This week’s image:  Christmas at Metcalfe & Carlton



Winter gets started
When the snow arrived last Saturday, four young women were among the first to slide down the toboggan hill in Riverdale Park.  They were using plastic garbage bags which occasionally failed and then the rider came to a fast stop.  Two were from Ireland and two from Wales.  This was their first experience in “deep” snow and they were obviously having a marvellous time.

Santa did the trick…
Last weekend, Santa came back to Pet Valu (242 Carlton) and people paraded through with their pets.  As usual, he charmed everybody.  Many thanks to Santa for a job well done for another year.

Winter on the lake
Photo:  Waterfront Toronto
Waterfront Toronto is encouraging us to get to the lakefront during the winter for spectacular views of the lake and the downtown area.  Corktown Commons at the foot of River Street has a toboggan hill.  Sherbourne Commons, at the end of Sherbourne Street, has an outdoor skating rink that’s open from 10 am to 10 pm Monday to Saturday and 10 am to 6 pm on Sundays every week until February 23.  Farther west at Harbourfront, Winter Fest continues on Saturday and Sunday, December 21 and 22 with Santa’s boat cruise, pet photos with Santa, outdoor skating, crafts and gingerbread cake decorating.  For schedules and locations, click here. 

Glen Murray’s skate days
Photo:  Globe & Mail
Our local MPP, Glen Murray, hosts skate days at Moss Park arena (140 Sherbourne at Queen) on Tuesdays from 4 to 5 pm. The next event happens on Tuesday January 7 and they’ll continue until Tuesday March 11.   These are free events for the whole family.  Glen needs some extra volunteers to help the skaters, especially the kids.  If you can help, please call his office at (416) 972-7683.

Waterfront reports
Photo:  Waterfront Toronto
The December issue of Waterfront Toronto’s newsletter has updates on the widespread construction activity along the lake at Queen’s Quay, Bayside (Sherbourne to Parliament) and the Pan Am Games site.  Click here for a full report on all of this amazing work.              

Museum reports
So, do we really have a new headquarters for the Cabbagetown Regent Park Museum?  Apparently yes, but not quite just yet.  A group has purchased the building at 296 Gerrard E across from Anniversary Park.  They plan, eventually, to sell it to the museum.  In the meantime, office space will be developed upstairs and the ground floor retail will continue.  The approach gives the museum a fundraising target, more space for itself and some time to develop proper plans for a new home. All of this has a second benefit – it’s good news for the eventual gentrification of the retail strip around Gerrard Street.

Winter headaches
As usual, there are people who simply don’t clear away the snow on the sidewalks in front of their homes.  There’s been a considerable amount of grumbling about this in the past week as we recover from the season’s first storm.
There is, of course, a legal requirement for homeowners to do this job within 24 hours of any storm.  Folks who doubt this fact can simply click here. 
Rumours are spreading that the local residents’ groups may become more active on this issue.  They should be encouraged.  They can ask politely but firmly that delinquent homeowners get busy.  If they’re ignored, then they have enough clout to get City of Toronto officials busy with the problem.
In the meantime, if there’s a nearby problem that won’t go away, call 311 and register your complaint.


Cabbagetown carolling tradition
The Local GEST (424 Parliament) is continuing a memorable Cabbagetown tradition.  On Sunday December 22 from 3 to 6 pm, singers (some of whom can carry a tune and stay on key) will gather there for an afternoon of Christmas carolling.  Everyone’s welcome - it’s always a fun event.  Jeff Barnes and Noah Zacharin will conduct the choir. This is their second year in the job and now that they know what to expect, they’ll no doubt be superb. 

Whiskey Jack at the Flying Beaver
Duncan Fremlin and Whiskey Jack are making a Christmas appearance at the Flying Beaver (488 Parliament) from 9 pm on Saturday night.  They’ll be joined for the evening by Jen Cook.  It’s good to have them here close to home.  On Sunday afternoon, they’re at the Cadillac Lounge (710 Danforth) from 4 pm and their guests will include Peter Donato, another habitué from the Flying Beaver.

Cranberries Christmas dinner
Once again, Siva and Ruth will open Cranberries (601 Parliament) on Christmas Day for a three-course, prix fixe dinner at $28.  Two sittings, at 5 and 7:30 pm.  Dinner will include butternut squash soup or organic green salad, roast turkey, seasonal veggies, mashed potato, stuffing, cranberries and gravy.  These events are very popular and you should book ahead, (416) 925-6330.

Stout’s pajama party
You’ll have to ask Erin about her pajama theme – it’s a cute story.  You’re invited to Stout’s Christmas Eve pajama party – turkey dinner with all the fixin’s.  Wear your pj’s and enjoy some complimentary Christmas cheer.  Trivia starts at 7:30 pm.  Stout Irish Pub (221 Carlton)

Allan Gardens Christmas show
The Christmas show is the highlight of the year in Allan Gardens.  Thousands of plants fill the conservatory including over thirty poinsettia varieties. The show runs to mid-January.  Open daily from 10 am to 5 pm. Free admission.  (Sherbourne and Carlton)

New Year’s Eve party at F’Amelia
The folks at F’Amelia are inviting guests to Extended F’Amelia for New Year’s Eve – a house party with all kinds of surprises.  Call for reservations at the restaurant and at Extended F’Amelia.  (416) 323-0666.  12 Amelia Street.

Here’s a quick list of your favourite places and their schedules for the next few days.

Christmas Eve
Dominion on Queen, Flying Beaver, House on Parliament, Johnny G’s, Merryberry, and Peartree – all open for lunch and closing in the afternoon.
Stout Irish Pub – open in the evening for Erin’s annual Pajama Party
Local GEST – closing early in the evening after the dinner hour.
Cranberries, F’Amelia, Gilead Café, Hey Lucy, and Paintbox – closed

Christmas Day
Cranberries (601 Parliament) – open from 11 am with a special dinner at 5 pm.
Everyone else is closed on Christmas Day.

Boxing Day
Dominion on Queen, F’Amelia, Gilead, Local Gest, Merryberry, Paintbox and Peartree – closed
Flying Beaver – lunch only
Cranberries, Hey Lucy, HOP, Johnny G’s and Stout Irish Pub – open regular hours

Good eating!



Contact info
Alice’s Place, 554 Parliament St, (647) 931-9088
Dominion on Queen, 500 Queen St E, (416) 368-6893,  
Flying Beaver, 488 Parliament St, (647) 347-6567,
Local GEST, 424 Parliament St, (416) 961-9425,
Mill Street Beer Hall, 21 Tank House Ln (Distillery), (416) 681-0338, Facebook and
Paint Box Bistro, 555 Dundas St E, (647) 748-0555,
Stout Irish Pub, 221 Carlton St, (647) 344-7676,  
Winchester Kitchen & Bar, 51A Winchester St, (416) 323-0051,

If there's a cover charge or tickets are sold, we’ve listed the prices. Otherwise, the event is free.


Dominion on Queen
7 pm, The Wee Folk Club, $10
Flying Beaver
9 pm, Kendall Partington “It’s a Christmas sing-along”, no cover
Winchester Kitchen & Bar
9 pm, Loser karaoke with Jason Rolland


Flying Beaver
9 pm, Ryan Hind’s “Comedy, cabaret & coffee talk – holigay edition”, $10/advance & $15/door
Stout Irish Pub
7 pm, Beer tastings with Railway City
Winchester Kitchen & Bar
10 pm, Barbarosa, pwyc


Dominion on Queen
9 pm,  Saturday night blues
Flying Beaver
7 pm, Sara Hennesey & Stephanie Kaliner “Terrific Women” $10/advance & $15/door
9 pm, Whiskey Jack (unplugged), $10/advance & $15/door


Alice’s Place
4 pm, Karaoke
Dominion on Queen
11 am to 3 pm, Rockabilly brunch with the Cosmotones
4:30 pm, Toronto Art Orchestra, $10
Flying Beaver
7 pm, Annual Holiday Variety Show fundraiser for the Sherbourne Health Centre.
Mill Street Beer Hall
1 pm, Jazz brunch
Winchester Kitchen & Bar
7 pm, Magic at the Winchester, $10
9 pm, Open Mic with Porter


Winchester Kitchen & Bar
7 pm, Indie music Monday
10:30 pm Win-Prov


Stout Irish Pub
7:30 pm, Nerd Night pub quiz and Christmas Eve pajama party
Winchester Kitchen & Bar
10 pm, Games & movie night


5 pm, three-course Christmas dinner


Winchester Kitchen & Bar
9 pm, Loser Karaoke with Jason Rolland


Dominion on Queen
9:30 pm, solo blues with Paul James, $10
Flying Beaver
7 & 9 pm, Karen Williams & Elvira Kurt, “A post-Xmas miracle”, $20/advance & $25/door

Dominion on Queen
9:30 pm, Daniel Buxton, Sonic Blues, $10
Flying Beaver
7 pm, Gala Variety Show benefit for Support Our Youth, pwyc ($20 suggested)


Alice’s Place
4 pm, Karaoke
Dominion on Queen
11 am to 3 pm, Rockabilly brunch with the Cosmotones
Local GEST
4:30 pm, Jazz with Roberto Occhipinti Trio “The Taste of Cuba”
Mill Street Beer Hall
1 pm, Jazz brunch with the Tyler Yarema Trio
Winchester Kitchen & Bar
7 pm, Magic at the Winchester, $10
9 pm, Open Mic with Porter