Friday, 29 April 2011

2011 Forsythia Festival

Cabbagetown officially welcomes spring with our annual Forsythia Festival. This year’s 40th anniversary Festival takes place on Sunday May 1. It’s a lovely blend of activities, food, face painting, neighbourly gossip and entertainment. There’s a lot of fun for kids so take your family along for a good time in the park. The opening parade starts at 10:30 am in Riverdale Park (Sumach and Winchester). From 11 am to 1 pm, the day’s program happens in Wellesley Park (at the end of Wellesley). Our thanks and congratulations to the many volunteers who make this day such a pleasant event.

What a crazy weekend...
We’ve had a royal wedding, volatile voters in the federal election and Ontario’s inaugural Ultimate Fighting Championship bout. This is fun stuff. As usual, of course, the big things are happening here in Cabbagetown.

Royal wedding celebrations
A couple of Cabbagetown folks are joining the craziness to celebrate Kate and Will’s nuptials

Mylk Uncookies (253 Gerrard) has a special Royal Menu just for this weekend. It features raw shortbread tea blossoms, Earl Grey cupcakes with honeybutter cream, lemon butter melt aways and London fogs. Plus their trademark coffee and selection of fine teas. These folks can bake, so don’t miss this chance. Drop in on Saturday (9 to 6 pm) and Sunday (9 to 5 pm).

Simmons Flowers (540 Parliament) wouldn’t let a wedding slip by unnoticed, especially this one. Their window display says it all. Congrat’s Merion and Tina.

Mother’s Day is coming
Beading at the Me To We Store. On Saturday from 1 to 3 pm, you can learn the art of Kenyan beading at the Me To We Store (223 Carlton). The workshop is part of their Mothers’ Day campaign, From My Hands to Yours.

Labour of Love (242 Carlton) want you to celebrate your own favourite Queen Mother. Regina has lots of special ways to give her the royal treatment. Drop by Labour of Love next weekend, May 7 and 8, and you’ll get free wrapping on your gifts. If your purchase is more than $100, you’ll get a free gift as well.

Simmons Flowers (540 Parliament) has fresh shipments of roses, hydrangeas, tulips, freesias, gerberas and more. All these lovely flowers can be delivered to your own special Mom’s home.

Kendall has stuff for Mom Kendall & Co are featuring ceramic trays and serving ware, hand decorated with painted florals. They’re attractively priced from $32 to $53. And their 50% off sale continues – you’ll find all sorts of items to impress Mom and Mother-in-law. Click here to see all of it: Located at 438 Parliament, just across from Spruce.

The Hike for Hospice
On Sunday May 1, the Hike happens in Riverdale Park (Sumach and Winchester). It’s a fundraiser to help Alliance Hospices. Registration starts at 10 am, the hike at 11 am and lunch at noon.

Ultimate Fighting Championship
These are guys who like to get together and pummel the daylights out of each other. Their first bout in Ontario happens soon here in Toronto. To launch their event, they’re giving thousands of dollars to Ontario agencies working with kids. Of course, they immediately turned to the Cabbagetown Youth Centre and gave them $10,000 as their first gift in this campaign, a timely donation that the CYC can use to replace equipment damaged in a recent flood. The ceremony took place in the CYC’s newly renovated gym last Thursday.

Justin Skinner from Inside Toronto wrote a very good article about the gift at There was another report in the boxing blog, Ringside Report, at

Get stumped at Stout
Erin at Stout Irish Pub (221 Carlton) hosts a Pub Stumpers night every Tuesday at 7:30 pm. It’s a live trivia competition for teams of one to six people. On Saturday nights, there’s always live music from 9 pm – featuring this week the Irish Guys joined by special guests, The Last Calls. And don’t forget that every Sunday afternoon from 3 to 6 pm features a Ceili with Irish musicians playing traditional music followed by a delicious prime rib dinner (a bargain at $19).

The Bargain Shop is renovating
TBS is a favourite store for many Parliament Street shoppers. TBS headquarters has decided to renovate our store (429 Parliament) to bring in more products and offer more convenience shopping. Our new store manager is Akim who’s supervising the onsite upgrading work and of course, Barb is a familiar face for TBS customers.

Cave Spring at JAMcafe
More details are coming now about JAM’s tasting night to honour Cave Spring’s 25th anniversary. It’s a six-course dinner highlighting eight of the winery’s special vintages. Owner Thomas Pennachetti and winemaker Angelo Pavan will join Av Atikian to present the meal and its wines. Click here for all the details: Thursday, May 5, 6:30 pm, $100. Call for reservations, (416) 921-1255. 195 Carlton.

Caroline has been very busy lately. On Wednesday, she welcomed supporters of Fife House, a program that provides secure and affordable housing for people living with HIV/AIDS. She donated 25% of her evening’s proceeds to Fife House and she says that the place was bursting at the seams. For May, she’s designing a new pizza and the proceeds from its sale will go to Friends For Life bike rally – the famous ride from Toronto to Montreal that she joins each summer.

Spring 2011 Art Tours
Anyone who has joined one of the Art Tours in the past can tell you that it’s a marvelous evening. The organizers say that it’s a rolling party where fifty people enjoy looking at the art in three featured homes while nibbling on various courses in a gourmet dinner. Mary Ann Hawkes will play jazz piano. The tours sell out, so we suggest that you get your tickets quickly. You can order online at or in person at Kendall & Co (438 Parliament). Saturday May 14, 6:30 to 11:30 pm.

CNH’s Spring concert
Last Thursday night, Central Neighbourhood House hosted a children’s Spring concert at Lord Dufferin School. Kids from six schools and more from groups like UforChange entertained a packed gym. We can personally tell you that it’s impressive to be in a gym full of little kids who are all having a great time. CNH is holding events like these all through the year. As a part of their 100th anniversary, they want to connect with their neighbours in the ways that were popular in the past and bring wider awareness to our community of their work. This year’s Spring concert succeeded.

Federal election reminder
It all happens, of course, on Monday May 2, from 9:30 am to 9:30 pm. If you need information about where and how you vote, please call 1-866-281-5086 or visit (then type in your postal code in the box provided and follow the instructions to locate your info.)

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Election Debate We had a terrific election meeting on Thursday night. The four people looking for our votes in this riding are all very impressive. They presented reasonable ideas and did so in a civilized fashion (too bad the whole campaign across the country isn’t being run as well.) The questions from the audience were important and the answers were knowledgeable. More than two hundred people crowded into the room. CTV covered the event and made it part of their 11 o’clock newscast. Central Neighbourhood House were great hosts. Congratulations to Kevin Moore (Conservative), Ellen Michelson (Green), Bob Rae (Liberal) and Susan Wallace (NDP)

Election questions? Go to and enter your postal code. Your local information will appear. It's a good website where you can find the answer to a lot of your questions.

We're doing some repairs If the spacing on your Newsletter's text suddenly goes all funny, please just scroll down the page and continue reading. Our apologies - these potholes are showing up on our little roadway and we're busy trying to repair them for you. Thanks for your patience.

Easter Egg hunt Hosted by the Easter Bunny in person! Stout Irish Pub (221 Carlton) is having a family event on Saturday April 23 from noon to 3 pm. There'll be an Easter egg hunt, a colouring contest, a chance to Pin The Tail on the bunny and lots more. Pancake plates for the kids are only $3.99. Mom and Dad can have lunch and a Czar while Erin and her friends take care of the little bunnies.

Easter at Kendall & Co The staff at Kendall & Co have been wolfing down chocolate Easter eggs and they've finally decided to share the goodies. So, take a look at the photo and guess how many eggs are in the picture. If you're right (or the closest), you'll win the heart shaped box. Email your answer to The storewide sale is now happening - up to 50% off home accessories, serving ware and garden decor. 438 Parliament across from Spruce.

Easter at The Epicure Shop Patty has filled Epicure with eggs, hot cross buns, homemade gingerbread and shortbread cookies,jelly beans and cupcakes. She's got ceramic chicks stuffed with chocolate eggs, lunch boxes, homemade pies and tarts. Chocolate Clare's excellent chocolate Easter eggs are in store as well. Closed Friday and Sunday. 473 Parliament.

Celebrate our youth Central Neighbourhood House is hosting its Spring Concert with young performers from St James Town, Cabbagetown and Regent Park on Thursday April 28, 7 to 8:30 pm. The children will perform musical, dance, drama and spoken word pieces. There'll be 100 pieces of art to celebrate CNH's 100th anniversary. Lord Dufferin School (350 Parliament). Free admission.

Successes at Caroline's Caroline Murphy is proud to announce two great recommendations for her new menu - Caroline's has made it onto the Toronto Life 2011 list of recommended restaurants and onto NOW Magazine's list of 100 top brunch spots. By the way, her entire menu is now available for home delivery. Her patio in the back is now open and she has a supply of shawls to warm everyone until Spring temperatures finally arrive. . 554 Parliament

Cave Spring visits JAMcafe Save this date - Thursday May 5, 6:30 pm. Joe and Av are hosting Cave Spring, one of Ontario's premium wineries. This'll be another of their excellent pairings - Av's delicious hors d'oeuvres will be matched with a variety of Cave Spring wines. Menu details and wine selections will be announced soon. Call (416) 921-1255 for information and reservations. It's a good idea to book ahead. Their last wine tasting sold out and no doubt, this one will be popular too. JAMcafe is regularly open for dinner from 5 pm, Tuesday to Sunday. 195 Carlton.

Lunch at Young Thailand Cabbagetown suddenly has a lot of good lunch destinations and we can happily report that Young Thailand (446 Parliament) has a very good selection. Lunch is available from Monday to Saturday. For more information about menus, takeout and delivery services and hours, visit their website:

Yoga at the Me To We Store Welcome the Spring with some detoxifying and rejuvenating twists and bends. Move through these gentle yoga poses to open up to Spring. Three classes are scheduled: Saturday April 30 at 10 am, Monday May 9 and Monday May 17 both at 6:30 pm. Bring your own mats and water bottles. You can register at Classes are $10 and they happen at the Me To We Store (223 Carlton).

Learn to bead like Kenyan Mamas On Saturday April 30 from 1 to 3 pm, the Me To We Store (223 Carlton) will host a workshop on beading where you can learn the crafty skills of Me To We artisans. It's part of their Mother's Day campaign, From My Hands to Your. The workshop is $5 and you can register (and see a video on Kenyan beading) at

Cabbagetown artists Here's a Festival heads-up. For the third year, we'll be offering free display space to visual artists who live in the Cabbagetown area. You can use the opportunity to sell your art or to display it proudly. It's proven to be a pleasant success for the past two years. Our Carlton booth space is surrounded by music, good food and other great attractions. This year, you're welcome to join us on Saturday September 10 from noon to 6 pm. Call or email Doug to be registered: , (416) 921-0857.

Save this date The Hike for Hospice happens on Sunday May 1 in Riverdale Park. There’s a two km leisurely stroll through Cabbagetown and a 5 km challenge in Riverdale Park. Check in is at 10 am, the hike starts at 11 am and lunch is at noon. It’s a fundraiser to help Alliance Hospices, an in-home palliative care service for people with life-threatening illness and their families. It’s a pleasure to report that many Cabbagetown businesses have already offered their support. For more info,

Congratulations to the Kiwanis Boys & Girls Club
Many of us know that the Kiwanis Boys & Girls Club occupies the old church premises at Sackville and Spruce. It's being renovated and the club's offices have moved temporarily to the Filipino Centre (599 Parliament.) They've just celebrated another successful year with their annual cocktail fundraiser featuring CBC's Luba Goy. The event earned over $23,500 for the after-school programs in Regent Park and Trinity Bellwoods. Congratulations for the fine work. Photo: Gord McElroy

Friday, 15 April 2011

Cabbagetown election debate
Four candidates in the federal election will debate the issues next Thursday night, April 21 at 8 pm at Central Neighbourhood House – 349 Ontario St (one-half block south of Gerrard). It’s a good opportunity to meet and assess our local representatives. They’ll speak briefly and then the floor will be open for your questions. These meetings are very lively and unpredictable and people tell us afterward that the event helps them to make a decision. Don’t miss this chance to put a personal face on the campaign. Coffee and cookies will be available. Thanks to our neighbours
Whenever an election happens here, four Cabbagetown groups get together to host a debate. The Cabbagetown BIA is proud to be a part of this – we work with the Aberdeen Ave Residents Group, the Cabbagetown South Association and the Don Vale Cabbagetown Residents Association. We hold our planning sessions at The Ben Wicks (424 Parliament) and we always appreciate Robert’s hospitality as well.

Thanks also to Central Neighbourhood House
This year, 2011, marks the 100th anniversary of CNH’s founding and for a century this remarkable agency has helped families, seniors, disabled people, people who need housing, young people and scores of others. People in need have always been able to count on CNH staff for support and encouragement. Our election meeting next week is in the gym at their headquarters at 349 Ontario St – come by, look around and say hello to a valuable and vital neighbour.

Saturday at Soup
On Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm, Soup (603-1/2 Parliament, south of Wellesley) is holding its annual Spring sale. Lots of crafts, clothing, greeting cards, jewellery and more. This is becoming a favourite event in our neighbourhood. Several of the vendors are listed on the poster and you can get a good preview by going to their websites. While you’re at Soup on Saturday, grab some chocolate from Chocolate Clare – can’t be resisted.

Eclectisaurus is having a sale
Leslie’s annual spring event is happening this weekend. It’s a great occasion – you can save 30% on her art, antiques, housewares and other vintage goodies. Click here to see what she’s offering: Saturday noon to 7 pm and Sunday noon to 6 pm. 249 Gerrard.

JAMcafe has another wine event
This tasting features seven lovely warm-climate wines from California’s Terra Valentine Winery and Rusden Wines from Australia’s Barossa Valley. They’re matched with seven of Av’s specially prepared hors d’oeuvres. JAM’s tastings frequently sell out so it’s advisable to make reservations (416-921-1255). You can see all the details about the wines and the food at $50/person. 195 Carlton.

It’s Spring at Sweet Creamery
The weather is heating up and so is Emilio’s imagination. He’s produced three new flavours and we put them through our tough tasting test program. They’re delicious. So get over to Sweet Creamery (521 Parliament) and order your own: tres leches gelato cake, passion fruit with almond cream gelato cake, and fresh raspberry yogourt gelato.

Welcome to Ever Clean
Our landmark laundromat at 252 Carlton has been renovated, spiffied up and re-equipped. It’s open again for you with high efficiency Maytag 60 lb washers that can handle your largest duvets, sleeping bags and more. Open every day from 6 am to 10 pm.

Syrup at Epicure
The 2011 vintage maple syrup from Quebec has just arrived at The Epicure Shop (473 Parliament). Patty says it’s delicious and it’s a great gift for Easter and for parties. Just $9.99 for 550 ml. For the weekend, she also has brownies on special - buy one and get another at half price (guaranteed to have only one and a half calories as well!)

Easter and Passover flowers
Simmons (540 Parliament) has lovely, fresh seasonal blooms, all of which are a joy to receive at Easter and Passover. Tulips, iris, freesia, pussy willows and more. And you can give yourself a splash of seasonal colour at home as well. (416) 920-6580

Congratulations to three of our new restaurants
Merryberry (559 Parliament) has been getting rave reviews in local blogs. For a sample, check out what Toronto Coffee Shops said on February 2 - Cyril and Nimmi have had a good start and there are even better things promising in their future with a nice back patio for the summer and a liquor licence coming soon. (Photo: Toronto Coffee Shops) Mylk Uncookies (253 Gerrard) had a very favourable mention in last week’s Toronto Star. “sweet, fresh, yummy” were the reviewer’s reactions. We agree. This agreeably bright spot is a refreshing addition to our Gerrard Street shopping strip. Click here for more: (Photo: Colin McConnell, Toronto Star) Stout Irish Pub (221 Carlton) was also featured in The Star. They were especially happy with the food and the multitude of craft beers available to discerning sippers. (Photo: Roger Carlsen)

The Cobourg sang…
Last Saturday, John Jay hosted his annual songfest at The Cobourg (533 Parliament). Revellers were invited to strut their stuff and the audience paid a modest $10 cover charge to enjoy the results. The funds earned that night were earmarked for a service agency that John feels makes a big contribution to Cabbagetown life.

This year, UforChange (517 Parliament) received $900. John made the presentation to them on Tuesday. UforChange believes that the experience of art and culture gives young people a better, stronger way to navigate into their future. They have a very impressive website at

Display your treasures with style
Regina at Labour of Love (242 Carlton) is hosting a workshop on creative jewellery displays. It’s a one-hour, hands-on session where you’ll learn how to use random objects to show off your jewellery. The cost is $10 and this covers all the materials that you’ll use in your class. Wednesday, April 27, 6 to 7 pm. You can sign up in person or click on the website to send an email:

Time matters at Kendall
Kendall has a clock to keep you in sync. The exposed gears move together in time. You can put one on a table or mount a series of them on a wall. This is just one item among the many featured in their current sale. Up to 50% off on housewares, accessories and garden décor. 438 Parliament across from Spruce.

Momentum Dance Toronto presents a collection of works and a special guest performance that use the four seasons as a metaphor for the seasons of a life. April 27 to 30 at 8 pm with a matinee on Saturday April 30 at 2 pm. Tickets are $25 and are available at the box office, at (416) 556-5449 and online at Winchester Dance Theatre, 80 Winchester.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Barbershop of the year Congratulations to The Cabbagetown Barber Shop (525 Parliament). They’ve won the Town Crier’s award as Toronto’s Best Barber Shop for 2010. Well done everyone. Eric Morse snapped this pic of Mandi, Franco and Jim. Thai To Go One of our favourite takeout and delivery spots has expanded and now also offers a dining room area for your enjoyment. Their personable service and good food have established their reputations in Cabbagetown and now we can enjoy ourselves in their fine new restaurant as well. Earlier this week, a couple of Buddhist monks visited the new room and offered their blessings. (416) 515-8424, 452 Gerrard. The Cobourg Sings Every year, John Jay hosts an evening of singing at The Cobourg (533 Parliament). There’s a $10 cover charge and the proceeds are donated to a local group. The place is packed as the neighbourhood turns out to sing for each other. . This year, the remarkable people at UForChange are the beneficiaries. 8 pm start. Zack at Stout Irish Pub Zack Werner has organized the Blues Jam that happens every Wednesday night at 9 pm at Stout Irish Pub (221 Carlton). He invites his friends to join him. Erin has gathered some photos of the event for our enjoyment. Buffalo mozzarella Patty’s just received a new shipment, flown in directly from Italy. This is the season when this fine cheese comes into its own, matched up with beautiful olive oil and fresh tomato slices. Epicure also has a new line of chorizo salami – a great addition to pizzas, pasta sauces and sandwiches. It’s nicely spiced with lots of paprika. 473 Parliament. Tutorials at Number 9 George has announced a new approach to Number 9’s tutorial program for audio engineers. This is the studio that has recorded such stars as David Clayton-Thomas, Amanda marshall, Holly Cole, John McDermott and The Barenaked Ladies. Their skilled engineers are your teachers in a unique one-on-one approach. For more details, click here: Yoga at Hipjoint As previously reported, Jessica has launched Hipjoint Yoga Studios in the Soup building (603-1/2 Parliament, just south of Wellesley). Her classes run from Tuesday morning to Sunday morning and she’s working with two other instructors, Margo and Deb. Among her offerings are Hatha Flow, Core Vinyasa, Beginner Yoga, and Slow Flow. Some classes are offered more than once a week. She’s asking $15 for a single class. For more information and for registration, call (416) 833-1749 or email mailto:– Kendall’s amazing Mechanical Pulley Lamp Step right up and check it out. It swivels 180 degrees and extends 29”. It has a counterweight to allow the lamp to adjust up and down. It’s brass with a vintage steel finish and an antique glass lampshade. Complete the look with an antique filament bulb. While you’re at the store, take advantage of the 50% sale on home and garden décor and serve ware. 438 Parliament, across from Spruce. If you’ve got it… Flaunt it. Your jewellery, of course. Regina at Labour of Love (242 Carlton) is hosting her second workshop – this time about fun ideas for displaying and bragging about your jewels. It’s happening on Wednesday April 27 at 6 pm. $10 fee (which covers all your supplies.) Ken’s Tour de France Our neighbour, Ken Caskenette, continues his remarkable bike trip around France. He’s been on the road for a month and has covered over 1600 km northward from the Mediterranean to the English Channel. But that’s the easy part – he now faces the central massif and the Rhone as he turns homeward from Normandy. Of course, we want proof so he sent this photo from Arras. Some of us are wondering whether this skinny guy can really be the Ken that we know and love.