Friday, 28 August 2009

In memory of a good friend
Those of us who knew the late Winston Sargeant miss him, especially at this time of year. “Sarge” always organized his table tennis matches during the Cabbagetown Festival and he brought crowds of players into our neighbourhood to participate. A skilled player himself, he had started his Cabbagetown Table Tennis Club for kids from Regent Park but that effort sadly was cut short when he died. His wife Joan and his sons Terence and Winston have generously donated $200 in his memory for this year’s Festival events. It’s a thoughtful gift to honour a good friend and a committed member of our community.

A tough week…
Last week ended badly for many Cabbagetown merchants. On Saturday, a 24-hour hydro blackout crippled businesses and residents south of Carlton. Our No Frills store brought in a generator to save its food. Others ended up tossing out their perishables. All of this came on top of a day’s lost income.
During the blackout and after it, we’ve suffered a spate of break-and-enters. The usual approach was a broken front window, a quick entry and then away. One dimwit tried this at The Ben Wicks, couldn’t succeed in the first try, came back again and was nabbed by the police. For the businesses victimized by this harassment, the mess and costs for the damage are as bad as the actual thefts.
Finally, the Winchester suffered a roof fire that was widely publicized in Toronto’s media. Building owner John Bernardo reports that the actual impact was limited. The blaze was started by a short-circuit in roofing equipment left on the roof. Alert people nearby called 9-1-1 and the fire was extinguished without spreading indoors or onto the building’s heritage features. Residents and businesses are enjoying life as usual.
It’s often said that trouble comes in “three’s”. Let’s hope that’s the end of it all for now.

JAMCafe wine tasting
All of this bad news makes us ready for a good wine tasting and JAM (195 Carlton) is ready to go. On Wednesday, September 2 at 6:30 pm, they’re hosting Ecluse Winery and serving selected hors d’oeuvres to match the wines. Ecluse is a small California vineyard that produces award-winning Rhone and Bordeaux style wines. They’re sending a winemaker to comment on each wine and answer your questions. Reservations are recommended: (416) 921-1255.

A Festival preview … Events on Carlton Street
Saturday, September 12 – 9:00 am to 8:30 pm
This year, we have an amazing program lined up for Carlton Street throughout Saturday’s events.
8:30 to 10:30 pm – Blair’s Run.
One of the Festival’s premier events – this 3 km mini-marathon draws hundreds of runners in a massive fundraiser for the Cabbagetown Youth Centre.
10:30 to 5:30 pm – Cabbagetown Artists Event.
The main event in our Carlton calendar features Cabbagetown artists who will display their work in a special block-long area down the middle of the street.
Noon – Nunca Antes drum concert
Following the Parade, Nunca Antes will play for an hour at Parliament & Carlton
1 to 5 pm – Jim Heineman’s Trio
Celebrated jazz musician and Cabbagetown resident, Jim Heineman, brings his trio for the afternoon’s festivities.
1 pm onward? Rumours and suspicions from Pet Valu
We think, but aren’t certain, that Pet Valu will bring back their amazing pet psychic. If that person reads my dog’s thoughts, it’s guaranteed he’ll be dreaming of kibble.
2 pm – Louise Kent Performance
From Free the Children and Me To We, Louise Kent brings her socially conscious music documenting the struggles and victories involved in making a difference in our world.
11 am to 8:30 pm – Brass Taps
This big outdoor patio will serve cold drinks, pizza and other goodies from their kitchen.
11 am to closing – Daniel et Daniel
The Food Shop has a special Festival takeout menu. There will be tables and chairs outdoors so you can watch all the action on the street.
11 am to closing time…
Margarita’s Mexican Fiesta
Escape the hustle and bustle in Margarita’s back patio - a favourite destination for people who want to enjoy great food without the noise and excitement of the nearby streets.
Experience Plum 226
Our newest restaurant has an intriguing Italian-influenced menu. Completely renovated. Their patio is the last stop along the Festival roadway and one of our prettiest places.
One of Toronto's top ten restaurants. This gem offers a great view of Festival life on Carlton from a beautifully designed dining area.
China Gourmet
From egg rolls onward, this is the place for great takeout Chinese food. Get some to enjoy while you watch the performances or check out the artwork.
Healthy Whey
New this year – Healthy Whey will offer biryanis and soft drinks at tables in front of the store.
Mi Casa
Irresistible furniture. Every year, they have sales and specials during the Festival. Don’t miss it.

Welcome to three new restaurants
The Samovar Room at 51A Winchester is in the landmark upper floor of the Winchester. It’s a vodka themed bar. Their food menu ranges from caviar to charcuterie and cheeses. For all the details, visit their website at

Downstairs, The Stonegrill has returned and is a welcome spot in our restaurant scene. They offer dishes waiting for your final touch cooking on the stone at your table or selections from the menu prepared in the kitchen. Sunday brunch includes live jazz from 11 am.
Plum 226 (226 Carlton) is newly opened and offers an intriguing Italian-influenced menu. The site has been completely renovated. The patio still has its pretty setting with historical Carlton Street in the background. More on each of these newcomers when the Festival finishes.

The Epicure Shop
This week, Patty continues her promotions for buffalo mozzarella. She also has 6-year old balsamic vinegar for $3.99 (regularly $6.99). 473 Parliament.

Cabbagetown Art Salon Here’s a sneak preview of a very charming idea that’s being worked up by three people from different parts of Cabbagetown for Saturday evening, September 26 at 6:30 pm. It’s the 2nd Annual Cabbagetown Art Salon. Held in three different homes, you’ll view their art collections and enjoy cocktails, appetizers, a buffet table and desserts during one evening. Following dinner at these homes, the group will travel on to the Ben Wicks for live jazz with composer/pianist Stacie McGregor. The sponsors are residents’ groups from Aberdeen Avenue, Cabbagetown South and Don Vale. So what’s the catch – there’ll only be fifty tickets sold. You can purchase your tickets at the BIA ( or through Cabbagetown South ( $40 for the Art Salon and $10 for jazz at the Ben Wicks.