Wednesday, 30 December 2009

New Year’s Eve in Cabbagetown

From your friends in the Cabbagetown BIA - best wishes for all of your plans for 2010. May the coming year bring you and your family happiness and prosperity.

Visit our fine restaurants on New Year’s Eve

Ben Wicks Restaurant & Pub
424 Parliament Street
Dinner is available from 6 pm to 10 pm.
Live DJ from 9 pm to 1:30 am
Reservations will guarantee a table: (416) 961-9425. No cover charge.
At The Wicks, you can order from our regular menu or make your selections from our special New Year’s menu: two courses from our New Year’s menu are $29, three courses are $39 or the full four-course dinner is $49.
First-course appetizers include Caesar salad with garlic bread or roasted beet salad. For your main course, we have roasted halibut or herb strip loin roast. For your dessert, there’s lemon ginger crème brulee or Guinness chocolate cake and ice cream. Our grand finale is a midnight cheese and fruit plate.

Big Mamma’s Boy
554 Parliament Street
Dinner is available from 5 pm to 3 am.
Live DJ and New Year’s Eve party
Reserve your table at (416) 927-1593.
Big Mamma’s Boy is holding an old fashioned party just for you. Enjoy our three-course, all-organic and gluten free dinner for $29.95 or order your meal from our regular menu. DJ iPOD (bring your own and we’ll play 15 minutes for your personal dancing selection) is spinning after dinner and counting down the seconds to midnight.

Brass Taps
221 Carlton Street
Dinner from 4 pm to late!
New Year’s Eve at Brass Taps is party time. Order your dinner from our regular menu and enjoy yourself while midnight rolls in. No cover charge.

The Cobourg
513 Parliament Street
Open for our regular hours from 5 pm to 2 am
Tonight, we’re inviting our regular customers and new friends to visit us and enjoy a quiet drink, a party among friends and a chance to wish everyone well for the New Year. Cheese trays and pates available.

House on Parliament
454 Parliament Street
Dinner is served from 5 pm to 11 pm
Reservations accepted at (416) 925-4074
We’ve prepared a special menu for your New Year’s enjoyment. Appetizers include cheddar and squash soup, sweet onion and gorgonzola tart or tartar of beef tenderloin, salmon and tuna. For your main course, make your choice from beef Wellington, pistachio and herb crusted rack of lamb, or roasted Chilean sea bass. Desserts from our special New Year’s Eve selection. Each item may be ordered individually or you may enjoy a three-course meal at $45.

195 Carlton Street
Dinner is served from 5:30 pm to 10 pm, $80 five-course prix fixe.
Party from 10 pm to 3 am, $35 per person.
Reservations available at (416) 921-1255
At JAM, you can come for a party or for a complete meal.
Our Party starts at 10 pm and includes two glasses of bubbly and hors d’oeuvres.
Dinner includes our New Year’s special five-course, prix fixe meal. Start off with lobster bisque or smoked lobster ravioli. For your second course, enjoy tempura Lake Erie pickerel with an organic sprout salad. Your third course is foie gras and terrine of Ontario quail and figs followed by an “Intermezzo” lemon sorbet. Your fourth course is loin of Ontario elk with dauphinoise potato, Swiss chard and wild chanterelles. Dessert features creme brulee and dark chocolate torte.

507 Parliament Street
For reservations and information, call (416) 962-8190
PearTree is one of Cabbagetown’s established favourites – a place where friends regularly gather for a comfortable and satisfying evening. This year, we’re offering our three-course New Year’s Eve dinner for $24.99. Our appetizers include salads, soup and seafood. For our main courses, we have steak, sea bass, salmon, chicken chasseur, spinach ravioli and Cajun jump fry. For dessert, you can select carrot cake, chocolate mousse cake, cherry cheese cake, strawberry rhubard pie, pecan pie or apple pie.

Provence Delices
12 Amelia Street
Two seatings: 6 pm and 9 pm
Three course prix fixe at $45
For reservations, please call (416) 924-9901
Provence Delices is one of Toronto’s most charming French restaurants and in the winter with two fireplaces, it’s especially cozy. This is an elegant spot to enoy your New Year’s Eve dinner. Our three course dinner opens with your choice among four appetizers: carpaccio of seabream frisee, oysters, beet salad or duck fois gras. Main courses include fresh pan roasted Mediterranean dorade, duck confit, steak tartar or roasted rack of lamb. For dessert, you can choose tarte tatin, marquise au chocolat, or crème brulee.

Stonegrill on Winchester
51B Winchester Street
New Year’s Eve Party from 5 pm to 3 am
For reservations please call: (416) 967-6565
Two seatings are available: from 5 to 8 pm ($70) and from 8 to 10 pm ($99). Each meal includes a three-course dinner and a bottle of red or white wine. The second sitting adds two tickets for a rail or tap beverage plus champagne for our midnight toast. For those who only want to enjoy our entertainment and the midnight toast, the cover charge from 10 pm to midnight is $35 which includes two drinks and the midnight toast.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Open on Christmas Day
These stores and services are available for you on Christmas Day. Please note that the hours for each location differ and many of these stores will open from mid morning to late afternoon.

Esso Gas, 581 Parliament

Cranberries, 601 Parliament
Tim Horton’s, 581 Parliament
Tim Horton's, 537 Parliament
Pizza Pizza, 560 Parliament
Sun Flower Café, 450 Parliament
Wing Machine, 443 Parliament

Jamestown Milk, 592 Parliament
Parliament Smoke, 609 Parliament
Fairway Variety, 520 Parliament
Corner Discount, 491 Parliament
Jenny’s Convenience, 401 Parliament
Stanley’s Smoke, 237 Gerrard
Seaton Grocery, 222 Gerrard
J&S Variety, 184 Carlton

Santa loves ice cream...
Listen kids, forget the cookies. Santa really rewards people who leave him some ice cream. He visited Sweet Creamery (521 Parliament) last Saturday just to get a head start on dessert.

The Sing-a-long at the Ben Wicks

Last Sunday’s sing-a-long featuring the Sterling Brass was a boisterous success. Eric Morse showed up and brought his camera so we have some good shots of the afternoon’s frolic. 424 Parliament.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Last minute goodies
We’ve got lots of stocking stuffers available this week. No doubt, some of you have been super-efficient and your work is all done and your packages are all wrapped. For the other 99% of us, here are a few hints.

Sharon (503 Parliament)...
...has a lot of new stock for your last minute shopping frenzy. On Sunday from noon to 4 pm, she’s holding her pre-Christmas sale featuring fun jewelry, sweaters, animal hats and leather gloves.

Mi Casa (238 Carlton) full of beautiful goodies. It’s hard to know which ones to mention. There are, for example, beautiful Vent du Sud tablecloths and napkins on sale.

Unistar (517 Parliament) heaven for the computer whiz. This little gem, a Microsoft mini-cam, is yours for only $49.
More tips further down the page.

The Big News
The Olympic Torch came to Cabbagetown this morning and it was quite a show. In fact, three different shows.
The main event was the torch relay itself. Parliament Street was part of the early morning route stretching from Front Street north to Bloor. People lined the street including some near us who had come from all across Toronto to cheer one of the runners, one of their co-workers.
When the relay arrived, the road was chaotic. There were police cars, buses and big trucks ahead of the flame. Police on bikes kept the crowd on the sidewalk. Coca-Cola (a major sponsor) had spectacularly decorated trucks. They gave away free bottles of Coke including one with a glow-in-the-dark design. Another sponsor, RBC, had flags for the spectators and a cheering section on their truck. Small buses ferried runners who had done their route and others waiting for their assignments.
Out of all this mayhem came one distinct figure in a white costume carrying the flame. It was a very moving moment. And then, whoosh, they were past and gone.
The Cabbagetown Youth Centre staged two more torch events. On Thursday night, they celebrated the relay. The highlight of the evening was the appearance of the actual torch, coming to the CYC right after festivities at City Hall.
On Friday morning, the CYC held a special breakfast to extend best wishes to their team of relay runners. After the breakfast, twenty kids from the CYC went by bus to Newmarket where they each carried the torch. They were chosen as part of a special program sponsored by Coca-Cola. Each relay runner represented part of the CYC’s activities (dance, martial arts, boxing, sports) and each one was chosen because she or he had shown a dedication to fitness, to volunteer work and to the community.

Plum presents…
One of our newest restaurants, Plum (226 Carlton) has started jazz evenings. The Dave & Levi Trio present “le jazz hot”. Two time Juno winner David Fowler (piano) joins Urban Music Award winner Levi Collins (vocalist) and stand-up bassist Alfred Gertler. The final performance happens on Friday December 18 from 8 to 11pm. By the way, early reviews about Plum are very enthusiastic – great Italian food at reasonable prices in a beautifully decorated room.

Epicure Shop Specials
Patty keeps selling lots of her Gift Baskets for the Christmas season. They come in all sizes and each and every one is Tax Free. Her store is full of other seasonal specials – mincemeat tarts and pies, homemade shortbreads and gingerbread.. She’s got Summerfresh Dips on special sale: buy one and get one free. Candy-filled mugs are $4 each or two for $7.50. 473 Parliament

More tips for your last minute shopping…
Both Menagerie Pet Shop (549 Parliament) and Pet Valu (240 Carlton) have big displays of treats and tricks for the pet in your life. Take them with you (they won’t know what you’re up to!) Maybe even give them a chance to have a preview sniff or a taste test. Nobody freaks out in these stores.

Christmas presents from the City
New garbage bins are now arriving along our streets. They’re tubby and silver with a special foot pedal that opens the slots where your litter is deposited. Opinions about their beauty and svelte shape vary across a range of reactions.
There is one intriguing question being discussed widely. How long will that foot pedal survive? Will it just wear out? Will the snowplows wing it off? Perhaps it may even endure the full twenty year lifespan of the container. Wags are said to be setting up betting pools.

Sweet Creamery has Santa
On Saturday and Sunday from 2 to 6 pm, Santa will be relaxing beside the gelato and chocolate mocha. He’ll probably enjoy a traditional Christmas lunch - soup and a panini. Boys and girls of all ages are invited to drop by and sit on his lap while discussing Christmas lists. 521 Parliament.

The Sterling Brass at Ben Wicks
After seeing Santa on Sunday, get down to the Ben Wicks (424 Parliament) for the 8th Annual Christmas sing-a-long. You’ll enjoy wetting your whistle and then belting out a few favourite carols as the Sterling Brass provide their inimitable accompaniment. This is always a fun event and somehow, Robert and David make this comfortable pub even more welcoming and Christmas-y. Sunday, December 20th, 3 to 6 pm.

Flowers for the holidays
Cabbagetown is blessed with lots of stores selling beautiful seasonal flowers.

Simmons (540 Parliament)... one of our most established shops. Merion will prepare a magnificent decoration just for your home.

At Parliament Smoke Shop (609 Parliament)... ...miniature Christmas trees are available at $7.99.

Across the street, Jamestown Milk (592 Parliament)...
...has poinsettas at $6.99

Fairway Market (520 Parliament)......has a beautiful display of assorted Christmas blooms inside their front window.

Soup’s on – again
The Soup sale at 603 1/2 Parliament (just north of Cranberries) proved to be a great success last week and so they’re keeping their space open until New Years to present works by their in-house artists and crafts people. Greeting cards, handmade ornaments, Allie Oop bags, jewelry, knitted wares, silk screened clothes and bags, paintings, fun buttons and much more. Call for an appointment and enjoy a private viewing away from the rude bustle of anxious shoppers. (416) 534-4567,

Christmas donations needed

The Yonge Street Mission (Gerrard) does remarkable work in our community and across downtown Toronto. They provide hot meals and hope to thousands of people each year and in this tight economy, the need is even greater. That’s why they’re asking for your help. A gift of $20 or more will provide that hope to people trying to turn their lives around. For more information,

Organic clothing Holiday sale
Me to We (224 Carlton ) is an agency of Free the Children. They specialize in sweatshop-free manufacturing and eco-friendly materials. 50% of the profits from their operations are donated to Free the Children.
On Saturday, December 19 from noon to 3 pm, their shop is open and their clothing is available at great holiday prices.

It’s turkey time…
And Christmas sales are rolling in at St Jamestown Steak & Chops (516 Parliament). Mark wants to remind you that he has lots of other choices in stock for delicious, slightly non-traditional meals: hams, prime rib roasts, beef tenderloin and rack of lamb.

2009 Annual General Meeting
Last Tuesday, the BIA held its AGM in the Dr Joseph Rizal Hall at the Filipino Centre (597 Parliament). This is a very well-equipped facility and the staff worked hard to ensure that our event went along smoothly. Cranberries (601 Parliament) provided our finger food – they’re right next door and everything arrived on schedule and was presented in appetizing displays. If you’re looking for a place for a meeting or a party, call (416) 928-9355. We recommend it highly. Happily, the meeting went like clockwork. The business and the 2010 budget (complete with a reduction in our membership fee) were approved by the membership. Marsha and Lucy from justbecuz made a presentation about marketing and focusing the Cabbagetown Festival.
Of course, a highlight was a presentation by Cabbagetown’s own George Smitherman. We are non-partisan but George is a member of our BIA and as such, he holds a warm spot in our hearts. We appreciated this chance to wish him well on the long trail toward next year’s election.

Friday, 11 December 2009

The Olympic Torch

Twenty kids from the Cabbagetown Youth Centre will carry the Torch when it travels through the Toronto area next week. Their route covers a portion of the Newmarket area next Friday.
Of course, Newmarket isn’t really part of Cabbagetown.
So, to launch the kids on their exciting journey, the CYC is hosting an Olympic Relay Team Breakfast on Friday December 18 from 8 to 9:30 am (2 Lancaster Ave, behind the Parliament Beer Store.) This is our chance to wish them well for their great day. The youth who will represent the CYC were selected because of their commitments to active lives and Olympic values. It’s a real honour for all of us to have these young people carrying the Torch for part of its journey across Canada.
By the way, the CYC is in the middle of serious renovations. They need some support from all of us at this time. So when you come to the breakfast, bring your wallet and make a nice donation to the Centre so they can continue their outstanding work on our behalf.

Speaking of carrying the torch …
Do you believe this picture? Gerry Gold from Barracuda says he had the special thrill of being a torch bearer last summer during a visit to Harbourfront. He said it was a once in a lifetime experience.
Or was it?
Sometimes, when he’s not racing with a torch, Gerry has great bargains in his beautiful shop. At the moment, he has bronze bookmarks on sale - perfect stock stuffers for a reader in your family. Barracuda (527 Parliament)

Simmons Flowers
Ginny, Merion and Tina are very busy this week preparing the floral presentations for the latest dinner party at the Lieutenant-Governor’s. Simmons Flowers (540 Parliament) have long been suppliers for him and they’re making sure now that all his Christmas and seasonal events are beautifully decorated. They can give you just as much care and attention for your home and for your gifts to friends far away.

Soup has a sale
Saturday it's happening - the annual Christmas craft sale at Soup (6031/2 Parliament, just north of Cranberries). There are lots of goodies for everyone – Branch Out! greeting cards, handmade ornaments, Allie Oop bags, jewelry, knitted wares, silk screened clothes and bags, paintings, fun buttons, Green Thumb salve and much much more. This year’s sale takes place on Saturday, December 12 from 10 am to 4 pm. Don’t miss it.

Our pets love us at Christmas

Matt is right at home among the waves in the new Fish Department at Menagerie.
At Menagerie Pet Shop (549 Parliament), there’s a whole new row of freshwater tanks in the Fish Department. After twenty-five years, those guppies finally have new homes. Apparently, when they removed the old tanks, there weren’t any surprises. No hidden money or old newspapers. In this store, it’s a surprise when there are no surprises! While you’re there admiring these finny wonders, wander into the Cat & Dog Department and pick up some Orijen or Acana food - it’s on sale until December 15.
Dorothy has the treats, so Bosley and Boston are paying close attention.
Meanwhile, at Pet Valu (240 Carlton), there’s a whole wall of cat and dog toys that your pals will love to find in their stockings on Christmas morning.

At Hair Lift Group (503B Parliament), Sophie and Randy stand back while Romeo greets the customers

And just next door at Sharon’s (503 Parliament), Jessie gets a well-deserved hug from Sharon

Rick McCarthy at Jet Fuel
Rick is right at home at his Jet Fuel spot beneath his own paintings.
Rick is a Cabbagetown’s artist whose work now spans over fifty years. You can see samples of his art hanging on the walls at Jet Fuel (519 Parliament). His show, entitled “Flowers”, began with a highly successful party on December 3 and continues there until December 30. For more info, click here and go to his attractive and easy-to-use website:

Maggie Cassella & Lea DeLaria at Big Mamma’s Boy
For a two-week stretch, Maggie and Lea will appear at Big Mamma’s Boy (554 Parliament) presenting their latest variety show collaboration, You Better Watch Out. It’s on Thursday, Friday and Saturday (December 10, 11 & 12 and December 17, 18 & 19) with showtime at 9 pm and then on Sundays (December 13 and December 20) for a matinee at 5 pm. $50 includes the show and a three-course organic dinner; $25 for the show.

Cranberries Christmas
Once again, Cranberries (601 Parliament) has unveiled its Christmas dinner menu and as always, it’s a wonderful meal. This year’s three-course dinner is a prix fixe at $24.99. You can enjoy butternut squash soup or a salad, then go on to roast turkey with all the trimmings served up with seasonal veggies, mashed potatoes, gravy and cranberry sauce (of course) and finish your meal with apple pie and ice cream. There will be two seatings (5 and 8 pm). It’s always a crowded event so book now: (416) 925-6330.

This week at The Epicure Shop
Patty is pleased to have Cendrillon, The World’s Best Cheese, back in stock and to continue her great offer on Summerfresh Dip (buy one, get one free). Her sales of Christmas gift baskets are now in full swing and she’s offering all of them with “No tax”. This week’s specials include balsamic vinegar and virgin olive oils in decorative bottles – usually $12.99 each, on sale at $8.99. 473 Parliament.

Additions and subtractions
We’ve got new postal boxes. Thanks to Canada Post – these look interesting, they fight graffiti and posters and they add considerable charm.
But we’ve subtracted the garbage disposal bins. Remember those dingy square things covered by lots of advertising and little holes at the top with doorways that snapped down on your knuckles? They’re toast. In the normal scheme of things, something new would arrive in their place. But not yet. Maybe soon. It’s gratifying to see that we’ve still got clean sidewalks. Thanks everyone for resisting the temptation to toss your stuff into the ghostly remains of the old cans.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Mayor Miller’s proclamation
The contributions of small local businesses are being highlighted by the Mayor’s proclamation that this is “Shop Local” week. He’s drawn our attention to the millions of dollars that will be spent during the coming Christmas season and the value that this spending will have for our local neighbourhood shops. Our stores are key players in the recovery of Toronto’s economic health and in our economic growth into the future.
Over the years, Cabbagetown residents have supported our local shops with enthusiastic loyalty. We enjoy close ties between residents and businesses in our community. We believe that this is one of the main reasons that Cabbagetown has become a vibrant village in the heart of the city.

Contest winners
Congratulations to the successful players in last week’s contest. You may recall that we invited everyone to send us an email immediately after our 100th Newsletter was launched. The first eleven emails received here were winners. It took Bruce, our overall winner, about ninety seconds to respond.
Among the happy replies that we received when the winners learned about their unexpected windfalls, Paulette’s stands out. “How exciting. I don’t believe I’ve ever won anything before – except the hand of my husband.”

Soup has a Christmas sale

It’s time again for the annual Christmas craft sale at Soup (6031/2 Parliament, just north of Cranberries). There are lots of goodies for everyone – Branch Out! greeting cards, handmade ornaments, Allie Oop bags, jewelry, knitted wares, silk screened clothes and bags, paintings, fun buttons, Green Thumb salve and much much more. This year’s sale takes place on Saturday, December 12 from 10 am to 4 pm. Don’t miss it.

Pop-up retail at Fair Trade Jewellry
You’re invited to the reception to open Bijouxbead Holiday at Fair Trade Jewellery Company (523 Parliament). Darlene Martin's beadwork is the first featured display. These intriguing mannequins have been visible through the front window for the past week. Saturday December 5 from 3 to 6 pm.
As renovations continue at FTJC, there’s space available at the front of the store. Ryan plans to use this area to feature a new Canadian fashion designer or artist every few weeks. Clothes, toys, jewellery – all will be included. As it progresses, FTJC will become a very contemporary centre for modern retailing design.

PearTree’s Christmas MenuPearTree’s comfortable room has long been a Cabbagetown favourite and now their Christmas menu has returned (507 Parliament). It’s a prix fixe, three course dinner at $23.99 featuring main courses with beef tenderloin, a New York sirloin, lamb chops, sea bass, grilled salmon, Cajun jump fry, chicken breast chasseur and spinach and ricotta cheese ravioli. There are soup choices along with salads, bruschetta and seafood appetizers plus half a dozen cakes and pies for dessert.

Gift baskets at Epicure

All through the weekend, Epicure (473 Parliament) has gift baskets on sale “tax free”. You can combine a gift basket with a pound of Reunion Island coffee for a real gourmet highlight. While you’re there, buy a box of Baci chocolates for $4.99 and save $3 – Baci translates as “kisses” and each chocolate has a special message of love. For cheese lovers, Patty has Black Burn non-pasteurized cheese from Quebec at $3.99/100g and she’s offering a free Summerfresh dip with any purchase of her humus dips.

Sharon’s Christmas
The season has started for Sharon as well (503 Parliament). She wants to remind us that she carries men’s fashions as well as women’s. She has, for example, men’s shirts from Arrow, Calvin Klein and Geoffery Beene from $34.95. For women, she has party dresses starting at $39.99. Her store is full of wonderful gift items including silver jewelry, scarves and animal hats.

Christmas at The Stonegrill The beautiful room at The Stonegrill (51B Winchester) makes a wonderful location for your Christmas events and parties. They’re offering custom designed prix fixe menus, cocktail receptions, a well-rounded, affordable wine list and the services of their experienced, friendly staff. For large corporate gatherings or intimate dinners for two, this is a festive success that won’t be forgotten. If you’re interested, call Mukul or Dobby at (416) 967-6565.

Carlton & Parliament
The new bank building at Carlton is making great progress. Friday is the day when the last big batch of concrete is being poured. After that, scaffolding will go up for the first steps in laying the exterior brickwork. The building’s owner, George Foulides, reports that the proposed “white roof” will increase its cooling efficiency by up to 40% over conventional roofing techniques, creating very big energy savings for the building’s future operations. For more information on this kind of roof, please visit

Oops - great show this weekend
The holiday craft and studio show takes place on Friday and Saturday over this weekend. (Last week, we listed the wrong dates – so if you think you missed it, rest assured that there’s still a chance to attend.) Five outstanding artists – Victoria Hadden, Tessa Ort, Gerri Orwin, Ray Prince and Irina Rapoport – will have their paintings, ceramics, woodworking and jewelry available for your Christmas shopping. Friday from 3 to 9 pm and Saturday from 11 am to 5 pm at 130 Seaton Street.

Signs of the Season
Whenever you see these faithful, hardworking BIA workers with their ladder and wreathes, then you know that Christmas is just around the corner.
The Christmas tree guys, Gerry and Carl, are also at work at the No Frills sidewalk on Spruce Street. They’ve been selling their trees here and making Cabbagetown families happy for over fifty years. Welcome back for another successful year.