Serving Cabbagetown, Corktown, The Distillery, Regent Park and St James Town

Free dance classes at The Citadel
Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie at the Citadel (304 Parliament) is offering free dance classes for young people ages 10 to 18.  They start on January 25 and continue to the end of the school year in June.  Three different courses are offered – contemporary dance (Mondays), ballet (Wednesdays) and hip hop (Fridays) – all from 4:30 to 5:30 pm.  Support for the classes has been provided by the Toronto Community Foundation. Register on the phone at (416) 364-8011.  Drop-ins are welcome.

Welcome Rev Jeanette Lewis
St Peter’s Anglican Church (188 Carlton) is a well-known local landmark with a long and distinguished history. In the mid-nineteenth century, it was a local stop for the Underground Railway while also bringing in some of Toronto’s richest families as members.  Today, its diverse congregation is typical of our community and it’s home to a variety of neighbourhood agencies and services as well as the Anglican congregation.  Its sanctuary building has had a heritage designation since the 1970s.
Jeanette Lewis is the new priest there now.  She’s served in parishes across remote northern Ontario.  In Geraldton where she worked for two years one outpost could only be reached by airplane or snowmobile.  She moved to South Porcupine for another six years.  She regularly took a three-hour train ride to reach one small church and when she returned home, she had to flag down the train with a flashlight in the middle of the night.  After that, she spent nine years in Bobcaygeon.  She can now reach St Peters by streetcar – a big change for her.
St Peters is in the middle of a major reassessment and change.  Rumours abound that it will be closed.  Jeanette says that her Bishop has given her this assignment specifically to kick-start the parish.  She faces big challenges here to rebuild the congregation, attract new members and draw in new resources.

Congrat’s to Carol Bishop-Gwyn
For the second time this year, Carol Bishop-Gwyn has been nominated for a major literary prize.  This time, it’s for the Charles Taylor Prize for her book The Pursuit of Perfection: A Life of Celia Franca.  The award will be announced on Monday March 4.  “The prize will be awarded to the author whose book best combines a superb command of the English language, an elegance of style, and a subtlety of thought and perception.” You can read about the award, the five nominees and past winners here .

Trees for our Cabbagetown canopy
The Cabbagetown Residents Association works in the Don Vale neighbourhood.  They’ve established a tree committee to promote planting and replacements for trees throughout the area.  (They’ll be happy to help people living outside their neighbourhood as well.)
The committee will help householders with a City of Toronto program to plant a free tree on the City’s street allowance in front of each home.  The City has a list of thirty different species and the committee is recommending eleven of them.
Recent experiences here with high winds and even Hurricane Sandy have shown how fragile our older trees have become.  This problem will increase as the canopy ages.
The forms needed to apply along with a list of handy steps to nourish your new tree are available here.

Ontario Liberal Party leadership
The opening round of voting for the leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party happened last weekend.  Rank and file members voted for delegates to represent each riding at the convention.  They were given the choice to elect delegates committed to a specific candidate or independent delegates.  Our riding, Toronto Centre, saw a surge of new members who wanted to be a part of this process and informal estimates are that turnout at the delegate meeting was very high.
Our local man, Glen Murray, participated in the leadership race but dropped out just before the voting. He endorses Kathleen Wynne. His campaign was praised for his lively ideas and strong performance in the debates.
In Toronto Centre, Kathleen Wynne won the majority of delegate slots with Sandra Pupatello second followed by Gerard Kennedy, Eric Hoskins and an independent.  Charles Sousa and Harinder Takhar were shut out.  These delegates are committed to these candidates for the first ballot at the convention.
The convention happens at Maple Leaf Gardens on the weekend of January 25 to January 27.


Pear Tree’s customer appreciation
Ilongo and Asokan at Pear Tree (507 Parliament) have declared January and February to be their customer appreciation months.  They’re preparing special menus and holding a weekly draw for free meals.
Three prizes will be drawn every week -  brunch for two, lunch for two and dinner for two.  If you’re interested, just ask at the restaurant on your next visit for details.
They’ve also announced three special menu items.  New York strip loin steak with a lobster tail for $18.99.  Cajun chicken for $15.99.  Baked fillet of rainbow trout for $16.99.  Each entrée is cooked and spiced to your taste, served with fresh vegetables and potatoes or rice.
While you’re there, fill in their request form with your email address.  They’ll send you occasional announcements about upcoming specials.  They’ll also pass your name along to us to be added to the Cabbagetown Neighbourhood Review email list.

Saturday brunch at Merryberry
Cyril has added Saturday brunch to his schedule.  In addition to his other egg dishes which include build-your-own-omelets, he’s featuring huevos rancheros this month.  The regular Sunday brunch continues.
Throughout January, his dinner specials are all black-and-white.  Two course dinner for $25 and three courses for $30.  For times and details, click here.  Merryberry Café & Bistro (559 Parliament)

Our small café project
KiBo (533 Parliament) has set up in a familiar location – the former home of the Cobourg.  And like the Cobourg before them, they’ve put their own individual stamp on this small space.  There’s a big model boat, orchids in the front window, good music, comfortable seating and red table cloths throughout.  It’s a winner.
Three of us had lunch there last week.  Lots of good food, no alcohol.  We ordered from the regular menu rather than taking advantage of the extensive (and cheaper) lunch menu.  We started with miso soup and then went to a six-piece appetizer plate and sushi pizza.  A rainbow dragon was our entrée.
Two of us are well versed in good sushi and they declared the meal a success. Our bill after tip and tax was $50 for all of us.
Our lunch experience was interesting.  By 12:15 pm, the place had filled up with young people from Free the Children and from the dance studios.  They gave the room a lively, talkative and friendly atmosphere.  A steady stream of customers came for KiBo’s takeout service, located right at the front door (prepared meals priced from $5).  We stayed until 2:30 pm. The staff kept delivering more tea and made us feel welcome and relaxed throughout.
Good lunch, great room.  A successful visit.

Paint Box Bistro entertainment
The Paint Box (555 Dundas E) has a new jazz series launching on Saturday at 8 pm with the 80th birthday celebrations for jazz pioneer Archie Alleyne.  He’ll be on drums with Stacie McGregor on piano and Artie Roth on bass. Come for dinner plus the performance – tickets for both are $40.  Tickets for the performance only are $15.  Reservations are  good idea at (647) 748-0555.  For more details, click here.
The Paint Box Premium Comedy Series comes next on Saturday January 26.  Glen Foster and K Trevor Wilson take the stage with dinner at 8 pm and the show at 9:30 pm.  No cover.  For details, click here.
Indie Night at the Bistro starts off at 8 pm on Thursday January 31 featuring The Break Down and Maya Kiltron.  No cover.  Details here.
Jazz is back on Friday February 1, 8 pm with the Heillig Manoeuvre CD launch.  Heillig is joined by Stacie McGregor on piano, Alison Young on sax and Charlie Cooley on drums.  $15.  For more information, click here.
SHE SAID WHAT is an all-female comedy cocktail.  Saturday, February 9, 9:30 pm, no cover.  More details available here.


Sundara Yoga
Grand re-opening party on Thursday January 17 from 6 to 9 pm.  Come and enjoy Sundara’s beautiful new space.  Meet the staff and other Cabbagetown yogis.  492 Parliament, side door.

Get yourself cleaned up
Is your bookkeeping awful?  Are you on the edge of an audit?  Are your accounts frozen?  Lucy De Luca at 25Hours loves these challenges.  Her niche is cleaning up a business that’s in a big harried mess.  She works with an accountant who helps business people clear up their problems and get a plan toward profitability.  Give her a call at (416) 895-6244 or an email at   Check out her website at


City Centre news
Last week,  the City Centre newspaper carried three good Cabbagetown stories.  Justin Skinner reported on the Cameron Housebenefit for the Regent Park School of Music, the new volunteer group for Riverdale Farm and the 80th birthday celebrations for jazz pioneer Archie Alleyne at the Paintbox Bistro.  Good stories – just click on the links for all the details.

Makoto Trotter on CP24
Naturopathic doctor and Cabbagetown resident Makoto Trotter was featured on CP24’s video story about the flu that’s bothering so many of us.  Check out his tips for beating the colds and flu this winter. Click here to watch the story.


Pet Peeve
A reader wants to remind dog owners that they need to clean up after their pets.  Carelessness about this obligation seems worse this year.  Some people think that a layer of snow in the park will take care of it and it won’t be a problem in the Spring.  That’s wrong.  The poop doesn’t go away.  We’re also experiencing more mess on our sidewalks.
Confession time!  I’ve had dogs for over twenty years.  When I first moved here in 1991, I wasn’t very diligent.  Then one day, a friend gave me a sharp rebuke.  That smartened me up in a hurry.  The moral of my little message is simple – if you see someone ignoring their duty, tell them firmly.  It works.
If you own a dog, scoop!

Snow barriers
Our first blast of snow has revealed another sort of bad neighbourliness – people who don’t shovel the walk in front of their houses.  It seems to be a perennial problem with the same folks repeating the habit year-after-year.
Have our three residents’ associations ever considered a simple cure?  Why not draft a very polite but firm letter that can be left at an offending household?   No need for threats or insults – just a direct request.  A printed form letter on the Association’s letterhead with the specific address handwritten at the top will probably do the trick.

If you have an idea that will interest your neighbours or improve the area, send it along: