Friday, 28 November 2008

Proposals for change
David Weenen (left) and Paul Dineen (right) talk to David Orsini following his presentation.

The BIA has engaged David Orsini, a landscape architect from Sunarts Design, to prepare a Master Plan for future change on Parliament, Carlton and Gerrard. He’s looking at the physical features in these areas in order to make them friendlier for pedestrians, more inviting for shoppers and greener and more sustainable environments.
David showed his initial proposals to members of the BIA in their Annual Meeting last Wednesday evening. These ideas include developing green areas on the wider boulevards on the north sides of Winchester and Spruce at Parliament, expanding and rebuilding Anniversary Park at Gerrard, gateway brickworks on the street at Wellesley and at Sherbourne and Carlton, a “bike corral” in a bump-out area on Parliament near Jet Fuel, bigger street level gardens in sidewalk tree pits and hanging floral baskets along the street.
At this time, these are initial proposals. David is now getting feedback and is preparing his ideas in a coherent plan. When that’s available, you will be invited to see it at the BIA office and to comment on it.

2009 BIA program
At the Annual Meeting, BIA members also approved a budget and a program for 2009. Among the highlights:
Robert McEnirney, the BIA's treasurer celebrates his new budget with George and Cathy Rondina
A committee is working on a review of the annual Festival to see whether it needs to be more focused and revitalized.
A second committee is working with David Orsini on the streetscape Master Plan and will have priorities to implement his ideas once they’re approved.
Music on Parliament Street will again appear next May and June.

Sean McIntyre from Pam McConnell's office.

There will be a more integrated approach to publicize BIA events, using printed brochures and the internet to tell residents about restaurant and business activities. John Jay (left-from the Cobourg) and Daniel Megly (right-Daniel et Daniel) listen to David Orsini's presentation

Following up on the streetscape study, the BIA will undertake a second design study, this time looking at the buildings in our commercial areas. Our intention is to determine what standards are needed to accommodate both the community’s desire for historic preservation and our commercial activity. It’s hoped that we can add these guidelines as essential steps in any redevelopment projects that may come to the BIA in the future.
Carol and Calvin - who knew?

Cabbagetown Preservation Association
In their meeting last week, the CPA members heard Paul Dineen and Doug Fisher talk about their perceptions of retail life in the BIA.
Paul addressed the coming expansion of Regent Park, threats from big box stores and the streetscape plan. Doug gave details about the way the community is served by our businesses.
This was the third in a series of CPA meetings about Parliament Street. Earlier this year, George Rust D’Eye spoke about the heritage features of our buildings. Later, Rick Merrill tackled the topic of a renewed streetscape on Parliament.
Overall, the series has shed light on the importance of our commercial strip for Cabbagetown residents.
The CPA has been very vigorous over the past year. The Tour of Homes has been a great success and the springtime garden tours and the Halloween ghost tour have been added successfully as well. Cabbagetown People continues to be a strong part of the CPA program and the Museum is rapidly settling into its new home in Riverdale Park. The CPA Newsletter has become an important voice for community news and updates. All of this has been welcome indeed.

JavaVille Good news about the property at Carlton and Parliament. The owner, George Foulides, has submitted preliminary plans to the City of Toronto for a brand new, three storey commercial building on the site. The ground floor will house an operating business and the upper two floors will have office space for rent. George expects the public consultations to start in the winter.

JAMCafe As announced last week, JAMCafe (195 Carlton) hosts its Sangiovese tasting dinner on Tuesday, December 2. It looks good – wine from four regions plus a sparkling reception will accompany four food tasting courses. Please call (416) 921-1255 for reservations.
Av wants us to remind you that this is also an opportunity to support the food bank – so please bring a holiday food-bank donation.

Lounge 51
When The Laurentian Room closed a year ago, we really felt the loss. It was an exciting venue, a place that gave Cabbagetown a great upper-end restaurant and club.
Now, Lounge 51 (51A Winchester) has opened in its place and all indications are that it’ll be a worthy replacement. Both the CPA meeting and the BIA Annual Meeting were held here this week. It’s a good big space for private parties and meetings and it’s also open on weekends with entertainment and fine dining.
On Friday, November 28, Carol Taylor is singing. On Saturday from 9:30pm, TomKatz’s DJ Thomas Hall is playing Top 40, house, R&B and your requests. For more information, call 416-921-5100.

Friday, 21 November 2008

The Miracle at the Beer Store
The Beer Store on Gerrard (at Ontario) has gone hi-tech in its search for more and more green solutions to modern living. As we all know, our beer and wine bottles are now recycled through the Beer Store system. At Gerrard, they’ve figured out a way to avoid the hassles in all of this handling. Just take your bottles to the side door ramp, select the proper machine and toss them into it one-by-one. You can watch them get crunched instantaneously. When your load has been delivered, press the green button and you’ll get a printed receipt. Run inside and cash it in (for beer or money, take your pick!) Voila – the end to those messy bottle-return blues.

Foxy Boutique And when you’ve got your bottle refund, spend it at nearby Foxy Boutique (251 Gerrard). Michelle is very pleased with the funky new lines that she’s offering for the holiday season. Her store is jammed full of vintage clothing, shoes and accessories. If you remember, please mention this blurb and she’ll give you a 10% discount. Just another reason why we think those Gerrard Street stores are a real treasure for Cabbagetown shoppers.

Karaoke Fundraiser at Big Mamma's Boy
Big Mamma's Boy (Parliament) is holding a fundraiser for the Cabbagetown Youth Centre on Friday November 21 at 7 pm. Join John Stevens as host and sing along to your heart's content.

The Epicure Shop
A nice weekend for samples at Epicure Shop. Patty is introducing Brick Street breads (100% organic) to her store and you can sample them on Friday and Saturday. Then, through the weekend, you can also enjoy a free sample bag of Reunion Island Coffee with every ten dollar purchase. (473 Parliament)

One on One Hair Stevhan Standberg (179 Carlton at Ontario) is a well-known celebrity stylist whose clients over the years have included Cindy Crawford, Sandra Bullock and Matthew Broderick. He brings 23 years of unhurried professionalism to his work with you. His emphasis in his bright and welcoming studio is on a direct, personal experience for you. You can check out his services and contact him for an appointment through his web site,

Sharon’s Sharon went shopping last Tuesday and in her own words, she did "a biggie." For men, she’s brought in hoodies and sweaters in many different styles and colours. For women, there are more sweaters, Mac & Jac and Kensie Girl samples – skirts, coats, tops and dresses. And on her more elegant side, she has silk dresses, evening gowns, scarves, hats, gloves and jewellery. She has to make room for all of her new merchandise, so she’s listed many items on sale to move them out. (503 Parliament)


Two timely reminders have been issued from Barracuda.

Just because it’s cold and wintry outside doesn’t mean that your plants can be neglected. In fact, now, more than ever, they need a little TLC. So get them a spiffy planter while supplies last. And while you’re at the store, pick up Vical clear glass vases on sale at two-for-$30 prices. Plus decorative accessories at 15 to 25% discounts.
And you’ve got to start thinking about seasonal deadlines: if you need some framing done in time for Christmas, please bring it to the store before December 10. (527 Parliament)

Co-operative Nursery School
Cabbagetown’s own Co-operative Nursery School has a great reputation as a family-friendly school. Registration week for new kids begins on Monday November 24 and continues to Friday November 28. During the week, interested parents can visit the school to learn more in the morning from 9:15 am to 11 am (Monday to Friday) and in the afternoon from 1:15 pm to 3 pm (Monday to Thursday.) Call 416-964-2984 for an appointment.
It’s located at the Cabbagetown Youth Centre (2 Lancaster). Find out more at

Don’t get depressed… While the stock markets crash and doom-and-gloom springs up everywhere, JAMCafe (195 Carlton) is coming to the rescue: they’re offering a special three-course recession-proof prix fixe dinner for $19. Now that’s a bailout – at that price, you can eat here every night.
Av and Joe have also scheduled their special December tastings. On Tuesday December 2 at 6:30 pm, it’s an evening for sangiovese, the plush wines of Tuscany. Wines from four regions are matched with four food courses. And there’s a special Sparkling Reception. $75.
Then, on Tuesday December 16, four single malt Scotch whiskies are highlighted. The evening’s theme is “from islands to highlands” featuring samples with peat, heather, chocolate and wood. $25.
Reservations and advance payment are recommended. Tips and taxes are extra. 416-921-1255.

Dollar4U Stock up on your Christmas home needs at real bargain prices. Jafar from Dollar4U (405 Parliament) recommends his collection of ceramic angels and statuettes for a nice decorative note over the holidays. The store is also jammed with ribbons, tree ornaments and every other goodie that you may want to give yourself that festive feeling.

It’s Christmas When the hardworking (and underpaid) BIA workers swarmed onto Parliament, Gerrard and Carlton this week, they were attaching seasonal wreathes to our light fixtures. As the day began, passersby told them that “it’s too early”, “not yet” and “what’s this for?” But down came the year’s first serious snow and the chant changed “yo,ho,ho”, “Merry Christmas” and even “hey, that looks good.” It goes to show you: red ribbons and snow will do it every time – and we hope that you enjoy this year’s Cabbagetown Christmas. Many thanks to Jim from Super Foto (434 Parliament) for his fine snapshot of the guys at work.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Welcome and best wishes

Thanks Joe
Joe Novak, a favourite figure in Cabbagetown, has moved. We’ll miss him. In his time as manager at Joe’s No Frills (Spruce and Parliament), his generosity and community spirit earned him high marks. His store reflected his concern for quality and good customer service. In recognition of his contributions, he was asked to preside over the 2008 “Cutting of the Cabbage” (an ancient and deeply spiritual ceremony that launches the annual Cabbagetown Festival.) He’s moving on to a big, brand new store near Bowmanville and we wish him all the best in his new venture.
Luciano Graziano is taking over at No Frills. He comes here after a stint in a store in Whitby. He’s already met many of us as he settles into his new job and he’s learning as much as he can about his new neighbourhood. He’s quickly found out that a sense of humour helps a lot here – so he’s denying that he’s young, single, goodlooking and rich!

Barracuda Bargains The sale is still going strong at Barracuda (527 Parliament). Most of their decorative accessories are selling at 25 to 40% off their regular prices. They’ve just included two lines of garden planters at 25% discounts, one line is in granite and the other in weathered grey-stone. Nifty stuff.

Laurier Avenue starts to go green Laurier is a short elegant street running north off Wellesley, just a block east of Parliament. The residents have organized themselves to start an intriguing experiment in geothermal heating. The proposal is to dig deep holes in the middle of the street and install the equipment needed for heat exchangers for each home. And, as a bonus, when the street is rebuilt, it’ll be designed to be porous so that rainwater is diverted from the city’s sewers and back into the ground. It's a serious and very attractive concept for creating green sources for heating and cooling in heritage districts. The Laurier residents are being supported by the Don Vale Cabbagetown Residents Association.
As a first step, Toronto’s Environment Office has awarded $25,000 to the project to test its feasibility. Congratulations and best wishes to Sameer Dhargalkar and to Douglas Worts for their leadership.
You can learn more at

Ruby & Ray take over a favourite spotRuby’s BBQ has taken over the former Ali Baba at 415 Parliament. They’re continuing to offer Mediterranean and middle eastern dishes – good news for falafel lovers – and adding roast chicken dishes as well. This is a bright cheerful room and the food makes a visit well worthwhile.

Gourmet Burger Company Further up the street at 482 Parliament, John Ward opened his Gourmet Burger Company this week and the first reviews are ecstatic. The choices are dazzling – who knew that a burger could include “Aussie”, “smokey bacon”, “double cheeseburger”, “mushroom melt” and “spicy Cajun” choices? There are two kinds of fries, two salads, soup and onion rings. And eleven toppings or seven sauces. So far, two other people from neighbouring restaurants have told me that John serves up great burgers – honest praise indeed.

Epicure Shop The mood is certainly upbeat at Epicure (473 Parliament). It’s probably because their new paint job and new awnings are now finished and proudly in place. It takes the stress away. And the facelift has given the whole area a nice perk. To celebrate, Patty has two creamy cheeses from Quebec back in stock – Riopelle and La Sauvigne. Then if you buy one of their reusable mugs at $6.99, it’ll come complete with a free coffee and a muffin.

Cabbagetown kids will carry the Olympic torch The Cabbagetown Youth Centre (2 Lancaster) has been selected as one of a network of community hosts across Canada to take part in the 2010 Olympic torch relays. Coca Cola and ParticipACTION have designed the SOGO Active program to encourage teenagers to adopt an active lifestyle. As part of that, they will award 1,000 torch relay spots to young people who qualify through their personal activities. Watch for more announcements and, if you have teens in your family between 13 and 20 years old, be sure to register them at the CYC right away. The more active they become, the better their chances are to be chosen.

Festive Dinner At-Home
Daniel et Daniel have just released their 2008 menu for their festive dinner at home. It’s a traditional feast - roast turkey and stuffing, sweet and yukon potatoes, seasonal veggies, Christmas desserts. Of course, it’s prepared by some of the city’s finest chefs (voted the 2008 Best Caterer by NOW Magazine’s readers) and you can wrap up a Daniel et Daniel gift card for your favourite dinner guest or for yourself.

A musical celebration of Tommy Oki’s Life Tommy Oki, a long-time Cabbagetown resident and a founder of the Cabbagetown Community Arts Centre, died on September 30. A musical memorial to honour his commitment to the children and families of this community will take place on Sunday, November 16 at 9 pm at the Centre (454 Parliament) . Admission is free and donations to the Centre are gratefully received.
A long list of notable musicians is appearing, including Kingsley Ettienne, Jim Heineman, Kimeo Oki, Stacie McGregor and many others.

Christmas Bazaar
And then a week later on Saturday November 22, the Cabbagetown Community Arts Centre (454 Parliament) is holding its annual Christmas bazaar from 9 am to 4 pm.

Loonie or Less is in the Christmas mood
The Santa Claus parade is coming to Toronto again. Be prepared with Santa hats, wraps, decorations and supplies all for $1 or less. Plus energy efficient fiber optic Christmas trees for $19.99. (480 Parliament)

Cabbagetown Walking Tours To our delight, Kim Falls and three friends, Dana Valin, Ashley Piroli and Rosa Ameduri dropped into our office to get walking tour maps. They’re York University students working on a field trip. They chose a beautiful day for their tour and certainly covered it with enthusiasm and good spirits.

Friday, 7 November 2008

Restaurant News

Congratulations OMI NOW Magazine has just reviewed OMI (241 Carlton) and given John Lee and his staff a great boost: “remarkably luxe” and “if a recent dinner and lunch are any indication, the revamped OMI should be seeing Libretto-like lineups once word gets out that he’s back”.

New at Stonegrill on Winchester
The Stonegrill (51A & 51B Winchester) has expanded, taking over the upstairs room that was once the home for the Laurentian Room. Now it’s Lounge 51 and it’s offering a great weekly program. Thursday will be a special community day. Friday offers live music (with Mae Cromwell back this week). Saturdays will be the DJ night with DJ Ronnie from Tom Katz Productions. Downstairs, the Stonegrill is continuing its S&M Thursdays (Sushi & Martinis) under the guiding hand of chef Michi Tanaka.
Both Stonegrill on Winchester and Lounge 51 have Facebook pages and you’ll be told about their special events regularly at their sites. Click on and become a Friend if you want their bulletins and announcements.

Big Mamma’s Boy Michael Guenther has been traveling through Russia and Ukraine and now he’s back. Like every good chef, he’s brought a batch of new ideas home with him. So he’s cooking up a Russian Menu to celebrate – Saturday November 8, Sunday November 9 and Monday November 10. (554 Parliament)

Gourmet Burgers
...coming soon to 482 Parliament.

JAMCafe JAMCafe is now offering Christmas and New Year’s party menus and taking reservations. You can find out more at If you don’t want to wait until Christmas, you can try 100% organic beef Jamburgers and 100% organic roasted stuffed chicken, both from Beretta Farms. (195 Carlton, 416-921-1255 and

Cranberries is expanding. They’ve taken over the space once used by their bakery neighbour and they’re building an extra room for parties and overflow crowds. Cranberries is one of our quiet success stories, consistently providing lovely meals at amazing prices. When they hold special events, they’re sold out. We’ll keep you up-to-date about their plans and their progress with the new room. (601 Parliament)

Pear Tree
Pear Tree’s special Christmas party menu has also been posted. For years, this Cabbagetown favourite has been a destination for those who want good meals at reasonable prices. They have excellent facilities for groups and a cozy atmosphere for family events and special occasions. (507 Parliament)
You can see the party menu at

Barracuda It’s the end of the summer season and Barracuda is clearing out stock to make way for next year’s supplies. Wood accessories are 25% off. Many glass vases are specially priced at two-for-$30. Jewellery is offered at 25 to 35% off. If you buy two cowhide cushions, you can either take a third one free, or get a 25% discount on your purchase of two. Barracuda is full of beautiful items so this sale is one you don’t want to miss. (527 Parliament)

Regent Park Update
Alan Waterhouse, our community representative on the Regent Park Revitalization Design Review Committee, has reported on the progress of Phase 1 rebuilding. From Cabbagetown, we can see the towers rising and the impressive work underway at Dundas and Parliament. Construction on the rental tower is almost completed with occupancy aimed at March 2009. The condominiums at One Cole are on target for completion by November 2009 with sales starting in March 2009. Two more multi-storey buildings and the townhouses will be finished by the end of 2009 and early 2010.