Thanks Merion and Tina
Simmons Flowers (540 Parliament) is changing hands.  Merion Clement has made arrangements to transfer her company to new owners. Details about the new owners will come soon.  For now, the contact info is the same.  For Merion and Tina, there will be big changes in their lives and for us, there will be a loss.  Their store has been a Cabbagetown landmark for 25 years.  In the 1990’s, Merion served as the Chair at the BIA.  They’ve made countless friends among their customers and neighbours with their strong, practical, friendly outlook.  It was always a pleasure to visit the store – a beautiful oasis in the middle of Parliament Street’s bustle.  We wish them well in the adventures ahead of them.

Our first advertisement
There’s an announcement today in the right-hand column about a house in southern France available for vacation rentals.  It’s our first advertisement.  Ken Caskenette, the homeowner, is a Cabbagetowner.  Over the years, he’s hosted many Cabbagetown residents there and they’ve all remarked on the beauty of his home and its village.  Ken says that the currency conversion rate has made the rental fees for the house amazingly cheap – about $900 Canadian a week.  (A Muskoka cottage renting at that rate is usually called a bunkie!)
For us, his advertisement is important.  We need to put three meals on the table every day and we hope that this is the beginning of the time when our blog becomes self-supporting – hint, hint, hint.

East Oyster Bar
The former Cobourg has changed in the hands of its new neighbours.  On Tuesday, it reopened as East Oyster Bar (533 Parliament).  Simon and Bo have introduced a new seafood menu, new furnishings and a modern, clean look to the interior.  They’re offering different specials each day, based around oysters and seafood platters.  On Wednesday evening, a customer volunteered that the oysters that he ordered were very good and very fresh – nice praise indeed on their second day in business.  They’re open daily from 6:30 to 11:30 pm.   We’ll post contact info here as soon as possible.

More oysters
Stout Irish Pub (221 Carlton) is hosting an oyster bonanza every Friday night at 7 pm, starting August 17.  It celebrates the heavenly flavours of oysters and New Zealand’s Oyster Bay wines.  Erin is offering her oysters at $2.50 each (six for $12). You get a freebie when you order a glass of Oyster Bay wine and four free ones with a bottle.

Yogurty’s Froyo
A new frozen yogurt store has opened at 521 Parliament – just in time to be a welcome retreat from the really hot weather.  The manager, Leo, says that they opened four days ago and they’re very excited by everyone’s reception.  It’s a self-serve place.  Customers select a container, fill it with the flavours that they like, add some toppings and then pay by weight.  It’s quick and fun.  Best wishes to everyone for a long and successful experience on Parliament Street.

Welcome Cabbagetown Carpentry
Johnny Pearl is a well known renovator and carpenter in Cabbagetown – for example, he did the interior work at Kendall & Co on Carlton last Spring.  Now he’s opening his own office here at 251 Gerrard (between Eclectisaurus and Mylk Uncookies).  That strip of stores continues to improve and his office there will really help.  He plans to open on September 1 and when he does, we’ll post his contact info here.  For now, he’s trying to get some work done but he keeps getting interrupted by all his pals.

Get your supplies or go on a diet
St Jamestown Steak & Chops (516 Parliament) is closing for holidays next week.  They’ll be shut from Monday August 6 until the morning of Tuesday August 11.  You can still stock up on Sunday this weekend.  Get your stuff now and don’t be disappointed next week.

Volunteer at Pathways
 Pathways toEducation (411 Parliament) is a truly innovative, highly effective support group for students from high risk neighbourhoods.  When students enter high school, Pathways offers them tutoring and support throughout their education.  They’ve had a dramatic impact on drop-out rates and more importantly, on the students’ sense of self-confidence and achievement.  
Pathways is looking for volunteer tutors who can commit up to 1 to 3 hours a week at Regent Park locations.  Their current priorities are math, science, chemistry and physics. 
If you can contribute your time, please contact Sonia Arana at soniaa@regentparkchc.org  and at (416) 642-1570.

Mexican Palette
Emma Aragon, Kim Benoit, Chan, Francoise Cockburn and Alec Dempster are featured in this exhibition and sale of paintings and prints. Their show celebrates the beauty and mystery of Mexico.  It runs throughout August at Cabinet in the Distillery (10 Trinity St).  Store hours are Tuesday to Saturday 11 am to 6:30 pm and Sunday noon to 5 pm. 

The Showcase Performance
Kids from the Cabbagetown Youth Centre’s Performing Arts Camp stage a Showcase Performance annually.  It’s a celebration of the talents of kids from St Jamestown, Cabbagetown and Regent Park.  This year’s show happens on Thursday August 16 at 7 pm at Rosedale Heights School of the Arts (711 Bloor).  You can buy your tickets ($7 each or $21 for a family of four) at Kendall & Co (227 Carlton) and at the door.  Brenda Brown McNee calls this event “one of the highlights of my year.”

Blair’s Run
The Run is one of the signature events in the Cabbagetown Festival.  The challenge is simple – run, walk, or hop over 2+ km through downtown Cabbagetown.  There are prizes, a free T shirt, breakfast, contests between neighbourhoods and eternal glory for the winners.  This year, the Run happens on Saturday September 8 starting at 8:45 am (for registration) and 9:45 am (for the race).
It’s also a significant fundraising effort for the Cabbagetown Youth Centre.  The fundraising is divided into block-by-block efforts.  A fundraising team asks people on each street for a donation.  Each area is small and manageable so that a door-to-door effort is possible. This year’s target is $50,000.
Volunteers are needed to help with this fundraising.  Block captains for Spruce, Winchester, Berkeley and Ontario are a special priority.  If you can help, please contact Sandy at sriches@rogers.com  

A reminder - Peartree Specials
From now until the end of August, enjoy a $10 discount at Peartree (507 Parliament) when you spend $40 or more on any meal.  A gift coupon has been circulated through the neighbourhood so be sure to save it and present it when you want to take advantage of the offer.  You can see their menus on their website here.

Another reminder -  Musical Instruments
Anne Pastuszak has organized a drive to collect unused musical instruments and it continues to August 31. Get into your attic and under your bed – pull out your old drum kit, flute, trumpet, clarinet, cello and French horn.  Any instrument.  It’ll be sent to the Regent Park School of Music.  Anne has arranged for some help from Long & McQuade who will check over your gift and make sure it’s working properly.  There’s also an opportunity for you to get a tax receipt.  To find out more or to start the ball rolling, email Anne at annepastuszak@rogers.com  She’ll send you a flyer or arrange a pick-up. For information about the program, click here.

A new garden on Aberdeen
Our thanks to Nick Maniatis, Spiros’ son, for the finishing work that he’s doing on the Aberdeen side of the new Starbuck’s building at Aberdeen and Parliament.  Fencing has been built around the storage area and a new garden planted along the street.  With the patio, the garden and Sundara Yoga, the building is now starting to live up to its attractive potential facing the residential areas.

Signs needed at the Green P
There is, however, one big problem at Aberdeen and Parliament.  Drivers leave the Green P lot and turn right on Aberdeen toward Parliament.  But it’s one-way in the other direction.  This week, an experienced Cabbagetown cyclist was hospitalized by a car going in the wrong direction.  After the accident, several people reminisced about similar near misses.  Victoria Hadden has suggested a simple remedy:  put a “No right turn” sign directly opposite the exit from the lot and add left turn directional arrows on the pavement.  These are quick and practical cures and we should relay this suggestion to Councillor McConnell.