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 CafĂ© 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.