Friday, 25 April 2008

Our members vote on big box stores…

Quick announcements & advance notice… The Forsythia Festival is here and it’s a sure sign that Spring has reached us. Sunday, May 4. Riverdale Park (Sumach & Winchester) and Wellesley Park (east end of Wellesley.) Face painting and twizzlers at 10 am at Riverdale. 10:30 am – parade from Riverdale to Wellesley. Festival in Wellesley following the parade.

Art Exhibition at The Residence in Riverdale Farm. Saturday May 4 and Sunday May 5, 10 am to 4 pm. This promises to be a real treat. The people who are jurists for Art & Crafts in the Park (the annual show held during the Festival) are presenting their own works. It’s a celebration of the show’s twentieth anniversary. These are the artists whose dedication and good judgment guarantees a high-quality event each year.

Momentum 2008 is our chance to see tomorrow’s dancers today. Performances take place at the Winchester Dance Theatre (80 Winchester) over two weekends: May 1 to 3 and May 8 to 10, at 8 pm. A gala performance and fundraiser happens on Friday, May 7. $15 ($12 for students, seniors, CADA). You can contact the box office at 416-967-6887 and

Our members speak out…
On Wednesday, the BIA held a general meeting for our members to vote on the proposed retail power centre development in Leslieville. After an informative discussion, they voted unanimously against the development and in favour of plans by the City of Toronto to fight it at the OMB.
Paul Dineen, chair of the BIA, explained our role over the past decade fighting these centres. In summary, he believes that our retail area is the heart of our Cabbagetown neighbourhood and this heart is facing incredible threats from such massive competitors.
Mike Major from the City of Toronto reported on the City’s stand. This fight is a watershed. If the power centers win at the OMB, then low-value jobs and suburban style plazas will spring up in the city’s centre. If the City wins, then this will open the door for higher value workplaces such as film and software companies and our retail areas will continue as neighbourhood services filled with individual entrepreneurs.
Rosalinda Javier from the Filipino Centre urged everyone to look at smaller towns across Ontario and the USA where big box stores have hollowed out the community. Denis Ho from Star Nails worried that more centres like this would follow in nearby areas and Mike Major confirmed that other proposals are now waiting in the wings. Winston Lau gave a quick update on Leslieville activities and referred everyone to their website ( The new Wing Machine restaurant hosted the meeting. It gave us a chance to introduce their wings and pizza (both recommended) to the crowd and to show off their impressive renovations. Many thanks for the fine hospitality.

Sharon promises to snap you into spring… With her fabulous new raffia hats and bags, handmade in Madagascar at a woman’s co-op. They come in wide and medium brim, bucket and cloche. You can select hot summer colours or subdued pastels. They can be conveniently folded for travel and the matching bags finish the touch to glam up any outfit. (503 Parliament, 416-963-9426)

Nora’s Salon and Spa Just opened at 538 Parliament. This is a tidy, bright room in an interesting part of Cabbagetown. Nora is offering a 15% discount to everyone who visits her salon for the first time. Of course, we welcome her and wish her all the best in her new location.
Next to Simmons Flowers and near Prudential Properties Plus, this building is part of a charming row that reflects styles from two separate eras. The property owner, Nick Tharrenos, bought the building some time ago and has undertaken an extensive renovation in Nora’s space and the apartments upstairs. It’s worth a look as you pass by the next time.

Toronto Languages Plus

Cabbagetown’s largest English-language school, TLP is located at 386 Ontario just south of the corner at Gerrard. Since 2006, over 500 students from twenty countries have passed through its doors. This year, enrolment will increase even further and is expected to double within the month. These lucky young people are all being introduced to Toronto and Canada through the eyes of Cabbagetown – wow! Cabbagetown residents can host students during their stay here. Check out the website at and look for the section entitled "Families required." We can also take advantage of a special language training offer: TLP will give a 10% discount on any English language course to Cabbagetowners who quote this article. (416-925-7117 ext 234 and )

Sorry – no news yet.

Friday, 18 April 2008

A fresh Spring start
Flowers are back
Parliament Smoke, St Jamestown Milk (both at Wellesley & Parliament) and Fairway (at Winchester & Parliament) all have plant supplies for your early garden. Home Hardware (485 Parliament) and Nettleship (576 Parliament) have tools, heavy paper recycling bags and other planting supplies. Loonie or Less (480 Parliament) has biodegradable bags for $1. And, of course, the Beer Store (534 Parliament & 227 Gerrard) and LCBO (512 Parliament) have refreshments for your après-gardening festivities.

Clean-up Day
Saturday, April 23 – 9 am to 2 pm
Four drop-off spots, so use the one that’s convenient for you:
Amelia & Parliament
Carlton & Parliament
Spruce & Parliament
Ontario & Gerrard
This is your chance to get rid of the old bricks, broken furniture, bulky appliances, and stray litter that plugs up your lane and your neighbourhood. Please – no organics and no hazardous goods. Is there a limit? Nope, just clean out your area.
While checking for “hot spots” that need a lot of attention, we’ve noticed places where garbage has been dumped over the winter. This is the time to clean it up.
As you can see from our picture, people were very enthusiastic in 2007. This is just one of four drop-offs. By the end of the day, Cabbagetown was a lot cleaner. It'll be a challenge to repeat that success.

Big Box Stores – General Meeting
Where: The Wing Machine (Spruce & Parliament)
When: Wednesday, April 23, 6:30 pm
The proposal to build a retail power centre at Leslie and Eastern Avenue has been opposed by the City of Toronto. The developer, SmartCentres, has appealed the City’s decision to the OMB. Local residents and business groups are supporting the City’s stand in the OMB hearing.
The Board of Management at our BIA opposes this development. In order to continue our advocacy outside the BIA, we need the approval of our members.
This General Meeting has been called to give our BIA members a chance to hear the debate and to vote on our actions. Everyone is welcome but only members of the BIA may vote. (One vote per business – please bring identification. Sorry, no proxies.)

Anniversary Park
Last Fall, Green Force, a television series that airs on HGTV, started to work on repairs and rebuilding at Anniversary Park (Gerrard and Parliament). The early winter weather was unexpected and they had to postpone their renovations. The crews will be back again in early May.
We can watch their final program on HGTV on June 24. Times and channel info will be available closer to broadcast times.

Gun control petition
Mayor David Miller has launched a national campaign to gather signatures of people in favour of banning hand guns. If this is an idea that you endorse, you can read the Mayor’s comments and add your name to the petition at

Nuit Blanche
Cabbagetown artists are reminded that we will be a full participant in
Nuit Blanche next October. If you have a project that will fit the Nuit Blanche program, please contact John Jay at The Cobourg (416-913-7538). Time is pressing - the deadline is April 30.

One more time ...

...because it really is nice to have them back!

Friday, 11 April 2008

A big post today - lots of news

Nuit Blanche in Cabbagetown
Open Call For Artists - Deadline for submissions is April 30th.
Toronto’s all-night extravaganza of artistic celebration happens on Saturday, October 4. Cabbagetown has been accepted as a 2008 Independent Project Partner. Our projects will be listed on the official program and given city-wide publicity.
Artists who produce contemporary, interactive, engaging projects are invited to make a submission. Priority will be given to artists with a strong connection to Cabbagetown. All projects are required to run overnight for the full 12 hours, rain or shine.
To make a submission, please include: a full description of your proposed work (with a rendering if possible), a biography with details of your previous works (preferably with photos), a detailed budget and a complete list of technical details regarding construction and demolition of your work.
Obviously, time is short. The deadline for submissions is April 30th and successful applicants will be contacted in the first week of May. Artists can email submissions to
Mail or deliver a submission to:
Cabbagetown Nuit Blanche
c/o Old Cabbagetown BIA
237 Carlton Street
Toronto, ON M5A 2L2

The Spring Sale at Soup… Soup (6031/2 Parliament, just below Wellesley) is holding a pre-Mother’s Day, beginning-of-spring sale. Their goodies certainly qualify as “great stuff” – handcrafted jewelry, silk screened clothing, preserved and pressed flowers in glass, and amazing specialty greeting cards from Branch Out. 10 am to 4 pm.

Community Clean-up Day
Saturday, April 19 from 9 am to 2 pm.
Every year, we scour the back lanes, dig out awkward garbage and take it to central drop-off points for disposal by the City. This year, our businesses are joined by Aberdeen Avenue residents, some Cabbagetown South residents and Don Vale Cabbagetown Residents.
Drop-offs are at Amelia & Parliament, Carlton & Parliament, Spruce & Parliament and at Gerrard & Ontario.

Crime Update
There’s a popular scam doing the rounds – someone calls your business, claims to be from a neighbour’s business, needs a loan to pay for an imminent delivery, and comes over right away to collect the cash. Of course, when the loan is supposed to be repaid, no one has ever heard about the delivery and your cash is long gone.
A guy tried this at the BIA office on Thursday. Fortunately, the police were able to nab him. Very satisfying. (Needless to say, he should have tried this game with someone who actually has some money – but that’s another story.)
This event really underlines that we need to be a bit careful. Don’t just take the scam guy’s word for this: double check and call your neighbour’s business back when the first phone call is finished. Again, no matter what happens, be sure to tell the police. Many of these involve small amounts ($25 or $50 – in our case, $85) but the police will hunt for the guy. At the BIA, we called 911 and they responded and caught him.

New Specials at Epicure Shop
Epicure (473 Parliament) now has Breakfast Bagel Melts at only $2.99 and Tuesday homemade Italian pizza by the slice or on the lunch special.

Celebrate Earth Day with Loonie or Less
Eco friendly options available for $1 include 100% biodegradeable and compostable garbage bags, 100% recycled and recyclable black garbage bags, plus 100% recycled bathroom tissues, paper towels and napkins. Every day can be Earth Day with help from Loonie or Less (480 Parliament).

Cycle Solutions Has Spring Tune-Ups
The rush is on at Cycle Solutions, getting bikes ready for everyone for the spring season. You can avoid the line-ups by making an appointment (444 Parliament, 416-972-6948). A small refundable deposit will reserve your desired time slot with next-day delivery back to you. Spring tune-ups are now available at $45.

Fundraising for a China Trip
Adrian Junior, son of Patty Junior from The Epicure Shop, is headed to China in the summer to help children living in poverty. His trip is part of a project organized by Cabbagetown’s Free The Children (233 Carlton). They work on development projects in rural and impoverished areas across the world and they’ve already built thousands of classrooms. Adrian needs to raise $5000 to pay his costs. You can make your donations at The Epicure Shop (473 Parliament). Any help is greatly appreciated.

Parliament Street ConstructionEnbridge is installing new gas mains along Parliament from Winchester south to Shuter. Their work is happening in two stages. First, they’re digging a trench along the street, putting in a new pipe and then temporarily filling it. In the second stage, individual buildings will be connected to the big pipe and the road and sidewalk will be given a more permanent repair. This work is scheduled for April with an early May completion date.

Big Box Campaign
The Board of Management at the BIA has passed a motion opposing plans for a retail power centre on Eastern Avenue near Leslie. We’re also supporting efforts by the City of Toronto at the OMB to stop this development.
These retail power centers are the wrong approach to retail service in the city. They threaten whole neighbourhoods with their big box stores, vast parking lots, heavy traffic and low-wage jobs. At the OMB, the City will present a different vision, emphasizing the area’s strength in film and software companies.
A general meeting of BIA members is called for April 23 at the Wing Machine (Spruce & Parliament) at 6:30 pm to vote on the same resolution.

Office Space for RentA beautiful office in a very friendly building is available on June 1. Ideal (but not necessary) for someone in A/V or digital media. Call George or Neale at Number 9 Audio Group (416-348-8718, 222 Gerrard St E).

Saturday, 5 April 2008

It’s tax time…
And We’ve Got Help for You

But First –
Start planning now for our annual Community Clean-up day
9 am to 2 pm, Saturday, April 19th
If you’ve got old scrap or a pile of litter or garbage that’s a nuisance and you want to get rid of it, just pack it up and bring it to one of our drop-off sites (Amelia & Parliament, Carlton & Parliament, Spruce & Parliament and Ontario at Gerrard.) It’s free and it’s convenient. Watch for more publicity as the date gets closer.

Big Sale at Soup Inc (603 1/2 Parliament)
Some of our most creative people work together at Soup Inc. So when they hold a big “one-day sale”, it’s guaranteed that there’ll be lots of beautiful gifts that you can scoop up for Mother’s Day (and for yourself.) Saturday, 10 am to 4 pm, April 12th.

On Saturday afternoon, April 5 from 2 to 3 pm, GMI (250A Carlton) presents a special guest, Glenn Stewart Coles talking on “The Psychology of Headaches”. These 60 minutes can change the way you think about your health. This launches a week-long series covering Mind-Body Connection (Monday at 7 pm), Max Gxl (Tuesday at 7:30 pm), Focus on Love Meditations (Wednesday at 7 pm), “No More Headaches” (Thursday at 6:30 pm) and “The Moses Code” (Friday at 6:30 pm). For more details, call 416- 922-7203

The Wing Machine (443 Parliament) They’ve moved – from their small takeout location near Carlton to a spiffy new spot at Parliament and Spruce. Our neighbourhood gets a lot of benefits from their relocation. They’ve cleaned up a site that was previously riddled with disruptive drunks and drug dealers plus they’ve turned a shabby corner into an inviting new eatery.
They’re offering the usual fare (buffalo wings, gourmet pizza and burgers) and they’ve tossed in daily specials featuring Thai food. Their menu still features both eat-in and takeout service at (416) 961-1000.

JAMcafé (195 Carlton) JAM has been making a lot of Cabbagetown diners very happy since their opening last Fall. They’ve now added a “Street Car Special” to their regular calendar.
½ price Steak & Frites with a glass of Henry of Pelham merlot at only $19. It’s available from Tuesday to Friday from 5 to 7 pm. (416) 921-1255

617 Parliament
At last, the City of Toronto has emptied this building. Future plans for this structure are unknown. For now, the building is in the hands of the Laurentian Bank whose property managers are Veranova Properties (416-701-9000). Neighbours and the BIA have told them about the piles of loose garbage around the property and we’ve been assured by the City of Toronto that Veranova will have it hauled away before too long. Knowledgeable Cabbagetowners will remember that the twin building at 615 Parliament started the first steps toward urban renewal at this corner when it burned to the ground last year.

Commercial Façade Program
Commercial property owners in the BIA are reminded that the City of Toronto has a façade improvement program. You can learn more about it at If you need help with the application, call the BIA (416-921-0857).

Tax Time
When we first started to think about an introduction to our local tax advisors, we didn’t realize how many are readily available to handle your returns. Here’s a quick rundown.

First of all, a grateful nod to Bill McDiarmid (238 Gerrard St E) who was a generous donor to the Cabbagetown Festival last year. Bill has a real sense of community service. McDiarmid & Associates provide tax service, financial accounting and statements, business plan development and a variety of other important financial services. You can learn more at and (416) 962-7540.
Our newest member of the accounting fraternity is Owen Sivanan who’s just opened his office in a fresh, inviting space at 438 Parliament (416-921-0002).
We have three local representatives of larger accounting and tax service providers: H&R Block (428 Parliament, 416-927-8206), Softron (475 Parliament, 416-964-0666) and Liberty Tax Services (245 Gerrard St E, 416-406-9990).
There are several independent tax consultants sprinkled conveniently through the neighbourhood:
Happy Tax Services is at 204 Carlton (416-850-1194).
CANN Accounting Services is at 607B Parliament (416-944-3441).
Aime Kabuya of Home Star Enterprises at 476 Parliament, Suite 302, has a wide range of business and financial services along with tax filing. (416-964-6530)
Mike Armstrong of Speedy Income Tax & Financial Services is also at 476 Parliament, in Suite 203 and he provides convenient, quick E/filing for $19 and up. (416-928-1537).

Chapter Eleven
It’s sad to say goodbye to Rebecca and Paul at Chapter Eleven. Their restaurant held its farewell party on March 21 and they packed everything away by the end of the month. Best wishes to them for all of their future plans.