December 18

This week’s image:  Good grief, cheap gas.  It’s a Christmas gift!  What’s next - the LCBO   or is that utterly unthinkable?



The staff at Riverdale Farm has announced that Rooster died on Friday December 12 from a serious illness.  He was born at the Farm 22 years ago and became a big hit with visitors, especially children, throughout his life.  He’ll be missed.

The Rupert
Photo: Justin Skinner, City Centre Mirror
The Rupert Hotel was a rundown, dangerous and overcrowded rooming house at the corner of Queen and Parliament Streets.  25 years ago, it caught fire and ten people perished.  It’s become a symbol for those who work to upgrade the protection of rooming house tenants through licencing and proper standards.  Justin Skinner has written an article in the City Centre Mirror about the 25th anniversary memorial service held at the scene of the fire.  Click here for more. 

Caroline's snowy, wavy picture
Photo:  Caroline Gill
Caroline Gill snapped this picture on her walk home on December 11.  She really likes its rolling texture and sparkling fairy lights.  Many thanks.  If you have a picture that reflects our life in our neighbourhood – indoors, outdoors, at a pub, shopping, whatever – send it along to

Special events at the Toronto Christmas Market
This weekend marks the wrap-up for the Christmas Market in the Distillery District.  Special events include the Mill Street caroling contest (see below) and a list of special entertainers.  Included on Saturday’s schedule at 11 am and 12:30 pm, the Beaches Children’s Choruses will sing Christmas favourites and at noon, the Salvation Army Big Band performs.  The Melissakia Greek  Dance group is on at 1:30 and 3 pm and there’ll be Romanian folklore music and dance at 6:45 and 7:30 pm.  JAMsession performs at 3:30 and 5:15 pm.  On Sunday, the Lemon Bucket Orkestra is onstage at 11 am and 12:30 pm.  JAMsession is back at 3:30 pm and 6 pm.  The Toronto Beach Chorale is on at 4:30 pm.  To close the Market for the year, Measha Brueggergosman will sing at 6:30 pm.  Check out the entire schedule here. 

Mill Street Caroling Challenge
Photo:  Toronto Star
Save the date - Toronto Christmas Market at the Distillery, Sunday December 21, 5 pm. This is Mill Street’s annual caroling extravaganza that attempts to set the world record for the largest number of people in one place singing carols.  Mill Street Brewery donates $1 to the Daily Bread Food Bank for every caroler and distributes song sheets and LED candles.

Allan Gardens Christmas show

The 2014 Christmas show is now underway at the Conservatory in Allan Gardens (Sherbourne & Carlton).  It runs until January 11.  On the next two weekends, the hours are extended to 7 pm and the Conservatory is candlelit. The show is the highlight of the Conservatory’s year with thousands of blooming plants featured.  10 am to 5 pm daily.  Free admission.


Feral cat projects
Photo:  CBC
An alliance between donors and the City of Toronto has produced a feral cat capture-and-neuter program in the city’s west end.  It builds on the success of a similar project in Regent Park where 644 cats were successfully neutered.  This program opens the door to a much more pressing question – how about doing this with the city’s raccoons?

Street lamps
All along Parliament, Carlton and Gerrard Streets, the BIA owns Victorian-style lamps that are clamped onto hydro poles. (Here`s a summer picture just to make you nostalgic.)  They create a unique feel for the shopping district that goes well with the heritage character of our neighbourhood.  Unfortunately, a lot of them aren’t working – they need to be maintained regularly.  In the past, Weenen Electric did a good job keeping everything in order.  Perhaps they can be hired to do the maintenance work again.

Christmas lights
There’s no doubt that a decorative spirit has taken hold this season.  Congrats to everyone – including this home at the end of Wellesley Street – for making our street scenes more fun in the middle of a drab winter.  Don’t take them down too soon!


Christmas Day at Cranberries
Cranberries (601 Parliament) is a definite Christmas favourite and the restaurant fills right up.  There’ll be two seatings – at 5 and 7:30 pm.  It’s a three course dinner at $28 per person.  There are two choices for openers – butternut squash soup with apple and bacon or organic green salad with balsamic vinaigrette.  Roast turkey comes with mashed potato, seasonal veggies, gravy, cranberry sauce, homemade stuffing and a dinner roll.  For dessert, there’s warm apple pie and ice cream.  To reserve a spot, call (416) 925-6330.

Christmas & Boxing Day
At Under The Table (568 Parliament), Kim and Betty are planning a three-course meal for both Christmas and Boxing Day, from 3 to 9 pm.  For starters, there’s vegetable soup or spinach salad.  The main course is roast turkey with garlic mashed potato, gravy, cranberry sauce, homemade stuffing, baked macaroni and corn.  Dessert choices include apple or pumpkin pie or rum cake.  Each dinner comes with a glass of red or white wine or a rum and eggnog. $30 per person or $50 per couple, tax included.

The Irv’s party
On Thursday December 18 from 7 to 11 pm, The Irv (195 Carlton) is having a guest appreciation party.  There’ll be prizes, giveaways, munchies and beer samplings.  Live music.

Ronnie B`s party
It`s customer appreciation night on Thursday December 18 at Ronnie B`s Southern Kitchen (243 Carlton).  There`ll be live music with Mike Daily at 8:30 pm, drinks and free nibblies.  8 pm to closing.

Time to sing your favourite carols
Jeff Barnes and Noah Zacharin are back again at The Local GEST (424 Parliament).  Their Christmas caroling is a major holiday milestone in Cabbagetown.  Everyone who is anyone is there.  Some can even sing!  It’s a happy frolic – Saturday December 20. 3:30 to 7:30 pm.

Stout’s pajama party
Every year on Christmas Eve, Erin suggests that you drop in to Stout Irish Pub (221 Carlton) when you’re overloaded with family and just want to escape.  Wear your pajamas (because it’s a pj party).  The party continues until closing time. 

Caleb’s been busy.  His catering plans got a boost from Jazz FM – he provided the food for a party of 60 people at the station and received very good exposure as a result.  He’s also started a takeout plan – frozen meals from his menu that you can use to ease the stress of heavy holiday schedules.  Click here for the frozen takeout menus.  568 Parliament

Whiskey Jack’s Christmas show
Duncan Fremlin and his friends will appear at the Cadillac Lounge (1296 Queen W) from 4 to 7 pm on Sunday December 21.  There’ll be seasonal songs and stories along with vocalist Jen Cook and Canada’s favourite funny man Sean Cullen.

Café Olya
Toronto Life has listed Café Olya (540 Parliament) in both its 2014 Neighbourhoods and 2015 Eating & Drinking guides.  It’s one of 200 in the citywide “Amazing Food Shops” list.  Local connaisseurs have known this all along.  Congrats Olyana and Mike.

Dominion on Queen
Sean reports that there’s no real deadline yet for re-opening the front room after its renovations.  As soon as he knows, we’ll know.  As you can see from the photo, the repairs have uncovered some treasures.  500 Queen E at Sumach

Paintbox Bistro
The Paintbox (555 Dundas E) will close from Sunday December 21 to Monday January 12 for renovations.


Café Olya
Olyana and Mike (540 Parliament) are taking a well-deserved break over the New Year.  They’ll be away from December 24 to Friday January 2. 

Daniel et Daniel
The two Daniels traditionally shut the food shop (248 Carlton) in the week after Christmas.  This year, they’ll close from Christmas Day to Monday January 5.

Cyril plans to close Merryberry (559 Parliament) on December 24, 25 and 26 and again on December 31 and January 1.

Caleb will close Murgatroid (538 Parliament) from Tuesday, December 23 to Friday December 26 and reopen for brunch on the weekend, December 27 and 28.  He’s closing again from Tuesday December 30 to Friday January 2, reopening on Saturday January 3.

Gilead Cafe
Jamie Kennedy’s café (4 Gilead Place) will close on December 24, 25 and 26 and on January 1. 

Other restaurants
Most restaurants and pubs will shut at an early hour on Christmas Eve and for Christmas Day.  If you’re planning an evening on the town, call ahead to make sure that your favourite place is open. 


It’s turkey time
St Jamestown Steak & Chops (516 Parliament) has lots of turkey in the fridge.  Place your order now and be ready for Christmas Day.  Mark also has good ham, beef, lamb, salmon and other delights for your holiday tables.

Leslie has a 1950s Bitossi Italy mid-century modern art pottery lamp on sale.  Its ovoid base is geometric, patterned in bright yellow and orange high gloss glaze fields that are divided and contrasted by a matte deep brown/black.  The base and neck are teak.  More details here. 249 Gerrard E.

The fire is so delightful
This forest tealight holder at Kendall & Co (227 Carlton) is made from laser cut metal.  It casts a cozy glow and magical shadows behind a silhouette of evergreens.  An instant scenic wonderland as a centre piece on the dining table, fireplace mantle, or hallway console.  Kendall has lots of last-minute gift ideas – check them out here. Monday to Friday 10 am to 6 pm,  Saturday 11 am to 5 pm and Sunday noon to 4 pm.


The CPA’s book is here
Adversity, Resilience, Prosperity - the Cabbagetown Preservation Association has published a book based on its Cabbagetown People’s project.  It describes our history through the 70 years since the 1940s, showing how our lives have changed and prospered. It’s full of historic and contemporary photos.  You can get a copy at Kendal & Co (227 Carlton) and at Spruce (455 Parliament).  $20

Tee shirts and onesies
Warm up your kids this winter with these special tees and onesies produced by the Cabbagetown Residents Association.  You can get them at Spruce (455 Parliament) or order them online here. 

Tyler’s chalkboards
Tyler is a Cabbagetowner who’s making chalkboards with special local designs.  Each one is framed and has an attractive cabbage silhouette and it’s emblazoned with the street name of your choice.  Each one also comes with a small pouch to hold your chalk – done in a forsythia design.  Portions of the sales go to the Cabbagetown Residents Association.  He has an Etsy account where you can place your order. 

Gift certificate for a massage
Give the gift of a wonderfully relaxing, professional massage from Claudia Salzmann & Associates (78 Amelia at Sackville).  For 25 years, Claudia’s certificates have been the perfect gift for your hard-to-please family members.  Visit for more info or call (416) 923-0494 to place your order. 

Victoria Hadden’s calendars and cards
Victoria’s lovely holiday cards and calendars are now available exclusively at Kendall & Co (227 Carlton). 

Toques at Spruce
Spruce (455 Parliament) has received new supplies of its City of Neighbourhoods toques.  There’s a toque for everyone in Cabbagetown, Corktown and Riverside.  These are nifty gift items because the selection covers neighbourhoods in the whole city.  The Regent Park toque is special - Spruce has an exclusive.  $38.  For more details, click here.

Cabbagetown Tea Towels
Get your own lovely Cabbagetown Tea Towel, designed by Steve Yeates for the Cabbagetown Preservation Association at Kendall and Co (227 Carlton). Four designs are available featuring Bay & Gable, Arts & Crafts, Queen Anne and Workers’ Cottages – architectural styles found through the neighbourhood.



Contact info
Alice’s Place, 554 Parliament St, (647) 931-9088,
Cranberries, 601 Parliament St, (416) 925-6330
Dominion on Queen, 500 Queen St E, (416) 368-6893,
El Catrin, 18 Tank House Lane, Distillery, (416) 203-2121,
The Flying Beaver, 488 Parliament St, (647) 347-6567,
Gilead Café & Wine Bar, 4 Gilead Place, (647) 288-0680,
House on Parliament, 454 Parliament St, (416) 925-4074,
The Irv, 195 Carlton Street, (647) 350-4787,
The Local GEST, 424 Parliament St, (416) 961-9425,
Merryberry, 559 Parliament,
Mill Street Beer Hall, 21 Tank House Ln, Distillery, (416) 681-0338,
Murgatroid, 568 Parliament, (416) 323-9381,
Paintbox Bistro, 555 Dundas St E, (647) 748-0555,
Ronnie B’s Southern Kitchen & Taps, 243 Carlton, (416) 935-1515,
Stirling Room, 16 Trinity, Distillery District,
Stout Irish Pub, 221 Carlton St, (647) 344-7676,
Tappo Wine Bar & Restaurant, 2 Trinity Street, Distillery, (647) 430-1111,
Under the Table, 568 Parliament St, (647) 351-1533,

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


Dominion on Queen
7:30 pm, Wee Folk Club - Christmas sing-a-long for charity, $10
Flying Beaver
7:30 pm, Belle’s bawdy trivia night, no cover
The Irv
7 pm, Holiday party & guest appreciation, no cover
The Local GEST
8:30 pm, Open Mic with Porter
7 pm, acoustic Open Mic
Under The Table
9 pm, Karaoke


Flying Beaver
7 pm, Richard Ryder, $15/advance & $20/door
9 pm, Meryle Trouble’s “Not an f-ing Xmas show”, $15/advance & $20/door
Mill Street Beer Hall
8 pm, Vinyl Nights with DJ Humble Mike of the Record Collective
Stirling Room
Theatrical Friday with resident DJ Rod Bravo, reserve on the guest list.  $20
Under The Table
9 pm, Karaoke


Flying Beaver
7 pm, Ellen Reid returns, $20/advance & $25/door
Local GEST
3:30 pm, Christmas caroling with Jeff Barnes & Noah Zacharin
Mill Street Beer Hall
8 pm, Vinyl Nights with DJ Humble Mike of the Record Collective
Ronnie B’s
8 pm, Snooky Tynes
Stirling Room
Stirling Saturday.  Reserve on the guest list.  $20


Alice’s Place
4 pm, Karaoke with Vee
Flying Beaver
7:30 pm, The return of the Rita Carrey Duo, “Carrey on”, $20/advance & $25/door
Local GEST
4:30 pm, Sunday jazz featuring Steve Koven (piano), Anthony Michelli (drums) & Rob Clutton (bass)
Mill Street Beer Hall
1 pm, Jazz brunch with Tyler Yarema


Stout Irish Pub
7:30 pm, Headscratchers trivia


Ronnie B’s Southern Kitchen & Taps
7 pm, Cards against humanity
Stout Irish Pub
7:30 pm, Headscratchers trivia


Alice’s Place
9 pm, Karaoke
Dominion on Queen
7:30 pm, Corktown Ukelele Jam annual holiday celebration, $6
Stout Irish Pub
Christmas Eve Pajama Party


5 & 7:30 pm, Christmas dinner – two seatings, reservations at (416) 925-6330
Under the Table
3 to 10 pm, Christmas dinner


Mill Street Beer Hall
8 pm, Vinyl nights with DJ Humble Mike of the Record Collective
Stirling Room
Theatrical Friday with resident DJ Rod Bravo, reserve on the guest list.  $20


Mill Street Beer Hall
8 pm, Vinyl Nights with DJ Humble Mike of the Record Collective
Ronnie B’s
8 pm, Shawn Stanley
Stirling Room
Stirling Saturday with resident DJ Rod Bravo, reserve on the guest list.


Alice’s Place
9 pm, Karaoke with Vee
Flying Beaver
11 am to 3 pm, Psychic brunch
Local GEST
4:30 pm, Sunday jazz
Mill Street Beer Hall
1 pm, Jazz brunch with Tyler Yarema