Saturday, 26 September 2009

More free food…
Cabbagetown Organics (499 Parliament) is again hosting samplings of their new product lines this weekend. Drop by on Saturday for a taste.

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon
Hec Clouthier who is fresh from victories in Blair's Run and the Boston Marathon will be a Champion in the marathon for Cabbagetown and the CYC. George Smitherman (who may have his running shoes ready for another event) is rumoured to be running here as well.
This year marks the 20th anniversary for the marathon. Cabbagetown and the Distillery District have formed a joint Cheering Section. They’re pursuing the overall prize of $6000 for the most enthusiastic crowd of supporters. Be sure to join them on Sunday September 27 from 9 am to 1 pm at Parliament and Front Streets. There’ll be coffee from Balzac, bacon sandwiches from St Jamestown Deli and lots of musical entertainment to fill the gaps between runners. Proceeds from the cheering victory go to the Cabbagetown Youth Centre.
Congratulations to our two Tours
The 2009 Tour of Homes was another smashing success. Beautiful weather, a sparkling selection of interesting homes and solid organization made sure that it went off without a hitch. The Tour takes the efforts of scores of volunteers – not just for the obvious chores but also for the quieter essential tasks to make the homes safe for visitors and for the owners as well. Well done everyone.
Congratulations as well to Victoria, Patricia and Susan for putting together this weekend’s Art Tour. The tickets were sold out in advance. It promises to be a lovely evening. Those who want to catch the tail end of the Tour’s events can get to the Ben Wicks (424 Parliament) for jazz and good cheer.

Watch for Nuit Blanche
Once again, the Cabbagetown Nuit Blanche group have assembled a powerful installation for Parliament Street and Riverdale Park. On Thursday, they wrapped up another successful fundraising art auction at The Cobourg (533 Parliament). Now they’re ready to go for the main event from 7 pm Saturday to 7 am Sunday (October 3 to 4). Visit for the latest details about the program (over 5700 people visited the site last year.)

The Deal Zone
Kyle reports that his store at 480 Parliament has now finished its transformation and is officially open and operating as The Deal Zone. Congratulations for the fine façade improvement. We’ll have more announcements from him next week about his Fall specials, especially with his energy efficient lighting deals.

Epicure has panini and pumpkin pie
Patty Junior has launched her new grilled panini on either foccacia bread or Ace buns. Regular offerings are $7.99/each and the daily specials are $6.99. She’s also started to take orders for her Thanksgiving pumpkin pies.

Welcome Grace
Grace McNee is a grade twelve student at Inglenook Community School and she’s devoting a half-day every week for the next few months to the BIA. It’s part of her pre-graduation program. We’re pleased to have her help.
In her first week, we started sorting out boxes of photos and files in our storeroom with an eye to donating some of them to the Cabbagetown Regent Park Museum. We discovered documents that go back to our BIA’s first meetings in the 1970s. As Toronto’s second-oldest BIA, our group has been a pioneer in a very successful movement that’s subsequently spread across North America.

Morris Dancers at the Ben Wicks
A few weeks ago, we were confronted by lively, friendly people dancing their way down Parliament Street to the Wicks (424 Parliament). Robert reports that this group - Morris Dancers - gathers there regularly. If you’re lucky enough to join them, you’ll hear great voices and watch them perform their traditional English folk dances.

Fair Trade Jewellery
Ryan Taylor’s official launch for his startling and beautiful new store (523 Parliament) is currently scheduled for October 23 but he’s open now and ready for business. At this time, he’s taking orders for bridal and engagement jewellery which he’ll then handle as a custom-made order. Japanese pearls will soon be added to his list. He uses only ethically mined metals for his work – gold and platinum that’s been certified by FLO, the fair trade labeling organization. You can get a glimpse of the beautiful objects that he’s making at his web site,

Looking Good
Jael wouldn’t wear a Tee shirt but Greg and Nancy happily posed with their Cabbagetown insignia behind their home in Canmore Alberta. The mountains are enticing (no doubt about it) but somehow you just can’t take Cabbagetown out of the people. Just a reminder – you can still get your souvenir Tee shirts at Sharon’s (503 Parliament) and a flag at the BIA (237 Carlton)

Friday, 18 September 2009

Tour of Homes
This is the weekend when the Tour takes place. It’s a major event on our Fall calendar.
This year’s selection of homes features an exciting range of new choices. There are three amazing homes on Wellesley (including the one that’s covered in today’s Globe & Mail). Another home overlooks Wellesley Park. The Winchester home just west of Parliament showcases fascinating art objects. And the one on the eastern side along Winchester will be filled with music and will offer you a fascinating look at a green roof garden. Those who have seen the Carlton home previously know that it’s always worth the visit. The Tour takes a lot of effort to be properly organized - congratulations to Bruce Prouty and his team for their imaginative successes for this year.
Tickets are $30. In Cabbagetown on Saturday, visit Mi Casa (238 Carlton) or St Jamestown Steak & Chops (518 Parliament). On Sunday, come to the BIA office (237 Carlton) from 11 am onward.

The Festival was a great success
Glorious weather, big crowds, melodious musicians, colourful street vendors and talented Cabbagetown artists – all combined to make our Festival a lovely weekend. The Parade as usual was part of this exuberant activity. As you can see, Carl Orbach provoked his car driver, Norm Betts, into a frenzy of Festival excitement.

Thanks Latoya
Every year, we hire a student from Ryerson’s hospitality program to help with the planning and supervision of our Festival weekend. Latoya Dickenson joined us in early May and she worked at the BIA office until last weekend. She did an outstanding job lining up street vendors (we had a record number this year), planning the Parade and getting through the red tape with health certificates and liquor licenses for our outdoor patios and restaurants. She had a quiet and steady way of working through her projects and when finished, her work was always exactly what we needed. It’s been fun having her in the office and we wish her well with her studies for the next year.

JAMCafe’s Next Wine Event
On Thursday September 24 at 6:30 pm, JAM will host a tasting of wines from two unique Ontario vineyards: The Foreign Affair (Niagara) and Norman Hardie (Prince Edward County). Fresh hand-made hors d’oeuvres will accompany the six tastings. Wine makers will be present to discuss their vintages. Tickets are $35.
JAM’s tasting evenings are increasingly popular. This one is already over half-sold. Reservations are highly recommended (416-921-1255). For more info,
On a separate topic – JAM’s chef Av Atikian is fresh back from his Cabbagetown Festival foray onto Parliament Street. JAM joined forces with No Frills to offer spareribs to the happy throng. These weren’t ordinary ribs: they were flavoured with a dry rosemary rub and accompanied by a slice of pineapple with a toasty little garlicky bun. This guy can cook!

Cabbagetown Art Salon
A very different Tour happens on Saturday September 26 from 6:30 pm to midnight. The Art Salon combines great art, good food and three beautiful homes. Tickets are $40 (to cover your food, cocktails and jazz). Sales are limited to fifty people. You’ll move as a group to each home, enjoying a dinner course at each one and viewing each unique art collection. At the end of the evening, the group will go to The Ben Wicks for a jazz finale with Tiki Mercury-Clarke. For tickets, visit the BIA office (237 Carlton) or call Susan at 416-972-0943.

Introducing Stonegrill
Stonegrill (51B Winchester) is one of Cabbagetown’s new restaurants. It is, of course, also a familiar room for many of us. Its beautiful décor, striking bar and comfortably roomy seating have all been preserved by its new owners.
On Friday September 18, hear live neosoul and R&B with the Dion Duporte Trio, hosted by Tammy Fitzgerald. The band starts at 9:30 pm and the dress code is “sexy”. This is a great way to get an introduction to Dobby and Mckool who are the new team in this favourite room.

The Union now has yoga for kids
Saturday morning sessions start tomorrow, September 19 from 9 to 9:45 am at The Union (242 Carlton). Six sessions are $45 (or $10 for a drop-in). Through stories, games and creative activities, Shawnda Chambers will teach your kids about different spiritual principles.
After-school yoga classes will be lead by Gill Wortley and will introduce postures in six playful and exciting lessons. Six weeks, $75 (or $14 for a drop-in). Classes for ages 5 to 7 start on Monday September 21. For ages 8 to 12, classes start on Thursday September 24. Monday and Thursday classes all run from 4:30 to 5:30 pm.
For full information about all of The Union’s programs, visit

The Samovar Room
Here’s another new venue for discriminating Cabbagetowners (51A Winchester). Samovar Room has a vodka bar theme and predictably, it’s loaded with lots of memorabilia from the glory days of the Russian revolution. They also feature a fire-breather and when we get more info about her, we’ll pass it along. Even staunch anti-Communists are hot to take in her show. They’re open from Thursday through Sunday, 7pm to 2am. 51A Winchester beside Broadcast Lane.

Coffee week at The Epicure
On Saturday, The Epicure Shop (473 Parliament) is featuring special deals on their fine coffee beans. Epicure’s own house blend beans are fresh roasted every week and they’re on sale this weekend for $8.99/lb (save $4). You can also enjoy a free sample cup of their coffee throughout the weekend.
Patty, Joe, Franca and the other staff are starting to recover now after a truly hectic Festival weekend. Every year, they spend hours preparing marinaded steaks and other tender goodies for their Festival bbq. This year, they sold their entire weekend supply by Saturday afternoon. Congratulations for their success – it’s well-deserved. Check out one happy customer’s reactions from a previous year to their fine fare:

Art Auction for Nuit Blanche
At 7 pm on Thursday September 24, the Cabbagetown Nuit Blanche committee is again holding a fundraising art auction to help to defray costs for this all-night event. It’s a fabulous night of art and nibblies being held at The Cobourg (533 Parliament) – bring your wallet and your cheque book. You can learn more at

Looking good…
Continuing our series about people who’ve chosen our Tee’s for their superior style and sophistication, here’s a sampling from Gatineau in Quebec. Tee’s are still on sale at Sharon’s (503 Parliament) and at the BIA office (237 Carlton). $10.
Barry and Terry at a scrumptious lunch at Lac Brassard, Val des Monts, Quebec.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Festival Previews
2009 promises to be a great year for the Festival. We’ve got one of our best Festival lineups coming for you.

Ben Wicks hosts a book launch
On Thursday, September 10 at 7 pm, Joseph Kearney’s book Corned Beef & Cabbagetown will be launched at The Wicks (424 Parliament).
Mr Kearney writes:
“Cabbagetowners are a special lot. Those of us who were lucky enough to grow up here in the 30's and 40's find ourselves often, as adults, walking the same old streets, remembering the same escapades, sharing the same memories…
I've never been sure whether it was just the place that was so special or the time and place. There was an innocence about our lives.
I've been writing for many years now. Many of the short stories I have published have been about Cabbagetown. Corned Beef and Cabbagetown is a compilation of stories from my childhood in what I think was probably the best place in Toronto to grow up.”
Join us at the Ben Wicks for the launch and get a copy for yourself. For more information,

Tour of Homes

But first, a reminder. The 2009 Tour of Homes happens on Sunday afternoon, September 20. The ticket sales program has been launched and you can buy your ticket at Mi Casa (238 Carlton), St Jamestown Steak & Chops (516 Parliament) and the BIA Office (237 Carlton). $30.
There are seven homes on this year’s tour plus another seven places along Parliament where you can enjoy special Tour hospitality.

Cabbagetown Short Film & Video Festival
Friday night brings Cabbagetown’s major cultural event back to our neighbourhood (80 Winchester – 7 pm box office, 8 pm screenings). Tickets ($15) are always in demand. You can buy them at the door or at the BIA office (237 Carlton). Check out the details at

Festival calendar of events
Don’t forget to do your shopping during the Festival. A lot of stores will have specials that they’re offering for the weekend.

Blair’s Run starts the day at Carlton and Parliament (from 8:30 am)

The Festival Parade – 10 am to noon. This year’s route has expanded: Parliament (Wellesley to Gerrard and Gerrard west to Ontario.)

NEW - Cabbagetown Artists Show on Carlton Street (west of Parliament), 10:30 am to 5:30 pm. See art and crafts from your neighbours, enjoy a bite to eat and listen to jazz, ballads and rock ‘n roll while you sit in a casual sidewalk patio.

NEW - One Cole Stage. Saturday afternoon at Winchester featuring Marinda+Solari, Miles Jones, Kae Sun and Alanna Brown.

On Saturday afternoon, the street will be bouncing. ROTC will twirl in the parade and then afterward for the crowds at Winchester and Parliament.
St Jamestown Youth Centre Steel Orchestra will be at Prospect Street.

NEW - Michael Brennan appears at Sweet Creamery (521 Parliament), Nunca Antes drum corps at Carlton & Parliament, Trish & the Divas at Carlton & Parliament, Jim Heineman Jazz Trio plus Louise Kent, both on Carlton Street and Cabbagetown Steve with Code Green at Spruce and Parliament

On Sunday morning at 10:30 am, the roar of their engines will introduce The Winged Wheels, the precision motorcycle team from the Toronto Police Service. (Parliament from Prospect to Winchester).

Sunday afternoon: the Cabbagetown Stage at Winchester will be hosted by Danny Marks with guests from Second City, the Cabbagetown Youth Centre and the Scottish Dance ensemble.

Almost one hundred different craft vendors and agencies have booked space with us for both Saturday and Sunday.

Breakfast on Parliament
Start your day with bacon on a bun at St Jamestown Deli (516 Parliament). Or drop in at Epicure Shop for a steak sandwich, homemade Italian sausage and peameal bacon on a bun (473 Parliament). If you’re near Gerrard Street, try Mamma’s Deli for your breakfast (415 Parliament).
If you want a sit-down brunch, then no one’s better than Johnny G’s (Parliament) or Chew Chew (186 Carlton)

Snacks and finger foods
NEW- JAMCafe and No Frills are joining forces to cook up scrumptious barbeque spare ribs at Spruce and Parliament.
Once again, Parliament south of Wellesley will be full of small booths selling lots of south Asian food, barbeque corn and other delicacies.
Near Carlton, Cabbagetown Organics will have a barbeque, samosas and corn. HomeLife Realty will have free hot dogs. Both Epicure and St Jamestown will still be barbequing bacon, burgers, steak sandwiches and more.
NEW - On Carlton, Healthy Whey is cooking up biryani for you.
NEW - At Gerrard, Mamma’s Deli will be selling giros, souflaki and falafel.

Sit down and enjoy yourself
Over a dozen restaurants and pubs will have street patios, music and cold drinks. Pick your favourite for good food and people-watching. Many of our regular spots from Ben Wicks, Omi, Margaritas and Cranberries will have quieter places indoors for lunch and a drink and a chance to relax away from the rush.

When darkness falls
Patios and vendors will close for the night at 8:30. But we don’t roll up the sidewalks. We just slip inside for good dinners and friendly pubs.
On Saturday night, Ben Wicks has The Wild Irish Rogues and Cobourg has Danny Marks. More next week.