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.