50TH ANNUAL FORSYTHIS FESTIVAL – STAY AT HOME CELEBRATION
We would like to think that if Tony Brady, founder of the Forsythia Festival and the man who started it all, could have seen the streets of Cabbagetown lined with yellow ribbons, chalk drawing of flowers and animals, messages of kindness written on the sidewalks, kites flying in the park and doughnuts dangling from neighbourhood trees this past Sunday May 2nd, he would have been vey proud.
As the provincial “Stay at Home” order dragged on from January-February, February-March, it was clear that we would not be able to hold the Forsythia Festival in person this year. As organizers of an in-person children’s festival, where people are meant to gather together and celebrate the arrival of Spring to the neighbourhood we needed to think outside the box and figure a way to bring some much-needed Spring spirit to Cabbagetown and bring the festival right to the doors of residents for families to celebrate. Thus the Forsythia Festival “Experience Bag” came to into being.
Instead of setting up tents and tables, we set up a Shopify Store. Instead of ordering supplies for crafts, flower crowns and face painting, we assembled bags with DYI Dangling Doughnut Kits, DYI Kite Kit, a window craft kit and yellow sidewalk chalk. We couldn’t offer you a burger or sausage from Mark at Steak and Chops or a beer from Stout, so instead our sponsors gave us discounts and coupons to include in the bags. We almost had a parade! The Heavy Weight Brass Band was booked…but we really didn’t want to risk a ticket, so instead we gave traditional yellow “twizzlers”, yellow ribbon and a window sticker to decorate your home. No raffle this year….but we did have “Golden Ticket” bags….where a few of neighbours were lucky enough to win an amazing prize donated by some of our local businesses.
An important part of the Festival is that it is free for all to participate. Although we sold “Experience Bags” we didn’t want a single family to be left out due to cost and many people generously purchased bags to donate.
In the end, our numbers looked like this:
- 260 Experience Bags sold
- Of those 260 bags, 81 were purchased for donations!
- 180 empty bags were purchased by local businesses to sell or give away with purchase.
As organizers, we have yet again been blown away by the spirit and generosity of our neighbourhood and local businesses.
A huge thank you goes out to all of our wonderful local businesses who proactively stepped with additional goodies up to help make the festival “Experience Bags” extra special, including “Golden Ticket” prizes and all sorts of coupons and gift cards that could be included in all of the bags.
A big shout out to:
- Steak and Chops
- Stout Irish Pub
- Salt and Tobacco
- Buds and Blossoms
As well as to our generous cash sponsors:
- TD Canada Trust
- Royal Bank Private Wealth Management
- York Search Group
Thanks also to Peter Lovering at Parliament Street News and Doug Fisher at Cabbagetown Neighbourhood Review for all the coverage and articles about the Festival.
And last, but by no mean least, many, many thanks from all of us on the CRA board to the huge effort put into this year’s Festival by its organizers: Shawna Pereira, Carolyn Jarmon, Katie Tozer and Trish Finkelstein.
This was truly a 50th Anniversary Festival like no other!
Wishing you an amazing Spring season and remember to mark your calendars for the 51st Annual Cabbagetown Forsythia Festival, May 1, 2022
CRIME ALERT – YOUNG GOAT STOLEN FROM RIVERDALE FARM
The Toronto Police Service is requesting the public’s assistance with a break and enter investigation where a goat was stolen.
On Thursday, May 6, 2021, officers responded to a call for a break and enter at the Riverdale Farm, 201 Winchester Street.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-5104, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), online at www.222tips.com, online on their Facebook Leave a Tip page, or text TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637).
CPA 2021 PLANT SWAP CANCELLED DUE TO LOCKDOWN
In our last newsletter we announced that the Cabbagetown Preservation Association would be running another plant swap this year, as they did in 2020, because they again can’t run the garden tour. Sadly, due to the ongoing Stay-at-Home order, which ends (hopefully) on the May 20, the plant swap has had to be shelved too. We are all hoping that one day soon this darned pandemic will stop interfering with all the great events that go on in our community.
IN MORE POSITIVE NEWS – THE CPA IS NOW ON INSTAGRAM!
That’s, right the venerable Cabbagetown Preservation Association, which has been around for nearly 40 years, is now on Instagram! You can check out all their wonderful and informative posts: @cabbagetownpa. As you can imagine, there are lots of pictures of houses!
SAFETY & SECURITY ALERT FROM NEXTDOOR
Nextdoor is a social platform that connects neighbors based on their location. The platform allows neighbors within the same geographical area to share information and communicate. It came to Cabbagetown/St James Town earlier this year.
In a post last week a member mentioned people going door to door wearing reflective vests that say “community safety”. They are implying that they are from the city doing the rounds response to reports of packages being stolen and other security issues. It seems they are either trying to sell security systems (or find out what security people have in place for future nefarious activities). Either way, we suggest residents be aware and don’t engage with them.
FUNDRAISER FOR LOCAL COMMUNITY MUSIC SCHOOL
For the past 43 years, Dixon Hall Music School has been a warm, accessible, and welcoming place for more than 6,500 children and youth in Regent Park and surrounding neighbourhoods. It has been a space for students to learn and craft their music skills, but more than that, it’s been a place for them to feel at home.
Dixon Hall’s annual Music for Life gala sustains the operations of the music school, but it had to be cancelled last November due to COVID-19. This year, they have two generous donors who have helped to kick-start our campaign through a pool of matching funds.
Find out more about this important community fundraiser and please give generously, if you are able.
NEW MIDDLE EASTERN FOOD SPOT OPENS ON GERRARD
A new Middle Eastern restaurant/brunch spot/coffee shop/kitchen called ‘Fattoush’ has opened up very recently at 253 Gerrard Street.
They describe themselves as an online catering company that focuses on Middle Eastern Breakfast Feasts. They believe in offering their customers a healthier breakfast option that is locally sourced and beloved in the Middle East.
It’s got to be hard opening a place like this in a lockdown, so please give them the support they need from our community.
Open daily 8am to 6pm (8am to 8pm Fridays and Saturdays)
(Editor’s Note: We picked up dinner from Fattoush the day it opened. Really excellent spread including the best falafel we have ever eaten! Super friendly service too.)
CafeTO CURB LANE INSTALLATIONS BEGINNING MAY 8
Here’s some good news for our local restaurants and all the neighbourhood foodies who have continued to support them throughout the pandemic.
Mayor John Tory announced Wednesday that the installation of curb lane patios — introduced through the city’s CaféTO program — is set to begin on Saturday, May 8, in an effort to avoid delays for participating restaurants when outdoor dining is once again permitted, reports Mira Miller at BlogTO.
GARDEN SUITES PROJECT MOVES TO PUBLIC CONSULTATION PHASE
A “Garden Suite” is a second, generally smaller, house built in the backyard of a detached, semi-detached, or townhouse property.
In April, 2021 the City released a survey to explore your opinions and concerns about new backyard houses in your neighbourhood.
As the next step in the consultation process, City Planning will be hosting a series of virtual community consultation meetings where residents can learn more, ask questions, and share comments about Garden Suites. Three sessions have been arranged to provide additional date/time options but the same content will be reviewed at each meeting.
The meetings will be Online and phone-in only. To join pre-registration is required (scroll to Page 6 for the meeting titled ‘Garden + Suites Study Community Meeting’).
ActiveTO CLOSES LOCAL ROADS FOR PEDESTRIANS, CYCLISTS
The following closures will be in place beginning Saturday, May 8 at 6 a.m. until Sunday, May 9 at 9 p.m.:
• Bayview Avenue, between Front Street East and Rosedale Valley Road, as well as River Street between Bayview Avenue and Spruce Street.
ActiveTO routes will be closed to vehicles and open to people on bikes, as well as to pedestrians. Residents planning to use ActiveTO routes or to visit High Park should do so only with members of their own household and are asked to access them by bike or on foot because nearby parking is limited and there is no onsite parking available.
NEW ORDER TO CLOSE ALL EDUCATION SETTINGS TO IN- PERSON LEARNING
Toronto has issued a new section 22 order to ensure all education settings are closed to in-person learning in order to curb the spread of COVID-19. The order, which was released on Thursday evening, will go into effect on May 10. Report by Katherine DeClerq at CTV News.
CITY PARTNERS WITH VACCINEHUNTERS.CA TO HELP FIND APPOINTMENTS
The City of Toronto announced today that it is partnering with Vaccine Hunters Canada to assist Toronto residents in identifying available next-day appointments at City-run immunization clinics. At the end of each day, the City will provide Vaccine Hunters Canada with clinic appointment availability for the next day. Read the City news release.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT EACH AUTHORIZED VACCINE
Canada is expecting to receive more than two million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines each week through June, and an additional one million doses from Moderna next week. With four COVID-19 vaccines now authorized for use in Canada, who will become eligible to receive which vaccines and where can they get it? Report by Stephanie Liu at CTV News.ca.