Of Cabbages … & Cans

8 September 2014 — Apologies to Lewis Carroll, but not a King in sight at this year’s Cabbagetown Festival. No Walrus or Carpenter, either.

Which did not mean we lacked for wondrous sights. Repurposed tin cans, for example …

resophonic tincan instruments

… though by the time I got to that, I was pretty well ready for anything.

Another weekend, another festival, this time right in my own ‘hood. First the kick-off Cabbagetown Film Festival (video shorts) on Friday evening; then 2 days of yard sales throughout the area, plus tents & activities on closed-off Parliament Street, and more tents in Riverdale Park West, this time showcasing juried art & crafts.

Like many a veteran of this particular yearly event, I pace myself. Films Friday night; yard sales Saturday; Parliament St. & the craft fair on Sunday. No camera on Saturday (please, I have other priorities), but Sunday I’m out early — early enough to catch people setting up on the Carlton St. stub leading into Parliament, and on Parliament itself.

Young woman arranging vintage furniture & accessories beneath vintage British Empire flags, for example …

street fair stands on Carlton St.

… right next to a Buddhist monk checking the Tibetan items at their display, beneath a string of prayer flags.

And just around the corner, a cow!

Not quite Hey Diddle Diddle, this one very much grounded, stiff & motionless except for her ready-for-action teats. With a pail below. It’s all a promotion for Canadian milk, and if you’re game to pull those teats, you too can earn a sticker proclaiming your success in both official languages.

pull those teats! on Parliament St

Despite the early hour, Bossy already has a taker. He’s looking as stiff as the cow by now, because he’s been holding the pose for ages while a series of eager amateur photographers keep shooing onlookers aside so they can get the shot.

On along Parliament, more set-ups going on, including this young musician with an ear to his guitar.

musician & his guitar, on Parliament


I close my eyes to yet more yard sales as I head east on Wellesley St. — no no no! my goal is the craft fair!

Riverdale Park West, entrance to Craft Fair

And in I go.

Tidy lines of tents, collectively displaying the quality & range of items you expect at a well-established, juried art & crafts event. I see lots of what I expect to see — clothing, art work, accessories, jewellery, pottery, foodstuffs. And, within those usual broad categories, I see variations I hadn’t expected to see.

Montreal-based L’Atelier du Presbytère, for example, recycling vintage fabrics into handmade clothing and other textile creations.

in Cabbagetown Arts & Crafts Fair

Those two women are comparing notes in French; both languages are in brisk use at the booth itself.

Practically straight across the aisle, and with the same respect for old techniques & materials …

Horst Herget tintype photography

… tintype photography, by Horst Herget.

And farther down the same aisle, yet more vintage. This time early Canadian maps, which Helen Hawketts reproduces on cushions & tea towels for her Country Cupboard collection. Muskoka, Kawartha Lakes, Toronto & more. I am quite mesmerized, I always am by maps.

Helen Hawketts & her textiles

I finger the tea towels, locate my very own street on the 1873 map used for the Toronto towel, finally put it down and keep walking.

And bounce right out of vintage country into the 21st century — even if it is still all to do with designs on textiles.

Meet JJ.

JJ Dukharan, cre8cure

He lifts an eyebrow in acknowledgment, but keeps on working. Another young man hands me their card: JJ Dukharan, co-founder of cre8cure, whose artists want their designs to lift spirits as well as adorn a piece of material.

Around a corner, into another aisle, this one with a concentration of artisanal foodstuff vendors. Some very new-style offerings, some very traditional for events like this — and at least one that positions its traditional treat with new-style flair.

new style marketing for old style junk food

Better than kale, and organic too. What more could you ask?

But I resist, heavens I am strong, and I am rewarded with something I absolutely, totally did not expect to see. Not least because I had no idea such a thing existed.

Are you ready? Here’s the explanation for my tease at the top of this post.

Iron Uke resophonic instruments

It’s the resophonic TinCan Banjo/Ukulele/Guitar display. Of course it is. (Now you’re going to tell me you knew that all along.)

I’m still giggling about that as I head down a paved park path, planning to leave the fair and start for home. Then I see this beneath my feet and hop to one side, waiting patiently for some others to hop to one side as well, so I can take a photo.

on the path in Riverdale Park West

It’s not linked to any booth, that I can tell, so I can only give you my own best guess. Looks to me like a sardonic take on the aboriginal Four Elements, adjusted to 21st-c. realities. (Or maybe that’s not it at all. But the design is still striking.)

My forward momentum has been checked & I suddenly find myself back-tracking into the heart of the fair. No! not for a mini donut [sic], good grief. For that 1873 Toronto map tea towel.

I swear I will use it, creator Helen Hawketts insists they are durable as all-get-out, but first I just want to admire it for a few days.

Leave a comment


  1. I’m enthralled by the fabric crafts. I would never have made it back out of there! And, the donuts as new kale – omg, hilarious!! I want one… so I, too, can be healthy! 😉

    • Ah, you’d have come out laden with treasures. It’s a treat to see that artisans still exist to make such textiles, and the textiles still have a market

      • I think people enjoy handcraft arts, including textile art. So much nice to have something created from the heart rather than mass produced.

  2. Great street festival tour… So glad you went back for that tea towel!

  3. I was just thinking how different your life was from mine when I saw the cow. She was in my neighbouring village on 17th May for the Norwegian National Day. What a well-travelled animal she is.

  4. I love maps too, and would have bought it 🙂
    There’s an endless array of information to be found in them…..and old maps add another layer….change 🙂

    • Endless array of info in different contemporary maps too — I remember buying a world map in Indonesia, & finally realizing it looked so odd because (as well as being in Indonesian) it had Indonesia smack-centre in the map, instead of North/South America! I was quite disoriented until I realized why the world looked so odd…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


    "Traveller, there is no path. Paths are made by walking" -- Antonio Machado (1875-1939)

    "The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes" -- Marcel Proust (1871-1922)

    "A city is a language, a repository of possibilities, and walking is the act of speaking that language, of selecting from those possibilities" -- Rebecca Solnit, "Wanderlust: A History of Walking"

  • Recent Posts

  • Walk, Talk, Rock… B.C.-style

  • Post Categories

  • Archives

  • Blog Stats

    • 89,232 hits
  • Since 14 August 2014

    Flag Counter
  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 1,644 other followers

%d bloggers like this: