Friday, 31 October 2008

Halloween Quickies

Today’s musings are going to be short and sweet – so we can get home, change into our outfits and give out those candies.
Halloween in Cabbagetown is a highlight of the year. Hundreds of tiny kids roam the streets going door-to-door and collecting their goodies. It always seems as if a school of little minnows has arrived just for one night and is swimming about in joyful confusion. It’s especially fun when parents dress up and add a nice costume to the mix.

Ghost Tour
A final reminder – the tour happens tomorrow night (November 1) at 7 pm. Tickets are available at the starting point at Winchester and Parliament. This has been a popular event. Our quota of tour tickets sold out and we’ve fielded a lot of telephone inquiries. Individual tickets are $10. Families and groups (four or more) are $7.50/each.
Nothing this scary has happened in Cabbagetown since Jack Layton did his graveyard tours. Some say that a ghost with a mustache still prowls the Necropolis.

Adult refreshment
Once you’ve tucked the last candy into a little kid, it’s time to take care of the grown-up inside you.
The Ben Wicks Pub (424 Parliament) has music, Halloween pumpkins and dancing from 8 pm to 1 am.
OMI, Cabbagetown’s newest Japanese restaurant, has now been open for several weeks. We’re hearing great initial reports about their menus and the high quality of their food service. Try them out. (241 Carlton)
On Saturday, Big Mammas Boy is hosting their third SheDance. DJ Groove Warrior is entertaining everyone and Big Mamma will buy you a shot at the end of your dinner. The dancing starts at 10 pm as the music kicks up with your hosts, Heather and Mary Lou. No cover. (554 Parliament)

Clothing needed Constable Paul Nadeau from the Community Relations Office at 51 Division wants to remind us that a clothing drive is still underway to help senior men (over 55) at the Good Neighbours Club. A bin has been set up in the lobby of 51 Division (51 Parliament at Front). It is, by the way, a great reason to visit the station and see how well the renovation of this stately building has been accomplished.

Marathon Congratulations
Yeti Agnew (Yeti Law, 215 Carlton) has completed this year’s Marine Corps Marathon in Washington DC . It's her fourth successful entry in this race and her sixth marathon overall. She appeared in our office last Monday, hale and hearty only one day after the event – she has amazing recovery skills. And she wore her medallion from the event. Well done, Yeti.

Aberdeen Gardens
Residents on Aberdeen Avenue have long been working to beautify the area around the Green P parking lot. Their gardening efforts through the summer in these concrete planters are a nice step forward.

Heritage Congratulations
The new Cabbagetown Regent Park Community Museum has been given two prestigious awards by Heritage Toronto. The first is the Community Heritage Award and the second is the Heritage Toronto Members Choice Award. This recognition of the Museum’s fine work in bringing Cabbagetown stories and history to life is indeed well deserved.
Learn more about the Museum at
And when you’re visiting the lobby of 51 Division to drop off your clothing donation, you’ll see the Museum’s exhibition featuring Toronto Police and Fire Services.The Award for Excellence in the Media went to Cabbagetown resident Sally Gibson for her fine work on the history of the Distillery District on their website.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Eight wines, seven countries JAMCafe (195 Carlton) is hosting another of its successful wine tasting events on Wednesday, October 29. Hors d’oeuvres and the tasting will be served at 6:30 pm.
The wines will be introduced by Malcolm Cocks from Hobbs & Co Wine Merchants and Glen-Ward Wines. If you like the wines, Malcolm will accept orders after the event.
Included are a South African reisling, a Vouvray and Sancerre from France, and then five lovely reds from New Zealand, Italy, Spain, Australia and California.
For details about the wines,
You’ll need a reservation: or (416) 921-1255. $35 per person. Dinner is not included but can be provided separately (about 8:30 pm).
And another thought…
JAMCafe want to remind you that they’re accepting reservations for holiday parties from businesses and residents for lunch and dinner, seven days a week. Christmas is coming – I love it.
National Me to We Day
Free the Children (located at 233 Carlton) is a remarkable world-wide agency that manages “the world’s largest network of children helping children through education.” Their primary goal is to free children around the world from poverty and exploitation.
Since the group’s founding in 1995, it has built over 500 schools and started innovative programs in 45 countries. It’s a registered charity in Canada and the US as well as several other countries abroad.
Last week marked the second annual “Me to We” Day when 8000 students from across Toronto arrived at Ricoh Coliseum. Thousands more joined in online across Canada. With guest hosts Tanya Kim and Ben Mulroney, the program featured appearances by Justin Trudeau, Sarah McLaughlin, Mia Farrow and many others.
The day was more than a celebration of young people and their power to change the world. It also launched the 100-school challenge.
Tune in on Saturday, October 25 (CTV, 7 pm) or Sunday, October 26 (CTV, 12 pm) to see e-talk’s video highlights from the day and to learn about the challenge.
Check out Free The Children and their promo for the day at:
Save energy and money
Kyle at Loonie or Less (480 Parliament) is now an official retailer in the Every Kilowatt Counts program with Ontario Power Authority. You can buy a 60 watt-equivalent Compact F lightbulb (retail $6) for $1 after the INSTANT in-store coupon. He also has table and floor lamps (normally $39.95) for openly $9.99 after the INSTANT coupon.
The promotion runs to November 16. Customers are limited to five coupons per day.
Sharon did a big shop And she’s stocked up on exciting new winter fashions. She has Victorian 100% cotton nighties from small to XL at $39.99, men’s and women’s hats, scarves, gloves, sweaters, vests, jackets and skirts. Her greeting cards are both beautiful and funny.
Those Victorians could keep themselves warm at night. They had to – their houses were beautiful but, wow, drafty! So pop in and get something cuddly for yourself.
Under the Apron Big Mamma’s Boy (554 Parliament) keeps getting warm, positive reviews from bloggers and electronic media across the Internet. Their latest is a close-up introduction to chef Michael Guenther in an Xtra web article from last week. Congratulations, Michael.
It’s worth reading: Just click on the link.

The Trap Door Party From Sunday, October 26 to Tuesday, October 28, Vancouver’s MOVE company presents a fresh look at traditional dance forms. Classical and modern, the dance and music create a refreshing evening that’s ultra-cool and great fun. Doors open at 7:30, show starts at 8 pm. Winchester Dance Theatre, 80 Winchester St, $25 (students $20)

Friday, 17 October 2008

Thanks to a long list of nice people It’s overdue, but definite thanks to Marianne Mailer. She worked at the BIA office over the summer, concentrating mainly on preparations for the Cabbagetown Festival. Our parade and street vendors were her main focus and she also worked on liquor licenses, health department permits, street entertainers and a host of other details. She did a great job. She’s now back at school and we wish her the best for her final year at Ryerson.
More thanks go to John Jay (The Cobourg) and his volunteer committee. The Nuit Blanche night was a success here in Cabbagetown. It was our first and we’ve learned a lot for next year’s event.
More thanks for Nuit Blanche. A large group of very generous businesses in the area contributed during the fundraising for the evening events including:
AAA Accounting, Ben Wicks Pub, Cabbagetown Organics, Daniel et Daniel, Dragon Nails, Fairway Market, Ginger, The Healthy Whey, The House on Parliament, JamCafe, Jill Koplowitz from HomeLife/Realty One, Menagerie Pet Shop, Nettleship, Carl Orbach and Stonegrill on Winchester. As we collect more information, we’ll pass on extra names.

Hot buns Absolute Bakery & Café has just opened a new bakery at 589 Parliament and it’s full of baked delicacies. Raj and Nages have long been neighbourhood favourites at their old location and they report that their new spot is even better. The bank machine has moved along with them and is available for everyone inside the store. They’ve really expanded their dishes and kept the same tasty quality that’s made them so popular. They’re also offering sandwiches, lunches and catering services.

OMI Opens
The new OMI is open at 243 Carlton. More details will come next week. For anyone who loves sushi, tempura, sashimi and other Japanese entrees, OMI will be a welcome addition to our area. They’ve come to us from Church Street with a well-established reputation for quality. They’re open from Monday to Friday for lunch (noon to 2:30 pm) and Monday to Saturday for dinner (5:30 to 10:30 pm). Call 416-920-8991.

Clothing DrivePC Paul Nadeau from 51 Division (above left) is helping to organize a clothing drive to aid the Good Neighbours Club. The collection takes place over the next three weeks. Clothing for men over the age of 50 is badly needed. You can drop it off at 51 Division (51 Parliament St at Front).

ArtHeart at Jet Fuel Jet Fuel (519 Parliament) is hosting ArtHeart’s grand sale on Sunday, October 19 from 2 to 4 pm. The show has run from October 1 and will continue to October 31. Sunday’s sale looks at “Fashion” as it affects the lives of these young artists. Proceeds from the sale go directly to the artists. (During Nuit Blanche, ArtHeart had a display at the George Smitherman/Bob Rae Action Centre in Cabbagetown.) ArtHeart provides children, young people and adults from the inner city with art education and materials year-round, free of charge.

Menagerie Pet Shop In October, Menagerie (549 Parliament) has a bunch of specials available for cat and dog lovers. A 5lb bag of Fromm Four-Star Pork & Applesauce is free when you buy Fromm Four-Star Dry Dog Food and if you buy a Four-Star Dry Cat Food, you’ll get a 2.5lb Chicken a la Veg free.. All cat trees priced over $100 are 15% off. 40lb of Pestell Clumping Cat Litter is 10% off. There are more specials, just ask at the store.

Epicure’s Coffee ContestThe coffee contest ends this weekend. You’ll remember that all you have to do is pour yourself a 454g bag of Reunion Island coffee beans and you’ll get a second bag free. Impossible you say? Well, two people have already walked out winners this week.
While you’re at it, pick up a homemade pie. They’re on special – buy one and get a second one free. Free coffee, free pie – sounds okay.
Patty Junior also tells us that they’re switching from plastic to brown paper bags when you buy your lunches at Epicure. (473 Parliament)

A couple of quick announcements
On Sunday, October 26, St Peter’s Anglican Church (188 Carlton) is holding its “Leather Sunday” service in honour of Sts Crispin & Crispinian with special music by Forte, the Toronto Men’s Chorus. Wear your leather and show up at 10:30 am On Saturday, November 1, the Cabbagetown Preservation Association is hosting a guided Ghost Tour throughout the area. Tours start at 7 pm at Winchester and Parliament. There are spirits and ghosts everywhere and this Tour will shock and amaze you. Tickets are $10 (at the BIA office, 237 Carlton or at the start of the Tour.) Preliminary Hallowe’en Details
If you’re walking along Parliament near No Frills, you’ll see a wonderful display of Hallowe’en costumes on racks along the sidewalk. Reflections (453 Parliament) has all of these and plenty more for you. They’re open Tuesday through Sunday and they have a selection to satisfy all ages.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Nuit Blanche

And now for the program details
Five sites are home to Cabbagetown Nuit Blanche experiences: Parliament Street (from Carlton to Winchester), Rose Avenue near Wellesley, 80 Winchester St (at Metcalfe), Wellesley Park (at the east end of Wellesley St) and Riverdale Park (at the east end of Carlton St).

Parliament Street events
Project Beacon
by William Hudson (at Winchester). A rustic gathering point in the middle of the asphalt tributaries that have replaced the Don River wetlands.
A Return to Hugh Garner’s Cabbagetown with Michael Ondaatje and friends (508 Parliament) A dusk to dawn reading of Hugh Garner’s classic novel.
Art Heart Exhibition by the children and youth of Regent Park (514 Parliament)
Carousel at 509 Dance by Andrea Nann, Dreamwalker Dance Company and 509 Dance (509 Parliament). A communal interactive kaleidescope of music and movement.
Justin Dart’s Outside Drawings (Parliament Street and more). A continuous chalk drawing winding through neighbourhood streets.
No One Sleeps from Francois Aubrey and Jenn Kalinowski (Carlton and Parliament) An avant garde outdoor film exhibition.
Red Door by Ryan Dineen and Misha Hunter (Carlton and Parliament) An all-night mural painting project on the wall of one of Cabbagetown’s favourite buildings.
The Ghost of Shakespeare by Christopher Roberts (various locations). Spotlight speakers transmit sounds over distance and whisper into someone’s ear in the crowd.

Wellesley Park
by Nina Bunjevac, Andy Townsend, Perry White and Michael White. A multi media installation with visual and sound components.

Winchester Dance Theatre
Crank the Winch with Ruth Levin and Sarah McQueston (80 Winchester St).

Rose Avenue
Opposites Attract by Deborah Barnett and Aaron Benson (Rose Avenue near Wellesley)
Seven limited edition letterpress broadsides are printed with handset typography and new works by Toronto illustrator Seth Scriver

Riverdale Park West
Light House
by Brian Moore (at the east end of Carlton St). Beacons of light shimmer and dance with images of the community.
Kelly Roger’s The Poet Tree. Nature physically deconstructs a well known verse when the words blow in the breeze and the audience reconstructs it as they wish.

More Nuit Blanche events being planned
The Union Yoga Centre (242 Carlton) has become a workshop for the Cabbagetown Nuit Blanche team. Cabbage lanterns are being assembled there on Friday night for delivery to homes through the neighbourhood. Overnight during Nuit Blanche, there’ll be art from their successful Bless The Feminine show and special yoga experiences and small classes. Canadian Children’s Dance Theatre (509 Parliament) is holding an interactive and improvisational musical movement experience where visitors can join CCDT dancers and musicians. Don’t forget that 2-4-1 Video (455 Parliament) is holding all-night screenings for short films and videos. If you have a video to screen, bring it along. Reflections (453 Parliament) reports that their Halloween costume event is going smoothly and they’ll be encouraging everyone to wear their new stuff on the street during Nuit Blanche.

Food, of course, is really important during an all-night event
At Piccolo (226 Carlton), Robert Houle’s recent small ledger paintings will be on display in the Annabella jazz bar. Piccolo have very generously contributed two gift certificates that the Nuit Blanche committee is using for its fundraising drive. Down the street at JamCafe (195 Carlton), Av and Joe Atikian are presenting three artists: Christian McLeod (, Tristan Teng ( and Andrea Raymond ( Av will also be performing on guitar and Joe on drums. If you’re hungry and thirsty, they’re offering two lovely wines with complimentary hors d’oeuvres in a special celebratory tasting. Over on Parliament, St Jamestown Deli (516 Parliament) is holding another wonderful bbq for the starving hordes – steak and chicken sandwiches will give everyone the strength to continue onward to Jet Fuel for a top-up. Snooky Tynes is playing outdoors next to St Jamestown. Cabbagetown Organics (499 Parliament) will have more snacks and drinks to keep everyone alert. Epicure Shop has coffee and cookies, homemade pizza slices and wraps ready to devour at their outdoor table. Inside, they’ll have more sandwich deals, breakfast bagels and samples of artisan cheeses. Green’s Antiques (529 Parliament) are setting up an art display in front of their store. And candy floss will be available. While all of this is happening, popular regular eateries like the Ben Wicks, the House on Parliament, Peartree, Margarita’s, Brass Taps, Stonegrill, Cranberries and Big Mamma’s Boy will be open and welcoming. For specialty meals and snacks, try Timothy's Tikka House, Tea Pot Chatt, China Gourmet, Ginger and Asahi. For breakfast and quick meals, there's Johnny G's, Chew Chew, M2M and Best Breakfast.

Gamblers welcome…
The Epicure Shop is again offering its free coffee contest and it’s starting during Nuit Blanche. If your package of coffee beans weighs exactly 454 grams, then you’ll get a second bag free. It’s an addictive experience. Patty Junior won’t admit it but this thing has grown out of hand – busloads of people en route to Casino Rama are now stopping there for a chance at a freebie. In the meantime, punters are also laying down bets on Jet Fuel's hours during Nuit Blanche. Will he or won’t he? Johnny Jet Fuel has kept a breathless audience waiting for his final decision. He's got art hanging on the walls and he's got the right ambiance but he isn't committing himself. Because he’s right in the middle of the block and because both his café and his coffee enjoy a well-earned city-wide reputation, the smart money is saying that he’ll stay open for the festivities. But he keeps saying “Nuit what?” “Nuit when?” (519 Parliament) Who knew coffee could be so complicated?