Pumpkin Parades!

Can you believe it, Halloween is almost here! The decorations are everywhere as the whole neighborhood gets into the spooky Halloween spirit. Even the jack-o-lanterns are now starting to make an appearance and hoping to outlast the squirrels’ attacks until after the big day. One of our favorite parts of Halloween is not the day of, but November 1 when jack-o-lanterns from around the ‘hood make their way to East Lynn park, or another park nearby, and we all light them up one last time and see the wonderful creations blinking together in the night.

Even better, when you are ready to go you can leave your pumpkins at the park and amazing volunteers will toss those babies in bins that the city provides, and the city will pick up in one swoop the next day. So bring your pumpkins and your candles and come join in the fun on November 1 starting at 6:30 pm with DECA at East Lynn Park!

Or if you can’t make it to East Lynn, try joining the Pumpkin Parades at East York Village (6:30pm), Dentonia Park (6:30pm), Gledhill Park (7:00pm), Stephenson Park (6:30pm), or Felstead Park (6:30pm). You can find a map of all the Pumpkin Parades in the city here.


This week in #DanforthEast

First of all, thanks to those of you who came on short notice to sing Bobcaygeon with us on Thursday, in memory of Gord Downie. We were honoured to bring people together to pay tribute to such an incredible person, artist and East End resident – and we raised over $500 for the Downie Wenjack Fund, which is amazing.

Here is a link to the CBC video of our first song in case you missed it.

We want that feeling of the community coming together to continue, so here are some events coming up to tell you about.

CareVillage Halloween event – Just Say Boo!

Come with your littles to enjoy Halloween fun at the Masonic Temple located at 13 Chisholm (near Main & Danforth) on Saturday morning from 10am-noon. Read the official event page for all the details!

2nd Annual Danforth East Short Film Festival

Put together by DECA’s own Nicole Bergot-Browning, this film fest is not to be missed! Now in its second year, you will not want to miss it. Only $15 and happening right in the neighbourhood at Time Capsule (2183 Danforth, just east of Woodbine).

To purchase tickets in advance, visit this link or take your chances at the door.https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/danforth-east-short-film-festival-tickets-37461220519?aff=es2

Walking with Our Sisters

This is slightly outside our DECA catchment but you don’t want to miss it. The Walking With Our Sisters – Toronto commemorative art installation for the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women of Canada and the USA will only be open to the public for two more days: Saturday October 21st and Sunday October 22nd from 12-6pm. Located at 16 Phin Avenue (Danforth/Greenwood) this is important viewing and should not be missed.(Note that it will close October 22 and not October 29)More info here.

Pumpkins at Earl Beatty

This annual event is a school fundraiser and a great way to procure your pumpkin for a good cause! Head over from 7:30am onward on Thursday, October 26! (Earl Haig Ave, just south of Coxwell and Danforth.

Next weekend…

Tired parents need time to prepare so wanted to share this event taking place next Saturday (October 28) hosted by Merrily, Merrily (1854 Danforth). Check the poster for contact details on where to email to register for a free 15-minute sleep consultation.

Event link here

Humans of Danforth East: Paola from Sugarmoon Salon

Meet Paola, the owner of Sugarmoon Salon.



The Anatomy of an Entrepreneur



Being an entrepreneur might not be for everyone, but for Paola, it’s in her blood.  As a Girotti from St. Catharines, Ontario, she comes from a long line of entrepreneurs.

Maybe that’s why I knew I could do it on my own.

When Paola almost walked away from everything that she had created, it was a chance encounter with a Dragon’s Den star that changed her life.

Paola’s story is one of brains and vision, the guts to continue through devastating times, and the feet to keep moving.  And for those who know Paola, they know of her heart.




When your skin is the largest organ of your body, Paola feels that you should feed it with the best food possible; maybe that’s why her lotions and scrubs smell so good that you want to eat them.  Sweet Orange. Lavender Lime. Vanilla Bean.  She has hydrating masks, savoury lip balms, sugaring kits, and decadent bath melts that will leave your tub filled with dried flower petals.   She invests the time and research into bringing quality products to the floor.  It has built Paola’s reputation and has attracted celebrity clientele to her salons.

Whether it’s a skin line from Italy or a product that’s Canadian, she chooses only the best.  At Sugarmoon, all of the skin care lines are eco-certified (which is a difficult certification to get) and she also works with a chemist out of Mississauga to create her own products.  Just within the last few weeks, Sugarmoon has expanded to include Babymoon (products for baby) and Sweetmoon (skin products for teens).


Growing up in Thorold, Ontario, Paola had sugaring done as a child.  She had light skin and dark facial hair on her chin and upper lip.  Paola was thankful that her mom got on it quickly and took her to see someone which helped with her confidence.

Later in her life, when Paola was working in Toronto in the film industry, she couldn’t believe that she had to drive all the way back to St. Catharines just to be sugared. There was nothing in the city and Paola saw an opportunity.

Sugarmoon Salon became a brand built around the process of sugaring and was one of the first salons in the city when it started 15 years ago.  Sugaring is a hair removal approach that’s more gentle on your skin.  The sugar is made from natural products (sugar, lemon, and water) and when cooked to a particular consistency, almost mimics the feel of wax.  You could actually eat it if you wanted to.  It is cool to the touch and does not adhere to live cells, so unlike waxing, your skin is not burned or removed in the process.

We are the organic strawberry.  The Whole Foods of hair removal.




Paola studied science in college and university but didn’t love it.  With a cousin who was a film director, she decided to get into the industry as a production assistant.  Nine years later, she was a production coordinator and also produced her own short film.  She loved story and being able to see it come to life on set, but she didn’t love the long hours.  Paola and a friend (also in film) decided to reinvent themselves in their late 20s.

After going to esthetics school, they opened their first sugaring business in an apartment on the second floor of what used to be Michael’s Meats (just down from where today’s Local 1794 is).  It was the only place where they could afford rent on the Danforth.  Paola’s mom gave them a $10,000 loan to buy the materials and equipment they needed to get started.  It didn’t take long before her loan was paid back.




We can look at a business and think about how beautiful it is or how successful, but we often don’t know what it cost in order to get there.

Paola and her partner went from a super lucrative wage in film to making very little. Her son, Elias, was born two months premature and they had just expanded their business.  Paola had to go back to work when Elias was 8 weeks old.  What did I do?  Why didn’t I stay in film?  I just want to be home with my baby.  She remembers it as a dark time.

After two years, her partner left the business and Paola decided to go out on her own.  Their storefront, at that time, was in the TD plaza at Woodington and Danforth; she was doing well until the building flooded.  Paola then moved her business to its current location at 1509 Danforth Avenue (right across the street from BOMB Fitness).  By this time, Paola had her second baby, Sofia.  She was building her business in a new location, she had a newborn, and Elias had Aspbergers.  Her plate was full.

Paola hired her best friend, who also became a nanny for Sofia.  Sofia would come into work with Paola; a peek at her schedule would have shown: appointment. appointment. appointment. breastfeed.  appointment. appointment. breastfeed…  She decided to scale down the business and refocus.

Being a mom was number one for me.  I’m not sure if I did that role well. I felt guilty all the time.  Now I’m the mom I wish I could have been back then.  I wish I could have taken time.  You can’t get those years back.

Paola grew her staff to 12.  She expanded to a second location to College.  She was taking care of everyone in her business and doing everything she could to protect it and keep it going.  Meanwhile at home, things were not what they seemed.

Paola’s life blew up when her marriage ended.  I don’t think we nurtured our marriage.  We were so busy.  She chose to stay in St. Catharines with her kids to be near friends and family.  

Then she met Arlene Dickinson from Dragon’s Den.

She had written Arlene a note after reading some of her books during the time of her divorce.  She was surprised to receive an invitation to meet her.  In Arlene’s board room, Paola and Cailey (her general manager), gave a presentation.  It was a crazy time in Paola’s life.  She was doing her best and didn’t know if she should continue with Sugarmoon or walk away from it.  After asking Paola to share her story, Arlene’s response was, “Don’t worry, honey.  I’ve been married a few times.  You’ll be just fine.”  The visit didn’t result in a deal, but it was Arlene’s words of encouragement and reassurance that Paola needed to hear at that exact moment in time.

It was a life changing moment for me.

Paola not only continued with Sugarmoon salon but has since built it into a brand with three locations, a product line, and has a distribution company.  The gift of Arlene’s time and the understanding of someone who had also been there, made a difference.




Paola has chosen to pay it forward.  She has developed an employee program where she pays staff to work offsite and volunteer at The Red Door Family Shelter.  Women who have been battered or are seeking a safe place to stay, are given complimentary massages and sugaring. It’s a way to care for them in some small way.

Paola does what she can to protect family time for her employees.  Sugarmoon closes at 5 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.  They are closed on Sundays.  For Paola, families need a day to be together and employees need time to decompress. Although some may question the hours she keeps, she has 22 employees and 11 of them are mothers.  From her own experience, she knows how important it is for them to have time with loved ones.

Paola and her children still live in St. Catharines.  She’s been on her own now for five years and she’s raising her kids the way that she’s always wanted to.  She drives them to school and picks them up afterwards.  She’s in the city to work three times a week and has hired staff to manage her three locations (Danforth, Bloor, and College).  Elias is in grade 8 and is getting ready for high school; Sofia is in grade 3. According to Paola, she has learned to manage work and her family life more efficiently.

Being an entrepreneur can mean financially tough times and difficult decisions.  It also comes with the pride of seeing dreams come to life, which is what keeps Paola going.



You can visit one of Paola’s three Sugarmoon locations in Toronto, one of which is right in our own neighbourhood at 1509 Danforth Avenue.  She is proud to share the same philosophy that she started with 15 years ago –  bringing eco-focused, organic hair removal to the industry.

Visit her website to learn more about her specialty services and product lines.



Additional posts from The Humans of Danforth East series:

Kari from The Pop Stand

Chris from Firefly Creative Writing

Erin & Yvonne from Origin Wellness

Colleen from The Nooks

Introducing the Humans of Danforth East

Tragically Hip Sing-a-Long: Thursday

Join us!  (Lyrics to Bobcaygeon below)


I left your house this morning
About a quarter after nine
Could have been the Willie Nelson
Could have been the wine
When I left your house this morning
It was a little after nine
It was in Bobcaygeon, I saw the constellations
Reveal themselves one star at a time

Drove back to town this morning
With working on my mind
I thought of maybe quitting
I thought of leaving it behind
I went back to bed this morning
And as I’m pulling down the blind
Yeah, the sky was dull, and hypothetical
And falling one cloud at a time

That night in Toronto
With its checkerboard floors
Riding on horseback
And keeping order restored
Till the men they couldn’t hang
Stepped to the mic and sang
And their voices rang
With that Aryan twang

I got to your house this morning
Just a little after nine
In the middle of that riot
Couldn’t get you off my mind
So I’m at your house this morning
Just a little after nine
‘Cause it was in Bobcaygeon, where I saw the constellations
Reveal themselves one star at a time

Upcoming events in and around the ‘hood

The leaves are changing, the furnaces are on but that doesn’t mean that we need to stay home and hibernate. Here are some upcoming events and opportunities that should keep us out and about (even if we might need a coat).

Happy 100th Anniversary To Gledhill!

Did you or someone you know attend Gledhill Junior Public School? Do you live nearby and have always wondered what goes on in there? Do you have kids who might go to Gledhill someday and you want to check it out? No matter how you may be connect, the whole community is invited to come out and celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Gledhill on Saturday, October 14th from 1-3pm.

Happy 2nd Birthday to Press

Press.books.coffee.vinyl is celebrating two years at 2442 Danforth Ave with a weekend-long party on Saturday and Sunday (Oct 14 & 15) with discounts, deals and live music! Follow their Facebook page for updates but as of right now, here is the rundown of what is planned:

25% off all new and used vinyl records, used book sale, $1 brewed coffee, $2 lattes and capps. Plus live music all through the weekend!

✨✨✨Press ALL-STARS✨✨✨


C a r m e n T o t h @ 1pm

S a m T a y l o r a n d t h e E a s t En d L o v e @ 3pm


B r i a n P a s s m o r e C r e e p e r I n d i e F o l k R o c k @ 12pm

L i a S c o t t @1pm

M i c h a e l V i l l a m o r @ 2pm

R e b e c c a M a d a m b a a n d t h e. M y s t e r y G u e s t s @ 3pm

M a r i a R a m i o s @4pm

Pumpkin Parade Postering

It’s the most magical time of the year – the annual DECA Pumpkin Parade at East Lynn Park! Can you help us get the word out about this wonderful event by putting up some posters around the neighbourhood? This is a great way to:

  • get some exercise
  • give you a guaranteed sense of accomplishment with minimal output
  • allow you to finally have some time to yourself
  • help out your trusty neighbourhood association, and
  • generally make you feel like you are a really good person – which you clearly are.

Here is a teeny tiny version of our poster to fill you with excitement about the event because it is always a truly magical evening!

Now that you are burning with desire to help, send an email to Amanda, our volunteer coordinator (who is also a volunteer, because we all are!) and she will get you started.

Spoiler alert: we will also need people on the night of November 1 to help toss the pumpkins into giant bins following the event, so if you want to do that, let Amanda know!

Little Robot Friends Coding Class

Did you know that there’s a little business called Little Robot Friends at 1832 Danforth? Well, now you know and just in time to register for their 4-week coding club for kids aged 9 and up. Details can be found here:


What are little robot friends?

They’re cute robot characters that inspire kids to get creative with technology. These robots are packed with smarts, sensors, and big personalities. You can program them to make expressions, sing songs, perform tricks, and play games. It’s all about learning to code in a fun and engaging way with friends!

About the coding club

They will help participants build their 21st-century skills with an introduction to visual coding using our LRF Blocks App. They’ll also learn fundamental coding concepts through tons of hands-on and collaborative activities. By the end of the course level up with real-world programming in Arduino (C & C++). Gain the core knowledge and skills to tackle independent coding projects with your Little Robot Friend!

Cost: $150 for four weeks on Saturday mornings from 10am-noon, beginning October 21st.

Police Station Consultations

Don’t forget about the consultation meeting being held Tuesday, October 17 (6:45 to to 9:15 p.m.) at SH Armstrong Community Centre, 56 Woodfield Rd about where to put the new police station. One of the three options is at Coxwell & Danforth! Here is our previous blog post for more information.

Second Annual Danforth East Short Film Festival – October 21

Buy tickets for $15 at: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/danforth-east-short-film-festival-tickets-37461220519?aff=es2

Repair Cafe – November 4

It’s advanced notice but you may want to start setting aside things you want to bring in for this Free repair cafe!

Last Market of 2017! See you there!

Neighbours, the time has come for the very last East Lynn Farmers’ Market of this season.

Today, we’ll have facepainting, friendly DECA volunteers at the DECA Table and reps from the City seeking input about the Danforth Ave Planning Study. Please make sure to come and support the farmers, even if you are unable to stay (or if it’s raining).

Come by and tell your favourite vendor how much you appreciate them!

As the market season comes to a close, we have to say thank you to all of our farmers and vendors who make the whole market possible, along with the folks at Farmers’ Markets Ontario and especially Yuri, our market manager. There are so many volunteers who we cannot thank personally, but huge shout out to the volunteers who staff the DECA table (who also help with set-up and clean-up and many other tasks!), the facepainters, the organizers, the bloggers, and the kind souls who cooked for the farmers this year – many of whom answered our desperate, mid-summer plea when we had a daunting number of empty slots. Our market is special because of all the love that goes into it, and in turn, all the love that comes out of it.

Special thanks to Alison McMurray and Rebecca Green, who are there week after week and who can be seen around 3pm and 7pm most Thursdays schlepping things up and down the hill from and to the shed (and answering questions like “Why is there no corn in June?” with a smile on their faces) and to Shelley Darling who books the community table, the bloggers and generally keeps track of who is where week after week.

See you today from 3-7 at East Lynn Park!!

  • Note: If you can’t make it today or would rather provide feedback to the City online, a feedback form is now live on the study’s website (www.toronto.ca/danforthstudy), with a deadline of October 23, 2017. All responses received will form part of the consultation related to the material originally presented to the community on September 14, 2017