December 15

This week’s image:  Ann Kay’s lovely picture from late November 2014 - it’s a personal favourite welcoming winter.



Celebrate and donate
Several local places are handling gift drives over the Christmas season.

F’Amelia (12 Amelia) is putting together a food drive throughout December.  It’ll benefit the Daily Bread Food Bank.  You can leave your donations at the door.
The Local GEST (424 Parliament) - during the annual Christmas sing-a-long with Jeff and Noah, bring a donation for the food bank at the Yonge Street Mission.
Riverdale Farm (Winchester east of Sumach) - your donations of new, unused toiletries will assist a local shelter.  
Mill Street (21 Tank House Lane) ) - drop off a new unwrapped toy at the Mill Street retail store in the Distillery.  You’ll get a little thank-you gift in return.
Cooper Koo Family YMCA (461 Cherry) - winter clothing and boots plus non-perishable food are needed for the Y’s homeless and street youth programs. Drop off your gift at the Cooper Koo Family Y. 
Glen Murray’s clothing drive - our MPP Glen Murray is collecting new and gently used winter clothing to distribute to our local shelters.  If you want to make a donation, call (416) 972-7682, email or visit 120 Carlton St, Unit 318. 

Wild life in the area
Photo: Cabbagetown Residents Association
Foxes and coyotes have been seen in our parks recently.  The Cabbagetown Residents Association website mentions a coyote sighting on Wednesday December 12 in Wellesley Park and foxes seen on Carlton, on Nasmith and on the path in Riverdale Park.  

Meridian Credit Union
Meridian Credit Union will open its Cabbagetown branch (488 Parliament) on Monday December 19.  Steven Ahn is the new branch manager. Meridian is Ontario’s largest credit union and it’ll give both local residents and businesses needed financial support.
Its neighbours include a fitness club on the north and a restaurant on the south side.  Reports indicate that the City of Toronto has taken a hard line against the building’s owner, slowing down the completion of the work and the opening dates for each business. 

A new violin studio
Boris and Diane Kupesic have just moved to Aberdeen Avenue and they plan to start a violin studio in their home.  She plays viola with the Toronto Symphony and he’s a violinist at the National Ballet, Canadian Opera Company and TSO. Their lessons will be open to everyone, regardless of experience and proficiency.  They plan to hold individual, one-on-one sessions and can start whenever you’re ready to go.  Find out more about them and get their contact info at their website.  

Free Yoga at Cooper Koo Family YMCA
Every Saturday throughout December, the Cooper Koo Family YMCA (461 Cherry) is offering free yoga classes.  11:15 to 12:15 pm.  Click here for details 
While you’re there, check out the Y’s special free two-week pass.  For more info, click here.  

Celebrate the solstice
The Friends of Regent Park are hosting a solstice celebration in the “Big Park” (Dundas and Sackville).  4 to 8 pm, Wednesday December 21.  There’ll be hot beverages and snacks, entertainment and a family activity zone.  

Christmas trees are back
Christmas trees are back at the corner of Spruce and Parliament beside No Frills.  These folks have been selling their trees here for 64 years - lots of happy customers and excited kids.  Prices start at $25.

Gerry McDermott
In 1952, Mr McDermott was a 20-year old electrician’s apprentice and he had a good idea.  He set up a Christmas tree stand at Spruce and Parliament.  A year later, his brother Dale and father Elmer joined him and his father became the salesman. Since 1985, Peter Vettorel, a family friend, has worked from the trailer on Spruce Street.
For many years, the trees came from the family’s nursery north of Bracebridge and they opened tree lots across the city.  Eventually, the operation was reduced back down to the single Cabbagetown lot.  They created a Cabbagetown institution, selling 500 trees each year.  
Gerry McDermott died in May 2016. The tree lot is still open.  
Many thanks to the Cabbagetown Residents Association for the background info for this story.

Santa’s visit
Two great dogs that visited Santa’s photo op last weekend at Pet Valu (240 Carlton) - Linda Eggerer’s 11-1/2 year old retriever Teeka  and Ann Russell’s little furry friend Bella. Santa dropped in to the store over two different weekend sessions and almost 100 people had pictures taken with him.  Congrats to Pet Valu for a fun and successful event.

Lookin’ good
The last time we saw Babs in her Cabbagetown Tee, she was climbing Hadrian’s wall in England.  This time, she’s enjoying the warmer weather in Maui.  


Corktown Chamber Orchestra
The Christmas concert featuring seasonal favourites, sing-a-longs and special guests.  Proceeds from ticket sales are going to Little Trinity to thank the church for its ongoing support.  Thursday December 15.  Little Trinity Church (425 King E), $10. 

Carolling at The Local GEST
The Christmas sing-a-long at The Local GEST (424 Parliament) is a big event on our Christmas calendars and a major tourist attraction.  Jeff Barnes and Noah Zacharin inspire and encourage the throngs to add their voices to the heavenly sounds.  Save the date - Sunday December 18, 3:30 pm.

Christmas at F’Amelia
Santa will be visiting F’Amelia (12 Amelia) during brunch from 11 am to 2 pm on Sunday December 18.  It sounds like a charming plan - your kids can take a picture with him and decorate cookies while you enjoy your brunch nearby.  While you’re there, be sure to enter the contest to win a free brunch for four

Number 9’s new album
Christmas on Seaton Street Volume 2 has been released.  Its 14 tunes range from indie rock to traditional to eastern meditations by artists like Wood & Water, June Garber, The Imagination Machine, Aaron Davis, and ten more. Proceeds will be donated to the Maddie Project in support of young people struggling with depression.  Available on iTunes, Amazon mp3 and Google Music.  Check it out here. Physical CD’s are available at Number 9 Studio (222 Gerrard E).  

Farm for the holidays
Christmas celebrations come to Riverdale Farm (Winchester east of Sumach) on Sunday December 18 from 10 am to 3 pm.  There’ll be craft activities, snacks and a visit by Santa.

Christmas lights contest
The Cabbagetown Residents Association wants your photos of the festive decorations in the neighbourhood. Your images will go into the contest and the winner will get a trophy, bragging rights and a free Association membership.  The deadline for submissions is December 26.  From December 18, there’ll be a public survey and the poll results after December 26 will decide the winner.  Go to the CRA website and read all the details.  

Allan Gardens
The annual Christmas flower show continues daily to January 8.  The show includes over 4,000 poinsettias from 30 different varieties.  Enjoy the Conservatory by candlelight from 5 to 7 pm on Saturday December 17 and Sunday December 18.  Free. Open daily including the major holidays from 10 am to 5 pm. Sherbourne and Carlton

Distillery Christmas Market
One of the season’s biggest Christmas events runs in the Distillery to Thursday December 22. 
Regular events include daily carolling, tours and photos at Santa’s House, a ferris wheel and a gingerbread house for kids, pet photos with Santa, St Nicholas riding on a white horse and lots more. 
Over 350 performers will appear onstage and throughout the Market.  Themed entertainment is presented each day - traditional Tuesday, world Wednesday, classical Thursday, Jazz Friday, pop Saturday and ensemble Sunday.
The Market is open daily except Mondays.  Tuesday to Thursday, noon to 9 pm,  Fridays from noon to 10 pm, Saturdays from 10 am to 10 pm and Sundays from 10 am to 9 pm. There’s an entrance fee on Saturday and Sunday - $6.  Weekdays free. 
The daily program is online here.  


Victoria’s Christmas cards
Victoria Hadden creates bold and colourful designs for her cards.  She has five new designs for this year’s collection.  Individual cards with a unique postage stamp, $7.  Boxed sets of five cards are $20. Go to her website to see them in detail.  They’re now available exclusively at Kendall & Co (514 Parliament).   

Top Picks by Kevin & Kendall
To help you with the busy holiday choices, check out Kendall & Co’s Guide to Gifting, Entertaining & Decorating. 
And don’t miss out on their daily Advent specials while quantities last. Cabbagetown's one-stop-holiday-shop opens every day. Fantastic service, wonderful products and good deals. Located between LCBO and St. Jamestown Steaks at 514 Parliament St. 

Order your turkey
Mark at St Jamestown Steak & Chops (516 Parliament) is taking orders for your Christmas turkeys.  He also has a selection of Christmas cakes, chocolate truffles, plum pudding and cookies - a portion of the proceeds from each sale will go to the Cabbagetown Youth Centre.  

Cabbagetown Christmas poster
Eclectisaurus (249 Gerrard E) has a copy of this vintage poster by David Chestnutt.  It was first published by the Old Cabbagetown BIA and distributed as a seasonal decoration to local stores.  It’s now a rare piece of our community’s memorabilia.  

Fair Trade Jewellery
The goldsmith elves at Fair Trade Jewellery (523 Parliament) would like to remind you to get your custom orders by early December to avoid disappointment.  Happily, they’ve made new things for Christmas including a new crop of Cabbagetown pendants ($65) and matching earrings ($75) made in their workshop from dual certified Fairtrade & Fairmined silver.


The rebirth of Howard Street
Photo: Scott Weir, ERA Architects/Globe & Mail
Dave LeBlanc has written an article in the Globe & Mail about the renewal of the Howard Street neighbourhood.  A large Lanterra condo development is planned for the triangular property between Bloor, Howard, Parliament and Sherbourne.  Inside that triangle, there are relics of stately Victorian homes which are now being preserved.  Read the article here.  

Eric Murphy’s book
Photo: Inside Toronto
Eric’s latest book “The Bermuda Shipwreck” has been selected by the Bermuda National Library to support its literacy initiative.  Justin Skinner has written in Inside Toronto about the book and Eric’s personal emphasis on literacy.  Click here to read about it.   

Regent Park profiled in The Guardian
Photo: Andrew Francis Wallace, Toronto Star
The revitalization process in Regent Park has been profiled in The Guardian.  It’s a dispassionate look at the gains and problems created by the massive project.  Thanks to Victoria Hadden for pointing out the article. Click here for the story.  

Scroll down for the full Theatre & Dance Calendar

Whiskey Jack’s Christmas party
Join Duncan Fremlin and the band at the Cadillac Lounge (1296 Queen W) on Sunday December 18 from 4 to 7 pm for Whiskey Jack’s favourite Christmas songs. Kids welcome.  No cover charge.

A Very Soulpepper Christmas
On stage at 2 and 7:30 pm, Tuesday December 20.  Guests of all ages are invited to a family concert celebrating the sounds of the season from around the globe. Featuring Mike Ross leading an all-star line-up of Toronto’s best musicians.  A Soulpepper concert.  50 Tank House Lane.  

In this whimsical new musical presentation based on Gertrude Stein’s children’s book The World Is Round, nine-year-old Rose has some big questions, and not a lot of answers. With the help of her best friend Willie, and her dog Love, Rose takes a magical journey to discover her place in the world. December 16 (8 pm), 17 (2 pm) and 22 (2 pm).  A Soulpepper concert.   50 Tank House Lane.  


The Irv
Save the date - The Irv (195 Carlton) is hosting its annual Guest Appreciation Night on Thursday December 15.  There’ll be free munchies, beer sampling, prizes and giveaways and live music.  Watch for an appearance by Santa.

Cranberries’ Christmas dinner
Every year, Cranberries (601 Parliament) has a special three-course Christmas day dinner. It’s a big success - so reserve now at (416) 925-6330. This year’s event has two seatings - at 5 and 7:30 pm.  The menu starts with butternut squash soup or organic green salad.  The entree includes turkey, mashed potatoes, seasonal veggies, gravy, cranberry sauce, stuffing and a dinner roll.  There’s warm apple pie and ice cream for dessert.

Paintbox turkey dinner
Order a complete Christmas dinner to takeout and serve at home - each meal comes with cooking and heating instructions.  Included are roast turkey, apple, onion and sage stuffing, gravy, cranberries, creamy mashed potatoes and sauteed green beans and carrots.  Orders are open until Tuesday December 20 with pickups on Thursday December 22 or Friday December 23 at Paintbox Bistro (555 Dundas E).  $25.50 each.  For more info and for ordering, click here.  

It’s a busy holiday season at FUSE (366 Queen E).  At 8 pm on Friday December 16 and at 9:30 pm on Saturday December 17, Elements of Soul features Veronica Tynes.  In the afternoon on Sunday December 18, Parang brings a live performance by Moka.  On  Friday December 23, there’s a dinner and dance party with two floors of entertainment by Christopher Michaels.  Click here for info and reservations.  

F’Amelia’s brunch
Every Saturday and Sunday from 11 am to 2 pm.  Choices include French brioche with glazed plums, blueberry pancakes with whipped lemon ricotta and eggs benedict over fried gnocchi.  There’s a kids’ menu available as well.  Drop in and see why Toronto Life has listed F’Amelia (12 Amelia) as one of the top three Italian restaurants in Toronto.

Corktown Ukulele Jam
The Jam’s annual holiday party happens at the Paintbox Bistro (555 Dundas E), Tuesday December 21. 

New restaurants on Parliament Street
There’ve been hectic changes on Parliament Street in the last few weeks.  Most involve smaller restaurants that seem to have tried an interesting experiment and then faded away. The new ones are again offering promising choices that will keep our restaurant scene varied and enticing - best wishes to each of them.

Murgatroid (568 Parliament) has closed for renovations.
Eurobite (582 Parliament) left and a new Mexican takeout and catering service is moving into the space.
L’ll Schmiddy’s (584 Parliament) closed in September.  At first, the space seemed to be headed for a Korean restaurant but that project stopped before it opened.  The space is for rent.
Yummy (587 Parliament) closed a while ago.  A handwritten sign in the window announces a new Ethiopian restaurant.
Cabbagetown Brew (552 Parliament) closed earlier in the Fall.  There’s signs of activity inside but no reports on the new tenant.
Kibo Sushi (533 Parliament) closed earlier in the year.  Renovations have been progressing slowly.  No info about a possible new tenant.
Ginger (484 Parliament) is renovating the space next to Meridian Credit Union but the permit process at the City of Toronto has slowed it down.
Oh Boy Burger (296 Gerrard E) closed and Little Pita has appeared.  


50 Tank House Lane, Distillery District
All performances are in the Young Centre (Distillery - 50 Tank House Lane) except those specifically noted for the St Lawrence Centre.

Rose, A Soulpepper concert - December 16, 17 and 22
Online tickets and info here. 

A Very Soulpepper Christmas - December 20
Online tickets and info here.

Alligator Pie - December 27 to 31
Online tickets and info here.  

A Christmas Carol - on stage to December 24
Online tickets and info here

It’s a Wonderful Life - to December 31 (St Lawrence Centre)
Online tickets and info here

Hocus Pocus - to December 31
Online tickets and info here


  • For contact info about these clubs and restaurants, see the list at the bottom of this page.  
  • If there's a cover charge or tickets are sold, the prices are listed.


8 pm, Julia Carlucci
The Irv
7:30 pm, special guest appreciation night
Local GEST
8 pm, open mic with Porter


Alice’s Place
10 pm, Karaoke
8 pm, DJ Bookshelf
8 pm, Elements of Soul with Veronica Tynes, $5
Mill Street Beer Hall
8 pm, Friday Nights with DJ Humble Mike


8 pm, Urban Rednecks
9:30 pm, Elements of Soul with Veronica Tynes, $5.
Mill Street Beer Hall
5 pm, Saturday Nights with DJ Humble Mike


Alice’s Place
4 pm, Karaoke with Vee
Corktown Kitchen
11 am, Live jazz and brunch 
4 pm, Parang- Moka, $10
Local GEST
3:30 pm, Annual Christmas Carolling with Jeff Barnes & Noah Zacharin


Free Karaoke
Stout Irish Pub
7:30 pm, Headscratchers Trivia


Stout Irish Pub
7:30 pm, Headscratchers Trivia


Alice’s Place
9 pm, Karaoke
Local GEST
7:30 pm, Wednesday Night Trivia
Paintbox Bistro
7:30 pm, Corktown Ukulele Jam annual holiday party


8 pm, Michael Billick
The Irv
7:30 pm, live music with Geoff Willingham
The Local GEST
8:30 pm, Cabbage Head comedy


Alice’s Place
10 pm, Karaoke 
8 pm, DJ Bookshelf
6 pm dinner and 10 pm party, Home for the Holidays dinner & dance with Christopher Michaels and Mark Anthony, $10
Mill Street Beer Hall
8 pm, Friday Nights with DJ Humble Mike


8 to 10:30 pm, live bands.  
11 pm, Fuse Lounge Saturdays, the best of the 80s and 90s - jazz, blues, soul and R&B.
Mill Street Beer Hall
5 pm, Saturday Nights with DJ Humble Mike
Stout Irish Pub
Christmas Eve PJ party


554 Parliament St, (647) 931-9088,
354 King St E, (46) 901-1188, 
500 Queen St E, (416) 366-5555,
18 Tank House Lane, Distillery, (416) 203-2121,
366 Queen St E, 
95 Carlton Street, (647) 350-4787,
424 Parliament St, (416) 961-9425,
21 Tank House Ln, Distillery, (416) 681-0338,
21 Tank House Ln, Distillery,
568 Parliament, (416) 323-9381,
514 King E, (647) 350-6346,
555 Dundas St E, (647) 748-0555,
Young Centre, 50 Tank House Lane, Distillery, (416) 866-8666,

568 Parliament St, (647) 351-1533,