And The Winner Is…

How did last week’s #DreamPopup survey go? In a word: Awesome! As in, the response to our survey, open from Jan. 23-27, 2014, asking what would be your dream pop-up shop, was totally awesome.  A whopping 91 of you took the time to fill in the survey and 44 people battled it out online on Twitter and facebook, creating a truly inspiring conversation about what our ‘hood is lacking (or sometimes appreciating what we already have and introducing your faves to others).

Without further delay, here are the survey results. Drumroll, please…

Question 1: “What kinds of new businesses do you want on Danforth East?” (Note: Results for this question add up to over 100% as respondents suggested multiple businesses.)

# 1. More Restaurants and Pubs – when combined they were the top request (cited by 38% of respondents) with many people specifically citing things like: good quality places, family-friendly, healthy food options
# 2. Bookstore – new or used (cited by 27% of respondents)
#3. Fishmonger (cited by 24% of respondents)
Tie for 4 and 5.
#4. More Coffee shops (cited by 20% of respondents) with some requesting Starbucks
#5. LCBO or Wine shop (cited by 20% of respondents)
Two other top requests were Cheese shop (14%) and Clothing (13%) – boutique, children’s.
The answers we saw on our social media sites were pretty similar, with restaurants/bars/cafes taking the top spot. A bookstore was the next most popular, then a cheese shop (a combined brewery + cheese shop was a particularly popular Tweet, though not the most unusual combo. That honour goes to the suggestion for the lingerie + hardware store. Perhaps we can petition the Home Hardware to start a new side business…).
Other suggestions on Twitter and facebook included clothing (kids’, outdoors), a community hub space (similar to the Centre for Social Innovation; a sewing store; specialized grocers (Korean, Japanese, Mexican); a housewares shop; a “funky” design store; a place to buy really good quality posters you’d want to frame; an art gallery; a water sports store; a food co-op; a music store; a vintage toy shop; a theatre company; large grocery stores like The Big Carrot or Whole Foods and a tea shop.  (Yes, please, to all of these!)
Question 2:  “Why? How would  to convince them to come?”

Answers most commonly talked about changing demographics in the hood, working families, and wanting to walk to shop for all their needs. Some sample replies:
-My own personal goal is to be able to do the majority of my shopping in the neighbourhood. I would much rather support the local economy than big name stores and I would prefer to walk and experience my neighbourhood first hand. I want an opportunity to commit to local businesses – which means they need to take a leap of faith and commit to this community.
-The neighbourhood is changing and supporting more and more quality, specialized businesses.
-We generally have to leave the neighbourhood to go to these places.
-These are the things I most often go outside of our community in order to access. If I could simply walk down the street and purchase these things that are staples in my life, I would be their customer for the duration!
-that young parents looking to stay healthy have moved to the neighbourhood, can no longer get downtown
-the neighborhood is changing. Houses are selling as soon as they go on the market. Lots of young people and young families. It is one of the last neighborhoods right on the subway line that has not “come up” yet!
-All of these things are lacking within walking distance of our neighbourhood. I would way rather walk to do my errands than drive, and I believe that others I’m the neighbourhood share that sentiment.
Question 3: “How often do you shop on Danforth East?”
In total, over 60% (or nearly two thirds) shop 3 or more times per week on Danforth East! (Although those of you who read this blog are arguably more likely to shop locally, we’ll choose to look see this as a good news story.)
Here are the results:
5 times a week or more: 23%
3-4 times a week: 39%
1-2 times a week: 33%
Once in a while: 5%
Not at all: ZERO
So what’s next? Obviously, we won’t be bringing you a pop-up fishmonger anytime soon (Can you imagine the cost of setting up the refrigeration & display units?), but now we’ve got more tools in our belt to take existing businesses, say, Hooked, to petition them to open stores within our stretch of the Danforth. If you want to help try to make these changes a reality, come join our weekly Pop-up Shops lunch meet up or send us an email at Renew(at) to volunteer.

Free Art, Family Art, Heart Art…art art art!

It may be cold out there, but that doesn’t mean that your creative juices aren’t flowing right beneath the surface of your rosy cheeks and icy fingertips.

Family Art Attack

Thanks to East End Arts for this unique and awesome Family Day event!

Monday, February 17th (Family Day)
Time(s): 2 time slots:  10:00am – 1:00pm or 2:00-5:00pm
Where: At Artisans At Work, 2071 Danforth Ave, @ Woodbine

Groups (not necessarily related to each other) of people of any age ranges are invited to participate in this fun, free art-making event.  Here are the details:

Each groups will be given a 3’x3’ canvas, acrylic paints & brushes. (The group is welcome to bring other materials, but must use the canvas supplied) and 3 hours!

The groups’ works will be juried, awarded prizes, and celebrated with an exhibition that evening, open to the entire community!

This event is presented in cooperation with East End Arts and sponsored in part by Deserres.

To sign up, and find more info, please go to

East End Arts is a local arts service organization dedicated to supporting, developing and promoting the arts in Toronto’s east end, including the East York, Beaches and Riverdale communities.

Artisans At Work is a group of skilled, knowledgeable and local people that are excited to bring unique products and experiences to the Danforth east  neighbourhood.

Free Art Activity Days @ ArtCave

Thanks to ArtCave for inviting all of us to these free art activity days! Located just outside Greenwood station at 155 Lamb Avenue.  Visit for more info.


Heart Art at Colour Creative

$20 per family with four time-slots to choose from.  See poster for more info, or visit their facebook page:!


February Artisans At Work News

As if the Family Art Attack isn’t enough, there is lots more to know about Artisans At Work this February. Thanks to Tara for passing on her February news. 

February, our theme is The Artistic Family, and as each month, we have a call-out to artists: Artisans at Work Open Call to Artistic Families:

This months show is focusing on families and the creative
ability between family members. All submissions must have at
least 2 to 3 family members submitting up to three works each
(15 max from each family in total). Each artist in the family is
encouraged to provide works of all mediums and small series.
We’re not looking for any specific themes, just the creative
ability among family members. Collaborative works among
family members are accepted as well!Artisans At Work has a monthly show in which a opening is
hosted every First Friday of the month! Live music, food, and
drinks are provided. A great night to come out, discuss artwork
and experience our east end community.
The opening night for February’s “Artistic Families” show is Friday, February 7, from 7:00-10:00pm.
For more information about Artisans At Work, or to get added to their newsletter, email Tara at

Ten Question for DECA Board Members – Jane & Paul

Here is the third post in the series of Ten Questions for DECA Board members spearheaded by DECA volunteer Heather Bean.  She posed ten questions to each of our board members to learn a little bit about where they come from, who they are, and what their dreams are for our neighbourhood.  Meet DECA’s board members Jane Davis-Munro and Paul Haines.

Ten Questions for . . . Jane Davis-Munro


How long have you been living in the neighbourhood?

I have lived in the east end of Toronto for 33 years: first at Greenwood and Gerard and now at Coxwell and Danforth.

Where did you grow up?

We moved around a bit but I went to Junior High and High School in Mississauga.

How do you spend your Saturday mornings?

My Saturday mornings are spent at Pegasus Studios.

What’s your favourite thing to buy at the Farmer’s Market, and what do you do with it?

I love any kind of berries.  What we don’t eat we freeze for later!

How did you get involved with DECA?

We were very fortunate to live in Innstead Housing co-op while both my husband and I started our own businesses and were raising our young family.  I then was very fortunate to find a home for my dance studio at Kimbourne Park United Church.

I wanted to find a way to give back to the community that supported my family and I, and DECA accepted me to become part of their community association.

Do you have a dream DECA project? 

I love the farmers market and the Arts Fair and hope to get more involved in both.  I am sure other things will come to light, as I am a very new board member.

Which business on the Danforth sees you the most–and what brings you there?

Deserres sees me the most, as I am always buying supplies for my preschool arts program.

If you could open (or persuade someone else to open) a business on the Danforth, what would it be?

I’d like to see more fine dining options, and my husband dreams of a local Blues Club.  Sort of a Hugh’s Room for the East End.

If you could change one thing about the neighbourhood, what would it be?

I wish there were more interesting shops along the Danforth.

When you tell other people about our neighbourhood, what do you say?

We are in the best neighborhood, as we are so close to downtown, close to the Beach and other interesting neighborhoods without all the inconveniences of parking and crowds. We are central to everything!

Ten Questions for . . . Paul Haines


How long have you been living in the neighbourhood?

I’ve lived in the neighbourhood for ten years.

Where did you grow up?

I was born in Dublin, Ireland and have lived in San Francisco, Pickering, Kingston, and Belfast.

How do you spend your Saturday mornings?

Taking my 20-month-old daughter for a walk, to the park or doing groceries along the Danforth.

What’s your favourite thing to buy at the Farmer’s Market, and what do you do with it?

I like to buy fresh veggies, and cheese curds for my wife: she’s a Montrealer, and she gives them the thumbs up.

How did you get involved with DECA?

I noticed all of the amazing things that were happening in the neighbourhood and saw that DECA was behind a lot of them; I wanted to be part of shaping where my family lives.

Do you have a dream DECA project?

Any project that brings the community together. Maybe a parade, or movies in East Lynn Park.

Which business on the Danforth sees you the most–and what brings you there?

Moberly Natural Foods, Royal Beef and Celena’s are all on our shopping rotation. Melanie’s Bistro is a great place to go for a bite.

If you could open (or persuade someone else to open) a business on the Danforth, what would it be?

A cool gastropub near Danforth and Woodbine.

If you could change one thing about the neighbourhood, what would it be?

Continue to see exciting new businesses fill some of the empty storefronts.

When you tell other people about our neighbourhood, what do you say?

It is one of the most under-rated neighbourhoods in the city and those who live here, love it a lot.

5 Cool Pop-up Facts & Your #DreamPopup

It’s hard to believe, but it’s only been about a year or so since the first pop-up shops opened in the DECA ‘hood. Since then, all sorts of cool new things that have happened, including an important change we’ve just made to our application process (cool thing #3). Gay Stephenson (cool thing #1), shares 5 things you might not know about the project.

Then we’re turning it over to YOU. Please tell us what kind of businesses you’d like to see in the ‘hood (captain of Team Fishmonger over here…or is that Team Wine Store?). Fill out the survey and shout your ideas from the rooftops on our Facebook page or tweet it using #DreamPopup.

We also want to take this opportunity to send a huge thank you to each and everyone of you. Whether you read this blog for local news, join us for special events, shop locally or lend a hand as a volunteer, THANK YOU – without you, the wonderful things going on in the ‘hood couldn’t happen.


1. We now have two Community Economic Development Coordinators

Working in partnership with DECA’s board, these two share a full-time job at WoodGreen, funded by a grant from the Metcalf Foundation. Tina Scherz and Gay Stephenson, two keen DECA pop-up volunteers were hired in July 2013. Here are some of their goals: filling the empty storefronts, promoting the value of shopping locally and spreading the pop-up shop project to other neighbourhoods.

Congratulations to In This Closet and their landlords Klaas and Mark! This local favourite is now a permanent fixture on the Danforth.

2. Results by numbers

  • 3 pop-up shops are now permanent businesses. Hip, hip hooray! In This Closet,  Fareal Custom Tshirts and  LEN: Democratic purveyors of beautiful things in a new space.

  • 1 pop-up shop applicant skipped becoming a pop-up completely and secured a permanent store of her own. Congratulations to Isabelle of Ankh Yoga at 2017 Danforth.

  • 2 pop-ups shop landlords secured long-term leases after hosting successful pop-ups last year: 1872 Danforth (Canine Social Company) and 1948 Danforth (Canadian Nutrition).

  • In the last six months, 8 new shops have popped up along Danforth East, bringing the grand total participating to 23, since the first launch in October 2012.

  • Nearly 100 volunteers have contributed their talent, labour, expertise, and hundreds of hours to this project.

3. We are changing the way we do things…

Beginning this month, new pop-up tenants can apply at anytime! We’re switching things up a bit so as to have an ongoing intake for tenant applications. The tenant recruitment committee will review applications as they are received. All pop-up shop applicants complete detailed applications, submit business plans and are interviewed by a team which includes local retailers. Find out how to apply for a pop-up shop here.

We are very grateful to all the landlords who participate! We couldn’t operate without you. Building owners receive a minimum of $700 per month in rent to help defray their costs (property taxes, heat, hydro, maintenance and insurance). Tenants also pay a fee of $50 per month to DECA which helps to fund pop-up shop promotions and defray some of the costs. Property owners can find out how to participate here.

4. We’re keeping track

Did you know that pop-up shops keep track of how many people visit each day? They also track their daily sales. This data helps shed light on what’s working well, and what’s not. What have we learned? Shops with beautiful window displays tend to get more foot traffic. When our expert volunteers help pop-ups to beautify their windows, they see immediate results! Saturdays are often the busiest day of the week, and Sundays can be so slow that it’s a good day to close. The south side of Danforth is now attracting far more people than when we first got started.

Eyob outside Cheap Thrills, photo credit Bruce Reeve

4. Fewer vacant storefronts

Have you noticed how many new businesses are moving into the hood? Some recent additions include a beautiful lighting store bella lite, a new yoga studio Ankh Yoga. This week, the Shoe Clearance store opened in their new location at 2000 Danforth, just west of Woodbine. A recent study, conducted by UofT’s graduate Urban Planning students, shows that the percentage vacant stores on Danforth East (within DECA’s borders) has declined from 17% in 2012 to 9% in the fall of 2013. While the number of vacant shops does fluctuate over time, it’s wonderful to see so many new businesses in the hood.

5. A work in progress

Pop up shop are still a relatively new phenomenon, so we keep experimenting, hoping to find out what works best. Some shops come for a month or two, like over the holidays when we hosted  Zilberschmuck Jewellery and Asiri’s Treasures (specializing in alpaca wool fashion from Peru). Other businesses come for six months, hoping to become permanent fixtures in the hood – six month tenancies give these small businesses a better chance to get established than shorter terms.

Are you interested in getting more involved with the pop-up shop project? Click here to join our email list. We’ll send you updates and opportunities to get involved.

Volunteers make this project tick. From expert window dressers, communications professionals, marketing, graphic design, painters, project leaders, handy people, tenant recruiters, landlord recruiters, interviewers, researchers and so much more. We’re learning together and we welcome your involvement.

We’d also like to give a warm welcome to Veritus Pictures at 1801 Danforth Avenue, our newest pop-up shop. Owner James Buffin, a documentary film maker, specializes in “how to” workshops,  and documentary and corporate video production. In January, he’s offering a 50% discount on workshops through Groupon and he also has a store launch special on until the 31st: 10% off everything and 50% off a workshop when you sign up with a friend.

Please stop in and say hello. James is open Tues. & Wed. 1:00-5:30 pm, Thurs. 2:30-6:30 pm, and Fri. & Sat. 1:00-5:30pm.

6. What do you think our neighbourhood is missing?

Now it’s your turn… What do YOU think our neighbourhood is missing? Tell us your wish list and we promise to try and bring those businesses to Danforth East! Don’t be shy, the more responses we receive, the stronger our case for convincing those businesses to come.

Get the conversation going by commenting here on the blog, on Facebook or on Twitter (#DreamPopup)- wherever you like to chat. And please fill out this tiny survey.

Local events to warm you up

Beating the January Blues

So it’s really winter. With no sign of spring, and no warm vacation in the calendar, what is a Danforth East resident supposed to do?  Luckily, our awesome local businesses have offers galore.  Here are some…

Melanie’s Winter Special

Melanie’s Bistro at 1870 Danforth Avenue is offering a winter special! $25 3-course prix fixe menu during the week, ($28 on weekends) or a $6 weekday lunch.  Oh, and don’t forget, they offer free corkage on Wednesdays if you want to bring your own wine, or $20 corkage any other day.  If that’s not enough, did you know that they also do takeout? And, if you ask nicely, someone will even deliver it to you curbside, with the credit card machine and everything. A-mazing!

winterfare 2014

Pilates Anyone?

A new business has opened just west of East Lynn Park at 1911 Danforth Avenue.  Come and see Counterbalance Studio Pilates for yourself, this January 25 from 2:00-5:00 p.m.!


PA Day Fun at Monarch Park Stadium

From their website:


Same great FUN as Toddler Playtime for Ages 13 and Under

MPS is opening two fields for open play this PA Day. Featuring bouncy castles, soccer activities and obstacle courses, the kids won’t be bored this P.A. Day.

Date: Friday, January 24
Time: 9:00am – 12:00pm
Cost: *$6 per child| $10 per family
1 Hansen Street

*Toddler Playtime Passes/Memberships are Valid

Development Updates and Fire truck petition

Updates on Development at Woodbine Station and 2359 Danforth Avenue (Morris Auction site), plus a petition about the Woodbine fire truck at the end.

Woodbine Station

You’re invited to a pre-construction open house, on Monday, January 27, 2014 at Danforth Mennonite Church.
2174 Danforth Avenue from 6:30-8:30 p.m.


2359 Danforth Avenue Development

Back in November, a community consultation was held on the development proposal at 2359 Danforth Avenue, the Morris Auction site.  DECA is not taking a position at this time, but we are committed to conveying information as it is available.  Councillor McMahon’s report on the meeting is below – send her an email if you would like more information. (We are not forwarding emails to her about this – please send them to her directly)

Community Consultation follow-up 2359 Danforth

Save the Woodbine Fire Truck

You don’t think much about first responders until you need them, and believe me that when you need them, you want them there as fast as possible!  Please consider signing this petition.

From Councillor Davis:

The 2014 City Budget includes reallocating one pumper truck and crew from Station #224 Woodbine (Woodbine and Holborne Avenue) to a new station in Scarborough. This would leave only one truck in our local station. I am concerned about what impact this will have on response times and safety in our community.

Neighbours have started a petition calling for the City to hire additional staff for the new station and to maintain the current level of fire service in our community.

Please sign the online petition < > and ask your neighbours to sign as well.

If you would like to take further action on this, write to and ask for your email to be sent to all Councillors, or contact Councillor Davis for more information.