Friday, 26 June 2009

Pride Weekend
You’ll notice the Xtra logo that's permanently displayed in the right hand column of our newsletter. For two years running, Cabbagetown has been selected by readers of Xtra as “The Best Neighbourhood for a Home” – and we certainly agree. And as Heather Mackenzie at Big Mamma’s Boy (554 Parliament) likes to point out, we’re “an oasis away from the madness of Church Street”, especially this weekend. Whether you’re a resident or an occasional visitor, welcome and Happy Pride Weekend.

Enjoy yourself…

On Pride weekend, it’s time for brunch and dinner. So here’s a quick rundown.
Chew Chew (186 Carlton Street) has everything from traditional bacon ‘n eggs to eggs benny and even steak and eggs. Johnny G (478 Parliament) is our flagship brunch locale. Brass Taps (221 Carlton) will be hopping on Pride Sunday and their back patio will be jammed. Peartree (507 Parliament) offers a full brunch menu and has its secluded, charming patio at the back. Cranberries (601 Parliament), as usual, never disappoints. At Big Mamma’s Boy (554 Parliament), you can peer deep into your soul and far into your future at their monthly Psychic Brunch while you wolf down their organic brunch. Best Breakfast (432 Parliament) serves up regular bacon and eggs in a traditional diner setting. Provence Delices (12 Amelia) has one of our prettiest patios and a wide range of pastries, quiche, sandwiches, build-your-own omelettes and egg dishes. House on Parliament (456 Parliament) opens from 11:30 am and their brunch is another popular stop for knowledgeable locals.
At Big Mamma’s Boy (554 Parliament) and at Brass Taps (221 Carlton), the party goes on all weekend and dinner from their regular menu is part of the fun. JAMCafe has a three-course prix fixe at $19.95 and free corkage for the bottle that you bring from home. People line up at House on Parliament (456 Parliament) for their roast beef dinners. As usual, the Ben Wicks (424 Parliament) has anything your heart desires – it’s one of Cabbagetown’s favourite destinations. Provence Delices (12 Amelia) has a three-course prix fixe at $29.

The Stonegrill on Winchester is back
Good news for everyone who loves fine food in a beautiful setting. Your hosts are Dobby and McKool. They’ll be emphasizing a smaller menu with the regular features from the stone along with daily selections from the kitchen. The new management wants to create a neighbourhood friendly restaurant that features food and wine at affordable prices and lots of live music. Dinners start at 5 pm and weekend brunch at 10:30 am.
The music program kicks off this week with The Kiwis, a jazz group that will play on Saturday at 7:30 pm and at brunch on Sunday at 10:30 am. 51B Winchester. (416) 967-6565.

Pride Weekend at The Epicure Shop

Patty Junior is welcoming Pride revelers with Summerfresh Dip (buy one, get one free), with her potato coleslaw (buy one and get the next at half-price) and with her brownies (buy one, get another at half price.)
She also has big news for her online fans: her website is up and running. You can learn about her specials and order there as well. (Gee Patty, and I remember when you didn’t even have e-mail - it seems like yesterday!- and now I can get your salamis on the world wide web.) It’s a really nice site: 473 Parliament.

Façade improvements at The Winchester
You may already have noticed that The Winchester has just added awnings to its lower front windows and adjusted the paint colours around the windows and doors. These changes bring the building even closer to its original features. In the BIA office, we have an 1891 image of the hotel (known then as the Lakeview) that shows it with awnings across the lower front and even along the second storey windows. Along with the decorative plants on the north boulevard, the building now has a softer and gracious appearance on the street. Congratulations to the building’s owner, John Bernardo, for his ongoing care for this Cabbagetown milestone.

A new guy at the LCBO
Anne and Steve are waiting to check my ID.
A warm welcome to Steve Petsinis, the new manager at our local LCBO branch (512 Parliament). He certainly chose a hectic week to start his new job. The big rush last Tuesday that was felt across LCBO outlets everywhere also happened at our Parliament Street store where they enjoyed record-breaking sales levels. It happened, of course, because we were all petrified about a double whammy strike – too much garbage and no booze. The thought was too much to bear. Both management and the union deserve the credit for settling rather than forcing all of us to go dry. Back to Steve – our best wishes to you for a great stay in your post. You’ll find the Cabbagetown store to be colourful and interesting.

Spring rituals on Aberdeen

They do it every year at this time – Aberdeen Ave residents gather together, stroll happily through each other’s backyards, and then cap off the day with a few snacks, a drink, some more snacks, some more drinks and on it goes. A great place to live.

Garden candles from Barracuda
Gerry loves these torches.
Gerry has just received the season’s first shipment of decorative garden torches. As you can tell by the picture, he really likes them. By the way, there are candles and then there are torches. These are torches: tall and elegantly designed, they have a 14” flame and can burn for seven to fourteen hours. You can pick up the candle, the stand and the base separately or as a complete set. (527 Parliament)

Trek makes travel easier

We’ve been asked by the folks at Trek Escapes (Carlton) to remind you of their special offer which is coming to an end on June 30. They’ll save you $100 on the summer escapes that you book through their office . When you see the incredible adventures that they arrange, you’ll want to go.

International News You can take the kids out of Cabbagetown but you can’t take the Cabbages out of the kids.
We told you last week about the Cabbagetowners who’ve flocked to the south of France to see how the other half lives. Here they are - well, some of them, the interesting ones.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Party time last week – work time this week
Our Chairman’s Award party at Provence Delices (12 Amelia) was a great success last week but work is starting to catch up to us.

Our musicians are back

Michael Brennan returns to Cabbagetown with his special brand of country music. A regular in clubs around town, he appeared here in our 2005 Festival and again on Parliament Street in 2006. He’ll be at Winchester and Parliament from 12:30 to 5 pm.
While you’re there, check out the fresh Ontario strawberries now available at St Jamestown Steak & Chops (516 Parliament).
Down on Gerrard Street, Cabbagetown favourite Jim Heineman will be playing jazz outside Eclectisaurus and Foxy Boutique (249 and 251 Gerrard) from 1 to 5 pm.

Bench controversy - our side of the story
Those of us who know and love Cabbagetown also know that there’s always a nice controversy boiling under our easy-going and placid surface. This week, it’s a neighbourhood uproar over benches in the shopping area.
In our proposals for future development of our area, the BIA suggests that mini-parkettes should be built on the boulevards at Spruce, Carlton and Winchester. Our sidewalks are too narrow to allow us to open outdoor patios or sidewalk cafes everywhere. So we want to use the bigger places at these side streets.
This suggestion has stirred up some disagreement. People worry that ne’er-do-wells of all sorts will plunk down there and cause trouble.
So what’s up? Is this just a normal proposal to make Cabbagetown more pleasant or is it really a dumb idea?
Here are a few points to think about:
Benches are a civilized feature in modern cities. They make life more comfortable for everyone - seniors, moms with kids in strollers, shoppers, people eating ice cream cones, people coming here to eat their lunch. We know there are problem people. We just don’t think that we should deny everyone else the pleasures of sitting down just because of them.
Some folks visiting from Vancouver suddenly got the urge to cuddle.
When people sit on a street corner, they figure out all kinds of ideas
. We expect to hear about new ways to create public art, new possibilities to improve our businesses, new enthusiasm for our heritage buildings. We also expect lots of new friendships, romantic encounters and even renewed battles.
Lindsey and Angie really were working. Sure, that's what they say.
Our street is changing. When Daniel et Daniel built benches in front of their store at 248 Carlton, that strip on Carlton was a dangerous place with a lot of criminal activity going on, especially at night. Today, it’s one of our most beautiful areas and the benches there are constantly used. Danny has regular "office" hours at D&D.
Benches make our street more personal. When Danny Marks (a long-time Cabbagetowner and an entertainer with a national reputation) wants to talk to his friends, he goes to his “office” at the Daniel et Daniel bench. He knows that he’ll meet all kinds of people while he’s sitting there. When Doug Fisher (that’s me) wants to cook up another story for this Newsletter, he snaps a picture at the bench.
Ron Parker plays his guitar here regularly. Ron has a PhD in physics and he’s setting up a tutoring service with special emphasis on high school physics. You can contact him at - or drop by the bench.
People who sit on the street add life and safety to our environment.
There will be people who abuse the bench areas, but they’re out in the open and doing so under every else’s eyes. When a car accident happened recently at Carlton and Parliament within sight of the Daniel et Daniel benches, the 911 number probably had half-a-dozen calls right away.
The BIA’s plans are still general guidelines. They’ve been put together to give all of us a starting point. If you think these ideas are worth further consideration, check out the plan. It’s available at and you just scroll down the page to the cabbage and click away. (It’s a very big file, so it’ll take a while to open.)
Megz and her friend have a great gossip
Please send your opinion along. Even if it’s a one-liner, we’d like to know what you’re thinking. You can email us at
What happens when you put up a bench and Doug starts to monkey around?

Pride Week at the Deal Zone Savings Centre
Cheryl at Deal Zone celebrates proudly with her flag. Kyle is launching Pride Week celebrations with special offers on Pride flags (large at $10, medium $3 and small handheld flags at $1.) He’s also got bandanas at $2 and rainbow leis at $1. Kyle has renamed his store from Loonie or Less to the Deal Zone to emphasize his great bargains and amazing prices. (480 Parliament.) He also has name-brand sunglasses at $4.99 or 3 for $10.

Thanks to Helen and to the CPA
The 2009 edition of the Hidden Gardens & Private Spaces tour was a smash success – over 650 people bought tickets and had a wonderful afternoon. It takes a lot of effort to make this event such a success. All of us are grateful to Helen Coltrinari and her committee for their willingness to organize it. She’s also involved in the autumn Ghost Tour, the Tour of Homes and the other ongoing work at the Cabbagetown Preservation Association. Thanks, Helen – it was a great event.

Father’s Day at Epicure
Dad deserves the best and Epicure Shop (473 Parliament) has some of the best shortbread, cupcakes and Father’s Day mug cake just for him. On Sunday June 21, every Dad who comes to the store gets a free coffee. Dad will also want Epicure’s buffalo mozzarella – a fresh shipment has just arrived from Italy and it’s now back in stock.

Welcome to our new officer

Constable Peter Cullingford is our new 51 Division Community Relations Officer. He’s a twenty-one year veteran and his service has included six years in the Mounted Division. He’s been in 51 Division for three years. He’s a downtown resident who knows and understands our communities. We’re looking forward to a good relationship with him. You can reach him at 416-808-5108.

Sharon is having a summer sale
Sharon’s lovely clothes and accessories are now being offered at great prices during her Summer’s Here Sale. She has tops from $12.99, a new shipment of summer dresses from $24.99, men’s tees at $12.99 and recycled bags at $24.99. Plus, her hats and jewelry are all reduced.
Whenever your purchase is more than $40, Sharon will give you a free pair of hot sox – you can flash your sox at a nearby bench!

Attention container gardeners
Cabbagetown South Association is holding a container garden competition to celebrate the beauty and creativity that container gardens bring to our neighbourhood. You can enter for yourself or nominate a friend. Entry is free and you will be eligible to win garden-inspired prizes. For more information,

Container gardeners will want to visit Barracuda (527 Parliament) to browse through their outstanding line of garden accessories. Barracuda also has a new line of ceramic serving dishes, plates, bowls and other tablewares. They’re offering several items throughout the store at deep discounts. By the way, our Chairman’s Awards certificates were mounted on special plaques by Barracuda’s framing services.
Brenda is showing off a tagine, a traditional cooking vessel from the ancient Moroccan desert. Its conical shape captures moisture during cooking which falls back into the dish and creates meltingly tender meat, no matter the cut.

A new summer menu at Big Mamma’s Boy
Among the new items are garlic cheese toast (with sourdough and mozzarella), spaghetti primavera with local organic veggies finished with organic olive oil, lemon and fresh herbs, plus a daily fish plate. On Mondays, it’s all-you-can-eat mussels Monday for $14.95. On Mondays as well, it’s pad thai time in addition to the regular menu. 554 Parliament, (416) 927-1593.

International News
A group of Cabbagetowners has recently flooded into France to see how the under-developed world manages its daily trials. So a quick hello to all of you. All’s well here – your homes, your cats and your friends are just fine but the beer’s a bit lonely.

This guy just wants to sit on a bench.

Friday, 12 June 2009

2009 Chairman’s Awards
On Wednesday evening, the members of the BIA held their annual Chairman’s Awards evening at Provence Delices (12 Amelia). It was a great party with good food in a lovely setting. Nine awards were given out for business accomplishments in the past year - in the middle of tough economic times, the awards alone would have been a refreshing reason to get together.
There’s more information about the awards and the people who won them further in this week’s Newsletter. But first, some other news.

To “bench’ or not to “bench” A controversy is now brewing in parts of Cabbagetown about benches and loiterers. When I jump into the debate, some wags regularly tell me to get a life. But I pay them no mind.
So, my question for you today is whether Danny Marks and his pals should loiter so freely on the “benches” of Cabbagetown.

International News
Russ Mcleod, Robin Wiszowaty and Craig Kielburger from Free the Children.
Welcome to Robin Wiszowaty who’s the Kenyan director for Free the Children (233 Carlton). Robin has been visiting Toronto for the past couple of weeks and is today heading home. One of her projects during her visit has been the launch of her new book, My Maasai Life, documenting her work and experiences in Kenya.

The “Me to We” movie
You may have seen a group of people running across Cabbagetown’s streets last Saturday. They were waving their arms around, carrying someone up in the air and shouting out a loud cheer. The staff and volunteers at Me To We (225 Carlton) were making a promotional film. They started at 6 am and kept it up to 4 pm – all without the big cranes, transport trucks, johnny-on-the-spot and heavy duty cameras that usually take over our streets.
Me to We is a partner with Free the Children. It’s a new kind of social enterprise for people who want to change the world through their personal choices. You can find out more at

Cabbagetown South fights graffiti
Congratulations to the people in the Cabbagetown South Association for their efforts to clean up graffiti through their neighbourhood. Susan Dineen reports that they’ve made a full inventory of walls where graffiti has appeared. Together with Detective Constable Euan McDermott from 51 Division who organized a group of student volunteers, they’ve been giving these walls a fresh coat of paint and making their streets and laneways shine.

Now to the awards
Congratulations to the nine businesses who have received this year’s honours. Generally, the awards fell into three groups: building and renovations, good business practices and service to our community.
David Weenen (left) presented Spiros Maniatis an award for his “Outstanding New Building” at Aberdeen and Parliament.

John Lee from Omi (241 Carlton) was unable to attend because his restaurant was so busy that night. He received his award for Omi’s “Innovative Interior Renovation”

George Rondina (left) gave the award to Beverly Donn and Richard Bannerman from Green’s Antiques (529 Parliament) for their “Enhanced Window Arrangement

Maggie O’Connor awarded the “Business Success Story” to Nagesan who was there on behalf of his parents, Nages and Raj of Absolute Bakery (589 Parliament).

Doug Chow from Shoppers Drug Mart (467 Parliament) was away on business and missed our event. Shoppers won our award for “Good Customer Service”.

Daniel Megly made the presentation to Dean Lee of Lampcage (557 Parliament) for “Attracting People to Cabbagetown”.

John Ward (centre) from Gourmet Burger Co (482 Parliament) was busy expanding his business and couldn’t attend to get his award for “Successful New Business”.

Farhan Basharat of Tim Hortons (537 & 581 Parliament) was honoured for his “Support for our BIA” by Paul Dineen (left) and Doug Fisher (right)

The Children’s Book Bank (350 Berkeley) has made significant contributions to children in Cabbagetown. Paul Dineen presented Kim Beatty with our 2009 award for “Outstanding Community Service”.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Music on Parliament Street
On Saturday, we’re welcoming Donna Green and the Moo’d Swings to our June music extravaganza. Donna plays favourites with a country flavour. Moo’d Swings have always been well received in their previous appearances on Parliament Street and we’re sure they’ll be just as popular again this year. Beside St Jamestown Deli at Winchester and Parliament.

Making a movie…
On Saturday, a promotional movie about Me To We (225 Carlton) will be made on Parliament and Carlton from 6 am to 4:30 pm. Me To We is a new kind of social enterprise for people who want to bring change to the world through their personal choices. It’s partner in the Free The Children organization (233 Carlton). The movie gives us a chance to remind Cabbagetowners about these two dynamic groups that reach out across the world from the heart of our community. You can learn more about Me To We at

CPA Garden Tour
Every year, hundreds of people tour gardens and hidden spaces throughout Cabbagetown.
CBC’s gardening guru, Ed Lawrence, will be giving out advice and autographs at one of the destinations. This year’s tour takes place (rain or shine) on Sunday June 7 from 10 am to 3 pm. Tickets are available in Cabbagetown at Mi Casa (238 Carlton) and Fairway Variety (520 Parliament.) Limited numbers of tickets are also available at the individual gardens. For more information, click on:

Catherine wants YOU
Catherine Tammaro is busy recruiting co-op residents who want to take an active part in this year’s Cabbagetown Festival. She’s organizing floats for the parade and other activities that to celebrate co-op life and tell the world about it. By the way, every day in Cabbagetown, we have a chance to enjoy Catherine’s contributions to our community – she designed the “C” lights that mark Cabbagetown’s main streets. If you want to be a part of the co-op Festival team, call Doug or Latoya at (416) 921-0857 or call Catherine at (416) 922-0031.

Centre Shift continues through this weekend
Presented by the Canadian Children’s Dance Theatre, this year’s edition features premieres by choreographers Colin Connor and Deborah Lundmark along with remounts by Danny Grossman and Louis Laberge-Cote. Friday, June 5 and Saturday, June 6 at 8 pm and Sunday, June 7 at 2 pm. The show happens at the Winchester Dance Theatre, 80 Winchester St. Tickets are $18 and $25. Call (416) 924-5657.

Trek’s Escape Routes
Trek Escapes (223 Carlton) has a special sale underway, offering you $100 savings on trips organized by five of their suppliers. This is a great time for adventure traveling with a strong Canadian dollar and competitive airfares and tour prices. Talk to Trek now and travel before September 30 to enjoy your savings.

Cabbagetown South gardening events
On June 21st, judges in the “container garden competition” in Cabbagetown South will announce their list of winners. Entries to the contest are open from June 8 to June 19. Fun prizes are available for the winners.
On June 21st as well, the 4th annual Garden Tour takes you through half a dozen of the neighbourhood’s finest gardens and includes a glass of wine to finish off your day. 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm. Start the tour at 182 Seaton Street.
For extra information on both events, click on or send an email to

Containers from Barracuda
If you’re planning an entry into Cabbagetown South’s gardening competition, then visit Barracuda first to get your container. The store is full of beautiful new spring lines that will turn your garden into a winner. (527 Parliament)

Brunch at Provence Delices
The menu for the new Saturday and Sunday brunch at Provence (12 Amelia) is now available. This is one of Cabbagetown’s prettiest patios and a leisurely brunch there is always time well spent. They’re offering light pastries (as the French do), sandwiches, quiches, eggs benedict, omelettes, steak-and-eggs plus the real temptations at dessert – crème brulee, fruit tarts, sorbets and more. Wine by the glass and bottle. Brunch happens on Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 am to 3 pm.

Thanks Al
Al Berger is leaving his post as manager at our Parliament Street LCBO (512 Parliament). He’ll be managing another store in the system. He leaves us as our store undergoes renovations and a facelift along its side wall and frontage. We want to thank him for his support for our events over the years and wish him well with his future assignments.
Al (right) and two of his staff appeared at our 2007 Chairman’s Awards evening where the store won a customer service award.