Spotlight On Sponsorship

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Neighbourhood News April 2022

Hello Neighbours!

It’s here! After a two year hiatus, the Forsythia Festival is back in person, this Sunday, May 1!

The parade will start at 10:30am at the corner of Sumach and Wellesley, and the festival will run from 11am-3pm at Wellesley Park, which was cleaned last week by a dedicated group of Cabbagetown residents.

Wear yellow and come prepared for fun – we have a mechanical bull, a magician, a BBQ and a beer tent! Check out the full schedule of events.

Raffles tickets are for sale ahead of time (email to purchase) and at the festival. 

Spotlight on Sponsorship

The Forsythia Festival would not be possible without our generous sponsors! Over the next few newsletters, we will spotlighting our 2022 Gold Sponsors.

Buds and Blossoms 

Buds and Blossoms has two licensed child care facilities, one of which is right in the heart of Cabbagetown, on Parliament Street.  Buds and Blossoms offers preschool, kindergarten, aftercare, summer camps and a diverse selection of classes for parents and children.  Program curriculum is mindfulness based and child-lead.  Children are engaged while learning something they want to learn and are having fun. The lovely educators and Buds and Blossoms are fun-loving and passionate about what they do! Follow Buds and Blossoms on Instagram at budsandblossoms.cabbagetown and check out their Facebook page.

Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre

Founded in 1980 and located right on Parliament Street, the Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre has introduced over 300,000 young people to dance through its Ontario Arts Access program, and won the Toronto Arts Foundation’s prestigious Arts for Youth Award for its development of young artists and young audiences. CCDT offers professional productions locally and abroad for all ages, next generation and established artist residencies, a continuity of development programs from age eight to professional, educational outreach, career guidance and community engagement initiatives for dance artists to explore and to showcase their craft. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram.


Jane’s Walk

Jane’s Walk is also back this year, running May 6-8th. This free, annual festival of community-led walking conversations was  inspired by Jane Jacobs—a journalist, author, theorist, activist, and proud Torontonian.

 Jane’s Walk festivals take place in hundreds of cities around the world. Jane’s Walks encourage people to share stories about their neighbourhoods, discover unseen aspects of their communities, and use walking as a way to connect with their neighbours.

Check out the schedule here.

Community Clean Up

Thank you to the local residents who helped to clean up two major parks in Cabbagetown on April 23rd. Wellesley Park and Riverdale Park were both cleaned of garbage and have a fresh look just in time for spring.


NatureScape on Parliament Street

The Cabbagetown BIA has partnered with Councillor Wong-Tam to create a naturescape on Parliament Street, starting July 1st and running 10 weeks. You can read all about it here, and see some of the renderings.

Toronto’s New Tree

The City has announced that Toronto is getting an official tree, and you can vote for your choice. Voting is open until May 10th.

Mother’s Day Baskets from GreenThumbs

GreenThumbs is selling Mother’s Day Baskets as a fundraiser to support 3 local school children’s gardens. Click here to order.

Forsythia Festival Spotlight On Sponsorship

Spotlight on Sponsorship: House on Parliament

A staple in Cabbagetown, the House on Parliament has been in business for 20 years. Serving up fine fare, libation & diversion you are guaranteed to encounter eclectic banter, solid conversation and some of the best food in Toronto!

As a business owner, Tania, her husband Beau along with business partner Duncan have a lot to say about Cabbagetown. “We love the diversity, the community spirit, neighbourhood loyalty,” says Tania, “but most of all that it feels like an urban village.”

The House on Parliament (aka “The HOP”) has a tonne of great history behind it.
“We originally wanted to name the restaurant the “Houses of Parliament” after Westminster in the U.K.,” says Tania. “We had two street addresses at the old location (there are two Houses in England), and were British-inspired, so it seemed fitting. The city flatly rejected the name when we were registering it as they felt it would be confused with the actual Parliament buildings. ‘House’ became singular, ‘of’ became ‘on’ and people call routinely to book tours of the Parliament buildings or to lodge complaints against their local MPP.”

Tania, Beau and Duncan have always been great supporters of community events in the neighbourhood, including the Forsythia Festival: “We love the community involvement. It has been amazing to watch it grow from a tiny little event to what it has become today. Kudos to all the hard-working volunteers for pulling off such a joyful day.”

The Forsythia Festival is run completely by volunteers and it could not exist or grow without the support of businesses such as the House on Parliament. The HOP decided to become a Gold Member sponsor in 2016. “The neighbourhood has given us so much over the years that we happily give back,” says Tania. “It is even easier when it is an incredibly well organized free event for kids and families. Thrilled to be associated with the Forsythia Festival!”

Hungry? Thirsty? In need of some always interesting conversation? Be sure to stop in at the House on Parliament at 454 Parliament Street. Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m., Monday to Friday; 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Facts: Duncan and Beau are not brothers. And HOP has the best sweet potato fries in the ’hood! 

The House On Parliament

Forsythia Festival Spotlight On Sponsorship

Spotlight On Sponsorship: Thorious

Thorious Founders
Now that the kids are settled into a school routine and homework has started to trickle in we are thrilled to feature Thorious in the October Spotlight on Sponsorship. A fairly new business to Parliament Street, Thorious is the place to be when it comes to getting a solid back-to-school start and has generously supported the 2016 Forsythia Festival.

Thorious is almost two years old, and has been at their current location at Parliament and Spruce Streets since February 2015. Co-Founder Wassim El-Geries the explains what the drive behind Thorious is about: “I am really passionate about education, specifically STEM (science, tech, engineering, math). I love the way these fields are changing our world, and I want to teach kids the skills necessary to contribute to that kind of world.

Our two main offerings are math tutoring and workshops/camps. Our math tutoring really stands apart – I am an experienced certified teacher and I integrate a lot of technology in my teaching. The end result is a unique curriculum for each child and unique objectives to fill knowledge holds and turn weaknesses around. I assign digital homework that is a especially motivating for kids in grade 1-8. We also focus a lot on traits that lead to success, like resilience and strategy development.”

This past summer Thorious ran their first set of summer camps. They were a great hit and Wassim is really looking forward to amping it up for March break camp (Minecraft coding anyone?). “A similar experience is offered during the week and on Saturdays. The Lego coding workshops are especially popular – kids complete increasingly complex missions using motors, sensors, coding skills, and a whole lot of creativity. It’s fun and learning at the same time!”

“I really feel like I’m part of the Cabbagetown community” says Wassim. “It was great to let people know about our services at our Cabbagetown festival booth this year, but it was especially fun catching up with the hundreds of people we’ve gotten to know over the years. It feels great to know that we are contributing to the children of our community through our programs, donations, and subsidy program, and we look forward to more opportunities to do so.”

Interested in getting in touch with Thorious? Well, they’ve got a great year lined up and they can’t wait to get started! Thorious can be reached at Also, by joining their newsletter at you can be the first to know about their newest programs, promotions, and the occasional educational tip. Or…stop by in person at 438 Parliament St. and see what they’re all about!

When asked about one aspect of the Forsythia Festival he enjoyed being a part of in 2016, Wassim had this to say: “The thing I loved the most was the enthusiasm of all the volunteers. Everyone was so friendly; a brand-new acquaintance even invited my wife and over to hang out afterwards. That’s such great warmth and friendliness! (Oh, and the bbq was on point!).”

When it came to what inspired Wassim to donate and support the Forsythia Festival on behalf of Thorious he had this to say: “I’ll be honest – donating and supporting events like the Forsythia Festival is pretty advantageous to Thorious. If we grow at all, it’ll be because we convinced a community that we’re doing something worthwhile and effective in education. We get to support our community and we get the word out at the same time – that’s pretty great. We’re looking forward to this year’s festival!”

Thorious has been a great addition to Cabbagetown. Investing time, strategy, education and most importantly passion for learning towards what matters the most: our children. Thanks to Wassim and his team at Thorious for supporting the Forsythia Festival!

Thorious Logo

438 Parliament St.
Toronto, ON
M5A 3A2

Spotlight On Sponsorship

Spotlight on Sponsorship: F’Amelia

John from F'Amelia
Patio season is in full swing here in Cabbagetown and one of the best places to cool your heels while sipping a fine Chardonnay is one of our local hidden gems of the neighbourhood – F’Amelia.

Located at number 12 Amelia St., F’Amelia has become a “go to” place for people all across the city who are looking for great Italian food and wine. Owners Todd Vestby and John Dawson (pictured) opened the restaurant five years ago and specialize in handmade pastas, in-house cured meats and wood-oven-fired pizzas. A meal here wouldn’t be complete without a glass of something from the wine list which boasts a number of beautiful wines selected personally by John and Todd.

As a business owner John reflects on what he loves about Cabbagetown – “Everything…the houses, the parks, the farmers’ market, the high street and the people”. As a resident he comments “We live in the city but feel like we live in a village on the outskirts of the city!”

F’Amelia has been a strong supporter of the Forsythia Festival over the past five years and this year generously became a Gold Sponsor of the festival. When asked what aspect of the Forsythia Festival he really appreciated John pointed out the festival is “all about the kids – I have attended the festival for 10 years and love everything it represents”.

The Forsythia Festival wouldn’t happen without the generous sponsorship and support of local businesses such as F’Amelia.

So if you are out and about, looking for a place to relax with a glass of wine or a little something to eat, be sure to stop by 12 Amelia St. But be careful….your experience at F’Amelia will be so good that it could become an addiction! And to further your addiction, F’Amelia will be opening for brunch this Fall!


***Think Spring!

Be sure to mark your calendars for Sunday, May 7th….Forsythia Festival 2017

Spotlight On Sponsorship

Spotlight on Sponsorship: Menagerie Pet Shop

Menagerie Pet Shop - Kaelo and Levanna
Menagerie Pet Shop has been a Cabbagetown business dating back sometime prior to 1980 (the exact date is unclear), when the previous owner bought a tiny location at the corner of Parliament and Winchester streets. The store later moved a few doors north and eventually expanded to the three Parliament Street addresses it occupies now.

Kaelo and his team offer a full line of pet products for every kind of pet. Birds, reptiles, fish, small animals and of course, dogs and cats. Menagerie sells live animals, but have never sold dogs and cats for philosophical reasons. They pride themselves on offering the best in holistic and natural foods and products for companion animals including organic and raw diets. They also offer a Do-It-Yourself Dog Wash and free home delivery.

Menagerie specializes in all areas of modern companion animals and hobby fish and reptiles. Each department has dedicated staff who are experts in their field of knowledge. Some staff can handle 2 or 3 different departments, but Kaelo for example is strictly a dog and cat guy. He has said that he “will always defer to one of my staff for anything else. I think it’s the dependable knowledge that has a lot of customers coming back.

About the area, Kaelo has said that “as a business owner what I love about the area is the village feel of Cabbagetown. Most of our customers live in the area and it’s nice to know them in such a familiar way. Same goes for the other business owners. It’s nice to have a rapport with people in the community that goes beyond the business of things.

Kaelo also told us “As a resident….. what I love about Cabbagetown…? Restaurants!!! Cabbagetowners are pretty lucky with the number of different restaurants, parks, sights and such. It really is a neighbourhood with so much to offer.

Our sincere thanks to Menagerie Pet Shop for their generous contribution to the Forsythia Festival.

Menagerie Logo

Forsythia Festival Spotlight On Sponsorship

Spotlight On Sponsorship – David Harland and Francis McNamara

Harland Mcnamara Harvey Kalles
David Harland and Francis McNamara are pretty much household names when it comes to people who live in Cabbagetown. That is not surprising given that they have both lived in the neighbourhood for 25 years. During this time they have lived in and renovated seven properties and while they say it’s hard to pick a favourite, the small, quaint cottage they own at 438 Sumach St. and the large, majestic home owned by Bill Hurren at 270 Carlton Street are definitely on the list of houses they love.

David and Francis have both a large social and business network in Cabbagetown. Their focus on the neighbourhood as real estate agents started 15 years ago with their first sale in the area. Having an existing history with the neighbourhood as residents, it seemed a natural fit to make Cabbagetown the focal point of their business as well. Having said that, they still do plenty of business in other parts of the downtown, primarily south of St. Clair, and more recently have started doing regular sales in cottage country.

David and Francis have been loyal Forsythia Festival donors at the Gold level for many years. They raised their son in Cabbagetown and even though he is now a young adult they remember fondly how he always enjoyed going to the Festival as a kid. They see their donation as a way to give back for what the Festival had given him, years of enjoyment. Their generosity and volunteerism doesn’t stop with the Forsythia Festival. They have also been annual volunteers for the Tour of Homes going back almost 15 years, volunteered with the Winchester Fun Fair when their son attended school there, have assisted in “Clean the Park” for a few years running, and are huge supporters of Cabbagetown’s local businesses.

Their favourite thing about living and working in Cabbagetown is the sense of community and belonging, having an extensive knowledge base of most of the homes, the many friends they have made who are like family, seeing the neighbourhood change in so many positive ways – the parks filled with kids, the empty nesters coming back downtown. They also love how supportive their neighbours have been to them both professionally and personally over the years. There is no other neighbourhood that either of them would live in or that could match the uniqueness and history that Cabbagetown offers. We couldn’t agree more.

The next time you see David or Francis, be sure to say a quick thank you for their continued support of the Forsythia Festival and their enduring passion for all things Cabbagetown.

Forsythia Festival Spotlight On Sponsorship

Spotlight On Sponsorship – Michael Haddad

Haddad Hudson Professional Corporation
Michael Haddad is a Cabbagetowner through and through. He has lived on Amelia Street for 15 years and his law practice has been located in Cabbagetown for more than 20 years. The office was first located on Carlton Street, but in 2006 the practice purchased and renovated 548 Parliament Street and re-opened for business in this location in 2008.

Michael shares his practice with his law partner Anne Hudson. Together they primarily work in three areas of law – wills and estate administration, corporate/commercial law and real estate.

Michael has been involved with the Cabbagetown BIA for more than 10 years, including acting as Treasurer for three years. Michael only recently stepped down from the BIA to make way for newcomers. He continues to work in the community, however, and currently sits on the Cabbagetown Heritage Conservation District Committee.

In chatting with Michael about living in Cabbagetown, he notes his 100-metre commute between home and office (which takes two minutes, and that’s usually because he has stopped to say hello to a neighbour) as the best part of living here. Michael is an avid supporter of all things Cabbagetown and strongly believes in supporting neighbourhood events and businesses.

Our heartfelt thanks to Michael and Anne for their support. The Forsythia Festival would not be possible without their generous contribution.

Forsythia Festival Spotlight On Sponsorship

Spotlight On Sponsorship – KENDALL & Co.

KENDALL & Co on a company field trip to Aga Khan Museum with staff and guests.
KENDALL & Co on a company field trip to Aga Khan Museum with staff and guests.

Chances are you are familiar with the name KENDALL & Co. given their longstanding presence in Cabbagetown, their ever-intriguing store front windows and their high style, full-service design and décor offerings. What you might not know is that they are also the kind of business team who gives back to the community in which they live and work. This year, the Forsythia Festival Committee was thrilled to add KENDALL & Co. to its roster of Gold level sponsors.

KENDALL & Co.’s interior design business is led by Kendall Williams who has been an interior designer operating in Cabbagetown for 17 years, first working out of his home office and then moving to Parliament Street in 2010. The retail side of the business is managed by Kevin Kung. Together they make a terrific team by offering full-service commercial and residential design services and bringing stylish home furnishings sourced from near and far right to our Cabbagetown doorstep.

When asked what KENDALL & Co. love most about Cabbagetown they noted the variety of design aesthetics found in Cabbagetown homes (nothing surprises Kendall anymore!) and the historical landmarks, the social dynamics and the welcoming culture of Cabbagetowners.

KENDALL & Co. were ultimately inspired to donate to the Forsythia Festival because of their shared view with the CRA that residents need great retail shops to frequent on Parliament Street, and the retailers need the residents to shop local. So, whether you have or have not frequented KENDALL & Co. to browse their carefully curated design and décor offerings, now is the perfect time to pop in, say hi and give a little mention of how much you appreciate all they do to support our community. After all, the holidays are just around the corner and this year word on the street is that KENDALL & Co. will have more holiday fare on offer than ever before!

Kendall and Co Logo

Forsythia Festival Spotlight On Sponsorship

Spotlight On Sponsorship – Richard Silver

Richard Silver
Chances are the name Richard Silver is a familiar sounding one to many Cabbagetown residents. That is because Richard has been an active real estate agent and supporter of Cabbagetown for over 35 years.

Richard was first introduced to Cabbagetown in 1979 during the Cabbagetown Festival. His first impression was that Cabbagetown was a small town within a big city, and that he had to live here. He was serious, and bought his first house in the neighbourhood that very same day at 422 Sumach Street for $95,000.

This year, the 2015 Forsythia Festival organizing committee was happy to recognize Richard (again) as one of its Gold Sponsors. His association with the Forsythia Festival dates back to the days of Tony Brady (the founder of the Forsythia Festival). Richard loved the idea of supporting Brigette the Clown (Tony’s alter ego) in his efforts to host a spring festival that would see all the neighbours parading around the streets and celebrating, at Wellesley Park, the arrival of good weather.

When asked what encourages Richard to continue supporting the Forsythia Festival after all these years, he remarked that it has come to be the marker of spring in the neighbourhood and that each year there seem to be more and more children involved in the festivities, which he loves. In fact, over his 35 years Richard noted that, of all the changes to the neighbourhood, the increase in the number of children has been one of the most significant. Where previously families with young children would leave Cabbagetown for the suburbs, Richard says he is witnessing more and more of those families choosing to stay and raise their children in the neighbourhood.

Richard has moved a few times since that chance house purchase in 1979, but he continues to be an active contributor to the neighbourhood. When he’s not working (which doesn’t happen very much) his favourite thing to do in Cabbagetown is eat at our local restaurants. He attributes the fantastic cuisine (and to being fed so well!) to the talented chefs who hail from Sri Lanka who have chosen to make Cabbagetown their home.

Richard is definitely a community gem who is committed to the neighbourhood and to helping out whenever he can. The next time you see Richard walking his dog, hosting an open house, or enjoying some eats, give him a nod of recognition and maybe a quick ‘thanks’ for all he does to keep our neighbourhood special.

Forsythia Festival Spotlight On Sponsorship

Spotlight On Sponsorship – Michael O’Brien of Bosley Real Estate

Picture of Michael O'BrienOne of the truly wonderful things about the Forsythia Festival is the local involvement of residents and businesses alike. This year, we were thrilled to garner Gold level support from Spruce Street resident and realtor, Michael O’Brien.

Michael has been living in Cabbagetown for over 35 years, first on Ontario Street and now on Spruce Street. That qualifies him as a long term resident in our view!

Michael is a sales representative with Bosley Real Estate and of all his listings he enjoys working with homes the most, especially because the homes in this neighbourhood are so interesting!

He loves the walkability of Cabbagetown and told us about his travels throughout the area including to some of his favourite shops like Spruce Home Decor. He also loves that we have about a dozen restaurant choices ‘at our fingertips’ as well as a fabulous bakery and butcher.

You can find Michael online at We so appreciate having Michael join our sponsorship group at the Gold level for the 2015 Forsythia Festival.

Michael O'Brien

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