October 18 - Serving Cabbagetown & the downtown east area

Happening this week …
The Absolutely Vintage Sale
The sale features carefully selected men and women’s clothing from the 1890s to the 1970s plus antique jewellery, ephemera, accessories and textiles.  Eclectisaurus (249 Gerrard) is again joining her friends Angela McCool and Gadabout on Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm at Maple Cottage (62 Laing St, south off Queen, east of Leslie).  Don’t miss it.  See more details at Eclectisaurus’ website.
Robert Hawke’s book signing
Pet Valu (240 Carlton) is hosting a book signing over the weekend with Robert Hawke.  His new book, Vampire Dogs, the Rise of Thrasher, is based in Cabbagetown (of course, where else?) and it’s a comedy-horror story featuring Thrasher’s battles with vampires, squirrels and the other horrors that humans don’t see.  Meet the author, buy a book and get it signed – Saturday and Sunday from 11 am to 3 pm.  Find out more here.
Whiskey Jack
Duncan Fremlin and his pals in Whiskey Jack are playing at the Silver Dollar (486 Spadina, just north of College) on Saturday.  Starting at 7 pm, they’re joined by an amazing group of musicians – Randy Morrison (two-time Fiddle Player of the Year from the Canadian Bluegrass Association), and Douglas John Cameron with Juno award winner Danny Greenspoon. Whiskey Jack is one of the most celebrated roots country, bluegrass bands in Canadian music.
Fall Tree Tour in the Necropolis
Arborist Jack Radecki is guiding a walk through the Necropolis to explore its collection of trees and to discuss the care that’s needed for them.  He’ll also look at problems caused by climate change and by pests like the emerald borer and fire blight.  Meet at the cemetery office (Winchester Street east of Sumach) for 11 am, Sunday.  Free.
St Jamestown artists
Wednesday October 24, 7 pm - Community Matters Toronto is hosting three evening talks by artists who live and work in St James Town. Artist and educator Paul Byron is the first speaker. He plans to talk about the way his art has grown and the influences on him that brought changes into his work. His focus is local, based on his experiences in St James Town.  Community Matters Toronto office, Suite 102 - 260 Wellesley St E (buzz 8605).
Another wine tasting at JAMcafe
Twenty five wines – all rare Italian varietals. Served with complimentary hors d’oeuvres.  Thursday October 25, 6 to 9:30 pm.  Save the date – details will follow soon on JAM’s website.  $40 per person. 195 Carlton
Congrat’s to Av – JAM’s Australian wine tasting on Thursday October 18 is a “sold out” event.
In the news …
XL Foods
Carol Culhane at International Food Focus www.foodfocus.on.ca has followed up on our story about St Jamestown Steak & Chops (516 Parliament) - you may remember that Mark buys his beef from PEI’s Atlantic Signature Beef and has not been affected by the problems at XL.  Carol sent along a bulletin from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency about the retail locations where XL products are sold.  They include three major local retailers, No Frills, Valu Mart and Sobeys and you should ask the store staff about any of your favourite products that might be listed.
Welcome … It’s Jenny
The lovely café at 253 Gerrard is now being operated by Jenny Kim and her family.  They’re introducing new menu ideas and testing our reactions to find the ones that we favour.  Last Tuesday, for example, the specials included “taste of Toscana” – bocconcini and tomato on a multigrain baguette with a pesto spread - or a Greek pita with a grilled chicken breast, red onion, feta and kalamata olives. Both items at $5.99 each.  There was also a Swiss cheese sandwich on multigrain with fresh veggies or a baby arugula and mango salad with pine nuts and balsamic orange dressing. 
Wow – those are really nice tests!  Our research team who scouted out the place also had a peanut butter cookie and reported that it’s out of this world.  Check out the catering menus as well.
Catering at Merryberry
Cyril has started up Merryberry’s Fall catering and party schedules.  This week, he’s handling four events at George Brown College for groups ranging from 20 to 50 people.  He’s also booked a private party on site at Merryberry. He’s happy to discuss your event ideas with you – he’s got a wide menu and he can offer either catering in your home or a private booking in the café.  You can see the menu and contact info on his website.  559 Parliament
Construction at Gerrard and River Street
There’s a major construction project underway as the City of Toronto builds new east-west watermains between River Street and Spadina.  Most of the work is done by tunneling.  Part of the work will include surface construction for the next eight months on River just north of Gerrard (where earlier work was done last Spring). There will be lane and turning restrictions south of the Spruce Street exit at the Gerrard intersection.  For details, click here.
Hallowe’en is coming …
Carve a pumpkin at the HOP
The House on Parliament (454 Parliament) invites everyone to a pumpkin carving on Thursday October 25 from 3 pm.  Bring your kids.  Enjoy some yummy munchies and a pleasant adult beverage.
Stout’s Hallowe’en party
Spin the wheel of misfortune.  Play the games.  Win a prize for your costume.  All the Great Lakes beer brands at $5.  It all happens at StoutIrish Pub (221 Carlton) on Saturday October 27 from 8 pm.  Tickets are $10.
Cabbagetown South
You can carve a pumpkin to get ready for the big night and then stroll the neighbourhood to see all the lanterns.  Everyone is invited to put their masterpiece creations on the porch for the neighbours’ enjoyment.  The one that’s judged to be the best will become next year’s inspiration.  Both events are being organized by the Cabbagetown South Association.
The pumpkin carving happens on Sunday October 28 from 1 to 4 pm at 204 Seaton Street.  It’s a fun family event with carving, crafts, games, loot bags and more.  Please register so they know how many pumpkins to order.  $5 per carver to cover the cost of the pumpkins.
Boo Barn at Riverdale Farm
Here’s a Hallowe’en treat for kids ages 3 to 10.  It includes a haunted barn, a pumpkin patch and a chance to buy and carve your own pumpkin right on the spot.  Wear a costume to make it even better.  Saturday October 27 and Sunday October 28, 9:30 am to 3:30 pm.  Bring a non-perishable food gift for a food bank donation.
Last thoughts …
Congrat’s to the HOP
blogTO has just published its “Best gastropubs” list and House on Parliament (454 Parliament) is one of their top ten choices.  There’s a good review here. This carries on the long list of  favourable reviews that have accumulated over the years for the HOP.  Congrat’s to everyone for these continued successes.  The HOP is on Facebook and their site is easy to read and enjoyable.
The original Regent Park
There’s a great exchange on blogto about the original Regent Park development. 
Today, after decades of neglect, we think of the area as derelict and badly in need of demolition.  The current renewal is welcome.  But when Regent Park opened in the 1940s and 1950s, it was greeted with enthusiasm by its new residents. 
Agatha Barc wrote her essay about this in November 2010. Remarkably, it’s still collecting comments, mainly from people whose families left despairing and rundown houses to move into these new apartments.
In those days, Regent Park was Cabbagetown and Don Vale north of Gerrard was the area that many residents were escaping.  The comments give wonderful colour to the history of our neighbourhood.