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.