Friday, 7 March 2008

Back to work...

Our winter vacation is over - sadly. Cabbagetown is a hotbed of delights (of course) but a few days away helps us appreciate what we have here. Not everyone hates the snow. We're among those crazy people who love to romp around in subzero temperatures with big sticks strapped to our feet. Check it out if you like winter at its

Cabbagetown’s diversity

A few days ago, the BIA was asked about the diversity of the people living near Wellesley and Parliament. Once we started to list the stores and businesses serving this neighbourhood, we were amazed by the range that’s offered there:
The Taggart family have run Nettleship Hardware for a couple of generations.
Del Ray Cleaners (a leader in environmental dry cleaning techniques) is operated by Steve and Phyllis Kwan.
Chris Kiraly’s family (she’s from Blink Blink) is from Hungary and she’s about to enjoy a well-earned holiday there in the Spring. Yarl's Superstore was reviewed and praised in the New York Times ("just like being in a Sri Lankan Village except for the frost on the windows").
Provence is a top-ranked French restaurant and Rashnaa, a Sri Lankan restaurant, is listed in "Where to Eat in Canada".
This corner is the first locale for a Pizza Pizza store in the franchise.
Three restaurants serve takeout meals: the Tender Trap (Chinese), Eat Bulaga (Filipino) and Tea Pot Chat (Sri Lankan).
Cranberries is a classic neighbourhood restaurant with a booming clientele that's owned and operated by a Sri Lankan chef.
Parliament Smoke and St Jamestown Milk are owned by Korean Canadian families.
East Africa Travel Consultants will take you on vacations and trips anywhere in Africa.
The Filipino Centre of Toronto has programs and services for the Filipino Community across the GTA.
Plus there are several more Sri Lankan groceries and small variety and video stores, a flower shop, two pharmacies and a group of doctors and dentists – all staffed by people from across the world.
Whew - that's just in one short block.
Election Forum
Last Sunday afternoon, five Cabbagetown groups jointly sponsored a community forum featuring a debate between the six candidates running for Parliament in our area. The federal seat is currently vacant following the retirement of our long-serving MP, Bill Graham.
The forum was one of our best. (We’ve sponsored four of them to date.) Each of the candidates has something special to offer. As a by-election, this contest also gives us a chance to vote without upsetting the balance in Parliament. So this debate had a little more zing and all-round relevance where the candidates from both the smaller and larger parties had interesting issues to discuss.

BIA update
At our March meeting, the BIA’s Board of Management approved several new ideas that will help us create big changes along Gerrard, Parliament and Carlton.
First, the Board has approved a landscaping and design study for our shopping areas. A request for proposals has been distributed to five architectural firms. We want a set of guidelines that will help us add new furniture, new landscaping and other design elements to our streets. These guidelines will also help in the future when proposals for building projects and improvements come along.
Second, the on-going improvements (started last Fall) at Anniversary Park have been given a new push by the Board. We want a park that is a welcoming gateway into the south end of our area as well as a pleasant spot for residents and visitors to use for community events and personal relaxation.
These are two of the first initiatives to come from the Board’s new Public Spaces committee chaired by Maggie O’Connor from The Union Yoga Centre (242 Carlton)
Third, graffiti will be the focus of a clean-up push. Property owners are responsible for the removal of unsightly graffiti and we will be reminding them that the City’s bylaws insist that it be removed quickly.
Finally, the BIA will be working with the Cabbagetown Preservation Association to promote more walking tours of the neighbourhood as a draw for tourists and convention visitors. A new group in the BIA will be set up soon to focus on tourism promotion and to ensure that we add a tourism emphasis throughout our programs.

So, you’re sick of the snow?
Don’t worry – these delightful summer scenes will be back soon…