Danforth Gems

I promised this post (ahem) a little while ago so here is what I know about what is going on in our little world.

First  – I don’t know what is happening with the former CIBC building on the corner of Woodbine and Danforth.  It’s been sold.  And I believe it is available for lease.  All rumours you’ve heard about random coffee chains do not seem to be true.

Career Fit Mom – The spring sessions of these mom and babe group fitness classes begin next week.  Beth is running programs at Eastminster Church at Chester and Danforth, in East Lynn Park at Woodbine and Danforth, in Cassels Park at Woodbine and Gerrard and in Taylor Creek Park at Woodbine and Cosburn.  There are a number of different types of classes from drop-ins to stroller fit to play fit.  Learn more about the fitness coaching and the job coaching at careerfitmom.ca

Patisserie La Cigogne – This Bayview Ave. bakery is opening a second location at Danforth and Monarch Park.  From the website: At Patisserie La Cigogne, we strive to bring the quality and freshness of Alsatian delicacies to you each day. French master pastry chef Thierry Schmitt crafts traditional French desserts, croquembouches, wedding cakes, pastries, breads, chocolate and other sumptuous French fare . These delicacies, combined with the cafés friendly atmosphere and service, keep La Cigogne’s devoted clientele coming back for more. It is set to open mid-May and offers an array of yummy things from sandwiches and quiches for lunch to wedding cakes,  truffles and pate. Yay!

Cyclepath – Jennifer tipped me off about the Patisserie La Cigogne and she sent me this note about the wonderful bike store on the Danforth just west of Coxwell:

I bought a new bike from The Cyclepath on Danforth this past weekend (before the snow).  The staff and service there are fantastic!  Carlos and Christine, the owners have made a real investment in our community by buying their building and setting up an amazing new store.  I hope that DECA members and the rest of the community will repay that loyalty.

Bistro Camino – Last fall I wrote about Bistro Camino at Danforth and Dawes Road.  Lillian wrote me to tell me she tried it out and here’s her review…

If you haven’t hiked along the Danforth to Dawes Road for fine dining of late, hike now.   Dinner at Bistro Camino is always good, but last weekend was the first time I enjoyed their ‘four hors d’oeuvres’ plate.  If I counted correctly, it actually worked out to be seven types of appetizers all artfully arranged.  It included an absolutely delicious parsnip soup, wonderful smoked salmon, wonderful beef carpaccio, tomato and bocconcini on a skewer, escovitch fish, a tiny spring roll filled with duck and mini pot-stickers that were (I think?) filled with shrimp.  This fabulous presentation was part of a $25 set-price meal that also included a main entree of shrimp Americano with rice and a really nice assortment of vegies, and then a beautiful Pear Helene for dessert.  I have a feeling that that appetizer plate alone would go for $25 in some places downtown.  Good wine as well.  This place is a true neighbourhood gem.

So Much To Say

Apologies dear reader, I’ve been neglecting you.  Always something else that needed to be done.  No matter, there is lots to tell you about today.  I’m going to give you the news in this post and then send out another post in the next few days with a bunch of Danforth Gems to tell you about.  Don’t let the length of this post discourage you.  If you need to take a break and go make a cup of tea in the middle, do so, but make sure to come back and read all the way to the end.  Trust me, you won’t want to miss the last section.

Danforth East Arts Fair – September 17/18

Coming soon to a park near you: the third annual Danforth East Arts Fair. On Sept. 17 and 18, East Lynn Park will transform into an outdoor gallery where artisans from near and far will display and sell their wares.  The first application deadline for artists’ applications is April 30, so get cracking. Download your application at www.deca-arts.caThis volunteer-run, juried arts fair sprang out of an idea that a resident put forward at one of our meetings back in 2007. You see what happens? Action, people. It’s amazing what a few committed, created citizens can do.

You may remember the iron ukuleles from last fall’s arts fair. Or the skull rings. Or the gorgeous oil paintings. Or the beautiful harp music wafting through the park as people wandered down the path. Maybe you enjoyed a slice of pizza under the sun as you watched all the activity.

If you’re interested in helping out this year, drop the arts fair folks a line at deca.arts@gmail.com. And put Sept. 17 and 18 on your calendar now. Whether you’re helping out or enjoying the show, you wouldn’t want to miss it.

DECA’s Business Revitalization Team and Cozy Cafe and Bakery

Stephen Caissie photo

By guest DECA diarist, Catherine Porter

The Cozy Cafe’s anniversary party/ community celebration was a huge success — both for the lovely sisters Vera and SzaSza, and for those of us lucky enough to drop in, eat and dance.   At one point, I looked up at my two kids dancing in front of my neighbour, musician extraordinaire, Chris Bennett, and I thought: damn, we are lucky to live here.

The sisters figure about 300 people came to their party, given the jugs of coffee they went through. It was so crammed when I arrived, I could barely make it through the door. There was great food, of course, great music, and as promised, at the end of the party, the sisters and the Ontario Folk Dancing Association led some Serbian and Jewish folk dances around the store.

I have written a couple columns about the Cozy Cafe, and the generosity showered upon it by our east end hood. (Not to plug them, but in case you want to read the background here they are:  http://tinyurl.com/3ca2ced, and http://tinyurl.com/4sltfet. Okay, that was plugging them….)

It’s quite a story, really — that a stranger would offer to renovate your store for free, that a strange flooring company across town would offer to give you the flooring for free, that a customer with a furniture company would throw in two $600 tables for free, that a designer would sketch out a brochure and a photographer snap the photos of it, and that locals would drop off cheques, only because we all love this place and want it to thrive and keep serving us food and laughter.  This type of stuff doesn’t happen much.

So, for the record, a few people need to be thanked:

*Chris Bennett and Lucas Stagg from Twelfth Fret played at the party, which was wonderful.

* Local east ender Alex Zamayoa  and Mi Casa Furniture for the tables

* DECA member Steve Caissie for the photos

* Thomas Giannousopoulos for the brochure design

* the DECA Business Revitalization Team for weeks of work on the store, from the frosted window, to painting, changing the store layout and lining up artists to show their work there.

For those of you who don’t know about us, the Business Revitalization Team has now helped transform six stores along the Danforth, starting a couple years ago with Plank Road Market. Our tagline is: “If one smashed window can bring a whole neighbourhood down, what can one smashing window do?” By improving the look of a few stores along the strip, we hope to draw new stores to the area and fill the Danforth in.

The Cozy Cafe was our latest business. If you have another business in mind, which is a gem in the rough, let us know! Email me at catherine_porter@rogers.com

Our team consists of stagers, designers, business branders, real estate agents and schleppers like me who are sick of waiting for a change to come to the Danforth, and want to do something about it. Our rules are simple: it has to be a store with the right stuff but the wrong look. It has to be a store we want to see prosper in the hood. (So, no questionable massage parlours.) The owners have to be people we want to spend our free time with — nice. We supply the expertise and some of the leg work, the owner supplies the basic supplies.

Empty Storefronts

At our last DECA meeting (minutes to come soon), we talked a lot about empty storefronts.  We all hate them.  What can be done about them?  We’re thinking we’d like to try and find out.  Why are they empty is the first question.  Taxes, disinterest in maintaining the commercial space when the residential is rented, absentee landlords are a few of our thoughts.  Then we’ll try to figure out what might be done about it.  This article  from Open File is great place to start thinking about it.  Be sure to read the comments too.  If that inspires you to want to get involved in this little project, send me a note – natasha.granatstein(at)gmail.com

Dealicious – Today’s Menu – $25 for $50 worth of food – until midnight tonight (Thursday)!

First – check out the latest local dealicious.ca deal from a store called Today’s Menu.  Located at Woodbine and Gerrard, it offers deliciously prepared meals cooked by chefs on location, with the unbeatable convenience of either delivery OR shopping at. Meals are made fresh daily and quick/flash frozen to lock in flavour: all you have to do is heat and serve.

East Lynn Farmers’ Market

Are you a musician interested in busking at various Farmers’ Markets across the city this summer?  We’re looking to fill 4 spots per week (Sunday 10-2pm, Tuesday 9-2pm, and Thursday 9-2pm and 3-7pm)  If you’re interested, please contact Diana at diana.mymarket@gmail.com

Community Clean Ups This Saturday

Make sure you get yourself to one of the many community clean ups that are happening in our neighbourhood this Saturday.

  • Earl Beatty School 10 am – noon with the Earl Beatty Community Centre, school and eco team
  • Danforth Avenue 11 am – noon – Clean eastward with the Danforth Mosaic BIA – meet at the corner of Coxwell and Danforth
  • On your street.  In your nearest park.  Wherever you see a public spot that could use a little TLC.

All Candidates Meeting – Wed April 20, 2011 

The good people at the Beach United Church and Neighbourhood Link are hosting an all candidates meeting for the federal candidates in Beaches East York on Wednesday, April 20, 2011.  140 Wineva (north of Queen) from 7-9 p.m.  They’re even offering light refreshments – how fancy.

Were you the victim of a break and enter?

In the last few months there has been a rash of break and enters in Division 55 from the Beaches up to Danforth Ave. Police have arrested a couple and allege that they are a husband and wife who integrated themselves into their neighborhood in a normal, friendly manner then set out to rob their neighbours.  Much of what they allegedly store is now available to be claimed. If you or anyone you know has been a victim of a robbery in the last few months call the police at 416-808-5500 to describe your stolen items and then you can set up an appointment to view the goods and hopefully reclaim what was stolen.