New Year News

Community News

Open Houses
This is traditionally a slow time in real estate markets.  Despite that fact, there’s an Open House for your viewing this weekend.  Click on the house image in the right column or click here. 

Last minute gifts
Christmas may well be past but it’s still  good idea to support our local agencies and services. Here’s your chance for a last minute donation that will have real meaning.  Click on the poinsettia on the right or click here to see the details.

The Museum wants to hear from you!
Did you know that in addition to vintage photographs and artifacts, the Cabbagetown Regent Park Community Museum is a place to learn about our neighborhood through fascinating memoirs provided by area residents?  The Museum is currently located in the Residence Building at Riverdale Farm. Now you can help the Museum plan improvements in future displays, activities, and exciting events.  Take a few minutes to answer their brief survey.  Click here.  The survey closes on February 28.

Order of Canada
Cabbagetowners will be pleased to see the honours recently bestowed on Stevie Cameron and Andy Barrie.  Both have been installed as members of the Order of Canada. 
Andy Barrie, the former host of CBC’s Metro Morning, was a Cabbagetown resident for many years. There are a lot of us who remember him fondly and wish him well.  The CBC has a great interview with him on its website. 
It’s good to see that Stevie Cameron has been recognized for her work as an investigative journalist and author. Her book list is well known.  Less well known are her leadership and activism on behalf of homeless and poor people in Toronto.   She’s been deeply involved in Second Harvest, Out Of The Cold and Portland Place.  She’s also a familiar face for dog owners in Cabbagetown’s parks - no word yet whether she’ll take her pal Frances with her to the official ceremonies.

Cabbagetown South Meeting
The Annual General Meeting for the Cabbagetown South Association takes place next Wednesday, January 9 at 7:30 pm at the Ontario Restaurant (Dundas Street between Ontario and Milan).  The main purpose of the meeting is to elect the 2013 Board of Directors.  This Association is an active, fun-loving group who manage to hold great community events as well as ensuring that serious issues are brought before the community.  They worry about methadone clinics springing up in the area and they organize competitive chilli tastings. It’s a balancing act and they do it well.  For details about their events and program, go to their website. 

Jack Grunsky’s art courses
Jack is a well-known JUNO winning recording artist.  Like many musicians, he’s pursued a second career as a visual artist.  He’s studied art extensively and displayed in galleries here in Canada and abroad since 1977. 
He provides a relaxed and inspiring course suitable for beginners. Working from still life, photographs and independent themes and ideas, students will be introduced to drawing and painting fundamentals and techniques pertaining to acrylic medium. These include line drawing, value, shape, pattern, texture, shading, highlighting, colour and perspective. Students will be encouraged to explore and develop their own personal style.  Eight weeks from January 18, 1 to 3:30 pm, $320 plus HST, at 383 Wellesley.
For more information, check out his website.  Contact him at  and at (416) 928-9375.

Corktown in the media
The Globe & Mail has listed five neighbourhoods across Toronto to watch in 2013 – places “where the past and the future intersect.”  Corktown is one of them.  The area runs from Front to Shuter and from Berkeley to the DVP. It’s home to some of Toronto’s oldest buildings and is now also part of the new condo building frenzy as well.   Like Cabbagetown, Corktown benefits from the renewal underway at Regent Park and like Cabbagetown, it’s moving from an edgy past into a gentrified future.  It’s a good story – you can read it here.

Pam McConnell’s annual report
It’s now fashionable to assume that we get nothing from the City of Toronto in return for our tax dollars.  That assumption couldn’t be farther from the truth.  Our ward councillor, Pam McConnell, has just published her annual newsletter and it contains an astonishing list of projects going on in this area. In total, she notes 29 different places in her Ward where the City is working on new improvements.  The newsletter should be in the mail at your home now and it’s well worth reading.  Another note on the same topic – these projects didn’t just spring into life.  They require a lot of work to make them happen and it’s obvious that Pam has done her homework and pushed to make them priorities at City Hall.  Our thanks to her for this effort.

DanceWeekend ’13 by Dance Ontario
Friday, January 18 to Sunday, January 20 at the Fleck Theatre, Harbourfront, 207 Queen’s Quay W, (416) 973-4000 & (416) 204-1083.  Hundreds of dancers from over thirty companies take the stage in the 20th anniversary of Dance Ontario’s DanceWeekend at Harbourfront.  Two local companies are included – Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre (519 Parliament) on Saturday at 5 pm and COBA (Daniels Spectrum, 585 Dundas) on Sunday at 3:15 pm.  Check out the website.

Shopping and dining news

The small café project
We now have a remarkable number of small cafes in our neighbourhood.  They usually have imaginative menus, low prices, great décor and personable, hands-on service from their owners.  I’ve decided to test each of them at lunch and tell you my reactions.  This project will not be a bunch of foodie reviews – they’ll be my personal reports about lunch.

The new Brazilian café at 194A Carlton is the first stop in my small café tour.
It’s worth a visit and goes on the list for lots of repeat visits in the future.  Two of us had lunch there. We each enjoyed corn soup with collard greens, tapioca with tomato, mozzarella and anchovies and chocolate pudding with coconut topping and a caramel sauce for dessert.  The individual servings are small but satisfying. Our choices were all from the regular menu – no alcohol. Specials are also available and they change weekly. The total bill for our two lunches including tip and tax was $25.
Cafune is licenced and features Brazilian drinks and cocktails.  There are Portuguese and South American wines (priced between $22 and $35 bottle and between $7 and $9 glass) with extra Brazilian wines coming in January and February.
The hours are different throughout the week.  You can get dinner from Wednesday to Saturday and midday service from Sunday to Tuesday.  Check the website for specific times. There’s also a Facebook page and Twitter for daily specials and comments.

Happy New Sale
Enjoy up to 50% off on holiday décor, fine stationery, serving ware, home accents, lighting and rugs during Kendall & Co’s store-wide seasonal clearance. Markdowns apply to in-stock retail merchandise only and excludes special orders, locally-made goods and new arrivals. Store hours: 10 am to 6 pm Monday to Friday and 11am to 5 pm on Saturday.  227 Carlton Street.

Merryberry’s Christmas feast
Only three more days left to enjoy the Victorian Christmas dinner that Cyril has prepared at Merryberry (559 Parliament).  It’s a prix fixe that features dishes prepared one hundred years ago.  You can have a main course plus either an appetizer or  dessert for $25 or a main course plus both for $30.  We tried it and it was well worth the visit – and well augmented by a bottle of modern wine.

Leslie has three rolls of thoroughly charming Noah's Ark wallpaper with vividly coloured 1960's graphics of elephants, monkeys, seals, alligators etc.  Perfect decor for a first childhood or second.  Each roll measures 20 inches x 33 feet (55 square feet).  Click here for more info.

Remembering Cabbagetown in 2012
2012 was an interesting year.  The usual events happened very smoothly and, as always, they made  life memorable. The Garden Tour, the Forsythia Festival, The Cabbagetown Festival and the fall Tour of Homes. The weather on the Festival weekend was fearsome at first.  Photos of Blair’s Run show the marathoners pounding away through torrents of rain but by the end of Saturday and all through Sunday, the days were sunny and pleasant.

Here’s a list of unique experiences from the past year
Regent Park renewal.  This continues to be the biggest event in our community life.  In 2012, new facilities opened that will make Regent Park a neighbourhood for everyone.  The Aki Theatre, the Daniels Spectrum, the aquatic centre and the Paintbox Bistro are all destination places. Long time residents in Regent Park and their neighbours in Corktown and Cabbagetown will all use these places.  They promise to be the key to the renewal’s success.
Prince Charles.  He visited the Yonge Street Mission and UForChange in mid-May.  It’s nice to have an international celebrity drop into our area - he even rode around in a spiffy new TTC bus.  It’s tempting to say that we made him famous!
The Fall crime wave.  Sadly, the home invasion on Rose Avenue, Nighistri Semret’s murder, the death of a young man in St Jamestown, the shoot-up of a car on Parliament last week – all of these things remind us that this is a big city with all its dangers and these dangers can spill onto us horribly.  Despite these tragedies, we remain a safe and prosperous neighbourhood.
Riverdale Farm.  It was saved from the budget cuts at City Hall, mainly because local people rose up and defended it as a vital part of our lives.  The yellow lawn signs, the picnic in the paddock and the coalition’s recommendations to City Council were key to its survival.  Thanks to everyone involved.
Spencer West climbed Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro in June.  From his home at Free The Children, he spearheaded a fundraising drive to build clean water projects in Kenya and then he launched himself up the mountain together with a group of his friends.  All of this despite losing both his legs in early childhood – a disability that he has overcome. He refuses to allow it to define his life and his experiences.
And then at the end of the year, as if in a dream, the City of Toronto paved Aberdeen Avenue.