December 14

This week’s image: Sumach Street beside the Necropolis - always a lovely part of our neighbourhood in fresh snow.



New development at Wellesley and Parliament
Image: Keith Loffler McAlpine Architects
The new owner of the former Filipino Centre (599-601 Parliament) has submitted plans to renovate and expand the current building.  The project calls for retail space on the first floor, commercial office space on the second floor and three floors with eleven condos above that. 
The new building will definitely perk up the northern block in the Cabbagetown business area.  It is, however, higher at 60’ than is permitted under the current 45’ bylaw. The City of Toronto will consider the proposal.  If rejected, the owner can go to the Committee of Adjustment.  Jason Brander is the City Planner on the proposal and he can be reached at (416) 338-2577.
The BIA knows about the project and this is good news.  On several past occasions, the BIA has helped to mediate between a developer, the City and the community with good results for everyone. 
Here’s a report with various online links from UrbanToronto.  

Progress at The Sumach
The Sumach is Chartwell’s new rental residence for older adults located on the southern edge of Regent Park.  It’s in a very attractive part of the revitalized area - next to the athletic grounds, near the community centre, close to the future home of Dixon Hall’s youth centre and a block away from Queen Street shopping.  
The exterior walls for eight storeys are now in place with four more to be built.  The building will house a bistro and talks are underway with a possible tenant.  In addition, two more retail spots are open.  
Rentals have been brisk with a substantial number of the commitments coming from people who live nearby downtown.
For more info, click here.   

Gerrard Street developments
The project at The Beer Store (Ontario and Gerrard) is still with the planning department at City Hall.  The planner is Tom Rees - he’s discussing it with the developer in the light of local residents’ comments and reactions at the City of Toronto.  The Oben Flats proposal is at the OMB.

Congrats to the Tully family
A big Cabbagetown welcome for Struan Tully.  He’s the latest addition to the Tully family and he certainly has been born with solid Cabbagetown credentials.  His grandmother, Marilyn Marshall, is a major organizer of the Festival’s Blair’s Run.  His mom, Megan, has organized hockey events at Moss Park and in the past was an organizer at the BIA for the Cabbagetown Festival.  
Congrats to Megan and Keegan.  He’s a fine looking young guy!

A successful tour for the carollers
Photo: George Rust D'Eye
Congrats to the 14 carollers who went door-to-door last weekend on Winchester, Metcalfe, Carlton, Bowman, Sackville and Sackville Place.  Four more people did support jobs, gathering and delivering the donations. Thanks, as well, to the homeowners who listened and then donated so generously.  The carolling tour has been an annual event for over 20 years to benefit the food bank at St Luke’s Church.  This year, the singers collected over 300 pounds of foodstuffs and $845 in donations.

Neighbourhood ice rinks
The rink in Riverdale Park East (550 Broadview) is open a month early.  On Saturday December 16, there’ll be free hot chocolate to celebrate.  It’s a rink and a skating trail.  Please bring a non-perishable food item for the Eastview Neighbourhood Community Centre.
Regent Park (480 Shuter) and Sherbourne Common (5 Lower Sherbourne) are both open.
Before you go, you can confirm operating hours and conditions at the City’s website but beware that they may not have updated Riverdale Park East.  

Pucker up and win
The Cabbagetown BIA has set up six mistletoe stations outside local businesses - the BIA Office (235 Carlton), the House on Parliament (454 Parliament), the TD Bank (493 Parliament), Pet Menagerie (549 Parliament), Alice’s Place (554 Parliament) and the Children’s Book Bank (350 Berkeley). 
Kiss your love, your bestie or even your pooch at one of the stations and snap a selfie while you’re at it.  Post it on instagram using #Cabbagetown or email it to Send in your entry before noon on December 21.  The winner gets a $100 gift certificate to use in any business that’s a Cabbagetown BIA member and two runners-up will be eligible for a $100 purchase at the BIA swag shop.

Wow - that’s a big crane
The Cabbagetown Youth Centre (2 Lancaster) is renovating.  Earlier this week, the crane was parked in the lot behind The Beer Store and was lifting air conditioning and heating equipment onto the roof.  


Idle No More in Allan Gardens
Photo:  CBC News
Every week, volunteers from Allan Gardens Food & Clothing Share offer hot meals and clothing to those in need.  The group grew out of the Idle No More movement five years ago.  Click here to read the CBC’s story about their project.  

Nightwood Theatre
Photo:  Fred Lum, Globe & Mail
Nightwood Theatre is a feminist theatre company based in the Ernest Balmer Studio in the Distillery.  J Kelly Nestruck profiled the group in a recent Globe & Mail article - click here to read it.   

Cabbagetown cyclists
Photo: Rene Johnston, Toronto Star
Recent census data has revealed the habits of Toronto’s commuters who cycle to work.  Cabbagetown’s cycling rates are the highest in the city. Ben Spurr wrote about our performance in his Toronto Star article - click here to see it. 


Oysters for your party
Our new fish store, MWM Fish Co (419 Parliament), offers party catering and special menu services for your holiday events.  Mark will bring a variety of oysters and shuck them right there during your party. If you prefer a pick-up, he’ll prepare them just ahead of time so you can get them at the store - your oysters will be shucked, packed up and ready to go.  While you’re there, ask about his smoked salmon.
Mark holds oyster shucking events on Saturdays between noon and 5 pm.  Drop in to the store, pick out your choices, get them shucked and then find out more about oysters from the store’s experts.  It’s a great way to learn and taste some of the less well known, high quality oyster brands.

Congrats Labour of Love, Kendall and Spruce
blogTO has listed Kendall & Co (514 Parliament) and Spruce (455 Parliament) on its list of Toronto’s top ten stores where you can buy the best Christmas ornaments and decorations.  
Check them out - Kendall’s window alone will make your visit worthwhile. Click here to read the story.  
Photo: Hector Vasquez, blogTO
Labour of Love (223 Carlton) was listed in blogTO’s story about the best places to buy unique gifts.  Spruce (455 Parliament) got another mention in this story.  Click here.  

Mark at St James Town Steak & Chops (516 Parliament) is taking orders now for your Christmas dinner - turkeys, PEI grass-fed prime rib roasts and tenderloin, capons, smoked hams, honey glazed hams - he’s got everything you need for an unforgettable meal.

Blooming has premium trees
New this year. Blooming (559 Parliament) has premium trees on sale - they’re thicker and perfectly shaped and they’re 6’ to 12’ high. The trees are in the back patio.  Local deliveries are only $10. She also has an extensive line of decorative materials and flower arrangements - wreathes, LED lights, urns and more.   Check out her Facebook page for details.  

Christmas trees are back at No Frills
Photo: Victoria Hadden
Christmas trees are back at the corner of Spruce and Parliament beside No Frills.  These folks have been selling their trees here for 65 years - lots of happy customers and excited kids.  Victoria Hadden reports that they plan to sell 700 trees in our neighbourhood this year.


Santa’s coming
Santa will visit F’Amelia (12 Amelia) on Sunday December 17 from 4 to 6 pm.  There’ll be hot chocolate, cookies and crafts for your kids and maple butter rum for you. 

Christmas carols at The Local GEST
The annual Christmas carol sing-a-long at The Local GEST (424 Parliament) has been scheduled for Sunday December 17.  Jeff Barnes will be leading the choir once again.  Save the date - it’s a Cabbagetown Christmas highlight. 

Riverdale Farm
Riverdale Farm’s annual Christmas celebration - Saturday December 16, 10 am to 2:30 pm.  Santa will be there from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm in the Meeting House.  Decorate a gingerbread cookie, create a holiday treat. Activities for the whole family.  Free.  Bring some unused toiletries for a local hostel. The Farm will be open from 10 am to 5 pm. Riverdale Farm, Sumach and Winchester.  

Cranberries Christmas dinner
Every year, Cranberries (601 Parliament) opens on Christmas Day for a special meal.  It’s a really popular event. There are two seatings at 5 pm and 7:30 pm and this year’s 5 pm dinner has already sold out.  Interested diners should call soon to book for 7:30 pm - (416) 925-6330.  Click on the menu to see the details. 

Christmas concert
The Corktown Chamber Orchestra returns with it Christmas concert on Thursday December 14 at 8 pm. The program is entitled Sacred & Profane.  Little Trinity Church (425 King E), pwyc, suggested gift is $20, kids free.

Bill Morneau’s community party
Bill Morneau, our federal MP, is hosting his annual holiday party on Thursday December 14 from 6 to 8 pm at the Cabbagetown Youth Centre (2 Lancaster, behind the Beer Store).  There’ll be live entertainment, food and refreshments. 

Soulpepper’s Family Christmas
Three popular events will be on stage at Soulpepper for the Christmas season -  Christmas Carol (on stage now until December 24), Peter Pan (December 8 to 31) and A Very Soulpepper Christmas Concert (December 15 to 17). Click here for more info.   

Holiday lights
The Cabbagetown Residents Association is again sponsoring a holiday lights contest.  If you or your neighbours have noteworthy displays, send in your nomination before December 26.  Voting will open on December 15.   Check out the Association’s website to read the rules and get the contact info for your submission.   

Allan Gardens’ Christmas show
It’s underway now, daily from 10 am to 5 pm.  Beautiful poinsettia, Christmas decorations, seasonal designs and more.  Saturday December 9 from 10:30 am to 4 pm, Allan Gardens Conservatory (Sherbourne and Carlton). 

Toronto Christmas Market at the Distillery
The annual Christmas Market is underway at the Distillery.  It’s open six days each week (closed Mondays) from Thursday November 16 to Saturday December 23.  
Christmas crafts and specialty foods, beer gardens, patios and daily entertainment.  To find out what’s going on, click here.  
Admission is free from Tuesday to 5 pm on Friday.  $6 from 5 pm Friday through the weekend.


Charity window at The Beer Store
Of course, you won’t be emptying many bottles over the holidays… But when you do, take your empties to the Gerrard Street Beer Store (227 Gerrard E at Ontario).  The Cabbagetown South Residents Association has set up a charity window.  Just walk in, ignore the lineups and donate your bottles to the guy at the cash register.  All proceeds go to local charities.  It’s a great idea.

Dinner for a Syrian family
Community Matters Toronto from St James Town is sponsoring a family currently in Ghana.  Syrian cooks from across Toronto with the help of a chef from the CN Tower will prepare the meal.   Syrian performers will entertain guests.  Friday December 15, 5:30 to 9:30 pm, Ralph Thornton Community Centre (765 Queen E), $50.  Click here to see the details and to get your ticket.  

Dixon Hall
Dixon Hall has been serving the downtown east community for nearly 90 years, offering over 60 programs for community members in need. With our support, they can ensure no one is left out in the cold this holiday season. When you donate to Dixon Hall, your gift will provide  - shelter for homeless men and women,  warm and nourishing meals for low-income seniors, and community and connection for individuals who are socially isolated.
For online details and donations, click here

Meals on Wheels volunteers
Over the holidays, Dixon Hall needs volunteers to deliver lunches for Meals on Wheels to homebound seniors.  You’ll work from 11 am to 1:30 pm on assigned dates in east downtown Toronto.  They’re recruiting drivers and runners.  There are forms to complete along with a waiver for minors who volunteer.  Contact Heather Johnson at Dixon Hall to tell her that you’re interested and to get the forms that you need.

Salam Cabbagetown
A group of Cabbagetown residents formed Salam Cabbagetown in 2016 and have sponsored a Syrian family in Canada.  The family has been here for a year and is doing well.  They have two adult sons living as refugees in Turkey who are eligible to come here as part of their family’s reunification. 
Salam Cabbagetown, working with the Mennonite Central Committee, has started a campaign to raise $15,000 to sponsor them.  If all goes well, the two sons should be here in eighteen months.  
Details about the family in Canada and a donation page for the new campaign are online here.   

Friends of Allan Gardens
Photo: David Winterton, Friends of Allan Gardens
The Friends have launched a fundraising campaign.  It follows on the heels of their new vision statement, Refresh, that lists future improvements that they’ll be working on for the park.  They’ve received an Ontario Trillium grant and hired a full-time person to work on the Friends’ business.  
They’ve posted a lively Facebook page and an informative website as well.  
You’re encouraged to donate.  The park is a landmark in our community and the group has a good future program lined up.  To make your contribution, click here.  


Larry’s Christmas Cabaret
A hot and quirky annual holiday tradition that celebrates the season with a variety of local acts, festive cheer and a late-night bar.  8 pm, Saturday December 16, Citadel + Compagnie (304 Parliament).  $20 - tickets and more info online here.  


Advent Deals at KENDALL & Co
Counting down to Christmas. Kendall & Co (514 Parliament) adds a new Advent Deal every day. Follow them on Facebook @kendallandcodesign, on Instagram @kendallandco or walk over to their holiday One Stop Shop.
Enjoy Kendall’s extended shopping hours: Monday to Wednesday 10 am to 6 pm, Thursday 10 am to 7 pm, Friday 10 am to 6 pm, Saturday 11 am to 5 pm and Sunday noon to 4 pm at

Cabbagetown souvenirs
Pick up some souvenirs for perfect stocking stuffers this Christmas.  The BIA (237 Carlton) has tee-shirts, hats, tote bags and baby onesies - all in various sizes and colours.  The Cabbagetown Preservation Association has designed special tea towels - available through Spruce (455 Parliament).


Board games at The Paintbox
All the games and the rules are provided.  Tuesday December 19 from 6 to 9 pm.  Check out the Facebook page to see the details. $5.  

Paintbox pick-up Christmas dinner
The Paintbox (535 Dundas E) will prepare your Christmas feast - roasted turkey, sauteed green beans, garlic and thyme potatoes, stuffing, kale and quinoa salad, cranberry sauce and turkey gravy.  Pick-ups available on either December 23 (9 am to 3:30 pm) or December 24 (9 am to noon). Place your order before December 20.  Save 10% when you order before December 17.  $27 per person.  Order online here.  

The Irv’s Christmas fundraiser
The Irv (195 Carlton) will donate $1 from every pint of Old Tomorrow to help the Cabbagetown Youth Centre.  The fundraiser will continue until Friday December 22.

Dominion’s fundraiser and brunch
Bring your donations of unwrapped toys, toiletries and winter clothing on Saturday December 16 from 11 am to 3 pm.  Your gifts will go to the Red Door Shelter.  Free brunch for kids, face painting, Santa visit. 500 Queen E.

Addresses, online info and current events.

30th Anniversary Season
Berkeley Street Theatre
26 Berkeley Street
(416) 368-3110

Heisenberg by Simon Stephens
On stage to December 17 

304 Parliament Street
(416) 364-8011

Larry’s Christmas Cabaret
December 16

20th Anniversary Season
Young Centre for the Performing Arts
50 Tank House Lane, Distillery District
(416) 866-8666

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Onstage to December 24
Peter Pan by J M Barrie/Bad Hats Theatre
Onstage to December 31
A Very Soulpepper Christmas
Soulpepper Concert Series
St Lawrence Centre, Jane Mallett Theatre
December 15 to 17 

Winchester Theatre
80 Winchester Street
(416) 967-1365

Emerging Voices Project
Onstage to December 15



  • 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.


Local GEST
10 pm, Comedy night with Ethan O’Reilly
Mill Street Brew Pub
6 pm, Live music
New Town
Oki Doki Karaoke


Alice’s Place
10 pm, Karaoke
New Town
Oki Doki Karaoke 
African weekends with DJ Fox and a guest DJ


11 am to 3 pm, Holiday party and toy and clothes drive
9 pm, Your Girl Flav
New Town
Oki Doki Karaoke
10 pm, Nairobi Nights, $10


Alice’s Place
4 pm, Karaoke with Vee
Local Gest
4:30 pm, Christmas carol sing-a-long with Jeff Barnes
10 pm, Reggae Sundays, $10


Stout Irish Pub
7:30 pm, Headscratchers Trivia


6 pm, Board game night, $5
Stout Irish Pub
7:30 pm, Headscratchers Trivia


Alice’s Place
9 pm, Karaoke
7 pm, Sharon Musgrave Duo
Local GEST
7:30 pm, Wednesday Night Trivia with Porter
Latin Wednesdays with DJ Fight - reggaeton, merengue, rumba salsa, Afromusic and more.  $10.


Local GEST
8 pm, Open Mic with Evan
Mill Street Brew Pub
5 pm, Live music
New Town
Oki Doki Karaoke


Alice’s Place
10 pm, Karaoke 
10 pm, Ladies night and dancing, ladies free, others $10
New Town
Oki Doki Karaoke
African weekends with DJ Fox and a guest DJ


9 pm DJ Andre
African weekends with DJ Fox and a guest DJ


Alice’s Place
4 pm, Karaoke with Vee
Local GEST
4:30 pm, Sunday afternoon jazz with Beverley Taft
New Town
Oki Doki Karaoke
10 pm, Reggae Sundays, $10


554 Parliament St, (647) 931-9088,
17 Gristmill Lane, Distillery,  (647) 352-2766
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, (647) 347-3873, 
95 Carlton Street, (647) 350-4787,
478 Parliament St, (416) 928-1358
424 Parliament St, (416) 961-9425,
21 Tank House Ln, Distillery, (416) 681-0338,
21 Tank House Ln, Distillery,
514 King E, (647) 350-6346,
413 Parliament Street
555 Dundas St E, (647) 748-0555
326 Parliament, (647) 989-9127,
Young Centre, 50 Tank House Lane, Distillery, (416) 866-8666,

568 Parliament St, (647) 351-1533,