And the nominations are….

Our #DECAgems competition has been on for 1.5 weeks now. (If this is strangely the first you’ve heard about it, click here.)

The best thing about it, for me, is learning about places I’ve passed in our neighborhood, but never been into– for whatever reason.

We humans are funny. We settle into our habits fast.

I’ve also loved getting to know about some of people inside those places — the stories neighbors tell about them, the stories they tell themselves.

Take New Era Pharmacy. This place is right around the corner from my house. I remember when Monica painted the beautiful mural on its side. I started going there when I heard they delivered prescriptions to your door, and by God, they do! For free!

It has been nominated as a #DECAgem, so one of our volunteers Laurie Smith went in there to poke around.

She reports: “New Era Pharmacy is a family-run business at the south-west corner of Danforth and Cedarvale.

It’s been in the neighbourhood for the past 15 years, but moved to the current location in 2005. Badi Abdolmaleki, pharmacist brother Anis, and Reza (“like my brother” says Badi) run the thriving pharmacy which has grown to include a medical clinic with acupuncture and rehab services.
Why the “New Era” name?  Because the owners wanted to usher in a new way of customer-service, where people weren’t just strangers off the streets,  they were clients who were often known by name, and were made to feel welcome.

The name and strategy seems to have worked — Badi and Anis do no advertising, and have no website, and get their clients through word of mouth alone.

Biggest change Badi has seen over the past 10 years?  “There used to be people just hanging around the corners.  Now there are more families, people with strollers and dogs.  It’s a nice change.”

There are ten more days to nominate your favorite hidden gem in the hood. So, keep spreading the love. You can nominate it on Facebook (DanforthEastCommunityAssociation), Twitter (@decadiaries using the hashtag #DECAgems) or by e-mail at

Badi at New Era Pharmacy, 2163 Danforth

Badi at New Era Pharmacy, 2163 Danforth

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