Friday, 18 December 2009

Last minute goodies
We’ve got lots of stocking stuffers available this week. No doubt, some of you have been super-efficient and your work is all done and your packages are all wrapped. For the other 99% of us, here are a few hints.

Sharon (503 Parliament)...
...has a lot of new stock for your last minute shopping frenzy. On Sunday from noon to 4 pm, she’s holding her pre-Christmas sale featuring fun jewelry, sweaters, animal hats and leather gloves.

Mi Casa (238 Carlton) full of beautiful goodies. It’s hard to know which ones to mention. There are, for example, beautiful Vent du Sud tablecloths and napkins on sale.

Unistar (517 Parliament) heaven for the computer whiz. This little gem, a Microsoft mini-cam, is yours for only $49.
More tips further down the page.

The Big News
The Olympic Torch came to Cabbagetown this morning and it was quite a show. In fact, three different shows.
The main event was the torch relay itself. Parliament Street was part of the early morning route stretching from Front Street north to Bloor. People lined the street including some near us who had come from all across Toronto to cheer one of the runners, one of their co-workers.
When the relay arrived, the road was chaotic. There were police cars, buses and big trucks ahead of the flame. Police on bikes kept the crowd on the sidewalk. Coca-Cola (a major sponsor) had spectacularly decorated trucks. They gave away free bottles of Coke including one with a glow-in-the-dark design. Another sponsor, RBC, had flags for the spectators and a cheering section on their truck. Small buses ferried runners who had done their route and others waiting for their assignments.
Out of all this mayhem came one distinct figure in a white costume carrying the flame. It was a very moving moment. And then, whoosh, they were past and gone.
The Cabbagetown Youth Centre staged two more torch events. On Thursday night, they celebrated the relay. The highlight of the evening was the appearance of the actual torch, coming to the CYC right after festivities at City Hall.
On Friday morning, the CYC held a special breakfast to extend best wishes to their team of relay runners. After the breakfast, twenty kids from the CYC went by bus to Newmarket where they each carried the torch. They were chosen as part of a special program sponsored by Coca-Cola. Each relay runner represented part of the CYC’s activities (dance, martial arts, boxing, sports) and each one was chosen because she or he had shown a dedication to fitness, to volunteer work and to the community.

Plum presents…
One of our newest restaurants, Plum (226 Carlton) has started jazz evenings. The Dave & Levi Trio present “le jazz hot”. Two time Juno winner David Fowler (piano) joins Urban Music Award winner Levi Collins (vocalist) and stand-up bassist Alfred Gertler. The final performance happens on Friday December 18 from 8 to 11pm. By the way, early reviews about Plum are very enthusiastic – great Italian food at reasonable prices in a beautifully decorated room.

Epicure Shop Specials
Patty keeps selling lots of her Gift Baskets for the Christmas season. They come in all sizes and each and every one is Tax Free. Her store is full of other seasonal specials – mincemeat tarts and pies, homemade shortbreads and gingerbread.. She’s got Summerfresh Dips on special sale: buy one and get one free. Candy-filled mugs are $4 each or two for $7.50. 473 Parliament

More tips for your last minute shopping…
Both Menagerie Pet Shop (549 Parliament) and Pet Valu (240 Carlton) have big displays of treats and tricks for the pet in your life. Take them with you (they won’t know what you’re up to!) Maybe even give them a chance to have a preview sniff or a taste test. Nobody freaks out in these stores.

Christmas presents from the City
New garbage bins are now arriving along our streets. They’re tubby and silver with a special foot pedal that opens the slots where your litter is deposited. Opinions about their beauty and svelte shape vary across a range of reactions.
There is one intriguing question being discussed widely. How long will that foot pedal survive? Will it just wear out? Will the snowplows wing it off? Perhaps it may even endure the full twenty year lifespan of the container. Wags are said to be setting up betting pools.

Sweet Creamery has Santa
On Saturday and Sunday from 2 to 6 pm, Santa will be relaxing beside the gelato and chocolate mocha. He’ll probably enjoy a traditional Christmas lunch - soup and a panini. Boys and girls of all ages are invited to drop by and sit on his lap while discussing Christmas lists. 521 Parliament.

The Sterling Brass at Ben Wicks
After seeing Santa on Sunday, get down to the Ben Wicks (424 Parliament) for the 8th Annual Christmas sing-a-long. You’ll enjoy wetting your whistle and then belting out a few favourite carols as the Sterling Brass provide their inimitable accompaniment. This is always a fun event and somehow, Robert and David make this comfortable pub even more welcoming and Christmas-y. Sunday, December 20th, 3 to 6 pm.

Flowers for the holidays
Cabbagetown is blessed with lots of stores selling beautiful seasonal flowers.

Simmons (540 Parliament)... one of our most established shops. Merion will prepare a magnificent decoration just for your home.

At Parliament Smoke Shop (609 Parliament)... ...miniature Christmas trees are available at $7.99.

Across the street, Jamestown Milk (592 Parliament)...
...has poinsettas at $6.99

Fairway Market (520 Parliament)......has a beautiful display of assorted Christmas blooms inside their front window.

Soup’s on – again
The Soup sale at 603 1/2 Parliament (just north of Cranberries) proved to be a great success last week and so they’re keeping their space open until New Years to present works by their in-house artists and crafts people. Greeting cards, handmade ornaments, Allie Oop bags, jewelry, knitted wares, silk screened clothes and bags, paintings, fun buttons and much more. Call for an appointment and enjoy a private viewing away from the rude bustle of anxious shoppers. (416) 534-4567,

Christmas donations needed

The Yonge Street Mission (Gerrard) does remarkable work in our community and across downtown Toronto. They provide hot meals and hope to thousands of people each year and in this tight economy, the need is even greater. That’s why they’re asking for your help. A gift of $20 or more will provide that hope to people trying to turn their lives around. For more information,

Organic clothing Holiday sale
Me to We (224 Carlton ) is an agency of Free the Children. They specialize in sweatshop-free manufacturing and eco-friendly materials. 50% of the profits from their operations are donated to Free the Children.
On Saturday, December 19 from noon to 3 pm, their shop is open and their clothing is available at great holiday prices.

It’s turkey time…
And Christmas sales are rolling in at St Jamestown Steak & Chops (516 Parliament). Mark wants to remind you that he has lots of other choices in stock for delicious, slightly non-traditional meals: hams, prime rib roasts, beef tenderloin and rack of lamb.

2009 Annual General Meeting
Last Tuesday, the BIA held its AGM in the Dr Joseph Rizal Hall at the Filipino Centre (597 Parliament). This is a very well-equipped facility and the staff worked hard to ensure that our event went along smoothly. Cranberries (601 Parliament) provided our finger food – they’re right next door and everything arrived on schedule and was presented in appetizing displays. If you’re looking for a place for a meeting or a party, call (416) 928-9355. We recommend it highly. Happily, the meeting went like clockwork. The business and the 2010 budget (complete with a reduction in our membership fee) were approved by the membership. Marsha and Lucy from justbecuz made a presentation about marketing and focusing the Cabbagetown Festival.
Of course, a highlight was a presentation by Cabbagetown’s own George Smitherman. We are non-partisan but George is a member of our BIA and as such, he holds a warm spot in our hearts. We appreciated this chance to wish him well on the long trail toward next year’s election.