Thursday, 27 December 2007

New Year's Eve in Cabbagetown

Some quick news before we start on the main action...
Believe it or not, Cabbagetown can be a birdwatcher's joy. On Boxing Day, a pileated woodpecker was spotted at work in the trees above Sackville and Wellesley. In late November, a redbreasted nuthatch appeared near the Wellesley Cottages. A pair of barn owls has been repeatedly seen at dawn between the Necropolis and Riverdale Farm. A redtail hawk has been hunting squirrels and pigeons through Wellesley Park and St James Cemetery. And a northern goshawk showed up near Carlton and Ontario.

Enjoy yourself on New Year's Eve...
Cabbagetown offers great meals and goodies for all tastes and budgets. For your convenience, we're listing the New Year's Eve offerings from all of our restaurants and pubs in alphabetical order. Just scroll down until you find your favourite.

Big Mamma’s Boy
554 Parliament Street

(416) 927-1593
Big Mamma’s Boy is making New Year’s Eve easy for you: no cover charges, no special seatings, no fancy dress codes. Make your reservation for your convenience and your table is yours until 3 am. Dancing. Regular menu. Bring your ipod and we’ll play your favourite music. Reservations are recommended.
For more information:

Brass Taps
221 Carlton Street

(416) 966-9440
Win two Raptors tickets worth $440 at our midnight draw during our New Year’s Eve bash. We have lots more prizes that you can win throughout the evening. No cover charge.

The Cobourg
533 Parliament Street

(416) 913-7538
This year’s celebration features Graham Howe and his multi-purpose funky/party ensemble playing dance tunes until the wee hours of the morning. A free glass of bubbly will be served at midnight. Tickets are on sale at $20 (in advance) and $25 at the door.


601 Parliament Street
(416) 925-6330
Two seatings: 5:30 and 8:30 pm. Your choices for your four-course meal include truffles, thai salmon cake, asparagus soup, beef tenderloin, chicken breast, atlantic salmon and chocolate mousse. $47.50

House on Parliament
456 Parliament Street

(416) 925-4074
Two seatings: 6 pm and 8:30 pm. Your five-course meal includes choices of prosecco, maple butternut squash, smoked salmon, brie and pear salad, beef tenderloin with tiger shrimp, rack of lamb, grilled salmon, chocolate raspberry tart and crepes with white chocolate and espresso mousse. Prix fixe $65

The Left Door/Ben Wicks
424 Parliament Street

(416) 961-9425
Choose between a three-course dinner at $35 or a five-course dinner at $55. Your menu will include crab cakes, oysters, cavatelli, Caesar salad, oyster soup, vegetarian shepherd’s pie, arctic char, duck cassoulet, beef tenderloin, eggnog bread pudding, poached pear, white chocolate cake with local cheese and fruits.
Drop in at the Ben Wicks throughout the evening. No cover charge.
Two seatings: 7 pm and 9:30 pm. Dance with DJ Tony Verron.
Sample menu available at

507 Parliament Street

(416) 962-8190
Your three-course meal includes appetizers, a selection of main courses from our special menu and your choice of unforgettable desserts. Entrees include a 10 oz New York sirloin, beef tenderloin, grilled halibut, seafood classic, chicken chasseur, roast pork tenderloin and spinach and riccota ravioli. Prices range from $19.99 to $24.99 for your meal. Reservations are recommended. For more information:

Stonegrill on Winchester
51B Winchester Street

(416) 967-6565
Two seatings.
First seating (arriving 5 to 6:30 pm), $65.
Menu includes tossed salad or lobster bisque, beef tenderloin with jumbo prawns or carmelized black cod, and a tasting of desserts.
Second seating (arriving 8:30 to 9:30 pm), $95.
Enjoy a complimentary glass of sparkling wine to welcome the New Year. Menu includes tossed salad or lobster bisque, black pepper tagliatelle, sorbet, beef tenderloin with jumbo prawns or carmelized black cod, and a tasting of desserts. More information available at

The Town Grill
243 Carlton Street
(416) 963-9433

Complimentary glass of champagne. Dinner features sea scallops, beluga caviar, black truffle risotto, seared escolar, wild boar, Ontario rack of lamb or beef tenderloin, tarte citron or dark chocolate napoleon, and cheese plates. Prix fixe at $110.
Sample menu available at

Staying Home?
Enjoy specialty meals with takeout and delivery from:
Ali Baba (Falafel - 415 Parliament, 416-925-7016)
  • Asahi (Japanese - 200 Carlton, 416-962-6565)
  • China Gourmet (Chinese - 235 Carlton, 416-515-0088)
  • Ginger (Asian - 252 Carlton, 416-923-7979)
  • Margarita's (Mexican - 229 Carlton, 416-929-6284)
  • Tender Trap (Chinese - 580 Parliament, 416-920-5147)
  • Timothy's Tikka House (Indian - 556 Parliament, 416-964-7583).

The franchise standby's are still as delicious as ever -

  • 241 Pizza (451 Parliament, 416-241-0241)
  • Mr Sub (296 Gerrard)
  • Pizza Pizza (560 Parliament 416-967-1111)
  • Subway (531 Parliament)
  • Wing Machine (482 Parliament).
  • Closed on New Year’s Eve: Chapter Eleven, JAM Café and Piccolo.

Enjoy yourself - see you next year!

Friday, 21 December 2007

Santa Tours Cabbagetown
(Click on any photo to enlarge it)

Santa Tours Cabbagetown, 2007
If you know Santa, you know that he doesn’t fool around. Last weekend, we had a great example of his determination. He started out on Saturday at Spruce and Parliament but it was just too cold for him to sit there all day long. So, after a quick consultation with his elves, he launched himself into the restaurants and stores along Parliament and Carlton.

On Sunday, Santa visited Menagerie Pet Shop. The beautiful and talented Wendy was one of his many friends to drop in for a quick snapshot.On Saturday, Santa went up and down the street flashing charm everywhere and being warmly welcomed in return.
This week’s Newsletter is a photo essay of his journey.

Sterling Brass are having their Christmas carol sing-along at the Ben Wicks (424 Parliament) on Sunday, December 23 from 2 to 5 pm. The snow storm last weekend forced a postponement.
On Christmas Day, Cranberries (601 Parliament) will hold its annual Christmas dinner. It’s a feast. Virtually every other Cabbagetown restaurant is closed. If you’re at loose ends and you want turkey without the fuss, get over to Cranberries.
Several of our bargain stores have tons of paper and wrapping supplies left and they want me to remind you about their offerings. Loonie and Less, Bargain Shop and Dollar4U are all ready to help you with your last minute decorating and wrapping chores.

Winter wonderland
Last weekend’s snow turned Parliament, Gerrard and Carlton into winter wonderlands. Even our photographer, Eric Morse, had trouble getting across the street.

Friday, 14 December 2007

Here's a quick photo tour of some of our shops where Christmas is a real pleasure
This Christmas, you can buy orchids, beautiful handcrafted jewelry, great clothes, fine furniture and much much more, all on Parliament and Carlton Streets.
Mrs Kim at Parliament Smoke & Gift (609 Parliament)
Marg at Nettleship's Hardware (576 Parliament)
Tina & Larry at Simmons Flowers (540 Parliament)
Alex at Mi Casa (238 Carlton)
Santa’s Tour in Cabbagetown
On Saturday, bring your kids and have your picture taken at Spruce and Parliament. He’ll be the guy in the red suit right beside the Christmas trees next to Joe’s No Frills (449 Parliament).
On Sunday, Santa is once again ready to go with your pets at Menagerie Pet Shop (549 Parliament). Last week, several people brought their cats as well as their dogs – and Santa escaped alive! So don’t limit yourself. Bring your fish, your lizards, your cats and of course, your dogs. Santa welcomes all.

A Christmas announcement from 51 Division
PC Michael Tattersall dropped in to the BIA office today to introduce himself. For the next few months, he’ll be assigned in our immediate neighbourhood. He’s been given lots of information from 51 Division Community Relations Office and he got a big lecture from the BIA when he visited here. He’s now going into businesses to hear about your concerns one-by-one.
In the past, we’ve had other commitments from 51 Division that have worked really well – extra foot patrols, bike patrols and pay-duty officers on our streets. This is an extension of those initiatives. It’s a very encouraging sign of the continued success that’s coming from the close cooperation between the police and our community. Having a police officer who is personally knowledgeable about our neighbourhood and working right on the scene is a huge benefit for all of us. As BIA Chair Paul Dineen says, “A fulltime police officer here has been our dream for a long time.”
When you see PC Tattersall, give him a warm Cabbagetown welcome.

And a seasonal word of caution…
Paul Nadeau from 51 Division also sends us a very timely reminder about thefts during the holiday season.
First – when you leave your car, don’t leave parcels and valuables within sight. Hide them in the trunk..
Second – don’t leave your car running when you dash into a store even if it’s “just for a minute.”
Third – don’t walk away from the bank machine or a store with large amounts of cash openly visible in your hands.

Now – on to the main Christmas action!

Four of our shops are offering a lovely range of seasonal delights…
St Jamestown Steak & Chops (516 Parliament), once again, is turkey headquarters. Their Christmas offerings are legendary. Be sure to order yours now so it can be in the store and ready for you just before Christmas. (The Michelins have a secret cooking technique involving turkeys and brown bags – but I could never get the hang of it and always feared that my house and not just the turkey would be roasted for Christmas.)
Daniel et Daniel (248 Carlton) have a sensational Festive Menu.
Epicure Shop (473 Parliament) presents great gift ideas and daily seasonal specials: personalized gift baskets, cheese platters (be sure to ask about the new Niagara artisanal cheeses), homemade gingerbreads, shortbreads and fruit cakes, and Dufflet’s mincemeat tarts. On Saturday, December 15, you can buy any Summer Fresh Dip and get a second one for half price. On Sunday, December 16, buy two brownies and get a third one free and get French Triple Cream Brie at (unbeatable price!) $2.59/100g.
At Cabbagetown Organics (499 Parliament) , they’re gearing up with some of our freshest (and most organic) fruits and veggies.

Music on Parliament Street
Sterling Brass will appear for their annual Christmas carol concert at the Ben Wicks (424 Parliament) on Sunday, December 23 from 2 to 5 pm. Their plans for December 16 were cancelled due to the snow storm.
The usual trio of great jazz events happens on the weekend.
Piccolo has Friday night jazz in the lower Anabella Lounge (226 Carlton) from 9 pm. No cover.
Stonegrill on Winchester (51B Winchester) offers Archie Alleyne with Sunday brunch from noon to 3 pm.
Cobourg (533 Parliament) on Sunday night from 9 pm. No cover.

Friday, 7 December 2007

Christmas festivities have started

Santa started his 2007 Tour in Cabbagetown with a great visit to Pet Valu (240 Carlton). This is the first of three appearances that he's making this year. Next week, he'll be at Spruce and Parliament on Saturday and then at Menagerie Pet Shop on Sunday - details are listed below. Today's events at Pet Valu mark a good beginning for Christmas 2007.
For 55 years, Gerry McDermott and his family have been selling Christmas trees in Cabbagetown at Spruce and Parliament. Gerry lives in Bracebridge and his trees are harvested from farms in Muskoka and Orillia. Gerry says that his father was always a natural salesman, ready to talk you into anything. Gerry’s love is the tree farm itself. When you buy a tree from him, let him tell you a few of his Cabbagetown stories.
We’ve often talked about the remarkable flower displays that small shops around Cabbagetown set up each season. Here are two more. Allan from Trek Holidays bought a great basket arrangement at Fairway (520 Parliament) and Anna at Mini Mart (464 Parliament) shows off the poinsettias and miniature trees that they’re offering.

And be sure to schedule next week’s events
Santa returns on Saturday, December 15 – right next door to No Frills (449 Parliament) and Gerry’s Christmas trees. This time, we hope you’ll bring your family for a quick souvenir photo. On Sunday December 16, Santa rounds out his Tour in Cabbagetown at Menagerie Pet Shop (549 Parliament) where you will, once again, be able to satisfy your urge to photograph your family pet.
After all of those pet photos, you’re going to need a drink and a few soothing carols to get you settled down again. On Sunday, December 16, the Sterling Brass conduct their traditional carol sing from 2 to 5 pm at the Ben Wicks (424 Parliament).

A warm welcome to two new businesses
Chez Etienne
(248 Gerrard – telephone 416-944-2024) is a wonderful new boutique offering kitchen, bar and bath accessories. Their inventory includes Barefoot Contessa food mixes, Maury Island Jams, Maxwell Williams dishes, McBloom soaps and Mel V decorative wall plaques. They’re open on weekends only (Saturday 10 to 5 pm and Sunday, noon to 5 pm).
Nail Expose (417 Parliament) offers manicures, pedicures, artificial nails, nail art, waxing and facials. When I saw my friend Jessica in there soaking up the indulgence, I knew it has to be a great place.

Holiday specials for the health of your body and mind…
GMI Wellness (250A Carlton) is hosting a special session on energy clearing with Winnie Li, a Qigong practitioner. Qigong is an ancient Chinese wisdom that assists the mind and the body to work together to channel energy for healing purposes. For more information, call GMI Wellness at (416) 922-7203.
Every Thursday evening, GMI Wellness focuses on love meditation. On Saturday, December 15, they’re offering Hope for the Holidays for those of us who have difficulty with this time of year. Then, two special programs on weight control on December 24 and January 12 will help you to get on track toward a healthy body and healthy mind.

Cabbagetown music
Jazz abounds again.
At Anabella’s Lounge in Piccolo (224 Carlton), Kristen Rundle appears from 9:30 to 12:30 on Friday night. Piccolo’s Friday jazz is rapidly earning a great reaction for its solid performances in this intimate setting.
The Grasshopper is another place that always brings interesting music to Parliament Street. This Friday, they feature Donkey with Alex Radeff’s vocals and guitar, Terry Kavanagh on drums and Joe Spina on bass. From 9 to 1 am.
Stonegrill on Winchester (51B Winchester) continues its Sunday jazz brunches, combining their gorgeous food and settings with Archie Alleyne’s hot music. Noon to 3 pm, Sunday. No cover charge.
The Cobourg (533 Parliament) has its jazz series again at 9 pm on Sunday, no cover.

Friday, 30 November 2007

Best of Toronto
NOW has published its annual “Best of Toronto” awards and we have three winners here in Cabbagetown.

In its first ever “Outstanding People” awards, NOW picked Nancy Chisholm at 241 Video (455 Parliament) as “the kind of person one hopes to find everywhere”. And (no surprise here), Toronto’s Best Coffeehouse is Jet Fuel (519 Parliament). Christopher House at the Toronto Dance Theatre (80 Winchester) has been named Toronto’s Best Choreographer.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t also give a big pat on the back to Heather Mackenzie at Big Mamma’s Boy (554 Parliament) for her efforts on behalf of “We’re Funny that Way” – the annual gala that supports gay and lesbian causes across Canada – it won “Best queer event that’s not Pride”.
Congratulations to everyone.

Santa is on his way…
Your chance for a photo op with Santa in Cabbagetown will happen on three separate days this month. Book your time now and don’t miss him.
Bring your pet.
Old Saint Nick is dropping by Pet Valu (240 Carlton) on Saturday, December 8 and Menagerie Pet Shop on Sunday, December 16 (549 Parliament). On both occasions, bring your dog or snake or canary for a lovely souvenir photo with Santa. These unforgettable moments will be augmented even more by free gifts and coupons.
Bring your family.
Then, for a traditional family event, we’ve arranged for Santa’s visit to Spruce and Parliament outside Joe’s No Frills (Parliament) on Saturday, December 15. Bring your kids this time and get a full colour snapshot.
All three events happen from noon to 4 pm.
Photos are being taken by Eric Morse and digitally developed by Jim’s Super Foto (449 Parliament). The cost is $10 for the first 5 by 7 print and $5 for each additional copy. They’ll be great souvenirs and they’ll fit nicely inside your Christmas cards.

Survey of your opinions
In the Spring, the BIA and the Don Vale Cabbagetown Residents Association jointly asked over 1100 people in our area about Parliament, Carlton and Gerrard Streets. Your responses were overwhelming – more than 40% of the households replied. Furthermore, people obviously thought carefully about their answers with strong answers and written comments at every step along the way.
Here’s a first sample. Over 93% of the respondents said that they shop in our area at least once a week and 45% shop here daily. Our shopping district is an important part of everyone’s life.
This information will help us to improve the streetscape, select proper merchandise to satisfy your needs and aim our services in the direction that you support. Thanks.

That’s it for now – everything is happening in a rush today.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Cabbagetown Real Estate
So - everybody wants to know what’s going on. This version of our newsletter will lay out the truth, rumours, myths and best intentions surrounding several Parliament Street landmarks.

But before all of that …
Watch for Santa

In the next few weeks, Cabbagetown will have a very full Christmas program just for you. We’re arranging for two special Santa visits – to take photos with your kids (at Spruce and Parliament on December 15) and more photos with your dogs (to be announced, December 8.) There will also be a special Christmas lighting event at Anniversary Park (Gerrard and Parliament) on December 14 as part of its makeover by Green Force from HGTV.
Be careful though, when you get to the Santa event. Just a word of warning. Be sure to pick the right guy for your photo. We’ve got a fat Santa, a round photographer and lots of big plump blow-up snowmen. Maybe we’ll use name tags.

Real estate update

Aberdeen & Parliament
The latest edition of the Cabbagetown Preservation Association Newsletter has a couple of great stories about this site. If it hasn’t appeared at your home, check at the BIA office or at St Jamestown Deli (516 Parliament).
All the permits have been issued for this project. Demolition will start soon – in fact, it was scheduled for November 12.
A four storey complex is planned: the upper three levels will be apartments and the ground floor will be a Starbucks.

Regent Park
The first new residential and commercial projects are now appearing out of the holes in the ground at the corner of Parliament and Dundas and generating lots of interest.
The Daniels Corporation (who are working with Toronto Community Housing) has called this new area “One Cole” with 269 condos up for sale. Units will start at $189,000. They’ve started to collect names of interested buyers with occupancy expected in 2009.
They’ve also announced three significant retail clients to be located at Parliament and Dundas: Tim Hortons, Sobeys and the Royal Bank.
Next step is the construction of the sophisticated new swimming pool as part of the area’s central park facilities.
For photos and information, go to

At the BIA Annual Meeting this week, JavaVille’s owner let it be known that he’s planning retail on the first floor and office and commercial space upstairs. We’ve all seen the bins and the dust flying out the doors so we know that the site is being prepared for its new life, but timelines and specifics about tenants are still unavailable. We’ve also heard about a restaurant franchise that’s possibly going to locate here but we believe that’s one chicken that won’t fly.

Cabbagetown Mews
The townhouses at 543 Parliament are virtually finished and, of course, some have been sold and occupied. Richard Silver is the agent for the last remaining four units. They can be inspected at Saturday and Sunday open houses. We're pleased to learn that the unit fronting onto Parliament Street will be an office and home to a technology company. For more information and pictures of the units, go to

How much can be preserved?
George Rust D’Eye and the Cabbagetown Preservation Association will be addressing this question and putting Parliament Street into perspective on Monday night at the Stonegrill on Winchester (51B Winchester). The space opens at 6:45 pm for the 7:00 pm meeting on Monday, November 26. For the starving masses, a special $25 Prix Fixe menu has been arranged starting at 5 to 5:30 pm.

Cabbagetown Tidbits
Getting hungry?

Specials for the holiday season are popping up everywhere. Be sure to ask at your favourite restaurant and food shop. For a start, we’ve seen menus at Daniel et Daniel (248 Carlton), PearTree (507 Parliament) and Big Mamma’s Boy (554 Parliament) – and these are just the icebreakers. Over the next few weeks, we’ll bring you the full story about Christmas festivities, New Year’s parties and gift specials.

More Jazz
Piccolo (226 Carlton) continues its Friday night series with Vincent Wolfe, Whitney Smith on guitar and Jordan O’Connor on upright bass. In the Anabella Lounge, 9:00 pm, Friday November 23. No cover charge.
Stonegrill on Winchester (51B Winchester) has its regular Sunday brunch with Toronto jazz legend Archie Alleyne. Noon to 3 pm, Sunday. No cover
Cobourg (533 Parliament) again brings John Alcorn. Beautiful music in an intimate setting. Sunday, November 25, 9 pm. No cover charge.

A final word...
Remember when it was summer on Parliament Street? This fine gentleman does.

Friday, 16 November 2007

It’s late November
And bikes are on sale at Cycle Solutions (444 Parliament) They’ve got some beautiful bikes at great prices. This Specialized Globe Comp IG8 sells regularly for $879 and it’s available now for $749. Their 2007 Chariot Cougar (normally $499) is on sale at $399. All of their 2007 road bikes are on sale at 15% discounts.

Carl Orbach
Carl is a lawyer and a great friend of Cabbagetown. He’s been involved in the neighbourhood for over thirty years. His leadership and enthusiasm rescued the Festival parade last spring.
When he was away on a vacation earlier in the Fall, he was struck by a taxi and suffered a very bad break in his leg. After much trouble and pain, he’s back home again and recovering.
According to rumours, he’s bored stiff sitting at home. So we’re issuing this appeal – give him a call, send an email and perk him up.

Crime Reports
Petty crimes are making some Parliament Street businesses miserable. Here’s an update and a warning about the latest scams.
First – the courier scam. It has a simple scenario. A courier arrives with a parcel addressed to a neighbour who just happens to be away. The parcel is, of course, C.O.D. and the courier wants to leave the parcel with you. When your neighbour returns, it becomes clear that the delivery is a scam and the C.O.D. payment is a hoax.
Second – the restaurant “float”. This one involves a person who seems to know names, restaurant management details and lots of convincing details. In this scam, your restaurant gets a telephone call from a second restaurant nearby. It’s early in the day when everyone is getting ready to open. The caller on the telephone needs to borrow some cash from you because his manager hasn’t arrived at work yet and he needs a “float” to start the day. Of course, when the dust settles, your “loan” is long gone.
Third – shoplifting. This week, we’ve seen a pair of fine gentlemen doing their pre-Christmas shoplifting along Parliament Street. Watch out for a tall, slim, thirtyish black guy with dreadlocks who will distract the clerk near the door while his pal – a younger, smaller white guy in his 20s – helps himself to merchandise and drops it into a grocery bag. Both men are described as shabby and down on their luck.

Police contacts
If a crime or an emergency is still happening when you see it, call the 911 emergency police number.
If it’s over and you want to report it, call the non-emergency radio room number at 416-808-2222.
Try to be clear about as many details as possible.
Even if it’s long after the event, please call the police. When the police see a pattern happening, they can devote resources to it and they can alert the officers in cars and on bikes who patrol the area.

Frances – an update
Constable Paul Nadeau at 51 Division has been gathering community support for Frances. He’s talked to Anishnawbe who have been sending their workers around to talk to her as often as possible. He’s also informed the 51 Division Crisis Intervention Team who are on the lookout for her.
She must agree before any help can be given to her. So far, she’s refused.
If we want to help her, there are two simple steps that we can take. First, stop giving her money. She’s using it to pay for her drug habits. Second, keep asking her to get help. She understands what we’re saying to her and we have to press her to accept positive help from others.

Unistar moves
Unistar Computers have moved across the street to 517 Parliament. For years, they’ve been a fixture between the LCBO and St Jamestown Steak & Chops. Now, they’ve moved into larger quarters and created a beautiful store beside Jet Fuel and the 509 Dance Theatre. Drop in and congratulate them for a fine job.

Welcome improvements at Anniversary Park
The tiny parkette at Gerrard and Parliament is finally getting its first facelift in a while. It’s coming thanks to HGTV and Green Force, a program that features rescue efforts in neglected urban environments.
At Anniversary Park, they plan to upgrade the fountain, repair walls and sidewalks and improve the lighting. All of this will happen in early December. The Yonge Street Mission and the BIA are lending a hand. Next year, the City of Toronto will step into the action through the Clean and Beautiful City campaign.
Watch for details later in December.

Cabbagetown is rapidly becoming a destination for jazz fans.
Whitney Smith and Ailsa McCreary are appearing at Piccolo (226 Carlton) on Friday at 9 pm.
Stonegrill on Winchester (51B Winchester) has Sunday jazz at brunch.
At the Cobourg (533 Parliament), John Alcorn is again featured on Sunday at 9 pm. No cover.

615 Parliament Street
As we all know by now, a fire has helped to improve the landscape at the corner of Parliament and Wellesley. Here's a before-and-after set of photos to remind us all of that dramatic event.

Finally, it’s time to correct an oversight…
In last week’s Newsletter, we congratulated the Aberdeen Avenue residents for their clean-up efforts. We must also thank and congratulate three sponsors whose generous efforts made the project possible: Ontario Paint & Paper, Rick Hall Public Relations and Stoneybrook Custom Homes.

Friday, 26 October 2007

Hallowe’en in Cabbagetown

It’s here – one of the best nights of the year. In our neighbourhood, there’s no mistaking it. Hundreds of kids descend on us and they want their stuff!
For serious Hallowe’en shoppers (especially those of us who do it at the last minute), there’s treasure to be found along Parliament Street.

Start with the basics:
A good pumpkin can be found in several places on the street.
At Joe’s No Frills (449 Parliament), they don’t fool around – they’ve got plenty of them and they’re on sale at $2.99.
Jamestown Milk (592 Parliament) and Parliament Smoke (609 Parliament) both have big outdoor displays right at Parliament and Wellesley. Once again, these folks deserve a loud cheer for the way they perk up this corner with their flowers and pumpkins and seasonal decorations.

Decorate your steps:
Don’t leave your pumpkin to do the job all alone. Ghostly strands, grave stones, skeletons and lots of repulsive monsters are all available on Parliament.
Dollar4U has terrific decorations and costumes. Their Customer Appreciation Contest is also underway - if your purchase totals $20 or more, your name will be entered in the contest. Prizes include a Dirt Devil vaccuum, DVD Surround Sound, remote control robot and a cordless telephone. Winners’ names will be drawn on November 1. This makes it worthwhile to wander down to their store.
That big plastic lantern is another eye-catching decoration. It’s at Shopper’s Drug Mart (467 Parliament) and it’s yours for only $29.99.

When hundreds of kids show up, you need good candies at bargain prices. We’ve got the answer for you.
The Bargain Shop (429 Parliament), as always, has candies and costumes at the best prices (and they guarantee that!) While you’re there, check out the rest of the store. Their prices and selections are amazing.
Shoppers Drug Mart (467 Parliament) is another place with a huge variety of candies. Their special discounts start from $1.99 per package.
Our newest discount store – Loonie or Less at 480 Parliament - has a range of candy and decorations for a dollar (or less.)

Adult Entertainment
So there’s only so much that we can do for the kids without a break. At Lennie’s Health Foods (489 Parliament), orange and black yoga mats (with fetching black carrying cases for $26.99) are just the thing if you’ve sprained your back carrying home that pumpkin. Their reusable Hallowe’en cloth bags are another seasonal bargain at $13.99.
Pick up some Hallowe’en cookies at Daniel et Daniel (240 Carlton). Save these for yourself.

And have a trick or treat for yourself
If you aren’t worried about the kids and candies, take a night for yourself at The Stonegrill on Winchester (51B Winchester). Mae Cromwell and her band will be playing from 9 to 1 am. There are prizes for those who show up in nifty costumes. For more information, call 416-967-6565.

News and announcements

Devah is on the move
Formerly from Courtyard Hair on Carlton, Devah has just moved her salon to join Hair Spa (440 Parliament). She still books her appointments on Friday and Saturday and she can be reached at the same phone number, 416-964-1050. From time to time, she’s made the few hairs left on my head stand up straight. We’re pleased that Devah has made an effort to stay nearby – after sixteen years in our neighbourhood, she’s really important for us.

Number 9 Audio Group
222 Gerrard Street East. For musicians and artists, Number 9 has a “who can resist” offer. CDs and DVDs can be duplicated (both short run and manufacturing) for a special discounted rate of 10% off the regular price. Call 416-348-8718 for more information. Offer ends November 18.

Anabella’s Lounge at the Piccolo (226 Carlton) is picking up the pace with its Friday night jazz series. This week on Friday night, Vincent Wolfe joins Whitney Smith and Jordan O’Connor at 9:30 pm. No cover. For reservations, call 416-944-3738.

Jazz at The Cobourg
533 Parliament. 416-913-7538
John Alcorn and his trio will be appearing every Sunday throughout November. Beautiful music in a great setting. 9 pm, Sundays, no cover charge.

The Stonegrill on Winchester
51B Winchester. 416-967-6565. New menu items are now highlighted. The first week of each month will be devoted to wild game. You’ll find musk ox, elk, osterich and other game in addition to the regular menu.

One last word …
Thanks to the Aberdeen Avenue Residents Group for their cleanup efforts in the lane behind the stores north of Aberdeen. They’ve cleared up garbage and painted the back walls to make this area more presentable. They’re still working with local business owners, the City of Toronto and Green P to make the whole area a positive part of their neighbourhood.

Saturday, 29 September 2007

A Great Week

Our Thanks to the Salvation Army
The Salvation Army has decided to continue its work at the Warehouse Mission near Parliament and Wellesley and not to pursue their plans to open at the old Flamingo site.
This decision is a result of the Salvation Army’s desire to fit into the Cabbagetown community in a positive and beneficial way. Their staff talked to residents, the BIA and Councillor McConnell over the past month. Many businesses and residents worried that a fragile part of Parliament Street would become even more vulnerable if the Salvation Army located in the middle of this block. The Salvation Army investigated these worries and concluded that they were right.
Thanks first and foremost to the Salvation Army. They listened to our discussions with an open mind and were sensitive to our community’s concerns. Local staff and officials from the Ontario Central Division came to our meetings and talked frankly and openly about their plans and the needs of people in Cabbagetown.
Thanks, as well, to Councillor Pam McConnell. She made this project a priority and kept everything in focus. She made sure that both the Salvation Army and the community understood that these services are needed but that Parliament Street was not the right place for them.
Paul Dineen from the BIA, Patricia Smith from Cabbagetown South and Klaus Schirmer from Don Vale represented the community. They spoke from our perspective and made sure that accurate information flowed both ways.
Finally, Ron and Linda Farr represent the local Salvation Army on a daily basis in our midst. They work with TCHC tenants in the Warehouse Mission and they have constructive plans for new programs within a Cabbagetown congregation. Businesses and residents regard them as friends and speak highly of their contributions.

Congratulations and Best Wishes…

Tania Waldock and Beau Opperman became proud parents of their second child, Charlotte on Monday. Both Mom and Charlotte are doing well and are expected to return to the House on Parliament (456 Parliament St) ASAP.

More congratulations, this time to all of us who live and work here. In its annual survey, Xtra magazine has polled its readership and found that Cabbagetown is “the best neighbourhood for a home.” Thanks, everyone. This is a special honour indeed.

At long last, we can welcome a newsstand to our neighbourhood. International News has opened a boutique at 533A Parliament Street beside Tim Hortons. Many avid readers in Cabbagetown (and they certainly include the people who plow through this Newsletter) have long wanted a good source for newspapers and magazines.
This is an added attraction to the Winchester. Owner John Bernardo keeps ringing up his successes: first with his remarkable restoration of this beautiful building and then by bringing interesting tenants to this corner – International News, The Cobourg, the Stonegrill, the Laurentian Room, and of course Tim Horton’s.

New Building
The southwest corner of Aberdeen and Parliament is slated for a major redevelopment. Architects have unveiled plans for a small four storey complex that will house a Starbucks on the main floor (at 492 Parliament St) and apartments above it. The Board of Management at the BIA, the Aberdeen Avenue residents and the Cabbagetown Preservation Association have reviewed the plans and their recommendations have gone to the architects. A demolition permit has been issued by the City of Toronto for the current structure and the new building will start once several issues have been cleared by the Committee of Adjustment.

Saigon Hot Pot
Saigon Hotpot (568 Parliament) is downtown Toronto’s only hot pot restaurant. Also known as Mongolian hot pot, this dish is the Chinese version of steamboat stew. It’s made with a simmering pot of broth and small side dishes offering individual ingredients. “Weilu” which means to circle a hot pot, has a deep and profound meaning to the Chinese people stemming from traditional Confucian ideals emphasizing family, friends and unity. Diners can enjoy a special introductory 10% discount on their meals. Delivery is also available. Licenced.

Weekly calendar
Friday, September 28 – the Whitney Smith trio plays downstairs in the Anabella Lounge at Piccolo. (224 Carlton St). RSVP at 416-944-3738
Sunday, September 30, 3 pm – Community Blessing of the Animals at St Peter’s Anglican Church (185 Carlton St). A warm welcome for all creatures, big and small.
Sunday, September 30, noon to 3 pm - jazz for brunch at the Stonegrill on Winchester (51B Winchester Street). We’ve been there and can assure you that the both the brunch and the music are outstanding.
Sunday, September 30, 9 pm - ,Jazz at The Cobourg (533 Parliament St) features John Alcorn. Owner John Jay (freshly back from a dizzying round of deeply researched television advertisements) confirms that his Sunday night jazz series is now a permanent fixture at Cobourg. Both the musicians and then audience agree that this is a great room for their music. No cover charge.
Wednesday, October 3, 9 pm – Errol Fisher begins a weekly appearance at the Piccolo (224 Carlton St). The Anabella Lounge is a lovely downstairs room and his music will fill the place. He was featured by Piccolo during the Cabbagetown Festival and we think he’s great.

And a sad announcement
A good friend of the BIA has passed away. Houston loved his walks along Parliament Street, especially his visits to St Jamestown Steak & Chops (516 Parliament) which always featured a free hot dog from Terry Michelin and then from Mark. In fact, we had to stop taking him past this spot whenever the store was closed – he would simply sit down and refuse to move if he didn’t get his treats. Our sympathies as well to both Menagerie and Pet Valu who’re going to feel a drastic drop in their treat sales now that he isn’t here. He was a great friend and he’ll be sorely missed.

Friday, 21 September 2007

Fraud Squad TV
Watch for it next Tuesday, September 25 at 8 pm on CLT. It's an entertaining profile of scams, cons and the people who commit them. (None of it happens here in Cabbagetown, of course, but it's good to know what others are experiencing.) Chris Kiraly, James Woollatt, Mary Spence Thomas and a whole raft of others at the Soup building (603-1/2 Parliament Street) have been busily working on production, post-production and web site production for this new television documentary.

Thanks Lindsey
Lindsey Reidt worked at the BIA office over the summer and concentrated on organizing the Cabbagetown Festival. She contacted people who were street vendors, selected the design for our T-shirt, did the detailed legwork for the parade, worked with restaurants and pubs on the legal requirements for their patios and helped on a host of other issues. Our best wishes to her for her studies in her final year at Ryerson.

Salvation Army on Parliament Street
A second meeting has been held in the BIA offices about the proposed new church planned by the Salvation Army for the old Flamingo Restaurant site. One of the participants, Patricia Smith from the Cabbagetown South Association, has noted that our discussions are very frank. No one is making any promises or changing their plans as yet, but as Patricia says, our “concerns are being heard and understood.”
Councillor Pam McConnell joined us and again lends her voice to the view that this facility is simply not appropriate for this neighbourhood. Paul Dineen made it clear that at least one business has already decided to close and relocate elsewhere.
Last week, four alternative locations in Cabbagetown were put forward and each of them was carefully considered by Lieutenant Ron Farr. Our next meeting will include a professional from the Salvation Army’s property division who can assess the ideas floating around the table.

Last week at the election debate sponsored by the residents and the BIA, Paul Dineen asked each candidate a straightforward question. How can we allow a person like Francis, our “change please” lady, to kill herself right in front of our eyes and do nothing about it? Is there no facility that can help her and the hundreds of others like her across Toronto who cannot claim to be responsible for themselves any longer?
Francis lives on Dundas Street West – she’s not homeless. She commutes daily into Cabbagetown by TTC because this is her spot to beg and this is the place where people are willing to give her money. Over the summer, she has often stayed on the sidewalks well past midnight. She’s a crack addict. When her voice and manner become frantic, she’s in bad need of her fix.
People in the stores along Parliament Street are always amazed and distressed when passers-by give her money. Their donations are spent immediately on her terrible drug habit. It’s not a kindness – it’s a killer.
If anyone feels compelled to support her, please give her food instead of money – she is apparently fond of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
In the meantime, perhaps our elected officials can reopen their efforts on the panhandling issue. As a start, they can recognize that some people have drifted so deeply into their addictions that they are no longer reasonable, self-supporting adults They need active intervention.

Election events
Ontario's provincial election is gaining some speed and letting off some steam.
Last Monday, the Don Vale Cabbagetown Residents Association and the BIA put together an all-candidates’ debate featuring four provincial candidates. First, we have to wish the Green candidate Mike McLean a speedy recovery – on that afternoon he was struck by a car and required medical attention. His colleague Chris Tindal substituted for him admirably.
Our meeting included (in alphabetical order), Sandra Gonzalez (NDP), George Smitherman (Liberal), Pamela Taylor (PC) and Chris Tindal (on behalf of the Greens.) As usual, the debate was lively and the four of them conducted themselves well. This is the third such cooperative event held by the residents and businesses in our area – each meeting has given everyone a good chance to size up the candidates as well as a chance to hear them defend the issues.

New businesses
Welcome to the neighbourhood to Dr Katherine Spiewak. She’s joined the staff at the Cabbagetown Chiropractic Clinic (214 Carlton Street). She’s a native of Port Hope and a graduate of both the University of Guelph (BSc) and the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College (DC). She has further studies at McMaster in their Contemporary Medical Acupuncture course.
The editorial staff at your Newsletter has assured Dr Spiewak that being located on Carlton Street has big advantages for Chiropractors – you’re surrounded by lawyers who are regularly getting bent out of shape!

Central Neighbourhood House has left their Parliament Street office but they haven’t forgotten us. They’re now at 365 Bloor Street East, Suite 1807 with their main office still at 349 Ontario Street and they can be reached at (416) 966-8595.

Friday, 14 September 2007

Wow, what a week.

Coming events --

Saturday and Sunday. The Tour of Homes happens throughout Cabbagetown. Get last minute tickets at 237 Carlton Street from noon to 2 pm each day. $30/each.

Monday night. All Candidates Meeting. Meet the major candidates in the provincial election and hear them debate. Sprucecourt School, Spruce Street (between Sackville and Sumach), 7 pm, free event.

Reflections on the Festival

We enjoyed a terrific weekend. From Wednesday’s Wine Tasting to “last call” in the pubs on Sunday, our neighbourhood was hopping, the weather was fantastic, the patios were full of life and the music was marvelous.
It’s always dangerous to pick one favourite moment – but I can’t resist.
My most moving experience of the weekend involved Frances, our “change please” lady. She was operating outside Jet Fuel on Saturday afternoon when Vicente Carbonel began to play his pan flute nearby. She stood up, walked right in front of him and listened to him, completely captured. The music seemed to carry her out of herself. For the past two years, I’ve watched her squatting on the sidewalk, often with her lunch spread out in front of her on the pavement, begging desperately for money for her next drug hit. On Saturday, Vicente’s flute took her away from that life and briefly gave her some dignity and real pleasure.

Another great time happened on Sunday afternoon when Danny Marks performed and shared the stage with other Cabbagetown artists. John Jay from Cobourg caught Danny’s impromptu ballad about Parliament Street on video. It’s posted here.
Enough said – it was a wonderful celebration of our neighbourhood and our friends.

Salvation Army Comes To Parliament Street

The proposed move by the Salvation Army into a Parliament Street site has caused a massive uproar among residents and business people along the street. Everyone is objecting to this prospect.
What are the facts? The Salvation Army already has a small mission located in a laneway at Wellesley and Parliament, serving TCHC tenants. They need more space and want a chance to set up a church. They emphasize that their new location will continue their current low-keyed work with added opportunities for worship services. They’ve rented the storefront at the old Flamingo Restaurant site near Spruce Street. The BIA, Councillor Pam McConnell, and the three residents’ associations have all objected. Everyone of us knows that they help a lot of people and we support their work. But, as Councillor Pam McConnell says, “It’s the right service in the wrong spot.”
Paul Dineen, the BIA Chairman, gathered community representatives at the BIA office for over an hour and a half on Thursday to talk about these feelings with staff from the Salvation Army. We made it clear that our objections will increase, not subside.
At this time, everyone has agreed to look for another, more suitable spot in Cabbagetown. We understand the Salvation Army’s needs and we’re seeking a place that can properly house them in harmony with the neighbourhood.
In the meantime, speak up about the Flamingo site. Tell the Salvation Army that it really isn’t the place to go. This pressure has really helped us to convince the Salvation Army to look for a different location. There are a lot of hurdles to cross and we need to hear from you.
You can call the BIA at (416) 921-0857 or email us at You can also contact Pam McConnell at City Hall at (416) 392-7916. You can contact the Salvation Army at .
To those who have already spoken up – thanks. To everyone else – please tell us your views.

Jazz at the Piccolo, at Stonegrill and at Cobourg

So, let me trumpet the news …

The Piccolo (226 Carlton St) now features Whitney Smith on Fridays at 9:30 pm. They’re offering his music in their downstairs room, the Anabella Lounge. Say hello to Angelo while you’re there. Great guy.

The Stonegrill on Winchester (51B Winchester St) still has its jazz at brunch on Sunday. I went there a couple of weeks ago - it’s amazing. Archie Alleyne is featured from noon to 3 pm..

And, of course, the Cobourg (533 Parliament St). Beautiful music in an intimate setting. Their jazz series has packed the place all summer long. On Sunday, Perry White will return along with Reg Schwager and Neil Swainson. From 9 pm, no cover charge.

Welcome new businesses

JAM Café (195 Carlton Street) is here. Chef Av Atikian opened his doors officially on August 21. He’s kept the two great outdoor patios and renovated inside to make this a very comfortable restaurant. The menu offers appetizers at $7, salads at $4, main courses at $14 and desserts at $5. My own personal research has revealed that the French fries are priceless! Try them for yourself. (416) 921-1255

If you need to perk up your appearance before dashing off to JAM, drop in on Renee Marshall. She’s called her new hair styling shop Salon Bijou (211 Carlton St) because it’s a real gem, located inside a beautiful little courtyard. (416) 657-4365.

There’s lots more, but I’m outta here.

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Late-breaking News
Tim Hortons has just made a very generous donation to the Cabbagetown Festival (September 8 and 9). Their donation will enable us to beef up our entertainment and to highlight the Tim Hortons stage at Winchester and Parliament.
Saturday’s lineup now starts with Juno-Award winning children’s entertainer, Jack Grunsky who will perform from 11 am to noon. In the afternoon, look for Sady T and David Dunlap, two favourites whose music has been popular at last year’s Festival and at Music on Parliament Street.
Sunday’s program will centre around Danny Marks, one of Cabbagetown’s best known performers and broadcasters. He’ll be joined by community groups and bands from Cabbagetown.

Cabbagetown on the Internet
Click on this link to see more --
Peter Reynolds, a 31-year resident of Cabbagetown and a retired CBC producer, has launched his Cabbagetown web site. We’re pleased to tell you that he’s included a slide show on the BIA, another on the Cabbagetown Community Arts Centre and a video about the Don Vale Cabbagetown Residents Association. Future plans include the annual Festival and its related events.
Check it out.

Open House at the GMI Wellness Centre
Greater Minds International and their affiliated group, GMI Wellness Centre, have just opened their doors at 250A Carlton Street (just beside the Daniel et Daniel food shop and upstairs above The Healthy Whey.)
You’re invited to their Open House on Tuesday, August 14 from 10 am to 9 pm. This is your chance to try their new Vibroslim Pro machine. Trim your body. Add energy to your life. Learn about their programs and services. (And, we can say confidently, meet some really charming people who are running this new enterprise.) Refreshments will be served from 4 to 7 pm.
Don’t miss it.

Peaches at The Town Grill
On Wednesday August 15, Ontario Peaches will be presented during the first of several themed evenings at the renowned Town Grill (243 Carlton Street). The tasting menu offers six courses for $65 and $85 with matching wines. When Colin Gallacher’s kitchen creates these evenings, we all perk up.
For reservations, call (416) 963-9433 or email

A Quick Warning
If you're a thief and you want to stay unbruised and out of jail, don't try anything at the Shoppers Drug Mart. While we were writing today's Newsletter, we were startled to see a great big guy buried underneath a pile of others in the middle of Carlton Street traffic. It seems that this ambitious fellow had decided to scoop a handful of cash out of the Shopper's till to finance his summertime schemes. Instead of basking in the sun with a pina colada, he's now lounging in the back of a 51 Division police car, all thanks to four determined Shopper's staff members. And we were also very amazed by the calm professional behaviour of the 51 Division police who made sure that everything was done carefully and firmly.

Cabbagetown Tour of Homes
The early details about the 2007 Tour of Homes are now being released. This year’s Tour will feature the Lamb House and five other gracious homes. It’ll take place on Saturday September 15 and Sunday September 16, from 1 to 5 pm each day. Tickets include refreshments at the new Stonegrill on Winchester (51B Winchester St) and the Laurentian Room (51A Winchester Street).
Tickets are $30 each and you can buy them at the BIA office (237 Carlton Street), at St Jamestown Steak & Chops (516 Parliament Street), at Sheridan Nurseries (2827 Yonge Street, 784 Sheppard Ave East and 1774 Ellesmere Road), at the Gift Shop at Riverdale Farm (201 Winchester Street) and at Ticketmaster.
For more information and photos, go to
Mark your calendars now – this is one of our favourite neighbourhood events.

Jazz at The Cobourg
John Alcorn, Reg Schwager and Neil Swainson are back again at The Cobourg (533 Parliament Street). By all reports, their music has pulled in a packed house each week and they’re continuing with it again this Sunday. 9 pm. No cover charge.
Beautiful music.

Sunday Brunch at the Stonegrill on Winchester
Still more music. This time, it’s jazz legend Archie Alleyne and his trio (noon to 3 pm).

Friday, 3 August 2007

Norm Betts gives us another great photo

Our thanks to Norm whose pictures have improved this Newsletter regularly in the past. This time, he shows us the glittery side of Cabbagetown that's often overlooked. Here's jazz at The Cobourg - a setting that's as smooth as the music itself.

New Associate Members
Our campaign to attract Associate members to our BIA is now well underway. Here’s a reminder – if you operate a business or service in Cabbagetown, you can join for a $50 annual fee and get access to the BIA’s services. These include networking with other BIA members, a website listing and mentions on our Newsletter for your special projects.

Thanks to a new Associate member
Kidist Design is our first new Associate member. The company’s founder, Kidist Paulos Asrat, specializes in graphic design, digital media and website services. She’s prepared a quick summary of how the internet can help businesses to take advantage of the Cabbagetown Festival –

“Your Website is the gateway to the world!
The Cabbagetown Festival is coming up!
Many people have now become so internet-savvy, that they plan their activities around information they find online.
Websites are a sure way to provide that information.

  • Restaurants and retailers who have websites attract more customers.
  • It’s easier to get customer feedback online
  • Advertising and promoting your business is easier with image-rich and well-written websites.

Now is the time to attract those many visitors coming for the Cabbagetown Festival by putting your business website online or by upgrading your old one to meet the needs of the changing world.
Kidist Designs is a modern, community-based website design company that will put your business on the internet map!
Please ask about our free article “How to make the most of your website” by emailing us at:
Get ready for the Festival!”

Thanks Kidist. We agree that the internet is the road to greater customer traffic and a better awareness of your business.

Festival Website
You can see the weekend Festival program in detail on our BIA website,
To make your visit interesting, we’ve added a few features. So just go to the Home Page, click on the balloon and you’ll be there. Scroll through the program details until you find one that interests you and click on that link. There are details available on the Wine Route, Pub Night, Film Festival and Saturday and Sunday programs on Parliament Street.

Cabbagetown Wine Route, Wednesday, September 5
This was an outstanding Festival event in its first year and it’s back again in full swing. Details are now available.
Seven fine Cabbagetown restaurants are taking part – Jam Café, Piccolo and Town Grill (all on Carlton Street) plus The Left Door at Ben Wicks, The Cobourg, Stonegrill on Winchester and The Laurentian Room (on Parliament Street).
They’re featuring rare and hard-to-get wines from Australia. With winery names like Swings & Roundabouts, Kiss Chasey, Lilly Pilly, Six Foot Six and Shingleback – you know that you’re dealing with Aussies. And these amazing names are attached to equally amazing bottles of wine.
The restaurants are preparing tasting menus that highlight the skills of their kitchens and marry beautifully with the strengths of the wines.
Tasting happen between 7 and 11 pm on Wednesday, September 5. Tickets are priced at $40 per tasting (including all charges for tips and taxes).
Make your reservation now – Old Cabbagetown BIA, (416) 921-0857 and
For more information, go to and click on the balloon. Look for the link to the Wine Route and click on it for details about events, wines and locations.

Weekend Events at the Stonegrill
We continue to hear great reviews for the food and entertainment at the Stonegrill on Winchester (51B Winchester Street).
For the long weekend in August, they’re offering Mae Cromwell on Friday night (10 pm to 1 am) with Motown, funk and disco. Sunday brunch features jazz legend Archie Alleyne and his trio (noon to 3 pm).

Jazz at the Cobourg
John Alcorn continues his summer run at The Cobourg. He’s joined by Reg Schwager and Artie Ross. 9 pm on Sunday. No cover. Beautiful music.

Friday, 27 July 2007

Thanks, Kevin
Once again, we have a generous sponsor for our Cabbagetown Festival Parade.
Kevin White is a broker with Royal LePage Urban Realty. His gift of $200 is welcome indeed. In fact, as he says, the Festival has special meaning in his family. He and Ruth met during the pub crawl. They live on Aberdeen where he’s owned his home since 1998 and they’re members of the Aberdeen Avenue Residents Association. Their house has been featured on the annual Tour of Homes.
Many thanks, Kevin, for a great gift from a committed Cabbagetowner!

September 5 to September 9. Mark your calendars for the Cabbagetown Festival.
For details and more information:
Click on the balloon and follow the links to your favourite Festival events.

Festival warm-ups

Three big events happen right after Labour Day to warm up your Festival week.
Wednesday, September 5, 7:00 to 11:30 PM – The second annual Cabbagetown Wine Route. Seven great restaurants will feature rare and hard-to-get Australian wines. Tickets are now available. Don’t miss out.
Thursday, September 6 – The Cabbagetown Pub Night. Ten pubs are each hosting amazing events to turn this into a memorable evening.
Friday, September 7, 7 pm - the return of the Cabbagetown Short Film & Video Festival (at Winchester Dance Theatre, 80 Winchester St) followed by serious filmography analyses at The Cobourg Wine Bar (533 Parliament Street).

The 2007 Festival Program – Saturday, September 8 and Sunday, September 9

It’s planned, prepared and well underway. Here are a few highlights:

The whole day starts at Blair’s Run. It’s a mini-marathon for the whole family. Starting at 8:30 am with a coffee and muffin, ranging through 3 kilometers on the grueling streets of Cabbagetown’s central district, and ending up at croissant heaven (Daniel et Daniel), this is a race for four-year-olds and eight-four-year-olds. Don’t miss it.

Saturday’s Cabbagetown People’s Parade (10 to 11:30 am) launches the weekend. We’re assembling at Parliament and Wellesley and marching straight down the street to Gerrard.
Bring your baby. Wear your superman outfit. Be a real cabbagehead. Nobody’ll tell. Experienced observers will expect the instant replay that has always marked past parades – a quick trip up the street and then a second march down. Not this year. It’s a one-way adventure so the times are a lot more important!

Carlton Street Home Show. All day long on Saturday, twenty local businesses are showcasing the services that they can offer to Cabbagetown homeowners. There are furniture and decorating stores, renovators and handymen, home and real estate services and lots more. Plans are even underway to bring an antique appraiser to help you decide whether to keep that priceless but doubtful armoir.

The Parliament Street Party. Saturday is full of music: Go Freddy Go at the House of Parliament, Jim Heineman at Big Mamma’s Boy and Chapter Eleven, Mae Cromwell at the Stonegrill on Winchester, the Mellotones at No Frill’s, South Asian singers and dancers at the International Stage, Errol Fisher at Angel Queen and Pear Tree, the YSM Street Party at Gerrard. Plus David Dunlap, Sady T and lots more.

Blood, sweat and tears. If physical exertion is your first love, then check out the CYC Martial Arts show at 2 pm, the Gien San Karate Demo at 2 pm and the Cabbagetown Boxing Club’s annual Boxing Show at 3 pm on Saturday. You can also see just how tough serious players can be at the Cabbagetown Table Tennis Tournament throughout Saturday afternoon.

Great food and drinks. More than fifteen pubs and restaurants will offer food and drinks in comfortable patios all along Parliament Street. From Ben Wicks’ traditional pig roast to Piccolo’s munchies and on to Timothy’s Tikka and the barbeques at the north end, you’ll find food from every corner of the world.

The Big Opening on Sunday is a mile-long brunch: at PearTree, the HOP, Ben Wicks, Shirleys, Johnny Gs, Cranberries, Big Mamma’s Boy, Brass Taps and many more.

Danny Marks will highlight Sunday afternoon’s celeberation of Cabbagetown’s community musicians. With another heaping spoonful of good food on colourful street patios, Sunday turns into a fine time to sit back, relax, and remember the excesses of the night before.

All of this plus the world’s best garage sales, Art & Crafts in Riverdale Park, a barn dance, walking tours of beautiful neighbourhoods and a Fairy Godmother’s Assistant. Is it any wonder that people think we’re nuts? And fun!

Friday, 6 July 2007

More good news about the Festival Parade...
Two of our BIA members have just made generous donations to the Parade fund. Both are real estate companies.
HomeLife/Realty One (501 Parliament Street) and Prudential Properties Plus (552 Parliament Street) have each made large donations to the 2007 Cabbagetown Festival. We’ve earmarked $50 from each of them for the Parade.
Pledges to the Parade fund now stand at $1220.00. We’re close to heaven but not quite there yet. Just another $750 will put us over the top. So please, dig deep!

And while we’re talking about the Festival Parade …
It looks as if the baby walk is going to be a great hit. Every mom and dad (in fact, every baby) should be talking it up now!
What’s the idea? Bring your baby to the Parade and strut your stuff. Walk along Parliament Street in the Festival Parade and show off the great job you’ve done.
If you bring your baby, we’ll bring the bands and the cheering crowds to welcome you.
Save this date: Saturday morning, September 8, 10:00 am. Details will follow soon.

Associate Members of the BIA
In the June meeting, the Board of Management approved the idea of Associate Memberships in the BIA.
If you’re a business person working from home in Cabbagetown, we’d love to have you as a member. The cost is minimal - $50 a year. If you join now, your membership lasts until December 31, 2008.
The benefits are big. Our whole emphasis is on networking. Join us and get a listing on our web site. If you have a special event or announcement, you can use this Newsletter to tell the world. Twice a year, we’ll invite you to our informal occasions to meet other BIA members (at our annual Chairman’s Award evening and at our Annual General Meeting.) One Associate Member will be elected at the AGM to sit on our Board and to speak on behalf of the group. Plus you can call on our office for help with your projects and special promotions.
Here’s the fine print on two important questions.
Why Associate Membership? Because a full member has to be a business or property owner located within our boundaries and also has to be someone who pays property tax to the City of Toronto at commercial rates. This is carefully defined by the City of Toronto.
Can anyone join? Sorry – no. We aren’t a social group or a residents’ association. We’re a business group looking for other business people in our area.
For more information, call Doug Fisher at (416) 921-0857 or email

Hidden Gardens & Private Spaces
The first annual garden tour sponsored by the Cabbagetown Preservation Association takes place this weekend, Sunday, July 8. It starts at 11 am and continues to 4 pm. Tickets are $10.
This is a wonderful idea. This neighbourhood is full of enthusiastic gardeners who’ve produced lovely landscapes.
If you need a ticket, you can visit Mi Casa at 238 Carlton Street on Saturday. On Sunday, during the tour, walk along Carlton Street east of Parliament and look for a balloon outside a garden.

Green living styles at The Union
On Saturday July 7, from 4 to 9 pm, The Union (242 Carlton Street) hosts a Live Earth party to promote environmental living and bring awareness to the climate change crisis.

Hot music for summer evenings…
Angel Queen Pub & Restaurant (488 Parliament Street) has introduced karaoke nights with DJ Dante. Every Thursday and Sunday. And while you’re there, check out their wings and beer specials.
The Stonegrill on Winchester (51B Winchester Street) still has its Sunday jazz brunches featuring Archie Alleyne from 10:30 am to 3 pm. Scrumptious food and beautiful music.
The Cobourg (533 Parliament Street) continues its marvelous Sunday night jazz series with John Alcorn. Sundays at 9 pm, no cover charge.

And the art world heats up for the summer…
The Cabbagetown Community Art Centre (454 Parliament Street) has two new summer programs gearing up.
For adults, Art Makes You is a six-week course running on Monday nights from 7 to 8:30 pm. At $90 (plus $15 for materials), it’s a bargain.
For kids ages 3 to 6, it’s Vegetable Soup, a fun program of painting and creative art. Held every Wednesday morning from 10 to 11:30 am, the program runs for six weeks and costs only $80.
For information about these programs, contact or the Arts Centre at 416-925-7222.

Friday, 22 June 2007

Another round of Thank-you’s to the Green Party
Our efforts to raise money for our Cabbagetown Festival Parade have really been supported by the Green Party. This time around, it’s Mike McLean who has responded so generously with a gift of $100.
Mike is seeking election to the Ontario Legislature in the coming Fall campaign. He’ll be representing the Green Party of Ontario. A graphic designer, he moved to Toronto in 2005 from his native British Columbia and he’s quickly made his mark here.
We can see why. He saw a good cause and he supported us. Watch for Mike in the Cabbagetown Parade on September 8 and be sure to thank him for his help.

Babies wanted …
Take your baby for a stroll in our Parade. If you’re stopped on the sidewalk on Parliament Street and asked if your baby is a Cabbagetowner, don’t be surprised – we’re recruiting kids, moms and dads for the Festival Parade on September 8. What could be more festive than hundreds of babies all massed together in the middle of the street? Just ask Zoe – who’s out getting dinner at Daniel et Daniel.

Great reviews for St Jamestown Steak & Chops
City Bites magazine (Summer 2007) has just completed a survey of the best rib-eye steaks from Toronto’s leading local butchers. Our own St Jamestown Steak & Chops (516 Parliament Street) has earned high praise:
“St Jamestown Steak & Chops
(His) southern Ontario beef is wet and dry-aged for 60-80 days, resulting in a yielding texture our tasters loved. Very nice trim butchering (looks like a big filet mignon) and mild-medium beefy flavour.”
Congratulations to Mark Michelin and his staff for another success.

Vinyl lovers have a new Cabbagetown Home
The Record Shoppe (458 Parliament Street – on the upper balcony above the House on Parliament) has just opened its door. This trendy retro store is focused on vintage vinyl records. They also sell CDs featuring local bands and Cabbagetown musicians. Guitar strings, instruments and music supplies round out their offerings. Amanda Lorberg manages the store.

Music on Parliament Street
Saturday, June 22 is the last day for our annual Spring musical presentation. This week, Jim Heineman brings jazz to Winchester and Parliament. Michael Kaplan, a regular favourite at Grasshopper Bar, is playing his brand of country music at Carlton and Parliament.
Last week, Sady T of Sax & the City played Forties and Fifties swing and Caribbean songs at Winchester Street. Dan McDonald brought Nova Scotia fiddle tunes to Spruce and Parliament. Both were warmly received.
Our artists are also busking and Cabbagetown shoppers have rewarded them for their talents. This is very highly appreciated and, on behalf of the artists and the BIA, we want to thank everyone who tossed in a few coins or bought a CD to take home.

There’s jazz everywhere at Winchester Street
A reminder that The Cobourg (533 Parliament Street) continues to present amazing jazz musicians every Sunday evening. This week, it's John Alcorn (vocals) with Reg Schwager and Dave Young on Sunday at 9:00 pm

The Stonegrill on Winchester (51B Winchester Street) has introduced a Sunday Brunch Jazz Series with jazz legend Archie Alleyne. Brunch itself is a knockout – eggs benedict with trout and artichokes, homemade buttermilk scones and a host of other irresistible goodies. Every Sunday, noon to 3 pm.

Friday, 15 June 2007

Cabbagetown Salutes Its Finest...

Every year, BIA members present their Chairman’s Awards to those businesses who have done exceptionally well in the past twelve months. Some awards recognize business successes. Some winners have renovated their stores and improved the area all around them. Some have undertaken special community causes.

It’s a tough evening – full of eloquent speeches, door prizes, delicious food and drink and the charming company of Cabbagetown friends. Our 2007 event was held in the new Stonegrill on Winchester.

The 2007 Chairman’s Awards went to an amazing group of Cabbagetown businesses and individuals:

Volunteer of the Year - Eric Murphy
Exterior Facade Improvements - Barracuda
Interior Renovations - Stonegrill on Winchester
Outstanding Customer Service - Staff at the LCBO Store
Neighbourhood Business Improvement - Foxy's Boutique
Neighbourhood Business Improvement - Eclectisaurus
Neighbourhood Business Improvement - Circus Books & Music
Business Improvement - Joe's No Frills
Outstanding New Business - The Cobourg
Outstanding New Business - Ginger
Outstanding Success Story - Free the Children

Eric Murphy is our Volunteer of the Year. His struggle to clean up the corner of Spruce and Parliament has finally paid dividends. Criminals, drug addicts and drunks have left this area. Eric lead the fight to strip a liquor license from the old Cabbagetown Restaurant and it has closed. A new business is now appearing on this site and there’s a new optimism about the future of this corner.

Barracuda receives our 2007 award for Outstanding Exterior Façade Improvements. It’s been renovating its storefront for a couple of years. Its new sign is the finishing touch on this renewal. New garden products have been introduced and the business has been drawing city-wide attention. They’ve been chosen as a great model of the way that an established business can grow and improve.

The Winchester has long been called the “heart of Cabbagetown” and with the arrival of the Stonegrill, it can again claim that title. The building now has four great business destinations – Tim Hortons, The Cobourg, the Laurentian Room and the Stonegrill on Winchester. The Stonegrill’s restaurant space is beautiful. And by all reports, their menu, their kitchen and their meals all live up to the promise of this wonderful room.
Congratulations to Frank Bernardo and his staff for a well-deserved 2007 award for Outstanding Interior Renovations.

We’re told that our LCBO store is one of the most successful locations for the LCBO in Ontario. A great deal of that success happens because the staff do a great job. They’re professional and calm when dealing with their customers. They’re knowledgeable about their products and they’re always ready to offer their advice in a friendly, helpful way. The BIA is pleased to give the LCBO staff the 2007 award for Outstanding Customer Service.

Three businesses – Circus Books & Music, Foxy’s Boutique and Eclectisaurus – have received an award for improving their entire neighbourhood. This is often a challenging part of our BIA. These three businesses have faced those problems and not only overcome them, they’ve added charm and character to their street.

The No Frills store is another Cabbagetown favourite. The staff are friendly. The produce is fresh and inviting. The range of items is amazing. Joe Novak is constantly looking for ways to improve his business. His success is important to all of us. His store is a flagship in our BIA and his improvements bring customers for everyone into our neighbourhood. We’re proud to present our 2007 award for Outstanding Business Improvements to Joe Novak and his No Frills store.

Two new businesses – The Cobourg and Ginger - have arrived here with a big splash and we’re awarding both of them our 2007 Outstanding New Business award.

Last summer, The Cobourg opened just in time for the Cabbagetown Festival. We knew that they’d be special when they decorated their outdoor patio with a rug and potted plants. Ever since, they’ve wowed people in Cabbagetown, Toronto and even New York City. Their first year has been marvelous and we wish them many more to come.

Ginger is the other newcomer to make a huge difference in our community. The corner at Carlton and Parliament is a special location in our BIA and they’ve turned it into an exciting place to visit. And their food is terrific. To them, we offer our congratulations for a great start and all our best wishes for many more years.

Free the Children, winner of our 2007 Outstanding Success Story, is the world’s largest network of children helping other children. Based here in Cabbagetown, its reach is world-wide. Free the Children has built more than 450 primary schools that educate over 40,000 students daily. It has distributed more than 200,000 school and health kits to children in need and has worked on projects to provide clean water, essential medical supplies and sanitation. In North America, Free the Children operates educational campaigns to teach youth how to create positive change in the world. Over 1000 youth groups raise 65% of the organization’s funds and out of that, 93% goes directly to programs for children. Free the Children has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize three times. They have a marvelous track record across the world.

Coming next week ...

More on the 2007 Cabbagetown Festival parade, three great business reviews and another thought on panhandling.