Friday, 11 March 2011

Elizabeth Harris
Across Cabbagetown, we’re all deeply saddened by the passing of our friend, the remarkable Elizabeth Harris. She has made an incredible mark on our lives with her work as a teacher, as a volunteer at Riverdale Farm, as the founder of the Farmers Market in Riverdale Park and as the manager at the Brick Works market. She devoted herself to ideas and projects that enriched her community and she will be greatly missed. A memorial service will be held at Metropolitan United Church (56 Queen St E) at 2 pm on Saturday March 12. Our sympathies go out to her husband John and her children.

A busy St P’s Day
This should be our national holiday here in Cabbagetown. Of course, we all know that the Irish were our community founders. People arrived in Toronto from Ireland in the mid-1850s, starving and dirt poor and they walked right into more poverty and trouble. To make their lives slightly more bearable, they grew cabbages on their front lawns. Hence, “Cabbagetown” Life has improved considerably since then (although some front yards still sprout “cabbages” especially in the Fall).

First, a bit of biz…

JAMCafe (195 Carlton) has been closed for lunch recently. They’ve announced their reopening on March 17. They’re open from 11:30 to 2 pm from Tuesday to Friday. When you go, try the pasta special – scrumptious and just the right amount for a satisfying lunch.

Caroline’s reno’s underway
Caroline’s (formerly Big Mamma’s Boy, 554 Parliament) is closed every Monday through March. These renovations are creating the improvements that Caroline Murphy has designed. You can see a lot of these changes already – just drop in any day for a drink and a chat in her cozy new lounge area on the first floor.

Parade Day at Stout
Sunday is the big St Paddy’s Parade in downtown Toronto. Drop in afterward and continue your celebrations at another of Erin’s ceilis at Stout Irish Pub (221 Carlton).

Book this event
On Wednesday March 23 at 6 pm, Regina is hosting a workshop on creative gift wrapping for Easter and beyond. The fee is $10 and that includes two sheets of specially made Canadian paper. Labour of Love (242 Carlton),

And now, the St Patrick’s Day schedule…

At The Ben Wicks
Robert has decided to bring Ireland to Cabbagetown in a big way next Thursday. He’s hosting The One Shot Band (they were at The Wicks once before to everyone’s approval) from 8:30 to 11:30 pm. And he’s bringing out a very Irish menu: Guinness onion soup, mussels with ale, grainy mustard and herbs, salmon fish cakes and house-cured corned beef brisket with cabbage and lentils. Of course, the goodies and the desserts on the regular menu are ready as well. Everything is individually priced. No cover charge. 424 Parliament.

Caroline’s celebrating St Patrick’s Day
Caroline Murphy is definitely Irish – just listen to that sweet lilt for a moment and you’ll believe it yourself. At Caroline’s (formerly Big Mamma’s Boy, 554 Parliament) she has a special menu for the evening. Start with leek and potato soup with rolled oats or the house salad, carry on to corned beef, cabbage and creamy mashed potato or Guinness stew with creamy mashed potato and then finish up with potato pastry apple pie or flourless chocolate cake. Reservation recommended so call (416) 927-1593.

Stout Irish Pub
Yes indeed they’re on the list for big-time St Patrick’s Day celebrations. Erin has green beer in pints ($5) and pitchers ($15) and Shamrock jello shots ($3). She’s bringing champion Irish dancers and a Ceili to keep you entertained. Throughout the day and into the evening, there’ll be complimentary Irish stew and mini fish and chips. You can enjoy all of this outside on her new heated patio or inside beside the bar and the fireplace. On Friday, you’ll have a hangover, so skip work and come in to Stout for a sure-cure all-day brunch. 221 Carlton.

Welcome Heather and Maggie
Don’t let the photo fool you. Even though Heather and Maggie are obviously busy with pre-opening renovations, they’ve already started to move. Their Friday night show, for example, is already almost sold out – even though the doors still aren’t open! They’re creating a place where you can sit, eat, drink and enjoy a show while the staff do everything possible to make you comfy.
The Furry Beaver (488 Parliament) will fling open its doors on St Patrick’s Day. To launch their new “pubaret”, Heather and Maggie are bringing a long line of entertainers including St Patty’s Day local Irish gal Shannon McDonough on Thursday, the Elaine Dark Band with DJ Carol on Friday, comedy Saturday with Richard Ryder and DJ Madame Hair and on Sunday, T-dance with DJ Christina.
Tickets for each show are available at the bar or at Brown Paper Tix. Prices at the door are slightly higher. Reservations for dinner before the show are recommended at 647-347-5393.

Kendall sees the light
Two Canadians, Henry Woodward and Matthew Evans, invented the light bulb in a foundry located on Adelaide Street in Toronto. To celebrate this iconic design, Kendall & Co (438 Parliament across from Spruce) is offering a series of retro filament bulbs in four different patterns. Each is made in the traditional way. Their vintage shapes and warm glow make any lamp look beautiful.

Me To We has been chosen for the second year as the official supplier of JUNO apparel. They’ll create a line of socially and environmentally responsible clothing and accessories including cotton Tees, canvas tote bags and bamboo scarves. Since this is the 40th anniversary for the Canadian music awards, the designs will reflect that history. You can browse the collection at and visit the store at 223 Carlton.

There’s still more inside Foxy
Foxy Boutique (251 Gerrard) still has its final sale underway. With Spring just around the corner, Michelle has cute sandals, retro pumps and wedges. There are summer dresses for as little as $10, blouses and printed shirts. You can accessorize your perfect ensemble with bold handbags, belts and jewellery.

Tax clinics
Bob Rae (our federal MP) and Glen Murray (our provincial MPP) have teamed up to organize special tax clinics at their Parliament Street office (514 Parliament). Two sessions will be held (Saturday March 12 and Saturday March 26 from 10 am to 2 pm) and staffed by volunteer CGAs. The work is free but there are some income limits required for eligibility. Please call 416-972-7683 or 416-954-2222 to book your reservation.
Editor’s note – anyone who wants to win the Nobel prize for fiction with their tax return should please go elsewhere.

Epicure Shop has donuts
Wow, I’ve been hearing that Patty’s new donuts are really good. We mentioned them last week and the happy comments have been coming in since then. You can get fresh ones three times a week on Monday, Thursday and Saturday. There’s jelly, creamed filled and chocolate ones. This week, she’s also featuring her own imported extra virgin olive oil from Calabria in Italy - $19.99/litre. As always, she’s got amazing choices of the finest cheese – two-year old white cheddar is now $3.29/100g and she also got the award-winning Lighthall Tomme from Fifth Town in Prince Edward County. 473 Parliament.

Storytelling at CNH
Central Neighbourhood House (349 Ontario) continues its 100th anniversary celebrations with an afternoon session on storytelling for children on Sunday March 27 from 1:30 to 4 pm. It’s part of the annual city-wide Toronto Storytelling Festival. Topics include general storytelling, storytelling in French, storytelling for children and informal storytelling. Everyone is welcome – no charge.
And don’t forget – Saturday March 26 is the big Scrabble contest. Be sure to register ahead of time. 416-925-4363 and ask for Amanda or Angela.

Our Tee is on a ride
Cabbagetowner Ken Caskenette is living his lifelong dream. He’s riding his bike 1800 km around the circumference of France. And he’s taking his Tee shirt along so those lucky people will know where his heart really lives. We’ll bring you plenty of photos as he advances. This one (he couldn’t get anybody to snap a photo when he needed it) is on a bridge in Carcassonne in the south.