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Holiday lights contest will kick off December 1

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: time for the 3rd Annual Cabbagetown Holiday Lights contest! 
In what has become a popular annual tradition, it’s time to show off Cabbagetown’s houses in all of their illuminated glory. Whether the inspiration leans toward Martha Stewart or maybe the Griswold Family, show off your decorating style or nominate one of your neighbours!
There are three ways you can enter:
– Post a photo to Twitter with the hashtag #cabbagetownlights;
– Post a photo to our Facebook page timeline with the hashtag #cabbagetownlights;
– or email us your photo at
Please include the address of the home in the photo, so we can include the street name on the voting website and know how to contact the residents if their house wins.
Photos can be submitted anytime between Friday, December 1 and Tuesday, December 26. By submitting your photo, you consent to your photo being reproduced on a voting website that will contain all of the submissions. Photos will be identified by the house’s street but no names or other personal identifying details will be published. 
The voting website will go live on Friday, December 15 to not give too much of an advantage to those who submit early. However, don’t wait too long to enter!
Whichever three photo submissions have the most votes by the end of the day on December 26 wins a trophy, a one-year membership to the Cabbagetown Residents Association, and bragging rights! The top three vote-getting houses will get to display a lawn-sign marking their achievement. For the purpose of determining resident winners, when the same house is photographed more than once, total votes will be counted.
Only one vote will be allowed per IP address, however you can switch your vote anytime up until the deadline.
In order to spread the holiday joy around the neighbourhood, past 1st place winners are ineligible to win again, but we certainly encourage them to keep up the decorating spirit!
Last year’s winners are below:
Decorated tree on Wellesley Avenue holiday-lights-winner-web
First Place: Wellesley 3a Winning household: Steve O’Connor and neighbour Fiona

Row of Aberdeen Avenue houses with lights Jack Cox
Second Place: Aberdeen 1 Jack Cox being presented with trophy by CRA President Phil Frei

House on Geneva with lights mckenna petersen
Third Place: Geneva 1 Mckenna Petersen and her dad being presented with trophy by CRA Vice President James Wood


Posted in Events

Holiday Card Winners, 2017!

The Cabbagetown Residents Association is delighted to announce the winners of its annual Holiday Card contest. Students from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 8 at Sprucecourt and Winchester Public schools submitted their most creative holiday drawings. There are four winners: two at each school, one from the primary grades and the second from the junior grades.


Winchester Primary Winner
Grade 1

Winchester Junior Winner
Grade 7/8

Sprucecourt Primary Winner
Grade 2

Sprucecourt Junior Winner
Grade 7/8

These four images will be made into greeting cards sent out to all households within the CRA’s official boundaries of Parliament to the west, Gerrard to the south, Don Valley to the east and St. James’s Cemetery to the north. Watch for them in your mailbox! The contest winners each receive a Pizza Party for their class and a framed copy of their card.

Many thanks to our volunteer judges.

– Kristie Rogers has 15 years experience in the advertising and marketing industry. Currently, she works for Reebok managing their Canadian brand marketing efforts. Just as Albert Einstein said, she believes that “Creativity is intelligence having fun.”

– Celia Fankhauser is an educator interested in developing programs and environments that foster creativity and individuality for all ages.

– Karen Whaley has a degree in art history and her favourite job ever was teaching arts and crafts at a day camp. She used to work at Artscape but now she’s a full-time parent to Elizabeth, age 3.

– Betty White is a professional artist and art teacher. She taught art to children for 28 years  at Montcrest School and continues to teach children in her Cabbagetown home since her retirement. She also actively exhibits her art work and had her last show in June 2017 at Teodora Art Gallery. Visit her website.

Please also enjoy the gallery of 12 “honourable mentions” from both schools and various grades that the judges also selected.

Posted in Events

Throwback Thursday: Dec. 3, 1977

Volunteer Eric Morse continues his archival exploration of the Seven News, a community newspaper that covered the then-Ward-7 (including Cabbagetown) in the late 1970s.

The lead story of the issue was a profile of the local branch of Oxfam (at 7 Carlton St.) but locally the story was dry goods in food co-ops. The hidden lead was that the number of food co-ops in Donvale had dropped from seven to just three (two familiar names – Central Neighbourhood House, then as now at 349 Ontario St., and Christian Resource Centre) but the good news was that they had begun offering dry goods, and the eye-opener for those of us staring at the shelves today is the prices. CNH Co-op was asking 61 cents for a loaf of  bread.

John Sewell seems to have gotten himself into some poo-poo again with at least one reader (and Sumach Street merchant, Victor Fletcher) for his ‘pooh-poohing’ the idea of a bylaw forbidding dogs in city parks while voting for a ban on smoking therein. “Don’t you have a front yard of your own, John?” “If you can get them to go on my front yard, you are welcome to try!” From here the controversy, not to say the cartoon, looks a bit inscrutable. It probably was then.

One of the charms of Seven News was the linguistic diversity in the advertising section in a day before Google Translate was a gleam in Google co-founder Sergey Brin’s eye.

The interesting thing is that the advertisers happily bought the space in the quiet faith that their community did, indeed, read Seven News. The ad in Chinese is probably a public notice since 15 Prospect St. was (and is) Winchester Public School.

Lynn Goldblatt writes that local senior citizen Pat Barrett received a citation from Governor General Jules Leger for organizing trips to Harbourfront for other seniors.

John Sewell himself pens a cri de coeur over the death of public activism in Toronto, on the very verge of the birth of Metro.

There’s also a  lovely profile of Nettleship’s Hardware on Parliament, whose owner Margaret Taggart passed away only last year.

The full stories introduced above are available at . The PDF archive is a remarkable achievement by Connexions, a collective dedicated to preserving social activism, of which 7 News is surely a shining example.

Posted in Throwback Thursday
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Out for seasonal cheer? Leave the car at home

Des Ryan, CRA Board Director and our safety and security lead, dispels the myths around alcohol consumption and impairment.

Impaired driving. Let’s say the words and call it what it is. We have all been inundated with PSA’s telling us not to do it, that it could cost you more than your licence, that it’s just wrong. And yet….

On behalf of the Cabbagetown Residents Association and in the name of neighbourly concern for you and your family, let me dispel some of the myths about alcohol consumption:

If I pace myself and have a drink an hour, I’ll be fine.

While it takes about an hour for your body to process alcohol, if you continue to drink, you continue to infuse your blood with alcohol, which means that you may not get blisteringly drunk, but you will be impaired.

Water after each alcoholic beverage will stop me from getting drunk.

We all know that alcohol causes dehydration, and drinking water is a good idea to lessen that dry-mouth feeling the next day and/or help with your hang-over symptoms, but it won’t change the level of alcohol in your bloodstream.

A coffee before I leave the restaurant will override the effects of the alcohol we drank.

Nope. The caffeine in the coffee may keep you awake, but it won’t sober you up. Nor will fresh air or a cold shower.

I only drink beer, so I can have more than my wine- or liquor-drinking friends.

Nice try, but no. An average pint of beer (ABV 5%), glass of wine (250ml, ABV 11%), or healthy shot of liquor (70ml, ABV38-40%) all have around 2.8 units of alcohol. The only difference is that you may feel less drunk because or your own expectations. The car you sideswiped or the mailbox you knocked over if you drive home doesn’t care what you drank.

I’m a big guy, so I can drink more.

While your size is a factor, and women will get drunk faster and stay drunk longer, a single drink can cause legal alcohol impairment, regardless of your size, gender, or age.

I’ve been drinking a long time so it takes me longer to get drunk.

The more you drink over time, the more damage your body sustains and the greater the risks become. If you can toss back a few more brewskies this season than last without feeling the same effects, consider that a warning sign that your body may be starting to experience long-term damage caused by alcohol.

What if I wait an hour after my last drink?

While lowering your blood/alcohol concentration, giving yourself an hour after your last drink may not be enough time to make that much difference to your blood/alcohol levels.

We ate dinner with our drinks. That should count, shouldn’t it?

Good food over a glass of wine or two is always nice, but it will only delay the rate of alcohol absorption, which is to say, you will still experience the same level of impairment (whether meeting the legal definition or not), but it will take longer for you to feel the symptoms.

I drink white wine and I never feel impaired at all.

Hopefully, you drink white wine because you like it because it is not keeping you sober. Unless the alcohol level is lower, a glass of white or red wine, a bottle of beer or a shot of liquor can all contain the same amount of alcohol and will give similar readings on a breathalyzer.

How about having a couple of drinks in the afternoon? I’ll be sober quicker.

No. Just … no.

We are fortunate to have a number of excellent pubs and restaurants in the neighbourhood. We are also fortunate to have a number of excellent places to eat and that are easily accessible by public transit or taxi. Most of us are also fortunate to have a family member or friends who would gladly pick us up from such places in the event that we were unable to walk or take public transit or a cab home.

There is no excuse for impaired driving. And there is certainly no excuse for ruining your life and, likely, someone else’s because you figured a drink or two wouldn’t hurt.

Let’s keep it simple this year. If you’re going out for a little seasonal cheer, leave the car at home. You are worth more than you think to the people who love you.

Posted in Safety and Security
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SF Wireless moves to Cabbagetown

SF Wireless opened recently at 533 1/2 Parliament Street. Proprietor Sid Memon had a similar shop at Gerrard and Jones Street and relocated to Parliament this fall.

The shop can set up Chatr, Public and Koddo mobile services; it also sells and repairs mobile phones, and has an extensive offering of phone accessories, such as cases.

Posted in Local Business News
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Cabbagetown Holiday Card Contest underway

Once again, the young artists of Cabbagetown are creating images to reflect the upcoming holiday season.

The Cabbagetown Residents’ Association sponsors and organizes the competition, which provides prizes of framed artwork and class pizza parties for the winning entries.

At least 15 classes from Sprucecourt Public School and Winchester Park Public School are participating in the contest, reports volunteer Lindsay Mathieson, who, is organizing the contest along with volunteer Trish Finkelstein. Judging is set to take place the first week of December.

Given the diversity of cultures represented in our schools, what “the holidays” look like to the children varies widely. See the winning entries from 2016.

This year, four Cabbagetowners who are artists or designers have volunteered to judge the entries: Celia Fankhauser, Kristie Rogers, Karen Whaley, and Betty White (no, not that Betty White!)

Posted in Events, Local Interest

Police release photo of suspect in Sherbourne-Carlton sexual assault Oct. 30

On Nov. 23, police issued a photo of a suspect in an Oct. 30 sexual assault near Sherbourne and Carlton streets.

News of the assault was not made public at the time of the incident.

According to a Toronto Sun report, Toronto Police say the victim, a 29-year-old woman, was walking 12:40 p.m. on Oct. 30 when the incident unfolded.

“A man approached the woman and sexually assaulted her,” Const. Jenifferjit Sidhu said. She said the attacker was last seen running north on Sherbourne Street

Investigators believe the suspect to be 40 to 45 years old, about 5-foot-6, 150 pounds with a medium build. He was wearing black pants, a grey hooded jacket and a white head covering.

Anyone with information regarding the suspect’s identity or whereabouts is urged to call police at 416-808-5100 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

Posted in Crime Alert
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Throwback Thursday: Nov. 19, 1977

Volunteer Eric Morse takes us back 40 years with this week’s look at 7 News, a community paper that focused on Cabbagetown and the rest of the then-Ward 7 in the City of Toronto.

As might be expected, given its mandate for social advocacy, race relations issues were a steady thread through the editions of 7 News in the day. The lead story for the Nov. 19, 1977 issue featured a Board of Education (now TDSB) discussion at Eastdale Collegiate as to how racism in schools might be combated. It noted that Eastdale itself had a policy of suspending anyone guilty of racial name-calling. Meanwhile, in a comment evocative of current discussion, “a number of people pointed to economic and social frustrations that lead people to take out their anger on others.”

The Don Jail Demolition debate continued, with that notorious rabble-rouser John Sewell commenting that if horrible places were to be razed, then “the first thing to come down should be the Legislature Building. More terrible things have happened there than anywhere else.” Really, John!

On the next page, that other notorious rabble-rouser (and still-eminent Cabbagetowner) George Rust d’Eye delivered a salvo at the call for physical demolition of the jail. He quoted Professor Eric Arthur’s view that the jail is “an impressive building in the manner made famous by … Dance the Younger, who designed Newgate Prison. Compared with the grimness of Newgate, the City (Don) Jail is a friendly building.”

In Michael Creighton’s novel The Great Train Robbery, later made into a delightful movie with Sean Connery and Donald Sutherland and a fine popular commentary on Victorian London, it’s noted that Dance was ‘“one of the most meticulous intellects of the Age of Taste”, and that every detail of the building had been set forth to emphasize the harsh facts of confinement.” Here’s Newgate. Readers are invited to choose for themselves which is more depressing.

In 1977, gentrification was just getting started in the area, and George Rust d’Eye contributed an interesting piece on the history of gables, one of Cabbagetown’s outstanding architectural features, including several photographic examples. An interesting omission is the so-called “Witch’s House” on Sumach, now one of our more famous gingerbread restorations.

And last but not least, how does $4,391 grab you for a Mercury Bobcat station wagon from Gardiner Lincoln Mercury?

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M.W.M. Fish Co. has dropped anchor on Parliament

Looking for a selection of oysters, a wide variety of filleted and whole fish, and much more? Check out the new M.W.M. Fish Co. at 419 Parliament St.

M.W.M. stands for “Mark William Moore,” the proprietor. He has worked in the Toronto restaurant business for 25 years, including stints at Rodney’s Oyster House and Fishbar on Ossington. He says Cabbagetown has always been one of his favourite neighbourhoods and, when he decided he wanted to open a store, his scouting revealed that almost every other neighbourhood in the downtown had a dedicated fish store but Cabbagetown did not.

“I don’t want this to be boutique only,” he says, although at opening certainly there are many delicacies on offer, including 10 varieties of oysters from both west and east coast. “We will offer fish at many price points.”

In the opening week, there were the usual Malpeque oysters from P.E.I. but other varieties from French Kiss to Kusshi to Kumamoto. Once the store gets its sea legs, Moore plans to offer “Shucking Saturdays”, where customers can buy singles of oysters on offer and have them shucked and served to them for tastings.

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Toronto City Council Highlights, Nov. 7, 8, and 9

Council Highlights is a summary of a selection of decisions that Toronto City Council made at its recent business meeting. The City Clerk’s formal documentation is available at

Integrating public transit fares

Council agreed to ask Metrolinx and the Toronto Transit Commission to accelerate their plans for full and affordable fare integration, including a single fare for rides in Toronto. In addition, Council adopted a motion asking for a report proposing a governance model for Metrolinx that ensures a transparent, formal decision-making process for regional transit decisions such as fare integration.

Bike lanes on Bloor Street

Council approved maintaining the eastbound and westbound cycle tracks (separated bike lanes) on Bloor Street West between Shaw Street and Avenue Road as a permanent installation following a pilot project. The intention is to improve safety for all road users while minimizing the impact on businesses and curbside operations. Council’s adoption of the agenda item includes directions to staff, such as making refinements to the cycle track’s design.

Parks and recreation facilities

Council adopted a master plan for the City’s parks and recreation facilities to guide decision-making and investment over the next 20 years. Adoption of the report included Council’s support for several amending motions, and staff were asked to prepare an implementation strategy for the plan. The master plan aims to ensure that the provision of parks and recreation facilities is maintained consistently and is optimally distributed across the city.

Child care in Toronto

Council adopted a series of recommendations supporting child care. The recommendations include making agreements with non-profit and public-sector partners to fund the retrofit, expansion or development of child-care spaces that are not in schools. The City’s 10-year vision for the licensed child-care system for children under age four aims to add 30,000 new spaces by 2026 and to increase affordability while ensuring that the system is staffed by a thriving workforce.

Pilot project for electric vehicles

Council authorized a one-year pilot project for residential on-street charging stations for electric vehicles at two locations in each of Wards 19, 30 and 32 as well as at a location near Toronto Hydro’s facilities on Commissioners Street. Users of the charging stations will pay a fee for the service.

Refugees in Toronto

Recommendations to support the City’s management of the arrival of refugees in Toronto received Council’s approval. In addition to immediate measures to address an increase in the number of people arriving in Toronto and making a refugee claim, which affects the emergency shelter system, the recommendations include requests for support from, and collaboration with, the federal and provincial governments.

Implementing the Home for Good program

Council approved the allocation of funding for Toronto’s implementation of the Ontario government’s Home for Good program. The Toronto allocation of about $90 million over three years will help the City assist up to 2,000 people in need of housing. Implementation will help vulnerable people who are homeless secure and maintain housing as the first step to achieving an improved quality of life.

Proposal for a legacy structure

Council voted in support of having staff work with the Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre on the feasibility of establishing a legacy structure honouring Indian residential school survivors. The site proposed is south of the Peace Garden on the west side of Nathan Phillips Square at Toronto City Hall. The structure/site design is to be consistent with overall design considerations for Nathan Phillips Square.

Implementing police force transformation

Council provided direction on the Toronto Police Service’s implementation of the Transformational Task Force’s recommendations. Some of the changes will affect the provision of services such as the beaches lifeguard program and, effective in mid-2019, delivery of the school crossing-guard program. Council agreed to include a request about ensuring the police force has the resources needed to adequately enforce the Highway Traffic Act in Toronto neighbourhoods.

GO station at Park Lawn

Council agreed to ask staff to work with Metrolinx to make the establishment of a GO station at Park Lawn a priority as part of the Lakeshore West GO rail corridor, supporting potential development in the Park Lawn area of south Etobicoke. The Humber Bay Shores community is in that area. Metrolinx has not included a Park Lawn station in its 10-year shortlist of stations identified for expansion.

Licensing of body-rub parlours

Council decided to call for a detailed review of current bylaws governing the licensing of body-rub parlours and holistic centres, and to report on creating criteria for issuing licences for body-rub parlours in holistic centres where zoning permits. The report is also to address licence enforcement. Council’s action on this matter follows a recent audit of holistic centres in the context of the City’s licensing activities for the purposes of public health and safety, consumer protection and nuisance control.

Accessibility ramps on sidewalks

Council adopted recommendations for the City to look into possibly creating a grant program that would help local business owners retrofit the entrances of their private properties to improve accessibility. Many businesses are using small wooden ramps of various dimensions to connect their business entrance/exit with the public sidewalk/right-of-way, providing wheelchair access.

Internships for Muslim youth

Council authorized arrangements for 13 councillor’s aide positions in Toronto councillor offices on a part-time basis for 12 weeks to support the Muslim Youth Fellowship internship program. Placements are scheduled to start in January. The fellowship was created to increase participation in civic engagement among Muslim youth in Toronto.

Building code and greenhouse gas emissions

Council adopted recommendations to encourage an emphasis on green standards in the Ontario government’s current review/updating of the Ontario Building Code. The code is a tool that can assist with reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Toronto’s building sector. The City’s input consists of comments on proposed code amendments supporting efforts to mitigate the effects of extreme weather connected with climate change.

Toronto a nuclear-weapons-free zone

Council voted in support of a motion to reaffirm that Toronto is a nuclear-weapons-free zone as well as to ask the Board of Health to hold public hearings on the dangers of nuclear weapons and radiation fallout. An earlier Toronto Council designated Toronto a nuclear-weapons-free zone in 1983 and approved building a Peace Garden on Nathan Phillips Square as a symbol for peace and the ongoing struggle to avoid the devastation of war.

Special meeting on November 2: Appointment to fill Ward 28 vacancy [editor’s note: that’s us!]

At a special one-day City Council meeting held on November 2, Council heard candidates’ presentations in their bids to replace the late Pam McConnell as the councillor representing Ward 28 Toronto Centre-Rosedale. Council voted to appoint Lucy Troisi as Ward 28 councillor for the remainder of the current four-year term of City Council, which ends November 30, 2018.

Posted in Politics
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Welcome to Blooming!

Blooming, a flowers, plants, gifts, and gardening store, has set roots on Parliament Street.

Currently sharing the space with Merryberry Cafe at 559 Parliament S., Blooming is owned by Anji Shuklas, a landscaper who has worked primarily in the Rosedale and Forest Hill neighbourhoods of Toronto. Shuklas lives on Metcalfe Street here in Cabbagetown and said she opened the store to fill a gap as the neighbourhood has not had a dedicated floral shop in several years.

For the next two months, the front half of the 559 Parliament St. space will be filled with flowers and holiday decor, and there are additional greeneries and outdoor decorations in front. Merryberry continues to operate on a limited schedule with half its former number of tables and chef Cyril is also holding some evening cooking classes. Come the new year, once Merryberry ceases operations, Shuklas would like to rent out the kitchen and invites anyone interested in doing so to contact her at 416 940-0076

Posted in Local Business News
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