Friday, 29 July 2011

Lookin’ good
The new patio at Underdown (263 Gerrard at Berkeley) is now open and in full swing. These folks aren’t from Cabbagetown (I believe that Colorado was mentioned) and they found the patio by happy accident. They were wandering our streets enjoying our delights and needed some adult refreshment. Underdown came to their rescue. You don’t have to be from Colorado to enjoy this place as much as they do.

In fact, have you visited Gerrard Street lately?
The retail strip from Berkeley to Ontario is full of intriguing places. You can see exotic birds and animals at Hands on Exotics (251 Gerrard)), get your cat fixed at Cabbagetown Pet Clinic (239 Gerrard), have a coffee or tea or pastry at the ever-popular Mylk Uncookies (253 Gerrard) , donate a book for a child at the Children’s Book Bank (350 Berkeley), buy a case at the Beer Store (227 Gerrard) and get something old and beautiful at Eclectisaurus (249 Gerrard). When you’re finished, you’ll need a drink on the patio at Underdown (263 Gerrard) or a back massage at Cabbagetown Physiotherapy (255 Gerrard).

Eclectisaurus doesn’t want to count
Leslie has to do inventory and she hates counting. So she’s having a sale to cut down the work. There’s vintage furniture, clothing, jewellery, lighting and lots more. Visit Eclectisaurus (249 Gerrard). You’ll save 30% off everything on your purchase (no holds barred – everything.)

Hands On Exotics
This new business (251 Gerrard) features hands on experiences with interesting and rare animals – in a fascinating program of animal therapy and activities. Seth (the owner) lists all sorts of specialties: birthday parties, seniors activities, promotional events, photo shoots and television appearances. He also offers to babysit your exotic animal while you’re away. Visit his website for lots more information –

Holidays at St Jamestown
Mark and his staff at the butcher shop and the deli (516 Parliament) will be on holiday from August 1 to 8. It’s widely rumoured (but not true, by the way) that he will be hauling his family to New Brunswick on board his motorcycle. Not true! We’re encouraged to stop by this weekend to pick up those steaks, hot dogs, burgers and other goodies that we rely on from him.

Cool chic from Kendall & Co
Kevin sent along this photo of the new line of aluminum ice buckets now available at Kendall & Co (541 Parliament, just east on Winchester). They’re moulded and shaped from recycled metal. It makes us thirsty just from the picture. You’ll see samples in their window at their new store on Winchester.

Wine tasting at JAMcafe
Av is hosting a summertime tasting of eight lovely wines from Rhone, ranging from the exotic flavours of Viognier in the north to the rich reds of Chateauneuf du Pape in the south. He’s adding his own special touch with hors d’oeuvres matched to each wine. For details about the tastings and the menu, click here: Reservations are recommended - this event will sell out quickly. $50 (including tax and gratuity). Thursday August 11, 6:30 pm. 195 Carlton (at Ontario). 416-921-1255.

More cheese from Epicure Shop
Patty has three new cheeses in stock at the Epicure Shop (473 Parliament). Each one is great on its own. Together, she recommends, they make a great cheese plate. From Thornloe Cheese in northern Ontario’s beautiful Evanturel Township, there’s Devils Rock. It’s a lovely creamy blue cheese. From Prince Edward County’s Fifth Town, there’s Lemon Fetish, made from sheep’s milk with lemon zest and red fife on the rind. Then, of course, from la belle France, there’s Comte, king of the gruyeres, aged 18 months and renown for its use in fondues. Patty is open all weekend, from 9 am to 5 pm on Sunday and 8 am to 6:30 pm on Monday.

Expect the unexpected
Regina at Labour of Love (242 Carlton) has magnetic jewellery. Using magnets and metal chains, they can be easily shaped into new images that are both contemporary and sophisticated. You can see more at

VivaCity from UForChange
UforChange is a dynamic social agency that uses the arts to create opportunities for young people from St James Town. This weekend, they’re highlighting works by over 100 youth in music, dance, film, drama and a special art gallery presentation. After the show, these young artists will graduate, receive an honorarium and enjoy opportunities to use the program’s resources and to become mentors and teaching assistants. On Friday night from 5 to 8 pm at Ontario Street and James Avenue, just south of Rose Street school, there’s a film festival along with live acts, a mural unveiling and a bbq. On Saturday from 7 to 9 pm, they appear at the Glenn Gould Studio in the downtown CBC Building for a drama, fashion show and live acts. On Sunday afternoon from 2 to 5 pm, it all winds up at 517 Parliament for a multimedia gallery show and live acts. All events are free.

Riverdale Farm reports
Inside Toronto has written a short article describing the submissions made by Farm supporters when they appeared at City Hall. It’s well worth a read -

Friday, 22 July 2011

TD Bank Group support for the Festival
TD Bank Group has again given generously to the Cabbagetown Festival. Their help makes it possible for us to publicize the event widely throughout downtown Toronto and to add more entertainers and activities to our program. Although this gift comes from the central office, we also want to thank Anthony and his staff at the Cabbagetown branch (493 Parliament) for their endorsement.

Happy Birthday, Labour of Love
On Saturday, Regina will celebrate her first anniversary at her Cabbagetown store (242 Carlton). To make the day special, she’s featuring a jewelry trunk show, a free gift with every purchase and discounts up to 40% off. Drop by and enjoy her party.

Wine tasting at JAMcafe
Av is hosting a summertime tasting of eight lovely wines from Rhone, ranging from the exotic flavours of Viognier in the north to the rich reds of Chateauneuf du Pape in the south. He’s adding his own special touch with hors d’oeuvres matched to each wine. For details about the tastings and the menu, click here: Reservations are recommended - this event will sell out quickly. $50 (including tax and gratuity). Thursday August 11, 6:30 pm. 195 Carlton (at Ontario). 416-921-1255.

Salad Days at Epicure
For the summer salad season, Patty has a special sale on Italian extra virgin olive oil at $9.99 (save $6, regularly $15.99). And balsamic vinegar at only $3.49. Cool. 473 Parliament.

St Jamestown Steak & Chops
Stock up on your supplies this week because Mark and his staff are taking their holidays from August 1 to 8. Stop in there this week – he has wild BC salmon and wild Ontario blueberries waiting for you. 516 Parliament.

Music at the Winchester Kitchen & Bar
On Saturday night, it’s The Joyful Sinners – their music is a hot gumbo of roots, blues, soul and gospel. You can hear more at On Saturday July 30, iconic New Orleans jazz drummer Tony “Oulaboula” Baziliey teams up with several friends to bring you a night filled with amazing Jazz, Blues and Latin music. For more music, go to 51A Winchester

The Flying Beaver
Now open every Wednesday as well as Thursday to Sunday. Wednesdays are Lobsterpalooza night (a full dinner for only $19.95) and Thursdays are Wing Ding days (a pound of wings at $5.) On Sunday, you can enjoy a roast beef dinner with all the trimmings for only $10.95.
Thursday are Beat the Beaver pub quiz. On Friday and Saturday, the hilarious Jessica Kirson is on stage. She’s fresh here from New York City and her appearances on the Tonight Show, CNN and Joy Behar. She’s one of the funniest comics on the planet. Tickets at the Flying Beaver and at . $20 adv and $25 door. On Sunday, Johnny Hastings takes over the room for the first Cabbagetown Comedy night. 488 Parliament

Congrat’s to Gourmet Burger
NOW Magazine has listed Gourmet Burger as one of the top burgers in Toronto. They especially recommend the Aussie burger. Of course, a quick visit to Richard at 482 Parliament will tell you why. You can see more at

Movies in the Park
On Sunday July 24 at 9 pm, Toronto Kiwanis Boys & Girls Club are hosting a free movie in Riverdale Park East. The event is a fundraiser that supports the Club. The movie is Rango with Johnny Depp. The Boys & Girls Club is permanently housed at Sackville and Spruce but that building is being renovated so the Club has temporary offices at 599 Parliament.

Riverdale Farm at City Hall
Cabbagetown is home to Renaissance Yoga (391 Ontario) and Matthew Remski is a writer, teacher and therapist there. His articulate deputation at the Parks Committee is typical of the passions that are deeply felt by our community about the Farm. You can watch it here:

Riverdale Farm petition
As we told you last week, Anne Pastuszak has organized a petition to support Riverdale Farm. It’s a phenomenal success. Over 6400 people have signed online. Another 13,300 people have joined the Facebook page, Save the Riverdale Farm. All of this has happened within one short week.
The Parks Committee at City Hall heard submissions on Thursday. Sean McIntyre in Councillor Pam McConnell’s office has reported that the issue has been referred from the Parks Committee to the Executive Committee. This has happened with all of the KPGM reports so far. The Executive Committee will reopen the issue on September 19.
Stay tuned - the problem has not gone away.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Let’s save Riverdale Farm
When did Riverdale Farm become part of the gravy train? The City’s “Core Services” review has concluded that $1.3 million can be saved if three farm facilities in the parks are shut down. City Council will hear community reactions (on Thursday at 9:30 am in Committee Room 1 in City Hall) and then vote on this issue.
The Farm is an absolutely vital part of our Cabbagetown community. For business people in the BIA, it’s an important draw into the neighbourhood. Daily during the summer, we meet visitors (yesterday it was a family from Manchester England) who want to walk through the area and go to the Farm.
Of course, for residents from Regent Park, Cabbagetown and St Jamestown, the Park and the Farm are part of the fabric of our lives – for picnics, a good gossip with our friends, a ball game and a walk with our dogs.
You can help the Farm and prevent this from happening. Here’s how --
First and very important! If you know someone from outside our community, recruit their help. We need to expand beyond Cabbagetown if we want to succeed.
The Friends of Riverdale farm have set up an emergency Facebook page at!/pages/Riverdale-Farm-Toronto/101628989895157
Anne Pastuszak is part of the group who’ve been working on improvements to the park. She’s collecting a petition to present to City Council next week. You can get a copy of it by email at
You can phone (416-392-7916) or email Councillor Pam McConnell ( . She’s working to save the Farm and she needs your help.
Your own voice is your biggest weapon here. You can email the committee directly ( and your submission then is part of the official record. You can go down to City Hall to make a personal submission on Thursday but you have to register by phoning 416-397-7796.
However you do it – be sure to speak up and help our Farm and our community.

I went over to the Farm at lunch time on Friday and I was amazed. The place is full of little kids from all over the city. They’re having a great time. They mingle with the chickens and they get a good look at all the other animals. Here’s a link to a few photos that I snapped on my trip -

Congratulations Edwin
Last week, we held a special draw to give away a new Tee shirt to one of our Facebook members. The lucky winner (for him and for us) is Edwin Dumont from the House of Dumont Hair Studio (200A Carlton). It would be very hard to find anyone else who can make our Tee look so sophisticated and rakish.
Click on the Facebook logo on this page and join our group for regular news updates and for a chance to be part of future draws and prizes.

Best wishes to Elie
After a distinguished 32-year career as a chef and restauranteur, Elie has sold his business on Amelia Street. He’ll continue to be part of our neighbourhood as the building’s owner. Provence Delices is part of Summerlicious and once that’s over, he’ll wind up his affairs. For wine lovers, he’s got a special finishing touch – his cellar will be opened at 30% discounts from today until July 24. For fans of good food and fine cooking, there’s also good news – his cooking classes will continue and he’ll still sell his duck confit and his artisanal charcuterie. Contact him at (416) 924-9901, 12 Amelia St.

Auditions for the Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre
CCDT (509 Parliament) is looking for dancers to perform with Canada’s finest young contemporary dancers. The auditions happen on Sunday July 17 from noon to 2 pm. Dancers must be between 13 and 20 years olf and have at least two years dance experience in both ballet and modern dance. Audition fees are $30. Pre-registration is required either at (416) 924-5657 or through the website at

Summerlicious is in full swing
Two Cabbagetown restaurants are taking part. Call for reservations.
Provence Delices, 12 Amelia, 416-924-9901,
Stonegrill, 51B Winchester, 416-967-6565,

Me To We current events night
Kate Strachan has announced a new monthly series of community discussion nights on current and hot topics. The first is Tuesday July 19 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at 223 Carlton. The topic is post-earthquake Haiti. There’ll be a W5 dopcumentary video followed by discussions with Free the Children’s country director for Haiti. This will be an amazing opportunity to learn from first-hand observations about Haiti’s progress since the earthquake.

JAMCafe has a summer menu
Av Atikian has announced his new summer menu with attractive new lower prices. They’re featuring elk and water buffalo (from Prince Edward County) and they’re already getting a positive response. As Av tells us, the prices but not the quality have been lowered. Watch, as well, for their announcement about their forthcoming 4th anniversary party. For reservations, call 416-921-1255 and visit 195 Carlton.

Good food at Young Thailand
Our secret reviewer, Lila Orbach, came into the office full of praise for the lunch that she had just enjoyed at Young Thailand. Not only was it “very good”, she also found the people “really pleasant” and the room “very comfy and very clean”. Lunch there is only $8.95 – Lila found it a “very good value.” 446 Parliament.

And speaking of good food…
Richard at Gourmet Burger now has scrumptious haddock burger on his menu. As Lisa demonstrates here, it’s covered with beer batter and topped with lemon dill tartar sauce. We also highly recommend that you enjoy your burger inside – the window seats are an amazing place for people watching. 482 Parliament.

Kendall & Co
Kevin at Kendall & Co (541 Parliament, just east on Winchester) is introducing a new line of table linens, placemats and table runners. They’re ideal for outdoor use – UV safe and waterproof fabric. The hand towels and napkins are soft natural linen with accent embroidery. All made locally.

Number 9 at ReverbNation
The studios at Number 9 (222 Gerrard) have been producing lovely music for a while. They’re now part of ReverbNation where you can hear several tunes now and more will be added shortly. Click here:

Have fun this weekend
On Saturday, Central Neighbourhood House (347 Ontario) is hosting A World of Neighbours Festival in Allan Gardens (Sherbourne and Carlton). There’s food, live music, games for kids, and lots more. It’s all free. Noon to 7 pm.
If you want to know more about CNH and about the Festival, you can listen to a short interview on CBC radio:

On Sunday, the CRC’s annual festival, Sunday in the Park, takes place at Lord Dufferin School (350 Parliament, just south of Gerrard). They have a barbeque, games, a riddle, prizes and live entertainment. This is always a fun event and well worth a visit. Noon to 4 pm.

It’s too hot to cook…
And the forecast for next week is “hot and steamy”. (Sounds kinda appealing.) Patty at The Epicure Shop (473 Parliament) recommends her prepared meals and salads. Her fresh fruit salad is selling out. And so is her marinated grilled chicken. So be lazy (and hot and steamy) and let Patty cook up something for you.

Abstract art at Labour of Love
Regina at Labour of Love (242 Carlton) is featuring lovely ceramic jewelry from Kari Lynn Bianchi. Each one is handmade from clay and is truly one of a kind. Her jewelry is made carefully and intuitively, a process that can take over three weeks from start to finish. The result is a piece that’s as unique as the person wearing it. To see more examples, go to

Finishing touches at Carlton and Parliament
This week, we installed two freestanding light poles on the boulevard at Carlton and Parliament. They add a decorative touch and they throw off enough light to add to the safety and comfort of the area at night. One last step will complete the work. We have a bike rack to place along the sidewalk for cyclists’ convenience.

Friday, 8 July 2011

CCDT’s SolarDance

Michael deConnick Smith and Deborah Lundmark have installed 96 solar panels up on the roof above the Theatre at 509 Parliament. Their project, called SolarDance, started up when the first switch was thrown in late June. The power that’s generated is sold to Ontario Power Authority. They hope to earn up to $20,000 a year. This money will be used to fund dance scholarships for up to 20 students from the Cabbagetown and Regent Park neighbourhoods. There’s a great article in the Toronto Star, Our thanks to Michael Crabb for this photo. Their Theatre has been renamed. Formerly the Canadian Children’s Dance Theatre, it’s now called the Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre.

Auditions for the Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre
CCDT (509 Parliament) is looking for dancers to perform with Canada’s finest young contemporary dancers. The auditions happen on Sunday July 17 from noon to 2 pm. Dancers must be between 13 and 20 years old and have at least two years' dance experience in both ballet and modern dance. Audition fees are $30. Pre-registration is required either at (416) 924-5657 or through the website at

Your chance to win
And be the first on your street to own a dazzling new Cabbagetown Tee. Just click on our Facebook logo on the right hand column and then join our Cabbagetown Facebook group. On Monday, we’re selecting one lucky person from the list to win our new Tee Shirt – in either lovely lime green or deep dark chocolate (small, medium, large, XL and even 2XL). For the rest of the world, they’re also available at the bargain basement price of $15. You can order your own at (416) 921-0857 or

Bumble Bees at Kendall & Co
Back by popular demand at Kendall & Co (541 Parliament, just east on Winchester). The French Bumble Bee line of stemware plus new glasses and bowls. These styles are durable and beautiful, microwave and dishwasher safe. They’re ideal for both your home and cottage.

Summerlicious starts today
Toronto’s popular summer food celebration starts on Friday July 8 and runs to Sunday July 24. Two of our restaurants are taking part. Provence Delices (12 Amelia, 416-924-9901) and Stonegrill (51B Winchester, 416-967-6565). You can preview their menus at and at

Welcome David and Young
The convenience store at Carlton and Parliament has long been a Cabbagetown landmark. It now enjoys new owners, a new name and a new fa├žade. David and Young have been here for ten days and they’ve cleaned up the store and given it a fresh new look. Our best wishes to them for a long and enjoyable stay. Cabbagetown Convenience, 491 Parliament.

Wearable art at Labour of Love
Zohar Kfir is an experimental video artist from Montreal. She digitally prints images from her videos and photography onto silk scarves. Each one is a unique piece of wearable art. Come into Labour of Love this weekend to see more of her work. 242 Carlton

Young singers needed
Daniel Eby is recruiting young singers (from 12 to 20 years old) for the Cabbagetown Community Youth Choir. Participants will have weekly voice lessons and a weekly choir rehearsal. There will also be vocal training for both soloists and choristers. Subsidized lesson fees are available. This is a proud part of the cultural outreach of the Cabbagetown Community Arts Centre (422 Parliament).

Jewelry insurance at FTJCo
Ryan is developing insurance coverage specifically for your jewelry. Drop in and talk to Carey or Ryan about its advantages. When you use these policies, you’re dealing with jewelry specialists and you know that you’ll be sent back to Fair Trade Jewelry for your repairs and replacements. To make these policies even more appealing, FTJCo is paying the premiums for the first year’s coverage on all engagement and custom made items. Fair Trade Jewelry, 523 Parliament.

Daniel et Daniel’s facelift
The painting and repairs are finished at the Food Shop (248 Carlton). It’s a clean new look that’s captured the familiar charm and still updated the room. It’s worth a visit – and so, of course, are the goodies that they offer.

Anti-virus safety at Unistar
Jeff says that protecting data and cleaning out viruses is a major part of his business at Unistar Computers (517 Parliament). His rescue and maintenance programs start at $75 (and he has a special 15% summer discount). Plus he has security programs starting from $39 and these offer free one-year automatic upgrades. For more info about Unistar and their products, click here:

Falafel chips at The Epicure Shop
Things have calmed down for Patty and the staff at The Epicure Shop (473 Parliament) ever since she wrapped herself in the flag for Canada Day. Now she’s back to falafel chips (a great taste to go with humus) and her dips which are all fat-free, cholestrol-free and low in sodium – about as healthy as it gets.

A weekend of festivals and fun…

A World of Neighbours
Central Neighbourhood House (347 Ontario) celebrates its 100th anniversary with their Festival in Allan Gardens (Sherbourne and Carlton) on Saturday July 16. It runs from noon to 7 pm with music, free food and ice cream, dance performances, family activities and a children’s pavilion. For more info,

Sunday in the Park
Our neighbours from Regent Park are hosting their annual summer festival, Sunday in the Park, next week. They have barbeques, games, riddles, entertainment and a special market place. All of this takes place at Lord Dufferin School (350 Parliament, just south of Gerrard) on Sunday July 10 from noon to 4 pm. Find out more at