August 23

This week’s image: the fire at 650 Parliament



Duncan Hammond
Balmy Beach Club photo: Gwen Adams
Duncan was a good friend.  Everything seemed enjoyable for him - carving pumpkins, new hockey skates, joking around on the Festival patio, growing a Movember, putting up the rooftop tarps or just meeting his friends as they came in to the HoP.
It came as terrible news that he had died suddenly during the night on Thursday August 9.  On Sunday August 19, hundreds of people came to the Balmy Beach Club to share stories and memories and to be together to ease the shock from his unexpected passing.    
He’ll be badly missed.  

650 Parliament fire
The fire started about 1 pm and grew into a six-alarm fire with 26 fire trucks, 100 firemen, ambulances and emergency vehicles on the scene. The Fire Chief says that there was a lot of fire and that very heavy smoke started on the lower levels and was distributed throughout the building.  
Some residents were asked to stay inside their units and on their balconies. The firemen had located them, assessed their needs and advised them to stay.  They were monitored throughout the afternoon. By 5 pm, the Fire Chief announced that the blaze was under control. 

Aftermath of the fire
The Fire Chief reports that there’s significant damage, no hydro, no elevator service, no lights and no fire protection service.  Both the Mayor and the Fire Chief declared an “immediate threat to life” which called for evacuation and prohibited re-entry until cleared by the Chief. 
Up to 1500 people are now homeless.  Most have been able to find temporary accommodations.  The Wellesley and Regent Park Community Centres sheltered those who can’t relocate - by Wednesday night, approximately 75 people were staying there.  
It may be a while before residents can return.  First, the fire department is now restoring basic safety and services.  The building’s owner has lined up contractors to undertake repairs and clean out the smoke damage. 

Help the fire victims
The Red Cross has set up a donation page to assist those families who are left homeless by the fire.  Check it out here.  

Our thanks to the fire fighters
Chief Matthew Pegg called it “the most physically demanding fire fighting operation that I have ever witnessed.”  With no elevators, they had to climb the stairs to each floor in their personal gear through thick black smoke. They located and monitored residents who stayed in their apartments away from the smoke in the halls.  It was a tough job - well done.

Update on 2018 real estate
Nick & Hilary from Sage Real Estate (538 Parliament) have issued their regular semi-annual survey of sales and prices in the Cabbagetown real estate market.  It’s fascinating reading. Homes are sitting on the market for longer periods - 22 days versus 9 days in 2017. The average sale prices have dropped - from $1,358,000 in 2017 to $1,204,000 in 2018.  38 transactions have happened this year, down from 52 in 2017.  Their report gives lots of specific details about types of homes and location.  They also predict future pricing and volume trends for the rest of the year.  Check it out here.  

John Tory visits Dundas and Sherbourne
Photo: Peter Bragg
The Cabbagetown South Residents organized a two-hour walkabout with the Mayor and Councillor Lucy Troisi.   They met homeowners, social service workers, tenants and business people.  He listened carefully to everyone and heard about the increasing problems in the area with violence, overdoses, needles and concerning behaviour.  


New Roots Dinners
Daniel et Daniel (248 Carlton) is organizing a series of dinners in support of Green Thumbs Growing Kids.  100 people at eight locations.  Tickets are $150 (early bird to August 27) and $200 (regular).
Yummy food, a great group to support.  Click here to learn more.   

Street music returns
Double A Jazz are back again - this time at Amelia and Parliament on Saturday August 25 from noon to 3 pm.  They’re playing jazz favourites and fun oldies.

Artfest at the Distillery
Artfest presents over 70 painters, photographers, sculptors and fine crafts throughout the weekend from Friday August 31 to Monday September 3. There’s live music daily from noon to 6 pm.  Gourmet food vendors.  Free.

Cabbagetown Farmers’ Market
Tuesday’s Market revealed the really dedicated market-goers.  The Market went ahead despite the surrounding storms and threatening weather.  Tomatoes, corn, beets, cucumbers, potatoes and beans have all arrived.  And fruit - peaches, apricots, blueberries and strawberries. Lots of green veggies as well.  And this summer, there have been several amazing bakeries offering unique goodies.
The Market runs weekly from 3 to 7 pm every Tuesday, rain or shine, until the Fall in Riverdale Park (Sumach and Winchester).  

Taste of Regent Park
Next week’s Taste on Wednesday August 29 will wrap up the season. The open-air market starts at 5 pm followed by a community meal at 6 pm.
The special presentation will be aerial performances by Circle Square. In the Big Park on the north side of Dundas at Sackville.

Cabbagetown Regent Park Museum Historical Tidbit
by Sally Gibson
Beatrice White, fly-swatting champion 1912,  City of Toronto Archives1244-1039
In August 1912, Cabbagetowner Bea White of Regent Street became Toronto’s first Fly-Swatting Champ. During six weeks that hot summer, Bea whacked and trapped nearly half a million flies, earning $50 (about $1250 now) and ridding her corner of Toronto of much-hated house flies. 
Why target the fly? To call attention to the unsanitary conditions that caused sickness and death in Toronto’s crowded inner city. And why so many flies? Because the horse, in this pre-automobile era, produced the piles of poop perfect for breeding the “queen of the dung hill.” 
The contest was halted when organizers discovered that some competitors were breeding flies to be killed.
For more Cabbagetown history, photos and videos visit the CRPM Facebook page.  


Car thefts
Trish Finkelstein reports that there have been at least two incidents of car theft in the area, one at Wellesley and Sackville and the other at Carlton and Sackville.  The thieves are, apparently, cloning the fob without going inside the house and then driving away.  She notes that Toronto Police advise owners to keep their keys in a metal container in the house to prevent this signal theft. For an online video and explanation, click here.  

Housing for a refugee
Cabbagetown NARSA, a refugee sponsorship group, has sponsored a young man from Iran who is now in Toronto.  He hopes to find an affordable two-bedroom apartment near Cabbagetown for himself and a friend.  If you can help, please contact Joanne at 

Donate to the Cabbagetown Youth Centre
Traditionally, funds from Blair’s Run have gone to the CYC (2 Lancaster).  This year, the race is focused instead on Riverdale Farm.  If you want to continue your support for the CYC, please use this link.  


Andrew’s celebration
He doesn’t look it - and he doesn’t act like it - but Andrew turned 50 just a few days ago. Cheryl and a major crowd of his nearest and dearest friends held a surprise party for him. According to Andrew, they quaffed their way through many gallons of beer and surrounded him with love and laughter.

Welcome to Cabbagetown
Seth Bloom and Christina Gelsone are in town to perform their own work, Waterbombs, at BuskerFest.  You can see them there from August 31 to September 3 at Woodbine Park.  While they’re here, they’ll continue on to festivals in Port Credit and Waterloo.  In 2018 alone, their schedule has covered several European countries, the USA, China, Germany and Australia.  They’re staying in Cabbagetown for a few days with their friends Gillian and Stuart Marwick.  Check out their repertoire online here.   

Shania’s gone but not forgotten
Doug travelled to Timmins with his Cabbagetown Tee to check out Shania Twain’s museum and to see whether the sad rumours could possibly be true. 
The Shania Twain Centre has indeed been demolished.  It opened to great hope and fanfare in June 2001 but the crowds simply didn’t materialize.  After several money-losing years, the city sold the building in 2013 to Goldcorp who have since developed the property as an open pit gold mine.


Cabbagetown Festival
Saturday September 8, 11 am to 10 pm and Sunday September 9, 11 am to 7 pm.  To see the program details online, check out the BIA’s site.  

Get your tickets now
Eight films have been selected for the Cabbagetown Short Film Festival this year.  Check them out at the Festival’s website.  
This year, the Festival returns to the Winchester Street Theatre (80 Winchester). 8 pm on Wednesday September 5.  Only 243 tickets will be available.
A small number of tickets will be saved for the Box Office on the night of the event.  Most tickets sell online - $16.34.  Smart customers will order their tickets now - click here.   

St James Town Festival
Celebrating the World within a Block - it happens along with the Cabbagetown Festival on Saturday September 8 from 2 to 7 pm in the park between Wellesley and St James Ave.  There’ll be arts, crafts, games, food vendors, live music and community info booths.  

Blair’s Run
This year’s Blair’s Run will support Riverdale Farm.  Burnbrae Farms has pledged to match every dollar raised by the Run up to $30,000 - your donation will have a double impact.  Funds will be aimed at children’s programming and repairs in the poultry barn. 
Save the date - 8 am registration and 9 am start time on Sunday September 9. 
Race registration is open now online - $20/advance and $25 on race day.   

Cabbagetown Boxing Club
The Club’s annual demonstration matches will be held on Saturday September 8 from 2 pm. Tickets are $20 (adults) and $10 (kids 10 and under).  Congrats to the organizers - this is always a popular, sold-out event.  2 Lancaster (behind the Beer Store).

Riverdale Farm Fall Festival
A two-day celebration at the Farm - corn roast, hog and chicken calling contests, “Meet the farmer” demos, face painting, games and more.  Saturday and Sunday, Riverdale Farm (Winchester and Sumach).

Art & Crafts in the Park
The big art show in Riverdale Park (Sumach and Winchester) returns for its usual three-day appearance on Friday September 7 from 1 to 7 pm, Saturday September 8 and Sunday September 9 from 10 am to 6 pm each day.  
Over 150 vendors will offer clothing, jewellery, fibre arts, ceramics and more.  There’ll be more than three dozen painters, photographers and mixed media artists.  And - hidden away among the sculptors, wood workers and furniture makers - there’ll be two vendors with special dog features. 
Plus, there’ll be 15 food vendors who’ll sell chocolates, cookies, cakes, pies, syrups, jellies, mustard, lemon aid, nuts, fudge, maple syrup, Ecuadorian hot food and jerk chicken.


Floods on the Don Valley Parkway
Photo: Tom Ryaboi, blogTO
Scott Sutherland, a meteorologist at The Weather Network, described the reasons why the Don River overflows onto the nearby Parkway so frequently.  He also predicts that the flooding will continue and worsen in the future.  Click here for his report.  

Sidewalk Labs
The Globe & Mail’s architecture critic Alex Bozikovic has written an extensive story about the proposals and progress of Sidewalk Lab’s waterfront development.  He describes the company’s ambitions and also the issues that are making its critics uneasy.  Click here to read his story.  

Safe injection sites
Photo: Andrew Francis Wallace, Toronto Star
Lucy Troisi has called for a moratorium on safe injection sites in Ward 28.  She’s supported by Councillor Kristyn Wong Tam in the neighbouring Ward.  Samantha Beattie wrote about her motion in the Toronto Star - click here.   

Planet Paradise
There’s a vape lounge on the second floor of the Winchester building (51A Winchester) that provides a space where people from the cannabis community can get together.  Its features include a cannabis farmer’s market every Thursday and Sunday, free wifi and video games, live entertainment, food and non-alcoholic beverages.  Dished has written a summary of the market’s offerings and a nice intro to Planet Paradise - click here.  
680 News did a video report about the legal problems that lounges like Planet Paradise will face in the next few months as pot is legalized across Ontario - click here for the story.   


Covering All Grounds
Kendall & Co (514 Parliament) is introducing its latest collection of area rugs for the next season. Find comfort in cozy wools, joy in colours and versatility with synthetics. Whether for the city or cottage, indoors or outdoors, standard or custom size, Kendall & Co has all your grounds covered in their One-Stop-Shop for furnishings and decorating. Store hours: 10 am to 6 pm on weekdays, 11am to 5 pm on Saturdays and noon to 4 pm on Sundays.

Buds & Blossoms
Registration at Buds & Blossoms (517 Parliament) is now open for a nice lineup of Fall events for your kids. Grown-up-and-tot classes, after school programs and adult fitness sessions. New events include Hands On science and Glee@B&B.  Past favourites are also back - Little Chefs in Training (cooking class) and Little Breakers (dance class). For more info, check online.    

Congrats Spruce
Kim has repainted her facade at Spruce (455 Parliament).  Her new look highlights the store’s nifty logo.  It’s her celebration of her store’s fifth anniversary.  Looks good Kim - best wishes for your next five years.

Leslieville Flea
The Flea is a curated flea market offering vintage and handmade crafts and foods.   It’s back again in the Distillery at the Fermenting Cellar (28 Distillery Lane) from 11 am to 6 pm on Saturday August 25. You’ll find bargains, rare finds and one-of-a-kind pieces.


Cyril’s soup and bowls of the week  
Cyril is off to Argentina for his Buddha bowl ($15) and salads ($11).  Mixed greens, avocado, tomato and pickled red onions with quinoa with roasted corn and green onions. Plus halloumi (in both sizes) and marinated grilled chicken or grilled marinated tempeh (in the bowl size).  The dressing is a bright, herby and slightly spicy Chimichurri-inspired sauce.
The soup is a Thai butternut squash flavoured with red curry and coconut milk. 
He delivers (in Cabbagetown) on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. He’s accepting payments by e-transfers and cash.  Place your orders at his email address,

Congrats to the HoP
Photo:  blogTO
The House on Parliament (424 Parliament) was rated #1 on blogTO’s August 20 list of Toronto’s best pubs.   


Music City in the Distillery
This is the season’s finale for the Music City concert series. 
On Sunday August 26 - 2 pm, Gillian Nicola.  4 pm, Bad Luck Woman & Her Misfortunes.



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.


Alice’s Place
9 pm, Comedy night with Dave Burke and Danish Anwar 
9 pm,
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


New Town
Oki Doki Karaoke


Alice’s Place
9 pm, Karaoke
Distillery - Trinity Square Stage 
2 pm, Gillian Nicola.  4 pm, Bad Luck Woman & Her Misfortunes
The Tilted Dog
4:30 pm, Sunday afternoon jazz with Mark Sepic


Stout Irish Pub
7:30 pm, Headscratchers Trivia

Stout Irish Pub
7:30 pm, Headscratchers Trivia


Alice’s Place
9 pm, Karaoke
The Tilted Dog
7:30 pm, Smart Ass Trivia with Porter


Alice’s Place
9 pm, Comedy night with Dave Burke and Danish Anwar
Mill Street Brew Pub
5 pm, Live music
New Town
Oki Doki Karaoke


Alice’s Place
10 pm, Karaoke 
New Town
Oki Doki Karaoke


New Town
Oki Doki Karaoke


Alice’s Place
9 pm, Karaoke
New Town
Oki Doki Karaoke 
The Tilted Dog 
4:30 pm, Sunday afternoon jazz


554 Parliament St, (647) 931-9088, 
17 Gristmill Lane, Distillery,  (647) 352-2766
354 King St E, (46) 901-1188
601 Parliament St, (416) 925-6330, 
500 Queen St E, (416) 366-5555, 
18 Tank House Lane, Distillery, (416) 203-2121, 
454 Parliament St, (416) 925-4074, 
573 King St E, (416) 306-1986, 
95 Carlton Street, (647) 350-4787, 
478 Parliament St, (416) 928-1358
See below - The Tilted Dog
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,
221 Carlton St, (647) 344-7676,
(Formerly The Local GEST)
424 Parliament. (416) 961-9425