Cabbagetown and the Don Valley are popular habitats for “Chippies” who demonstrate a preference for high perches. Chipping Sparrows are Passeriformes of the Emberizidae/Sparrow and Allies family.
Corn Chamomile Lane - after the wildflower, a Eudicot of the Aster family, found at roadsides and other disturbed sites with poor soil quality such as the lanes of Cabbagetown.
Smith Gemmell Lane - after the architectural firm of Smith and Gemmell who designed The Ontario Medical College for Women building which was subjected to adaptive reuse but stands at 289 Sumach Street as an important part of the streetscape.
Wakely Lane - after Captain William R. Wakely who lived with his wife, parents and four daughters as the first residents at 133 Spruce Street. Wakely worked on boats from the age of 13 and was a ship’s Captain on a vessel that carried coal, perhaps the most commonly used fuel source in the 1800s.
Dyer Lane - after Corporal Ainsworth Dyer who was born in 1977. Dyer grew up in Regent Park and later joined the Edmonton-based battalion of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. In 1998, he joined the 5th Platoon and was trained as a paratrooper. Corporal Dyer was killed in action on April 18, 2002 during a training exercise near Kandahar, Afghanistan.
Picking Coke Lane - after the popular practice of collecting fragments of coke from ash piles and placing them in bags in order to transport them to private homes as fuel to heat a house. Such practices took place in industrialized areas where the waste product of coke (created from the extraction of gas from coal) was regularly discarded. The Kemp Manufacturing Plant was one such site and within walking distance of most Cabbagetown residents.
Carfrae Lane - after the first fire captain of The Toronto Fire Department, Thomas Carfrae Jr. who worked on the force in 1802.
Exchange Lane - after the work of Alexander Graham Bell who, in 1879, established the first telephone exchange in Toronto with Hugh Lewis, the Cabbagetown resident of 295 Carlton Street, being the first of 40 subscribers.
Grandtoy Lane - after the individual James Grand, a former resident at 26 Spruce Street and Samuel Toy, a former resident at 28 Spruce Street. In 1882, Grand started an office supply business of his own from his home on King Street. Reaching beyond the parameters of his store, Grand began selling door-to-door carrying his products in a wheelbarrow. In 1883, Grand took on his brother-in-law, Samuel Toy, as a partner and the business name Grand and Toy came into play with a store located at Leader Lane and Colborne Street, behind the King Edward Hotel. It was at this time that James Grand lived at 26 Spruce Street, and Samuel Toy lived at 28 Spruce Street.
Redrocket Lane - after the popular name for a Toronto Transit Commission vehicle, the PCC streetcar, and in recognition of Sherbourne Subway Station located to the immediate west. Public transportation has been in place in the geographic region since its inception and continues to be an important means of transportation for residents of all socio-economic backgrounds.