Friday, 10 December 2010

Christmas in Cabbagetown

SOUP sale
This is the weekend for SOUP’s Christmas craft sale (603-1/2 Parliament). Be sure to drop in and browse through the paintings, jewelry, handmade cards, accessories and crafts. There are plenty of selections across a wide price range for your Christmas gifts and your own pleasures. SOUP is also a fascinating place to visit – the businesses there include computer wizards, design experts, a yoga studio and a gardening non-profit. Be sure to ask about them – the SOUP people love to talk.

Saturday – the Cabbagetown Community Youth Choir
Daniel Eby and the kids from the Cabbagetown Community Arts Centre (424 Parliament) will be performing on Saturday from 1 to 4:30 pm at the corner of Carlton and Parliament. Join them and enjoy an outdoor afternoon of Christmas carol singing.

Santa’s gonna be busy
Next weekend, Santa has a heavy schedule. Bring your pets for a photo with Santa. From 11 am to 2 pm at Pet Valu (240 Carlton) and from 2:30 to 5:30 pm at Menagerie Pet Shop (549 Parliament).

Santa at Sweet Creamery
By magic, Santa will also appear at Sweet Creamery (521 Parliament) on Saturday and on Sunday afternoon next weekend from 2 to 4 pm. It’s also a good time to try special seasonal gelato flavours that Santa has prepared – ginger bread, eggnog, candy cane and pumpkin pie.

Bob & Glen are having a party
Bob Rae and Glen Murray invite you to a neighbourhood drop-in at Winchester School (15 Prospect) on Sunday December 12 from 11 am to 2 pm. Everyone is welcome. There’ll be lots of activity and plenty of opportunity to meet our elected representatives and give them your best seasons’ greetings.

Merryberry café + bistro
A cozy and very charming new café has just opened at 559 Parliament, just south of the gas station. Cyril and Nimmi have designed a very light, whimsical room and their menu is equally interesting. They’re open daily for breakfast and lunch. I joined John Jay (from The Cobourg) there for lunch today and enjoyed a Mediterranean stew and an egg salad sandwich – delicious. On the weekend they’re emphasizing a brunch menu and they’re open from 9 am to 5 pm. This weekend, they’ll have their regular menu plus a selection of salmon dishes to highlight today’s arrival of fresh Atlantic salmon.

A new manager at Starbucks
A warm welcome to Semret who’s the new manager at our Starbucks (492 Parliament). She’s been here for a few weeks now. She’s worked for Starbucks for seven years and her last assignment was in the financial district. She’s been fully informed about the heartening progress toward an outdoor patio along Aberdeen which we hope can be opened by the Spring (and many thanks to residents there who voted almost unanimously in favour of the patio location.) Semret has reminded us that Starbucks has a toy and food drive underway on behalf of the Yonge Street Mission – you can drop off your donations at the store.

Kendall adds a new staff member
Meet Roxie – Kendall’s new personal assistant. He’s training her in customer service and she’s very enthusiastic. She’s made friends immediately with everyone else on staff. She keeps her ear to the ground and her nose to the grindstone. For the holiday season, Kendall & Co (438 Parliament across from Spruce) have extended their store hours to 8 pm every Friday and Saturday. Be sure to check out their gift guide at

JAMCafe hosts Rosewood Winery
JAM is hosting Rosewood Winery for a tasting of their premium Ontario boutique wines. There’ll be seven wines and some surprises and a chance to talk to the winemakers. Av Atikian will prepare a special selection of his hors d’oeuvres to match each wine as it’s presented. Read about all the wines and the menu here: JAM’s wine tastings are often sold out so reservations are a good idea (especially at this time of the year!) Call (416) 921-1255. Wednesday December 15, 6:30 pm, 195 Carlton.

Barracuda’s pre-Christmas sale
Most of the inventory in Barracuda (527 Parliament) is now offered on sale, just in time for your Christmas gift-giving. There are lots of great bargains in glass wares and accessories. These beautiful brass leaves, for example, are only $20 (small), $30 (medium) and $45 (large).

Baby’s skincare products
Lennie’s Health Centre (489 Parliament) now carries a natural chemical-free skincare line from Sprout Botanicals. Gentle soaps, salves, natural bug sprays and sunscreens – all for babies and anyone with sensitive skin. Dr Aileen Lim-Trotter is a Naturopathic doctor (and a Cabbagetown homeowner!) and she developed the formula for these products. She’s telling Alex all about their good qualities. You can learn the details at

Peter’s Cajun Pizza
The next few weeks get really hectic. Give yourself a break. Let Peter do the cooking and deliver one of his lovely pies right to your door. He’s got New Orleans Cajun, traditional, and gourmet recipes plus a nice selection of pasta, sandwiches, salads, panzerotti and wings. You can see his menu and prices at his web site, You can also just drop in and enjoy his bright cheerful restaurant at 415 Parliament.

Another charming tour
The folks on Aberdeen Avenue and in Cabbagetown South have designed a tour for a small group of people to view festive trees in three Cabbagetown homes. The theme is Victorian Trees in Cabbagetown. It happens from 7 to 9 pm on Saturday December 18. There’s no charge. Donations are being accepted for the new Cabbagetown Regent Park Museum. For more information,

The Epicure Shop is full of Christmas stuff
Patty has really done her best to make your Christmas meals a great success. She’s got black or white truffle oil, foie gras, 25-year old balsamic vinegar and the best olive oil in the world. To bring you into the store, she's offering all her boxed chocolates at $1.00 off (plus, she’s paying the tax). And, on top of all of this, cheese lovers will really want the Fifth Town lines from Prince Edward County – Cape Vessy, Lighthall Tomme and Quinte Crest. 473 Parliament.

Advance notice
You can win a car from Baci, the Italian chocolate company. The Epicure Shop is bringing the car to Carlton and Parliament from 1 to 4 pm on Friday December 17. Visit the car to find out how to enter the contest.

World Jazz for Haiti
Number 9 Audio has produced a two-disk album that features 23 outstanding artists from around the world. Net proceeds from the sale will be donated to the Canadian Red Cross to help, its aid efforts in Haiti. The music is awesome and the cause is memorable. Albums can be purchased for $25 at the BIA office (237 Carlton) or at Number 9 (222 Gerrard). So far, over half of the $10,000 target has been raised – many thanks to those who’ve contributed.

No guilt at Organics
Cabbagetown Organics (499 Parliament) has guilt-free cookies – no butter, low sodium, nut free and dairy free. They’re available in several flavours, ginger and spice, lemon and granola. (Even though Fernando is bragging about these cookies, he secretly admits that he really loves butter…) If you drop in on Saturday, try some samples of Eva’s oils and balsamic vinegars and on Sunday, there’ll be some samples of Sarafino oils. And you can still check out their wide selection of good Christmas candy and chocolates.

Hi Tech Seven
One of Cabbagetown’s computer hubs, Hi Tech Seven (453 Parliament) now also offers world-wide delivery services. Nurul has become an authorized shipper for both FedEx and DHL. It’s a nice mixture. Some countries won’t allow FedEx to operate, so the DHL link adds to your international shipping options. While you’re there, check out his fine line of computers and accessories.

Good ideas at Church Street Winery
In fact, there’s plenty to celebrate. Gunnar has gift certificates – a perfect present for wine enthusiasts in your family. Give the gift of winemaking this Christmas.

Cycle Solutions sale
Kale has been renovating his store (444 Parliament) and he’s holding a super renovation sale to clear away space and get ready for next year. All of his 2010 bikes are available at 20% off and most of his in-stock parts and accessories are offered at 25% discounts. These are great bargains. You can see all of this at his spiffy website,

Me To We Store
InsideToronto has just published a nice story about our new Me to We Store (225 Carlton). If you’re curious about the way that Me to We fits in with Free the Children, you can read it here:

Impulse 2010
See tomorrow’s contemporary dancers today! The School of Toronto Dance Theatre is mounting works by Valerie Calam, Allison Cummings, Michael Trent, Danny Grossman and Sharon B Moore. $19 general admission and $15 students, seniors etc. For more information, and (416) 967-6887. Performances happen this weekend through to Saturday, December 9 – 11, at 8 pm at 80 Winchester.

Coming soon – the Cabbagetown Christmas concert
The Sterling Brass concert at the Ben Wicks is one of the big highlights on our annual Christmas calendar. It’s not to be missed. There’ll be a chance to join in the caroling, to bask in the glories of a tuba concerto and to marvel at the splendors of Handel’s Messiah. All of this and the cozy warmth of the Wicks as well. No cover charge, Sunday December 19, 3 to 6 pm, 424 Parliament.

Fire at 456 Parliament
There’s good news about the businesses affected by the fire last month. Of course, House on Parliament (456 Parliament) reopened almost immediately. Next door, Grasshopper has opened as well. Upstairs, Superstein staff aren’t worried – they have more renovations with the drywall and fixtures before they’re ready but progress is satisfying. Graham at Capability Brown continues to work from House of Dumont (200A Carlton) and he’s informed his customers to expect that he’ll be there for a while yet.

So what’s happening here?
The Salvation Army’s Warehouse Mission is moving into new office space above Ginger at Carlton and Parliament. They plan to use the third floor for office space, teaching, counseling and worship. The Warehouse Mission is named after a small coach house located on a laneway at Wellesley and Parliament. The building is owned by Toronto Community Housing and the Salvation Army is one of several community groups using the space. It’s in heavy demand and quite small so this move to new quarters above Ginger gives the congregation a welcome expansion.