November 15 - Serving Cabbagetown & the Downtown East Neighbourhoods

Diwali festivities
To our Tamil neighbours and friends, “Deepavali Habbada Shubhashayagalu”, Happy Diwali to everyone.
This week marks the 2012 beginning of the Hindu and Gujarati new year in India and across the Hindu world.  Called the “festival of lights”, it’s celebrated by lighting candles, lamps and fireworks.  People decorate their homes with small clay lamps, flowers and mango leaves.  Gifts and sweets are exchanged with friends and neighbours.
 
Police safety meeting
Police officers from 51 Division and from HQ staff, along with Pam McConnell, met 150 people from Cabbagetown to talk about Nighisti Semret’s murder and about crime in this community in general.  The meeting had a strange, mixed-up feel.  On the positive side, people learned what the police are doing in the murder investigation – a valuable discussion.  On the other hand, meeting arrangements like the sound system were awkward and much of the program seemed off topic to the audience.
The police have a major project underway to identify and capture the murderer.  To date, 13 detectives have been assigned to work on it under the direction of Detective Sergeant Gary Giroux, a very experienced investigator.
They’re searching for as much information as possible about his route, his appearance and his identity.  Small details can be very helpful.  It is believed that he lives nearby or is very familiar with the area. There is no information about a motive for the attack. If you recognize anything from the videos or from your personal observations, please call D/Sgt Giroux at (416) 808-7387 or (416) 808-7400. Or call Crimestoppers at (416) 222-8477.
 
Neighbourhood events
 
Weesageechak begins to dance – 25th annual festival
For four days, the Aki Theatre in the Daniels Spectrum (585 Dundas) is home to Native Earth as it begins its 30th season with Weesageechak Begins to Dance  – four days of theatre, storytelling and dance.  Performances happen at 8 pm on Thursday and Friday and at 2:30 and 8 pm on Saturday.  Tickets are $15 each or $30 for a festival pass.
Thursday, Nov 15, 8 pm  - UNRELATED (dance)
Friday, Nov 16, 8 pm - ANIMIKIIG / THUNDERING VOICES PROGRAM (Our emerging playwriting program)
Saturday, Nov 17 at 2:30 pm - WHEN THE FISH MET THE TURTLE (storytelling)
Saturday, Nov 17 at 8 pm - HEAT LIGHTNING (theatre)
For details about each event, go to the website.
 
Historic hats
Sunday November 18, 2 to 4 pm, Riverdale Farm Meeting House (Sumach & Winchester). Who better to show off Victorian millinery than our Cabbagetown Regent Park Museum?  It’s a collaboration with the Millinery Museum.  It’ll be an entertaining hour-long fashion parade.   To learn more about the Museum, click here. Tickets are $20 and the income supports the Museum.
 
Impulse 2012
Dancers from all three years in the professional training program at the School of Toronto Dance Theatre (80 Winchester) present works by six choreographers.  This is your chance to see tomorrow’s dance stars today. Tickets are available online and at (416) 967-6887.  Box office opens at 7:15 and program starts at 8 pm, November 29 to December 1 and December 6 to 8.  $19 general admission and $15 students, seniors and CADA.
 
51 Division Christmas toy drive
Residents are asked to donate new, unwrapped toys for 51 Division’s annual Christmas drive.  Your gifts can be left at the police station (51 Parliament).  They’ll be distributed to local families.
 
Cabbagetown Preservation Association
The CPA Meeting happens on Monday, November 26 at 7 pm at St Peter’s Church (188 Carlton).  It’ll be an interesting night.  The winner of the annual Streetscape in Bloom will be announced.  There’ll be a second award to the 2012 Volunteer.  The main speaker is Andrew McCausland, the head of Robert McAusland Ltd.  This is the company whose stained glass has decorated many Cabbagetown homes since 1856.  The CPA website has more details.
 
Cabbagetown Residents Association
The residents’ group covering Don Vale (east of Parliament, north of Gerrard) has just simplified their name.  They’ve dropped the Don Vale portion.  This is an active association with an eye open for neighbourhood issues together with a positive program supporting local activities.  Check out their website.
 
Centre for Social Innovation
The third floor at the Daniels Spectrum (535 Dundas at Sumach) is occupied by the Centre for Social Innovation. They’re a social enterprise creating community workspaces, encouraging new businesses and developing new social services.  They offer more than a place to work. They have three unique rental packages – as a temporary Hot Desk (for as little as $75/month), as a private desk in a variety of configurations (for as low as $400/month) and as a private office (starting at $1,000/month).  This is an ideal way for a small community group and a new business to get a home with phone, web access and meeting facilities.  Find out more at their website.
 
Award winners
 
Congrat’s to Linda Spalding 
Photo: Jeff Nolte
Ms Spalding has just won the 2012 Governor General’s Literary Award for her novel, The Purchase.  This caps a parade of honours and accolades for her work including a nomination for a second major award at the Rogers Writers Trust Fiction Prize.  You can read a summary of the jury’s decision here. 
Congratulations as well to three other Cabbagetown writers who were nominated in various categories for the GG awards – Carol Bishop-Gwyn, A F Moritz and Noah Richler.
Strangely enough, Ms Spalding doesn’t mention Cabbagetown in her prize-winning novel – the impact of this omission on the judges is still unknown.
 
2012 NOW Magazine Readers Poll Awards
NOW Magazine’s 2012 awards have been announced and several local businesses have been listed.
Mill Street Brewery came out ahead as a big winner - two brands are on the best beer lists (Mill Street Organic is #1 and Mill Street Tank House is #2) and the Mill Street Brew Pub is the best microbrewery. 
A couple of winners are no surprise at all – Daniel et Daniel (248 Carlton) has again been picked as Toronto’s best caterer and Stout Irish Pub (221 Carlton) with House on Parliament (454 Parliament) close behind are #1 and #2 choices for best pub food. 
In The Distillery District, Soulpepper was selected as Toronto’s best large theatre and Soma Chocolatemaker (55 Mill St) has been picked as the best chocolate shop.
In Cabbagetown, Fair Trade Jewellery (523 Parliament) earns the best jewellery store category, Christopher House at the Toronto Dance Theatre (80 Winchester) heads the list as the best choreographer and Michael Ondaatje is the finalist as best local author.  Congrat’s everybody!
 
Reviews for Rare Mix
photo Guntar Kravis
The Globe & Mail’s review by Paula Citron and the Toronto Star’s Michael Crabb have both given Rare Mix by Toronto Dance Theatre very high marks.  Although the program ended on November 10, the two reviews are worth noting.
 
Shopping news
 
Cat adoptions this weekend
Cat Busters Animal Rescue will be back at Pet Valu (240 Carlton) on Saturday from 10 am to 3 pm.  This is your chance to adopt a nice little homeless cat and turn a stray into a beloved family member.  All adult cats have been spayed.  There’s a $150 charge to cover the agency’s costs.
 
For a free gift, just say “Doug sent me”
Get a free tote bag with any purchase over $50 from Kendall & Co (227 Carlton). Choose from their supply of fashion totes, lunch totes, insulated totes, picnic totes, wine totes, weekend totes, laundry totes, grocery totes, storage totes and garbage totes. 
The shopping highlight this week is a collection of ceramic jars and vases made to look like big spools of yarn – beautiful, practical and quirky.
 
Nada reopens at UK Tuck Shop
Nada operated the International News franchise at 533 Parliament for several years.  Her arrangements with them ended and she’s remodelled her shop into a Canadian-British outlet.  Drop by to find your favourite English candies, newspapers and other goodies.  She also wants suggestions if you don’t find your favourite line there.  Personally, I’ve suggested that she bring in Marks & Spencer’s cotton underwear – it’s great.
 
Rexall opens Monday
After years when the stores in this strip were empty and then under construction, the end is in sight.  Rexall will open its new store at Winchester and Parliament at 8 am next Monday morning.  They don’t have a big launching event in mind.  Best wishes to everyone on staff for ongoing success.
 
Welcome Paths 2 Vitality
The Ontario Society for Osteopathic Wellness has opened an attractive office and clinic at 439 Parliament.  Osteopathy is a therapy that uses manual contact for diagnosis and treatment, respecting the close relationship between the body, mind and spirit in health and disease.  Nancy Medeiros and her husband Jared Postance are the two on-site osteopaths in the clinic.  Nga, a student at the Canadian Academy of Osteopathy, is working on marketing and is the receptionist.  For more information, visit their website or call (647) 352-5528.
 
mymark is open
The new mymark store (429 Parliament) has opened successfully.  The mymark brand is offering a custom blend of on-trend fashions and home décor at competitive, value driven prices.  Customers from the old TBS at this site will quickly see how much brighter the new store is and the staff from TBS are still here to give you the same friendly, courteous service.  This make-over is our local part of the bigger battle that retailers now face with the entry of new American discount chains into the Canadian market.
 
Eclectisaurus ceiling light
Leslie at Eclectisaurus (249 Gerrard) has an exceptional mid-century ceiling lamp made with heavily textured glass.  It’s designed to be hardwired into the ceiling but can also be attached to a wall.  For details about the lamp and about her other inventory, visit her website.
 
Grey Cup festivities
The game starts at 6 pm on Sunday November 25.  It’s the 100th anniversary for the championship.  Enjoy the annual football blowout at local pubs.  The Ben Wicks (424 Parliament) and Stout Irish Pub (221 Carlton) both have special parties lined up.  As we learn more about other locations, we’ll fill you in.
 
Kingyo in December
The new Kingyo Restaurant at 51B Winchester is well under way.  It’s an Izakaya-style restaurant that established a very successful format in Vancouver.  The old Stonegrill is now being renovated and the room is being transformed.  Koji, the owner, is pleased with progress and looking forward to an early December launch.
 
Margarita’s has closed
Margarita’s Mexican Fiesta (229 Carlton) has closed.  Stan Venecek operated his Cabbagetown landmark for years but his health has slowed him down recently.  At the same time, the building’s owner has been trying to sell the property and was apparently uninterested in offers from other people who wanted to lease Margarita’s. Other restaurant owners look enviously at the location, particularly because of its lovely back patio space – they believe that it could become one of Cabbagetown’s nicest restaurant sites.  It’s rumoured that the property sale has happened.