Friday, 27 February 2009

People are asking about progress at Starbucks
Hyojean Parks (on the left with construction site supervisor Julia Drawbell), the manager for the new Starbucks store at Aberdeen and Parliament, dropped into the BIA and gave us a complete update. She’s worked at Starbucks for over 6 years and most recently she’s been the manager at the Bloor and Jarvis store. She’s now getting ready for her new assignment here. She’s been very impressed by the small “village” feel of Cabbagetown and the way that people interact and know each other so well.
She’ll be officially opening on March 12 from 4 to 7 pm with a community event on behalf of the Cabbagetown Youth Centre. All proceeds from this event will go to the CYC.

Meet the author
On Sunday at The Ben Wicks (424 Parliament) from 3 to 6 pm. Author Carolyn Matthews will launch her new book, “True Stories of Rescue & Survival: Canada’s unknown heroes”.

Sharon’s Sharon (503 Parliament) has a new line of environmentally friendly clothing from Canadian designers Neon Buddha and Pure. Whether you want handmade Pure sweaters or accessories or one of Neon Buddha’s collections for travel, work and yoga, all are made from 100% pre-shrunk cotton in both pastels and brilliant gem colours. For a night of salsa and for graduation, there are sassy little dresses in fabulous colours on special at $39.99. And there’s more – dozens of sample belts from $5.99 to $24.99. Sharon wants to remind you that 75% of the store’s inventory is now on sale. So stop by for spring jewels or for Pure sweaters and save.

Commercial façade improvement grants
Just a quick reminder to property owners and business tenants in the BIA that the City of Toronto’s commercial façade improvement grant program has started up for 2009. You can find out how to apply at This is a straightforward program where the application takes you through a lot of the steps that you would follow anyway in order to decide how to fix up the front of your building. If you want help with the grant application, call Doug at the BIA at 416-921-0857.

Home Hardware’s façade improvements

The corner at Carlton and Parliament has a new look as Home Hardware’s impressive renovations are put into place. The upper level copper has been applied and it’s beginning to settle into a nicely aged appearance. New windows have been installed at ground level and the interior cash area has been rearranged. The result is a fresh new look for the whole building. (485 Parliament)

The Epicure Shop Patty’s got brownies – four varieties to be specific and if you buy one, you can have another at half price. All-natural Brick Street breads are available on Friday and Saturday. As always, she’s got an amazing selection of cheeses including her bestselling La Sauvagine from Quebec and Upper Canada’s artisanal Comfort Cream and Niagara Gold. (473 Parliament)

The sports section
The HOP’s Duncan says it was a magic time that could have gone on forever if the zamboni hadn’t arrived. He’s talking about the two-hour hockey match between The Cobourg (533 Parliament) and House on Parliament (456 Parliament) last week at the Regent Park outdoor rink. A Cobourg observer agreed but said that some people needed regular oxygen boosts to stay in the game. Duncan himself showed sweet hands and lightning speed. John Jay got a game star for being the best dressed player. Nobody is telling anybody the final score.
It’s going to be a weekly event while the ice lasts. But Cobourg better be sharp – Duncan just got new skates. Game pictures will be posted as soon as we get them. In the meantime, we’ll show you Duncan (on the left) as he appears in his natural habitat.

More sports news Cabbagetown’s Elise Stanley has just returned from the Classique du Quebec ballroom dancesport competition which is, apparently, the largest such event in Canada. Elise and her partner Chris Sochnacki are the 2009 champions in the Pro/Am Dancesport Series C. Congratulations to Elise and Chris.

Flags are back in stockGet ready for spring with a new flag from the BIA office (416-921-0857). We’ve just brought in new inventory ($30/ea) and have poles as well for those just getting started ($20). When Spring arrives, you’ll want a fresh new flag to match all the other lovely greenery in your yard. Our flags come from the Flag Shop who’ve asked us to mention that they have lots of decorative flags ideal for homes in our area. Check out their web site at

Sunday is Psychic Brunch
At Big Mamma’s Boy (554 Parliament) – Sunday from 11 am to 3 pm. $40 includes your brunch, a psychic reading and your selection from the gift table.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Well Done Tiffany
Tiffany is back after her stint with Habitat for Humanity. Her Cabbagetown friends contributed generously a few weeks ago when she held a fundraiser at The Ben Wicks to finance her travel costs to her project in Guatemala. She reports that her group built a home for a mother and her four daughters and got a good start on a second home as well.

JAMCafe’s February Wine Tasting
On Wednesday, February 25, Av Atikian is hosting another in his monthly wine and food tastings at JAMCafe (195 Carlton). These are now attracting a solid audience – his last one was completely sold out. If the tasting interests you, you’re well advised to make your reservations early.
This month, it’s reds from Tuscany and whites from Niagara, matched to another lovely five-course meal from Av’s kitchen. Each winery is sending a representative: Adriana Avignonesi will tell you about the Capoverso red wines and Cave Spring’s proprietor Tom Pennachetti will talk about his whites.
It’s $90 per person ($10 from this is a gift to The Stop, Community Food Centre.) Call (416) 921-1255.
For a full description of the individual wines and the menu, please click on this link: JAM.

International News
Cabbagetown’s Christopher Dew, in the meantime, is off to warmer climates. He’s taking part in a private fundraising effort (more about that below) by climbing Africa’s highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro. When he gets there, he plans to unfurl our Cabbagetown Flag as proof of his victory.
Christopher's "before" picture with the flag. He'll be sending us his mountain-top pic's once he's done.

Great Fundraising Plans
Reports have reached us about two good fundraisers on the March horizon.
Christopher Dew is supporting the Cabbagetown People Project and the Cabbagetown Regent Park Museum with his Mt Kilimanjaro effort. He’s doing this at his own expense and all of the funds that he gets from supporters will go to these two fine projects. You can find out all the details by going to
The new Starbucks will open soon at their location in the building at Aberdeen and Parliament. They’re aiming for March 12. They’re planning to hold a special event during their first day’s business with the proceeds from that event going to help the Cabbagetown Youth Centre. We’ll remind you about this again and give more details as they surface.

Ben Wick’s hosts “Meet the Author”
Robert and David are pleased to invite you to this literary and musical afternoon at the Wicks.
Our two intrepid readers
Carolyn Matthews is the author of “True Stories of Rescue & Survival”, tales about hair-raising rescues at sea, in the forest, on mountains and in the remote Arctic. One chapter describes a cold-case murder mystery set in Vancouver’s upscale streets in 1994. She’ll be accompanied by a live blues jazz band who’ll be helping her to launch her book at The Ben Wicks (424 Parliament) on Sunday, March 1 from 3 to 6pm.
It’s all right in step with the literary tradition that Ben himself started there years ago. For more information, click on this link: Ben Wicks

Busy times at Big Mamma’s Boy
A whole new schedule of events has popped up at Big Mamma’s Boy (554 Parliament). We pay attention here because their evenings are so often really crowded when these specials are offered. First, you’ll notice regularly now that we’re listing Tuesday comedy nights in our right-hand column. Deb Pearce is hosting comedy/karaoke from 8 to 11 pm. No cover charge. Thanks to Great Lakes Brewery, BMB is able to offer $5 pints.
Then, every Sunday from 3 to 6 pm, there’s a recession-fighting, morale boosting special on shooters at $3 each.
And on the fourth Sunday each month, the Psychic Brunch reappears from 11 am to 3 pm. You’ll get brunch and an insightful look into your future. What’s better? Details are available at this link: Big Mamma’s Boy.

Winterlicious is extended Provence Delices (12 Amelia) has been taking part in Winterlicious 2009 and they’re continuing through to thwe end of the month. You can now enjoy their $20 lunches and $35 dinners until the end of February. Reservations are suggested: (416) 924-9901. To see their full menus and for details about their beautiful restaurant, click here: Provence

It's hard to leave a great vacation
After a nice week-long holiday at beautiful Stokely Creek lodge north of the Soo, it’s back to business here at the BIA. But I can’t resist giving Stokely a last, well-deserved promo – if cross-country skiing in breathtaking northern lakeside scenery is your cup of tea, then click on this Stokely Creek link.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Valentine’s, Winterlicious, JavaVille and more…

There’s plenty to keep us going this week.

Before we get into the other stuff, there’s a big announcement from the Nuit Blanche organizing group.
The committee needs your proposals for your contemporary art installation ASAP. The deadline is February 18. This year, the event happens on Saturday, October 3. You can get the details from This is a good website – you can pick up the application form and you can also see entries about 2008’s event. Congratulations again to the committee for building on last year’s success.

So, what are our restaurants doing on Valentine’s Day?
Here’s a list with some links to your favourite places for Valentine’s. For those heading out onto the town, our restaurants have a wide range of special menus for the night. Or, you can buy some roses, have a great meal at home with lobster, strawberry mousse, and a Valentine’s gift box. And you can slip out for dessert and poetry. Lots of good choices.

Watch for this link. It will take you at any time to our restaurants and pubs:
Cabbagetown eats

The Cobourg, 533 Parliament St, (416) 913-7538
Chocolate, Wine, Poem. Handmade dark chocolate lace heart nestled on a bed of wild cherries tumbled in dark chocolate served with a glass of bubbly or ice wine. Delivered by the proprietor who will read you a love poem at your table. Chocolate by Soma. Poetry by Shakespeare, Neruda, Ondaatje. $25. Regular hours to 2 am. Here’s the link: Cobourg.
Ben Wicks, 424 Parliament St, (416) 961-9425
Special four-course menu, items are individually priced. Regular hours to midnight. Here’s the link: Ben Wicks
Big Mamma’s Boy, 554 Parliament St, (416) 927-1593
A candle-lit evening in our Victorian dining room. The regular menu plus several specials, individually priced. Regular hours to 11 pm. Here’s the link: Big Mamma’s Boy
Brass Taps, 221 Carlton St, (416) 966-9440
Special Valentines menu plus the regular menu items. Regular hours to 2 am. Here’s the link: Brass Taps
Cranberries, 601 Parliament St, (416) 925-6330
Three-course Valentine’s dinner, $34.99 Two seatings: 5:30 pm & 8 pm. Here’s the link: Cranberries
JAMCafe, 195 Carlton St, (416) 921-1255
Three-course Valentine dinner, $70 for two. Two seatings: 5 & 8 pm. Here’s the link: JAM
Omi, 241 Carlton St, (416) 920-8991
Valentine’s dinner specials, prix fixe, $70. 5 to 10:30 pm. Here’s the link: Omi
Peartree, 507 Parliament St, (416) 962-8190
Special Valentine’s menu with individually priced items. Regular hours. Here’s the link: Peartree Piccolo, 226 Carlton St, (416) 944-3738
Three-courses, prix fixe. $40. From 5 pm. Here’s the link: Piccolo.
Provence Delices, 12 Amelia St, (416) 924-9901
Three-courses, prix fixe, $45. 6 to 10:30 pm. Here’s the link: Provence
Stonegrill on Winchester, 51B Winchester St, (416) 967-6565
Three-courses, prix fixe, $50. 5 to 11:59 pm. Here’s the link: Stonegrill

Snuggling up at home on Valentine’s?
These guys have the finishing touches to make your meal a success.
Absolute Bakery, 589 Parliament St
Daniel et Daniel, 248 Carlton St
The Epicure Shop, 473 Parliament St
St Jamestown Steak & Chops, 516 Parliament St
Our specialty shops can add just the right touch to your evening.
Here’s the link: Cabbagetown Specialty Shops

And while we’re talking about Valentine’s Don’t forget roses. Merion Clement at Simmons (Parliament) will take care of your roses – you handle the romance.

Sharon’s It’s true, of course, that cake and cookies are just fine but jewelry really makes romantic magic. Sharon knows that – so she’s just brought in a line of Turkish necklaces, bracelets and earrings plus silver rings and silver earrings from Israel. You can also watch for her new winter hats plus some red and white evening gloves and accessories.
(503 Parliament)

Home Hardware A really interesting renovation is happening on the façade at Royal Home Hardware (485 Parliament). The top storey is being refaced in copper – around the windows, the facia and soffits. Special rounded eavestroughes will emphasize the building’s Victorian style. The slate has been crumbling and is being removed with additional copper being applied to the building front.

The JavaVille site
The building’s owner appeared at the City’s Committee of Adjustment on Wednesday. He received permission to go ahead with the two variances that he needed: on the parking and on the change from residential to commercial usage upstairs. Now his plans are being examined for the final Site Plan approvals.

Kidist A couple of weeks ago, we introduced Kidist Paulos Asrat, a freelance website designer with a background in graphic design, photography and new media. She creates websites for non-profit groups, individuals and businesses. Since then, people have been in touch with her and she’s pleased with your responses.
She has a special 15% discount on her packages and a sale offering buy-one, get-one-free on her services. For Cabbagetown businesses, she also has a $50 bonus payable toward any of her services.
Because of your interest, she’s continuing these sales into February. You can contact her for more information at (416) 939-0585. Her website is at and her email is

Pie to die for... Absolute Bakery (589 Parliament) has been doing a roaring business. They’ve been developing a few new products and they asked us to test their new sugar pie. Wow – that really is a sugar hit. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, get up there now and buy one.


Provence Delices (12 Amelia) is offering its Winterlicious menu until mid-February. Reservations are definitely recommended. (416) 924-9901. Follow this link and go to the January postings for a full menu: Provence

The Epicure Shop
473 Parliament. This week, Patty’s returning to her youth – she’s offering five items at 1980 prices: black forest ham ($0.95/100 g), liverwurst ($0.79/100 g), corned beef ($1.19/100 g), havarti ($1.89/100 g) and potato, coleslaw and macaroni salads (.49/100g or $2.22/lb).
Very good prices. She’s too young to remember 1980 - so, when you’re in the store, remind her about “truth in advertising”.
She also has two marvelous Niagara cheeses back in stock – Niagara Gold and Comfort Cream.

Advance notice - Carolyn Matthews returns to the Ben Wicks (424 Parliament) for a launch of her latest book, True Stories of Rescue & Survival. Save the date and time: March 1, 3 to 6 pm.