Friday, 27 January 2012

A word of caution…

To anyone who’s addicted to coffee bean gambling – Patty’s running Epicure’s annual bean weighing contest again. From now to February 3, you can buy a bag of beans, weigh it and win a second one free! All you have to do is fill your original bag to exactly one pound (454 grams). Many have won in years past (including your humble blog writer). The adrenalin rush is incredible. If you don’t know where her store is located, look for the Casino Rama buses parked outside. She also has homemade gluten-free cookies back in stock. They’re also addictive. 473 Parliament.

Happy birthdays are happening …

Monday, January 30 – Stout Irish Pub
On Monday, January 30th Erin and the staff at Stout Irish Pub (221 Carlton) are celebrating Stout’s first birthday. The party happens from 5 to 8 pm. Admission is free. There’ll be tastings of Auchentoshen and Bowmore single malt Scotch whiskey and Jameson Irish whiskey and lots of lovely food from Chef Amanda. Please leave the car at home. Please RSVP at 647-344-7676 or email at - there’ll be a very full house.

Sunday, February 5 - Hair Lift
Kiki will be celebrating her 40th anniversary on Parliament Street from 2 to 5 pm on Sunday, February 5th. Save the date and drop in to Hair Lift (503B Parliament) for a bite of wine and cheese. While you’re there, ask about her new service with hair extensions.

Congratulations Leslie
In Toronto Magazine has just published a glowing review of Eclectisaurus, Leslie Zysman’s store at 249 Gerrard. They’ve described it as a “small but perfectly curated selection of art and objets with just the right amount of eccentricity”. It’s a good story about a lovely store. Check it out here:

Number 9 welcomes Michael Ignatieff
George says “It was a pleasure to welcome the Honourable Michael Ignatieff in our recording studio recently. Mr. Ignatieff was working on a voice recording for a video presentation to the Liberal Party of Canada. Quite an intellectual and very personable man. A great supporter of music, the arts and education. Currently he’s a highly respected professor at Toronto’s U of T. Number 9 Audio Group is honoured to have had him in our studios.” 222 Gerrard

Early warning about the Super Bowl
We already know that Stout Irish Pub (221 Carlton), The Ben Wicks (424 Parliament) and the Winchester Kitchen & Bar (51A Winchester) have big screen TV’s and they’re holding Super Bowl parties. The game starts at 6:30 pm next Sunday February 5.

Stout has a pre-game Tailgate Party at 4 pm with ball park franks, chili cheese fries and sloppy joes – all washed down with pints and jugs of Creemore or Trailhead Lager.

At The Ben Wicks, they’re showing the pre-game and the game on two large screens. There’ll be chili and wings and surprise giveaway prizes at half-time.

The Winchester Kitchen & Bar has beer specials, a game pool and the menu includes chicken wings, chili and sliders, all starting at 5 pm.

Kendall & Co
Over the past weeks, Kendall & Co (541 Parliament St on Winchester) have introduced their new window draperies and their custom furniture program to make our homes warm and cozy. For a punch of colour and personal style, their custom monogram pillow is a fantastic accent to any space. Locally made in an array of colours and patterns. Down filled for extra softness to relax after a long day at work. Makes a delightful gift.

Valentine cards at Labour of Love
Ever since she opened her doors, Regina has turned Labour of Love (242 Carlton) into Cabbagetown’s headquarters for seasonal greeting cards. She’s at it again – she has a selec­tion of fab­u­lously quirky Valentine’s Day cards for you. You’ll have no trouble finding one that says exactly what you want to say whether it be raunchy, roman­tic, or both.

MJG Gallery
The Landscapes show continues until the end of January at MJG Gallery (555 Parliament). Mark is featuring forty works by various artists grouped around the landscape theme. This week, he’s highlighting Bev Jenkins’ painting “Red Bridge”, oil on canvass, 40” by 30”. The show runs Wednesday to Sunday, 11 am to 6 pm.

Music at The Underdown Pub
The Underdown (255 Gerrard at Berkeley) has a truly remarkable music schedule. They present a different group daily along with regular features like Open Mic with Porter at 9:30 pm on Sundays and Smart Ass Trivia at 8 pm on Wednesdays. You can keep up with this by checking their website at On Friday January 27, it’s Kevin Myles Wilson from 10 pm. On Saturday it’s Eejay with One King at 9:30 pm. On Tuesday Eric Underdown and Noah Jones are on at 9 pm. On Wednesday, the Dave and Levi Trio appear at 10 pm, and next Thursday, it’s Jeff Barnes and Noah Zacharin at 9 pm.

The Flying Beaver
Maggie and Heather are also very busy with their highly successful pubaret programs. On Wednesday, they’re hosting a free poker tournament sponsored by the Toronto Poker League (no cover, win prizes.) The Star TV Reunion Party is at 7 pm on Thursday followed by Momo’s weekly karaoke at 9 pm. The Psychic brunch happens on Sunday morning at 11 am.
This week’s special appearances include the Karen Williams comedy benefit for “The Healing Place” on Friday at 7 pm ($20 advance/$25 at the door) followed by Sheri’s Party at 9 pm. On Saturday, Jim and Rosemary Galloway with Reg Schwager present an evening of incredible jazz at 7:30 pm ($15 advance/$20 door) and they’re followed by the Slinky Dance Party at 9 pm. On Sunday, the McComedy Show with Shannon McDonough and Michael McLean is at 7:30 pm ($10/advance/$15 door).
Dinner is available before, during and after the shows. Reservations are appreciated - 647.347.6567. You find all the details at

The Winchester Kitchen and Bar
Anesti at the Winchester Kitchen & Bar (51A Winchester) also has regular entertainment. Reviews by our friends in Cabbagetown are always very positive. On Saturday from 10 pm, it’s the Soul Motivators – an eight piece group offering R&B, soul and funk. Check their Facebook page and hear several tracks: Next Friday, the Creekside Strays appear at 10 pm

Swimming at Jarvis CI
Community Matters Toronto is a group of St. James Town neighbours who are contributing to a strong neighbourhood culture by building relationships, linking people to others with common interests and fostering exchanges of knowledge and skills. Recently they spearheaded a successful effort to save the swimming pool at Jarvis Collegiate. For more info about Community Matters Toronto, click on
They’re offering swimming lessons throughout the next ten weeks in the Jarvis pool. Children’s lessons happen on Thursdays from 5 to 7 pm and Saturdays from 1 –2 pm, women-only swim on Thursday from 7 to 9 pm and a family swim on Saturdays from 2 - 4 pm. They use first class instructors and the kids learn competitive swimming and leadership skills. For more information, call (416) 944-9697.

A two-year dream comes true
The Toronto Kiwanis Boys & Girls Club (Sumach and Spruce) officially reopened on Thursday after a two-year renovation program. We’ll get photos and a story for you for next week. An early report from CTV is available at the link below.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Good progress toward restoration
456 to 460 Parliament is the site of the old House on Parliament. It was damaged by a fire in the Fall of 2010. Since that time, the owners have been repairing it and preparing for new occupants. They’re planning to reopen the restaurants and the patio in the lower level with small retail above that. The top two floors will be residential. Although the site is still in rough shape, it’s available now for prospective tenants who want to customize its end use. Hilary Browning and Nick Humphries at HomeLife/Realty One (501 Parliament) have detailed plans and they’re handling the rentals. You can contact them at 416-922-5533.

Meet Irish people
On Friday from 5:30 to closing, there’s an Irish Meet-up Party at Stout (221 Carlton). Whether you’re new and Irish or old and Irish or Irish-Canadian or just wish you’re Irish, then come to Stout Irish Pub for a monthly Meet-up Party. If you don’t make it this week, ask Erin for details. Free admission.
Don’t forget that Tuesday is Pub Stumpers Trivia Night from 7:30 pm sharp. And Sunday from 5 pm is prime rib night - prime rib dinner, a loaded baked potato, seasonal veggies, Yorkshire pudding and home-made gravy, all for $19. Listed by NOW Magazine as one of Toronto’s top-20 beer bars.

Almond twists and challal at Absolute
Raj has been baking lots of his featured almond twists. He uses his own recipe with raspberry jam, almond powder and cinnamon. Very popular. He’s also got lots on challah on hand – we had some lately as a toasty bottom on some chicken a la king. Highly recommended. Absolute Bakery, 589 Parliament.

The Underdown’s schedule for this week
The Underdown Pub (263 Gerrard at Berkeley) welcomes Kevin Myles Wilson on Friday (10 pm). On Saturday, it’s the Whitney Rose Band (10 pm) and on Sunday, Open Mic with Porter (9:30 pm.) On Tuesday, Eric Underdown and Noah Jones sing their folk, bluegrass, rock and acoustics from 9 pm. Wednesday has Smart Asss Trivia from 8 to 10 pm, followed by Rita’s Parlour at 10 pm. On Thursday, it’s Jeff Barnes and Noah Zacharin at 9 pm.

Viva Mexico
Omar and Brissett recently opened their cozy little Mexican restaurant at 568 Parliament. The specials are listed on the blackboards along with a bigger list on the regular menu. The prices are very reasonable, brunch costs $7.50 and the entrees range from $9.50 to $13.50. A great spot for both lunch and takeout service. They’re open from noon to 10 pm.

One-stop shipping centre
Hi-Tech Seven Plus (453 Parliament) is now offering Purolator and UPS shipping. They’ve added these services to their DHL and FedEx accounts. They can now reach out right across the world for you and give you all of these convenient shipping choices. While you’re there, ask Nural about servicing for your computer or about new equipment for either your home or business.

Labour of Love
Even though Regina is busy now in the Orient, she’s still managed to feature lovely new jewellery and get a prominent mention in NOW magazine. As she says, the Nebula necklace ($96) by Toronto’s Biko looks a lot more expensive than it really is but “there’s no need to let anyone in on that secret!” To read more, check NOW’s site at Labour of Love, 242 Carlton,

Kendall & Co
Kendall & Co (541 Parliament on Winchester) is introducing a custom upholstered furniture program. Choose from their collections of sofas, love seats, sectionals, chaises, ottomans, arm chairs, dining chairs, bar stools and headboards - locally made with years of professional quality. From contemporary to traditional fabrics and finishings. See some sample designs on their website

A reminder – the Landscapes show at MJG
Mark at MJG Gallery (555 Parliament) is continuing the Landscape show until the end of the month. It features works by twelve artists including Mark’s framed photograph, “Alone”. The gallery is open Wednesday to Sunday from 11 am to 6 pm.

A busy weekend at The Flying Beaver
On Friday, Maggie and Heather have two visiting shows. On Saturday, there are three shows. On Friday, Jessica Kirson appears at 7 pm and Carla Collins at 9 pm. Tickets for both are $20/advance and $25 at the door. On Saturday, Jessica (7 pm) and Carla (9 pm) are back and they’re followed at 10:30 pm by Kendall Partingdon, no cover. Sundays are now time for the FB’s new Boardgame Brunch at 11 am. In the evening, Chris Tsujiuchi is on stage at 8 pm, $10. As always, dinner is available during and after these shows. For lots more information, check it all out the Beav’s website at

There’s musical history at Number 9
The guys at Number 9 were thinking about their customers recently. They realized that their mikes have been used by 50 Cents, Joni Mitchell, Usher and The Bare Naked Ladies. John McDermott and Holly Cole have been there. And this is the anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti. Number 9 produced their CD, World Jazz for Haiti and donated the proceeds to the Canadian Red Cross for their relief work. 89 musicians, dozens of staff and media all contributed to these 23 songs. 222 Gerrard East.

Parliament Street News
Pete has published (and delivered) several editions of his new newspaper and it’s an encouraging success. He’s focused on the people, neighbourhoods and businesses lining Parliament north from the lake. He’s put out a request for articles, photos and advertising for his next edition. He’d appreciate stories that are 150 to 200 words and a couple of photos to go with them. Contact him at and check his web site at

Mnemonic Theatre at the Winchester Theatre
Mnemonic Theatre presents Patrick Marber’s Closer at the Winchester Theatre (80 Winchester). Dan loves Alice and he also loves Anna. But Anna’s married to Larry who has cheated on her with Alice. It’s complicated. Wednesday February 1 to Saturday February 4 (8pm Wednesday to Friday and 2 pm and 8 pm on Saturday.) Tickets are $20 advance and $25 at the door. For a quick preview, click here:

Friday, 13 January 2012

Thanks Paul & Robert
Last Wednesday, Paul Dineen retired as the BIA Chair. He’s served for twenty years in that job and this is the end of a very fruitful period in Cabbagetown’s history. Over the past year, he’s asked the Board to find a willing volunteer to take his place.
Along with him, Robert McEnirney resigned as the BIA’s treasurer. Robert had handled that job for almost ten years.
When Paul came into the chair, Cabbagetown was a very different place. Parliament Street was widely known for its rough and tumble character. The Festival was a much smaller annual event. The business area was very local, focused on the surrounding neighbourhood. Today, it’s become much safer, more open to new retail trends and well known across Toronto. Paul played a big part in these improvements and led the BIA to become a dynamic organization in Cabbagetown.
Robert proved to be a very astute money manager. During his time as treasurer, we’ve seen a lot of pressure on our budgets, we’ve brought in landscaping and decorating features for the street, and we’ve paid ever higher fees to the City for the Festival. Despite that, the BIA fees paid by local businesses are virtually the same today as they were in 2002 and the BIA has a healthy surplus in the bank.
Paul will continue to represent us at TABIA. He’s on our Board as an ex-officio member in the newly created role as immediate Past Chairman. Robert will stay as a Board member and a member of the finance committee.
Both men worked very hard to build Cabbagetown. Their contributions have shaped the vibrant, pleasant business area that we now enjoy. We owe each of them our heartfelt thanks.

Welcome Frank and Michael
Our new Chair and Treasurer are familiar faces.
Frank Bernardo Ciddio is our new Chair. He’s well known locally as the first manager at the Stonegrill and after that as part of the management team at the Winchester. His background in the food industry connects him with an important part of the BIA business community. His knowledge of building management, heritage issues and construction will help us as we continue our streetscape improvements.
Michael Haddad is a well-established local lawyer. His practice is located in a beautifully renovated heritage building across from the gas station. He’s well equipped to be our new Treasurer. For the past five years on the BIA Board, he’s been a part of the finance committee that has watched our spending and set new budgets.

Congrat’s Tonya
Tonya Lee Williams will be honoured on January 28 with the Dr Martin Luther King Achievement Award by the Black Theatre Workshop for her significant contribution to the development of Black performing arts. She founded the Reel World Film Festival (438 Parliament) in 2001. Her achievements as an artist have been considerable – two Emmy nominations, winner of two NAACP Image Awards, an ACTRA Award of Excellence, a Harry Jerome Award, an African Canadian Achievement Award, and a Planet Africa award. Find out more about her impressive career as an actress at

MJG Gallery
The Landscape show continues at MJG Gallery (555 Parliament). It includes over forty pieces by various painters including this week’s feature, Alone, by Mark Gleberzon. Wednesday to Sunday, 11 am to 6 pm.

Don’t forget that reservations are now available for Winterlicious. Two Cabbagetown favourites are taking part – JAMCafĂ© (195 Carlton, 416-921-1255) has a three course prix fixe dinner for $25. And Stonegrill (51B Winchester, 416-967-6565) is offering a three course dinner at $35. Winterlicious runs from January 28 to February 10.
You can find all the details at
Toronto Life magazine just listed JAMCafe as one of the top ten midtown selections for this year’s Winterlicious.

Kendall & Co
Kendall’s new custom drapery program will make your home nice and warm. New colours in a variety of fabrics are now available. Curtains are well-known for being all-season energy savers. By keeping your curtains closed on cloudy, wintry days, you block the cold outside air from entering and on summery days, you keep the hot air out! Check out all your new options in person at Kendall & Co or preview just a selection online In addition to our custom draperies, ask us about our custom upholstery furniture line and custom pillows. 541 Parliament St on Winchester.

Epicure has cheese
Patty reports that La Sauvagine is back in stock. It’s a creamy cow’s milk oval with a complex, earthy, rustic taste. It’s a #1 seller in Quebec. Patty has it on sale this weekend at $3.99/100 grams. Also back in stock are her favourite veggie samosas. Epicure Shop (473 Parliament)

Save this date
Kiki will be celebrating her 40th anniversary on Parliament Street from 2 to 5 pm on Friday, February 5th. Save the date and drop in to Hairlift (503B Parliament) for a bit of wine and cheese.

Elie is back
After a finishing his business career as an active restauranteur, Elie Benchitrit is back in action. His cooking classes have resumed. Those of us who remember him from Provence Delices will be happy to know that we can join him for his popular lessons from Mondays to Wednesdays from 6:00 to 9:30 pm. For details and contact info, click here:

Save a penny
UforChange are holding a penny drive. Donate your pennies and help to educate and inspire young people to be creative and build better futures. They work with youth aged 16 to 29 through an arts-based program of experiential and intercultural learning. Drop your pennies at 517 Parliament, second floor.

Check out this video
Here’s a great escape from today’s snow and slush. The kids at UforChange (517 Parliament) made a video about street performances at the Cabbagetown Festival. Check it out:

The Globe and mail recently ran a lengthy article about the impact of young people who volunteer and try to make a difference in their worlds. It was a revealing picture of their idealism and energy. Many of the people covered by the story are involved with projects associated with Me to We and Free the Children. Check out the story here:

RBC and Dixon Hall
Jasmina, the Manager at the Regent Park RBC Branch (480 Dundas), is joining with the Dixon Hall Employment Services Centre to host a small business advice and networking event. It happens on Thursday January 19 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Dixon Hall offers complete human resources solutions for small business. You’re invited to learn how RBC and Dixon Hall can help your business. Please rsvp to 489 Queen St E, Suite 300.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Congrat’s F’Amelia
In her year-end review, Globe & Mail food critic Joanne Kates has listed F’Amelia (12 Amelia) as one of Toronto’s top restaurants of 2011. On Friday December 30, she wrote about F’Amelia’s menu “…impeccable Italiana and charming charcuterie. There are gnocchi like pillows, and tagliolini with perfectly cooked sweet soft clams and mussels in deep, rich garlic-and-chili oil. Rosemary and Parmigiano scent smooth polenta with soft, rich osso bucco. And the pizza! Blasted in the Neapolitan pizza oven for 90 seconds, it comes out crisp and charred, with superb toppings. My personal favourite topping is cold fiore di latte with cold cherry tomatoes covered with a trail of freshly made emerald pesto.” Congrat’s to John, Todd and the staff.

Time to find new inspiration
Regina had a very busy time over the holiday season. Now, she and Sara, Drea and Michelle are going to take it easy for a while. They’re spending fewer hours in the store and more time discovering new products, designers and inspiration for the months ahead. Their new opening hours are Monday to Wednesday 11 am to 6 pm, Thursday and Friday, 11 am to 7 pm, Saturday 10 am to 6 pm and Sunday noon to 5 pm. Keep up with all of her new announcements at Labour of Love, 242 Carlton.

MJG Gallery
Mark at MJG Gallery is exhibiting several artists' work, including Cabbagetowner Bev Jenkin's "Poppy Field" through the month of January. It's part of the gallery’s "Landscapes" show. Various medium and inviting price-points! Wednesday to Sunday 11 am to 6 pm. Follow on Facebook under "MJG Gallery". 555 Parliament.

Winterlicious is back
One of Toronto’s most popular food events happens again from January 27 to February 9. It’s a good idea to book early. Reservations are accepted from January 12 (and from January 10 for Amex card members.) All meals are three-course, prix fixe. Two of Cabbagetown’s favourites are taking part:
JAMCafe (195 Carlton, 416-921-1255) has dinner only at $25. Menu at
Stonegrill (51B Winchester, 416-967-6565) offers dinner at $35. Menu at

Ami at Jet Fuel
Jet Fuel is a Toronto landmark and for many people, it’s a Cabbagetown destination. Ami Spears has been working there for 4 ½ years and she’s been the subject of a blogTO interview. It’s a great look at the way a very busy shop operates and how they keep the loyalty of the people who drop in. 519 Parliament

Street improvements
Over the summer, an increasing number of businesses and residents contributed to the improvement of Parliament Street. This trend is continuing into the winter and the people doing this work deserve our thanks for their efforts.
Barracuda (527 Parliament) has placed two big fresh winter plantings outside the front door.
Daniel et Daniel (248 Carlton) always has plants and seasonal decorations beside the doorway.
House on Parliament (454 Parliament) has decorated the front edge of the patio.
Peartree (507 Parliament) has continued its great summer splash with lovely winter window boxes.

Cabbagetown People
Most of us recognize the oval blue signs in front of many Cabbagetown homes. They indicate that a person of considerable interest once lived there. The signs are part of a bigger program to research and inform us about our past. As they show, Cabbagetown is much more than just a collection of beautiful heritage buildings. We’ve shared our community in the past with astronomers, soldiers, artists, teachers, social acivists and a host of other notable people. A new directory board has just been placed in Riverdale Park (Winchester & Sumach) to tell you who is part of the program and where they lived. For lots more information, visit

Cabbagetown South Association
The 2012 annual meeting for the Association happens on Wednesday, January 11 at 7 pm at the Ontario Restaurant (Dundas Street between Ontario and Milan.) The main purpose for the meeting is to elect the 2012 Board of Directors. Residents in Cabbagetown South are asked to consider sitting on the Board and also to think about smaller roles that they can play to help the Association’s 2012 projects. For more information about the Association, check out their website at

Gretchen and Peter fly our flag in Rome

We haven’t done one of these lovely photos for a while. Thanks to Peter and Gretchen for this great display at the Coliseum in Rome. And it’s also nice to see that Romans love their heritage sites just as much as we do