Thursday, 30 April 2009

Cabbagetown Information about Swine Flu
Everyone who talked to us urges common sense. Their emphasis is on prevention and considerate behaviour toward others. Despite the amazing amount of commentary from the media about this problem, our local pharmacists are much calmer. Lots of people have been calling their stores but, in fact, there has not been a surge of infections or problems in Cabbagetown. Today’s Newsletter gives you a summary of local sources for supplies and advice and we've also listed contact information at the City, Province of Ontario and federal government.

Local information:
We have five pharmacies in Cabbagetown. Here’s a quick summary of the advice that they’ve given us today:

Michael at Main Drugs feels that we have no need for alarm. Everyone has access to lots of information. He suggests that you monitor the government web sites. His store is also connected to an alert system that will keep him well informed of local outbursts and local needs. Supplies are available and more can be ordered by his store when needed.

Ralph at Rexall IDA Drugs is getting a big shipment of masks, gloves, alcohol and hand sanitizers today and expects to be able to meet everyone’s requests. If you have the symptoms, talk to your doctor. If not, be vigilant and follow the handwashing guidelines.

At Shoppers Drug Mart, Doug has had a lot of calls and enquiries and he urges people not to overreact.

Harvey at Parliament Pharmacy will only be carrying prescription supplies, not the personal protective gear that many are looking for. He believes that masks should only be worn by people who already have the flu. They don’t really help people trying to avoid it. You’re better off to move away when other people have a cough and to wash your hands regularly.

If you’re looking for masks, Home Hardware has a good supply. They’re rated N95 and meet the same standards as the ones sold in the pharmacies.

Contact info for these stores:
Main Drugs, 599 Parliament, (416) 960-1616
Rexall IDA, 572 Parliament, (416) 921-5700
Shoppers Drug Mart 467 Parliament, (416) 921-5139
Ultra Pharmacy 411 Parliament, (416) 323-0055
Parliament Pharmacy 402 Parliament, (416) 963-9733
Royal Home Hardware, 485 Parliament, (416) 924-3921

Good basic information from Dr David McKeown, Medical Officer of Health at the City of Toronto:
There are two ways to get the flu - from airborne infections carried by sneezes and coughs and from hands or hard surfaces like counters and door knobs.
The symptoms are the same as those for seasonal flu – fever, headaches, coughs, sore throat, muscle aches, chills, fatigue and possibly vomiting and diarrhea.
At this time, personal proactive measures like masks are not recommended.
So, use your common sense and be considerate.
If you get the symptoms, talk to your doctor.
Stay home if you’re sick.
If you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose. If you don’t have a tissue, use your sleeve or arm rather than your hand to cover your face.
Whether you’re sick or not, wash your hands regularly in soap and hot water or with an alcohol based hand sanitizer.

For more information and regular updates from Toronto's Medical Officer of Health:

You can also stay informed by the Ontario Ministry of Health & Long Term Care:

Finally, here’s information from the Government of Canada for people who are traveling.
For a general list of travel advisories, click here:
For a detailed list, country by country, click here:

In other news...

Landscape Study
This is an important reminder that we need your comments about our streetscape proposals for Parliament, Carlton and Gerrard. These ideas will guide both the BIA and the City of Toronto in our future decisions about the shape of the shopping areas. Please check the link and tell us your reactions:   

Soup Sale
Don’t forget that Saturday is your date for Soup’s annual Mother’s Day craft sale. The artists at Soup will be offering cards, jewelry, silk screen clothing, pressed and preserved flowers and lots more. From 10 am to 5 pm at 6031/2 Parliament.

Three nice events are happening in Cabbagetown on the weekend.
For euchre players, there’s a tournament on Saturday from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm at Central Neighbourhood House, 349 Ontario Street. Registration is $20. There are prizes for $75, $50 and $25. Call Robert Butler at 925-4363, ext 119.

The annual Forsythia Festival is always a landmark event in Cabbagetown. It happens on Sunday, from 10:30 am. It starts at Riverdale Park (Sumach & Winchester) at 10 am and the parade then goes to Wellesley Park (at the east end of Wellesley Street) at 10:30 am. In Wellesley Park, there are games, snacks, and lots of fun for your family. Don’t miss it.

The Hike for Hospice 2009 is another event on May 3 in Riverdale Park. You can take a 2k stroll through the park or a 5k walk in the Don Valley. If you bring fundraising pledges, registration is free; otherwise registration is $20. Enjoy lunch, games, face painting, musical entertainment and a free massage.

Friday, 24 April 2009

A Sunday for history buffs

As reported here last week, St Peter’s Church (188 Carlton) is hosting an open-door event on Sunday April 26 from 1 to 4 pm. The building was completed in the 1860’s and has been an important Toronto landmark ever since. In its early days, the congregation was a destination point for people fleeing slavery in the USA through the underground railroad. The Pellats, the Jarvis family and a host of other notables have belonged to the congregation. As Brian Gerrior, the church’s Peoples Warden tells it, “The bricks ooze history.” Following the open-door tour at 4:30 pm, there will be an Evensong Service of Gregorian chants with members from St Barnabas Church.

Enjoy this delightful part of Carlton Street

Before going to St Peters, drop in to Chew Chews right next door at 186 Carlton. Their popular Sunday brunch features “eggs bennie”, eggs Florentine and of course, a regular plateful of bacon-and-eggs.

If you prefer to tour and then dine, you’ll want to explore JAMCafe (195 Carlton). On Sundays, you can bring your own bottle of your favourite wine and they’ll serve it for you without any corkage fees. It’s the next best thing to a free bottle. And they have a three-course prix fixe menu for only $19. Good bargains in a lovely room.

Our future streetscape
A quick reminder that the BIA’s proposals for the new streetscape on Parliament, Carlton and Gerrard are now available for review on the internet. Just click on this link and follow the Cabbage: Please look over the plans and give us your comments. Send your reviews to

It’s dry at The Wicks

The Ben Wicks (424 Parliament) has been renewed, refreshed, rejigged and reopened. Yes, the water damage is under control, to the relief of Robert and Dave. The establishment looks just fine.

Soup sale

Back again, the folks from Blink Blink, Branch Out and other members of the Soup Group (6031/2 Parliament) are hosting a one-day craft sale featuring unique handcrafted jewelry, greeting cards, bookmarks, paintings, prints, plants, seeds and lots more. Saturday May 2 from 10 am to 5 pm. Don’t miss this popular event loaded with goodies for your Mother’s Day gifts.

Sports Department

Congratulations to Cabbagetown athlete and bon vivant Hector Clouthier. He’s just successfully completed the Boston Marathon, sprinting around the course in a remarkable 3 hours and 56 minutes. The overall winner was Ethiopia’s Deriba Merga who covered the course in record time, crediting Clouthier’s daunting pressure for relentlessly pushing him to an ever-higher performance level. Yes, Hec is indeed an obsessed marathoner – he’s the only Cabbagetowner we know who will shave his head to cut wind resistance. His remarkable effort has qualified him for a repeat appearance in the 2010 marathon.

A bright idea

A reminder that The Deal Zone Savings Centre in Loonie or Less is still offering Eco Friendly Covered CFL bulbs at great prices. Do you now that using just 5 of these bulbs instead of your old fashioned 60-watt bulbs can save you up to $150 in hydro charges over the lifetime of the bulbs? Get them for $1/each and start saving your money.
And while you’re at the store, check out their 20-foot retractable clotheslines at $3/each. They’ll fit in your small backyard or across your balcony.

Nok Out

As the proud owners of a golden retriever, we worry regularly about what’ll happen if he runs into a skunk. More accurately, we know what’ll happen and we need to know how to fix it. Marilyn from Diggity Dog grooming recommends Nok Out from Pet Valu (240 Carlton). By the way, Marilyn visits Pet Valu on the first Saturday in each month so she’ll be there next weekend. You can bring your guys along for a full service tune-up.

Gordon Daniel Gallery

Gordon Daniel (460 Parliament) has a new show running to May 7 featuring Justin Pape’s acrylics, wall murals, mixed media and sculptures. “We Kill You: I lose track of my mind sometimes” is a play on the phrase “You kill me”. WKY is a team of creatures – The Ghost, The Bat, The Sasquach, The Bunny, The Bear and The Ape – who are all looking to put a smile on your face. Their goal is simply to make the world a brighter, happier place.

Cabbagetown Youth Centre

The CYC has a very spiffy new website at and it’s well worth a visit. They’ve included a full description of their program details, a good introduction to the staff and supporters and a generous offering of photos, news events and contact info. You can also join their Facebook page at Cabbage Town Youth Centre.

Coming events

The Forsythia Festival will take place on Sunday, May 3. The group assembles in Riverdale Park (Sumach and Winchester) at 10 am and forms into a parade. The long march to Wellesley Park begins at 10:30 am. Festivities in Wellesley Park then continue
through the afternoon. Details next week – for now, mark your calendars and save this date.

Euchre fundraiser

If you like to play euchre, if you want to win prizes of $75, $50 and $25, and if you want to contribute to an outstanding local organization, then Central Neighbourhood House (349 Ontario) is your answer. The tournament takes place on Saturday May 2 from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm. Registration is $20. Call Robert Butler at (416) 925-4363.

The Hike for Hospice 2009

Another event on May 3 in Riverdale Park. You can take a 2k stroll through the park or a 5k walk in the Don Valley. If you bring fundraising pledges, registration is free; otherwise registration is $20. Enjoy lunch, games, face painting, musical entertainment and a free massage.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Redesigns, Revitalization and Renovations

Landscape Revitalization
Go here (and then click on the Cabbage) to see the new plan
Over the past year, the BIA Board has been studying ways to revitalize Parliament, Carlton and Gerrard within our boundaries. With the help of a grant from the City of Toronto, we commissioned David Orsini of Sunarts Design to do a review of our facilities and to make recommendations for renewal.
He’s suggested ways to enhance the identity and character of our neighbourhood, to make it more pleasant, to draw people here and to make it safer and more comfortable for them to linger. His special interest in a greener, sustainable environment has lead to new ideas for tree plantings and for places where we can sit and watch the street life around us. True to Cabbagetown’s history, he was directed to make his plans inclusive, to welcome everyone into our shops and streets.
Some of his suggestions can be undertaken immediately and some are aimed at a longer term.
When these changes happen, they will be sponsored and paid for by local businesses. Obviously, we cannot afford huge capital projects so our recommendations will also be tied into programs and projects approved by the City.
With a plan like this, we can give a vision and a sense of direction to others so we pull together to achieve a common goal.
Please review the plan. Please send us your reactions. Look especially at the places close to you which you know best. Make sure that you approve of the ideas that David is suggesting.

Renovations at 523 Parliament

The interior is being completely rebuilt
The Fair Trade Jewelry Company has been renovating their store at 523 Parliament for some time. Fair Trade’s Ryan Taylor tells us that the company is a new venture designing and producing luxury goods. It’s a great idea and the store will be a good addition to this part of Cabbagetown. For more information about the company’s plans for Cabbagetown, click on There are pictures of the renovations at

Repairs at the Ben Wicks

Robert and David - smiling through the floods
Those of us who love the Wicks (424 Parliament) have watched in horror as water from upstairs flooded into the restaurant and bar spaces (not once but twice) over the past few months. Finally, Robert and David are able to undertake the big repairs that they’ve needed after the deluge. So the Wicks will be closed on Sunday and Monday as the floors are repaired and polished.

The new Underdown
Brian and Eric Underdown have done an amazing job renovating their property at 263 Gerrard, at Gerrard and Berkeley. Upstairs, it houses the Book Bank. The future Underdown, a revival of their club that operated here several years ago, will be located downstairs. The club itself is almost ready to open. An outdoor patio has been proposed for the corner area in a space that will be lively and comfortable for customers and still provide lots of privacy for nearby residents. We’ve long wanted a good outdoor space for a drink, a meal and lots of people-watching so this is a welcome project. Watch for more news here.

Knockdowns at JavaVille

The old JavaVille building will soon disappear.
Residents have undoubtedly noticed that the hoardings are going up around the structure. The electricity and gas mains have been disconnected. The City has issued the necessary demolition permit. Plans for the site call for a new TD Canada Trust bank on the main floor and commercial offices on the two upper floors.

Welcome to Cabbagetown Carpentry
Johnny Pearl has just signed up as an associate member of the BIA. His company is a familiar feature in Cabbagetown - for the past 14 years, he’s been working on homes, decks, fences and interior work in our neighbourhood. His specialties are historic renovations, restoring Victorian features and quality finishings. This is a good time to undertake your spring fix-ups and repairs as well as your larger renovations. You’ll be eligible for the federal government’s tax rebates with savings up to $1350. Call (416) 702-3723 and visit

Gerrard Street updates

Eclectosaurus is taking part in the annual Absolutely Vintage Sale on Saturday, April 18. The sale features men and women’s clothing from the 1890s to the 1970s, antique costume jewelry, accessories, furnishing and textiles. It’s being held at the Toronto Heritage Maple Cottage at 62 Laing Street (south of Queen, two blocks east of Leslie).
Of course, this isn’t inside Cabbagetown, but we’re listing it anyway because we can’t say “no” to anything that Leslie Zysman asks us to do.

Dr Day with Princess and Patrick
Dr Jennifer Day is now the owner of the Cabbagetown Pet Clinic (239 Gerrard). She took over from Scott McClure last August when he retired. Dr Day is currently the president-elect of the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association and is in line to become president next year. She also serves on the Board of the Toronto Academy of Veterinary Medicine. She will be a familiar face at the clinic for many pet owners since she’s been on staff on a part-time basis since 2007.

Kids get a reading and a free book to take home.
The Children’s Book Bank (350 Berkeley at Gerrard) continues to be a success story. Kim Beatty reports that over 200 kids come to the Book Bank each day. It’s an invaluable resource for the community – the program gives kids a free book whenever they drop in. They’re encouraging literacy skills in young people from Regent Park and nearby neighbourhoods. If you have a book (or lots of books) that you can donate, please contact them at (416) 922-7323 and on the internet at A small request – please make sure that your gifts are suitable for children and gently used.

Parliament Street specials

Sharon’s (503 Parliament) has an innovative new line of Canadian-made jewelry from Montreal’s Christophe Poly. It includes three-dimensional architectural designs created in unique materials. Bracelets, rings, necklaces and earrings, starting from $29.99. For men, there are new shirts, Ts, and spring jackets.

Patty Junior at The Epicure Shop (473 Parliament) is offering the original Epicure Breakfast Bagel Melt for only $1.99. That’s right – it’s not a typo - $1.99. Only on Wednesday April 22 from 8 am to noon.

Upcoming events
Earth Week planting and cleanup at Riverdale Farm
happens on Saturday, April 18 from 9:30 to 11:30 am. In two short hours, you can make a big difference with cleanups and the annual spring plantings. Bring gloves if you have them. Volunteers are gathering at the very eastern end of Winchester Street.

St Peter's in 1868.
St Peter’s Church (188 Carlton) is holding an open-doors day on Sunday, April 26. Tours have been scheduled for 1 to 4 pm and there will be a Gregorian Evensong Service afterwards at 4:30 pm. The church has been a Cabbagetown landmark since 1863 and it’s full of windows, plaques and fascinating architectural features and it’s now a designated historic site. For more information:

The Riverdale Park Hike for Hospice is happening on Sunday, May 3 from 10 am onward. The hike features 2km or 5km walks through beautiful Cabbagetown, lunch afterward with music, face painting and games for the kids and lots of prizes. The hike is sponsored by five different hospices located across Toronto. It’s a fundraiser so it’s free for those who have pledges and $20 for those without. For more information, call Rosemarie Kenny at (416) 385-8885.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Hasty Notes …
The shorter week has caught us by surprise so this is just a fast summary of a few things to look for and to enjoy over the coming week.

Free wine at JAMCafe
Well, not quite but very close. On Sundays, JAMCafe is welcoming customers who bring their own wine. They’ll take care of it and serve it for you – all with no corkage fee. (195 Carlton)

Easter eats

Cranberries (601 Parliament) are having an Easter dinner special on Sunday featuring poached halibut or roast lamb served with soup or salad and apple crumble. A group of us ate at Cranberries on Friday night and had a wonderful meal - lots of steak with fresh steamed veggies, salmon pasta with pesto sauce, chicken stirfry, chocolate brownies, tiramisu, etc etc, all moderately priced and served carefully with lots of good humour. This has long been one of my favourite Cabbagetown stops and Siva, Ruth and the staff really did a marvelous job for us last night.

Hi Tech Seven Plus

They’ve moved to bright new premises just north of Luciano’s No Frills at 453 Parliament. You may remember this attractive business when it was located on the west side of Parliament. To celebrate their move, they have several grand opening specials including LCD monitors at $144.99 and computers starting at $299. They offer their network support on site and in store. And they still have an account as a FedEx dealer.

It’s busy in the bike lanes

Life at Cycle Solutions (444 Parliament) is definitely heating up with the Spring rush now underway. Kale reminds us that he can make a definite appointment for your repair and tune-up work – drop in and talk to him in advance to make your arrangements. By the way, bikes, helmets and lights are currently PST exempt but that will come to a definite halt next year when PST and GST are “harmonized”. So buy your supplies now and save.

It’s maple syrup season

The Epicure Shop (473 Parliament) has a new batch from Quebec and it’s available on sale at $9.95, a savings of $4. And ask about their cookies and other Easter goodies – there may still be some left over for you.

Why so rushed?
We’re in the middle of some very big projects at the BIA. For the past year, we’ve been working on a special study to rebuild parts of our area and make them friendlier for pedestrians with sustainable green features, bike facilities, landscaping and Cabbagetown signage. Our first draft for the final report has just arrived and next week we’ll post a link to a PDF which you can review and comment on.

Our Board of Management has also just approved a pilot project to mount flower baskets on poles throughout the area. If you see a man walking around with a clipboard in a very bureaucratic manner, that’s just me noting pole numbers and suitable locations for our final applications to the City of Toronto and Toronto Hydro.

Finally, with warm weather coming back, we’ll soon see an increased number of street people in our neighbourhood. We’re now getting some valuable help from the City’s Streets-to-Homes program. Their staff will contact street people, ask about their living conditions and put them in touch with agencies that can help them. There are no instant miracles in this effort but the staff do keep a vigilant watch and try to lift street people out of the problems that have plagued them. For contact information, call us and we’ll provide direct numbers to the Streets-to-Home people.

Friday, 3 April 2009

Chairs and benches

With warm weather arriving at long last, we’re again seeing people enjoy the chance to sit in a warm sunny spot while they visit the area. Both Daniel et Daniel (248 Carlton) and The Epicure Shop (473 Parliament) have put chairs and benches outdoors.

Hint, hint, hint - other businesses could do the same.
And speaking of the Epicure Shop, they’ve just brought in more goodies from Quebec: Mamirolle is a cow’s milk cheese with fruit and almond flavours and Doux Peche is a soft goat and cow’s milk cheese. There’s also a new menu for her daily breakfast choices.

The new façade at Royal Home Hardware

John Griese from Hard Rock Contractors is justifiably proud of his work at Royal Home Hardware. The copper façade on the upper floors has been finished and it’s now beginning to show the complex tints that copper develops as it’s exposed to the elements.

Spring at Sharon’s

Sharon (503 Parliament) has a new line of sunglasses for men and women starting at $20 a pair. Her Spring fashions are here along with spring and summer jewelry, reversible purses and belts. Say “hi” to the cats while you’re there.

Get ready for Easter
St Jamestown Steak & Chops
(516 Parliament) is offering special seasonal meats and produce. There’s Ontario lamb, organic free-range turkeys, bone-in smoked and honey glazed hams, and prime rib roast. As always, the fruit and vegetables are
fresh and enticing. And for extra flavours, try the all-natural, hormone-free Berkshire prosciutto from Niagara Specialty Foods.

At Daniel et Daniel (248 Carlton), Easter brings fine candies and cookies, including chocolate bunnies from France and truffle eggs and candies from Germany. Plus their own delicious Easter cookies. If you’re going out for dinner, give your hostess a Daniel et Daniel gift card as a special thank you and, of course, use it for your own purchases.
Easter specials are the highlight of the weekly flyers from Luciano’s No Frills (449 Parliament) listed in the Cabbagetown Online Flyers link on the right.
The Epicure Shop has lots of hot cross buns. (473 Parliament)

Riverdale Farm needs volunteers
The Friends of Riverdale Farm are volunteers whose efforts enrich considerably the programs available to all of us at the Farm. Their activities include, among other things, the summer Farmers’ Market, the gift shop in Simpson House and the bakery. They have a web site and in 2009, they’re once again publishing a Calendar as a fundraiser.
The Friends are looking for volunteers. Call the Farm at 416-961-8787 if you want to help out.
Find out more about the Friends at

Greening your Cabbagetown home

Hear Chris Chopnik’s workshop on green practices for your home, including energy efficiency, conservation, using renewable resources and grants for retrofits. Chris will be joined by Martina Rowley from the City of Toronto who will cover specific programs and regulations. Sponsored by the Don Vale Cabbagetown Residents Association.
Tuesday, April 7, 7 to 9 pm at St Martins School (55 Salisbury Ave)

Every Kilowatt Counts

This is an official program run by the Ontario Power Authority and Cabbagetown’s own Loonie or Less (480 Parliament) is a participating retailer. Kyle has selected three items that will enhance your home energy savings and he’s offering them at great prices: covered CFL Eco light bulbs at $1 each, chandelier, globe and floodlight CFL Eco bulbs at $2 each and outdoor clothesline kits at $3 each. He’s compared his prices with other well-known big-name retailers and he knows that his specials are at lower prices and better savings than theirs. And on Saturday, he’s adding an outdoor sale with a lot more savings available for you.

Earth Hour

In Cabbagetown South, you may remember, local residents observed Earth Hour with walking tours through the area. Tour guides explained key historic facts to each group as they progressed. Over forty people joined in and, by all accounts, it was a charming night.

Congratulations to The Cobourg

Last week, The Cobourg (533 Parliament) hosted its second annual singing night. The $5 cover charge was a donation to Cabbagetown’s own Pathways To Education. John Jay reports that over $550 was raised and donated to this worthwhile non-profit education organization.