“If you think it’s going to rain, it will.” – Clint Eastwood

Police BBQ – Wednesday, May 25th 

I try to keep this blog uber local because if you don’t draw the line somewhere, where do you draw the line? (Puzzle on that for a moment why don’t you.) However, I make an exception for the 55 Division police and community BBQ because it’s so darn fun.  There are bouncy fire trucks and other kids rides and slides, bingo, raffles, prizes, music and other cool police/emergency vehicles.  The event is May 25th at New Woodbine Park (Kingston Rd. & Queen) from 4 – 8 p.m.  And guess what?  It goes on rain or shine!

Steve Wickens: Local Celebrity

DECA’s very own Stephen Wickens was featured, not once, but twice in last week’s edition of the East York Mirror.  In addition to leading a Jane’s Walk through ‘the other Danforth’ he was also interviewed as the intrepid leader of our DECA Parks team.  You can read that story here, but you need to flip to page 10.

Parks & Rec Survey

While we’re on the topic of DECA Parks and the inventory that group is doing of recreation facilities, let me point you to the Parks & Rec survey that is asking you what you think about your local Parks & Rec programs, services and facilities.

Toronto Service Review

If you still feel you have more to say, then say it to another bunch of folks at City Hall through this Toronto Service Review.  And you thought nobody cared what you think, tsk, tsk.  This survey is looking for feedback on what services the city provides and how those services can best be delivered.  Pass the gravy.

School Fairs

T’is the season for school fun fairs.  I mentioned last time that the Earl Beatty Fun Fair includes a ball hockey tournament.  This is a very fun, much-anticipated event for the ball hockey set.  But this year there is also a division for the preschool/K ball hockey players in your life.  For more information about putting together a team, contact chorton@toronto.ca or pick up your registration form in the community centre office.

Earl Haig 7th Annual Community Festival

On June 2nd, 2011 Earl Haig Public School students, staff and community will celebrate the annual Community Festival.   Entrance is FREE and includes participation in exciting “retro” games such as the ever-popular three-legged race, and live entertainment.  Other events include a BBQ, an arcade and many crafts.  A craft wristband can be purchased for $5.00 per child or $10.00 per family.  A new event this year is a “purse” table where gently-used, stylish  purses can be purchased.

The Community Festival is a loved event for students, staff, parents and the local community.  It will run from approximately 3:30 p.m. on the 2nd of June until 7 p.m. rain or shine.

15 Earl Haig Avenue, south of the Danforth and on the east side of Coxwell Avenue.  All are welcome. Funds raised by the event will contribute to student resources and on-going school improvement.

Cedar Garden Benches

If you have signed up for our DECA Learns Container Gardening Workshop (and if not, why not?) then you are going to have a beautiful garden.  You’ll want to sit in it.  If you want to sit, you’ll need a bench.  Hayden is an east-end university student who makes cedar benches for the garden. The benches are 48”X15”X17”, very sturdy and beautiful in their simplicity. Each one is handcrafted to perfection and left untreated so that it will weather naturally. The total cost, including free local delivery, is $140. Consider ordering one for Father’s Day or just treating yourself.

Call 416-466-9785 or email:  hangelof@ryerson.ca

Last But Not Least

On Wednesday, May 25th, friends of Erika Marquis are hosting a live music and silent auction to help Erika fight sclerosing cholangitis, a degenerative liver disease.  Before she got sick, Erika was an ESL teacher at the Danforth LINC (Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada).  Erika taught many new Canadians and her enthusiasm and spirit made her a loved teacher.  Erika was immediately put on the transplant list when she was diagnosed, but she still waits and she has become very sick.  As she can’t work, she’s struggling financially and that’s why her friends are organizing this event at Ten Feet Tall (1381 Danforth – East of Greenwood) on Wednesday, May 25th from 7 – 10 p.m.

What’s In What’s Out

It’s spring and there are a whole lot of new things popping up on the Danforth.  Yes there is this place called ‘Retro Burger‘ beside Shopper’s Drug Mart near Coxwell.  Its menu of deep fried food includes Mars Bars.  No I’m not kidding.  Then there is the ‘Circus Coffee House’ beside Carter’s Ice Cream on Woodmount at Danforth.  Rumour is it’s owned by this guy, but I haven’t verified that with three sources.

Speaking of coffee shops, you read here that the owner of True Brew coffee shop and cafe had sold the business.  The new owner has painted and done some work inside to brighten it up.  Susan L. (not the former owner) wrote to tell me that “people are not making the effort to cross Woodbine and discover this gem in our neighborhood!!!!  Great coffee, all homemade soups, sandwiches, quiche, and desserts!!!!!! Absolutely fabulous food. Please advertise this place so the owner does not have to close down due to poor attendance!”

Up for lease is the former Ethiopian community centre at Danforth and Woodbine.  Cuts by the federal government last year have meant this agency is consolidating its services in one location in the west end.  Columbo’s Pizza is under new ownership. Columbo’s serves pizza, pastas, sandwiches and the much-loved rice balls.  The new owner, Charlie, tells me he has done some work to open up the kitchen and fix up the front of the restaurant (a new paint job etc).  He also told me he is renovating the basement and will be making it available for parties – including make-your-own-pizza birthday parties!

Treasure Land used furniture has opened at 2038 Danforth. They are selling gently used home and office furniture and offer free pick up and free delivery and a seniors discount.  The owner of the business did quite a bit of work on the shop – which had been a crumbling eyesore – painting and generally fixing up the shop.  He makes an effort to make his front window look inviting and that earns praise from deca diaries.

O.k. I know I’m forgetting some things.  Post your updates on the Danforth here or send me a note and let me know the latest happenings on the Danforth.

DECA Safety and Self Defense

Early in April, more than a dozen people participated in the self defence class at the DragonZ Martial Artz Centre – hosted by DECA’s safety team.  Sir Marvin Prashad spent two hours teaching safety and self-protection techniques.  Not only was the class educational it also provided a fitness component in a fun and enjoyable environment.  The event was such a success that Marvin wants to make this a reoccurring event by offering self-defence classes every first Sunday of the month for all to attend.  For more information visit www.dragonz.ca

DECA Executive Meetings

If you’re interested in attending a DECA executive meeting (and you should, we eat and drink and are merry!) mark these dates on your fridge.  We meet at 7:30 p.m. in the back room of Sarah’s pub on the Danforth.

  • May 31
  • September 13
  • October 25

But if you just want to be a fly on the wall, check out the minutes from the last meeting on our shiny new website! 

Earl Beatty Fun Fair

This year the 7th annual Earl Beatty Public School Fun fair will be held on Saturday, May 28th from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at 55 Woodington Avenue (two blocks north of Danforth, east of Coxwell).  In partnership with the Earl Beatty Community Centre, this event provides a day of family fun including a ball hockey tournament, inflatable games, face painting, auctions, raffles, a barbeque, bake sale and some live entertainment.

Coleridge Ave. Break-Ins

Kathy sent me a note to let me know about some break-ins happening on her street, which is one block east of Woodbine.

“Early Monday morning (9:00) I discovered that someone had riffled through our car. We immediately assumed that we’d forgotten to lock it the night before. As near neighbours emerged from their homes, they, too, discovered that someone had been through their cars. It would appear that we all did not forget to lock our cars, but rather that someone using a slim jim got in, and was even able to by-pass a car alarm. Fortunately there was no damage, nothing of value seems to have been stolen (except a pack of smokes that were smoked whilst breaking into the other cars). We did, though, discover that a few items like sunglasses and a hand tool ended up being left in other people’s cars, and we believe all was recovered. Reminder to all: do not leave valuables in your car/trunk regardless of how secure it appears to be!  My husband did notify the police and advised that many vehicles had been broken into, though I don’t believe that any other neighbours did contact them. Other than knowing what occurred at our end of the block, we don’t know how many others might have been affected. We do know that six cars were accessed.”

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.

Fun Fair and One Less Empty Storefront

The Earl Beatty Fun Fair is Saturday, May 29th from 10-3 p.m.  It promises “fun and games for all ages” so I assume that means there will be canasta.  The Toronto Maple Leafs dressing room will be there along with face painting , games, inflatable fun, silent auction and raffle, vendors and yes, the world famous (yes world famous) ball hockey tournamet.

And – in this space at the beginning of April I passed along a rumour that the former Wind Jammers store just east of Woodbine would be a Rogers store.  As is so often the case, I was wrong.  Susan at True Brew tells me the sign is up for a Mobilicity outlet.  I had the right product, wrong company.