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 CafĂ© (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.