I live at Richmond East and Sherbourne. Why is my neighbourhood called Corktown?
I live at Richmond East and Sherbourne. Why is my neighbourhood called Corktown?—Terri Thomas, Corktown
In the latter half of the 19th century, Toronto was frequently referred to as the Belfast of Canada. More than a third of the city’s residents were Irish (both Protestant and Catholic), and most of them middle class. But the residents of Corktown were an altogether rowdier bunch—tough working-class immigrants from County Cork (of Blarney Stone fame) in the southwest. Local cops—a beefy corps who, according to one historical report, “could hold their own in a rough-and-tumble mix-up”—referred to the Corktown beat as the city’s “liveliest.” Some of the original workers’ cottages can still be seen in the area, as well as old Corktown’s pretty Italianate church, St. Paul’s, a daintily frescoed haven in a gritty part of town.