Pickleball taking over our surfaces
City staff are scrambling to set up courts for pickleball — Toronto’s fastest growing sport and social activity.
Unused parking lots, ice rinks, tennis courts and other flat surfaces are all fair game for being converted to accommodate the growing numbers of pickleball players across Toronto.
Summer food fest returns to Cabbagetown area
Summerlicious is back on July 7 to 23, the city has announced, but you’ll have to wait until June 29 to make reservations for the prix fixe lunch and dinner event.
In the Cabbagetown area, only four eateries are registered for the event — F’Amelia on Amelia Street, Butter Chicken Factory on Parliament Street, Maison Selby on Sherbourne Street, and Blake House on Jarvis Street — according to our reading of the Summerlicious webpage.
More than 200 restaurants across Toronto are taking part this year, offering three-course lunch menus from $20 to $55, and dinners from $25 to $75, the city says.
Jump in raccoon sickness, bites and scratches
A “significant increase” in reports of sick or injured raccoons and the number of people bitten or scratched has led Toronto Public Health to issue warnings against contact with wild animals in the city.
Eighty per cent of those people suffering bites and scratches have had to suffer further through the uncomfortable anti-rabies treatment, involving multiple vaccine doses, to fend off the potentially fatal infection.
“Rabies infection can have serious consequences and is completely avoidable by not contacting wild animals such as raccoons,” says local councillor Chris Moise, who is also chair of the board of health. “Be vigilant about avoiding contact with animals as it can require multiple health care visits.”
See the full Streeter story, including tips on avoiding raccoon attacks.
Pedestrian reported struck and killed in crosswalk by tow truck
A woman, 29, was crossing Bloor Street East at about 7:30 a.m. when a tow truck failed to halt at a stop sign and struck her within the crosswalk, police reported today.
The woman died from her injuries.
Police Sgt. Melissa Kulik spoke to media at the scene at 109 a.m. She said the tow truck was travelling on the ramp to Mount Pleasant Road when it hit the pedestrian.
Traffic Services is investigating.
Registration for summer programs begins June 6
Registration for the city’s summer recreation programs in this area begins tomorrow at 7 a.m.
Summer programs run from July 4 to Sept. 1.
You can register in three ways:
- By phone by calling 416-396-7378 from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m.
- In person at one of five community centre locations (the closest is Wellesley Community Centre, 495 Sherbourne St.) on June 6 from 7 a.m. to noon.
- Online through e-Fun (the easiest way).
Find more information on the city’s summer recreation programs page.
Ticketing rules relaxed for holiday
Parking enforcement officers will not be enforcing all on-street parking bylaws on Victoria Day, police say.
In particular they’ll be turning a blind eye on Monday to parking on rush-hour routes and in areas with Monday-to-Friday regulations.
Pothole-fixing blitz on tomorrow
If you’re out driving Saturday, watch for crews working on the roads. The city says it is launching a blitz to repair as many potholes as possible between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.
It’s probably too late to get your favourite local pothole on the list for repair tomorrow, but call 311 or go to www.toronto.ca/311 to report it for future filling.
Saving the bees and butterflies
The Spruce Court Co-op on Sumach Street is featured in a Streeter story about pollinator gardens.
The co-operative community is among 44 community groups awarded grants from the city to create garden habitats for bees and butterflies — and hopefully reverse their decline in Toronto.
$5 million too much for house, but $4.25 million just right
A Cabbagetown home was listed for $4,988,000 last fall but didn’t sell, despite a price drop after two months, reports real estate news site Storeys.
It wasn’t until the place at 54 Spruce St. was relisted recently even lower — for $4,250,000 that it sold. In one day.
And in case you’re wondering how what appears to be a cottage-size house could be worth even that amount, you’ve got to see the shots of the huge and modern interior.
Chow widening lead in mayor’s race
The latest polls show support for Olivia Chow surging, as the former MP and councillor pulls well ahead of Toronto–St. Paul’s councillor Josh Matlow, former councillor Ana Bailao, and former police chief Mark Saunders, in the race to become Toronto’s next mayor.
With seven weeks to go before the byelection, the St. James Town-bred Chow is standing at more than 30 per cent in two recent polls. See the full story in Streeter news.
Forsythia Festival kicks off with colourful parade
A scene from the parade kicking off Cabbagetown’s Forsythia Festival, presented by the Cabbagetown Residents Association today.
The parade, starting at 10 a.m., was followed by festivities in Wellesley Park from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Person in custody after stabbing
One person is in custody and a knife recovered after officers responded to reports of a stabbing near Gerard and Berkeley streets at about 8:30 p.m. today.
A man found with injuries was attended by paramedics and taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries, according to a police tweet.
Police are investigating.
Parks washrooms opened—splash pads, fountains and pools next
The city has finished opening park washrooms today, its earliest date ever, the city has announced. Only six seasonal washrooms are still closed for repairs or construction.
Splash and spray pads are due to open by May 20, followed by fountains and bottle-filling stations by May 26.
Ten city-run outdoor pools are to open on partial schedules by June 17 with the rest of them by June 24. All outdoor pools and wading pools are to be open on a full schedule by June 30.
Discover the Don’s history and prehistory
Jane’s Walks are returning Friday, taking place from May 5 to 7, with at least one walk focusing on the Don River and its valley.
“Water Ways: Histories of the Don” is being held on May 5, starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Water Shed Wall at Evergreen Brick Works, 550 Bayview Ave., and finishing at 7 p.m. at the same location.
The first part of the walk follows the water’s history and prehistory, covering topics like land formation, Indigenous land management, the industrial revolution, community organizing, and sustainability.
The second half of the walk in the Don Valley Brick Works Quarry Park is a free-flowing exploration led by the inquiries of walk participants.
The walk is being led by April Nicolle and Floyd Ruskin of Evergreen Brick Works.
You can find more information on this and other walks at the Jane’s Walks website.
Two local stores robbed, one man sought
A 29-year-old man is wanted by police in connection with two recent retail robberies, police said in a press rrlease today.
On April 25 a man allegedly entered stores in the Bloor-Sherbourne and Gerrard-Jarvis areas and waved a knife around while demanding cash. In one store he got cash and in the other store he got lottery tickets before fleeing, police said.
Police have released the suspect’s identity. For more details and images, see the police news release.
Forsythia Festival coming on Sunday
It’s the beginning of May, which in Cabbagetown means one thing: time to get ready for a highlight of our community’s life — the Forsythia Festival — held annually on the first Sunday of the month. That’s May 7 this year.
A parade, food and beverages to enjoy, games, and other fun activities for all ages are offered at the festival.
See the Streeter listing for more details.
51 Division officers charged for stealing suspect’s stolen alcohol
Two Toronto police officers have been suspended and face criminal charges, including theft under $5,000.
It has been alleged that on April 12 officers of 51 Division arrested an individual on outstanding warrants and recovered two bottles of stolen alcohol, which were taken to the station but then removed to the officers’ personal vehicles, according to a police news release today.
Search warrants reportedly recovered the stolen property from a residence and a vehicle.
Councillor Moise opens new constituency office
Person with gun reported in area
Police are on the scene near Ontario and Carlton streets at about 9:30 this morning after receiving reports of a person with a gun.
The person is described in a police tweet as male, 5-foot-8, and having a medium build. He was wearing a black raincoat with hood up and green on the shoulders, with dark pants, shoes with soles, and a purple backpack, police say.
Viking market draws local Norsemen and Norsewomen
Twelve vendors sold Viking products to the several hundred visitors and Viking fighters put on a demonstration for the fans of all things Norse.
The next Viking Mart is planned for sometime around August, though no date is fixed yet.
The next event at the Prehistoria museum is a Pagan Fest on May 13.
Washrooms are opening early in our parks
With this warmer-than-average spring, city staff are opening public washrooms earlier than usual. A quarter of Toronto’s seasonal washrooms have been opened already by mid-April, though most were originally scheduled for May.
If you’re planning an outing, you can look up the status of washrooms and drinking fountains in the park on a new interactive map from the city.
Chow registers as 47th candidate for mayor
This morning longtime politician Olivia Chow made the long-awaited announcement: she is once again running for mayor of Toronto.
Chow was raised as a teenager in St. James Town and throughout most of her three-decade career as a trustee, councillor and MP represented our one-time neighbouring ward/riding of Trinity–Spadina.
This is her second attempt to win the mayor’s office. She ran in 2014 but came in third behind the winner, John Tory, with Doug Ford in second place.
In the news:
Here’s what $4.3 million might buy you in Cabbagetown
A Cabbagetown house listed for $4,298,000 on the real estate market is getting some attention.
BlogTO is featuring the house at 377 Sackville St. as “one of oldest properties to recently hit Toronto’s real estate market,” as well as for its old-world charm and surprisingly modern interior.
The article takes you inside, using photos from the home’s listing on Realtor.ca.
Warning of ‘constant threat’ to Don Valley and our ravines
Activist Floyd Ruskin is proud that much restoration has been accomplished in the Don Valley.
But the east-end resident finds himself himself continually in demand as an advocate for the restoration and preservation of flora and fauna.
The valley and our ravines in Toronto are under constant threat from encroachment by developers and others, Ruskin warns.
Double the tickets: more speed cameras coming
The number of automated speed enforcement cameras in Toronto Centre neighbourhoods is to be doubled from three to six, after city council’s recent approval of the installations.
Council unanimously passed a motion to have city staff look into increasing the ASE devices from the current 75 to 150, shared evenly by each of Toronto’s 25 wards.
This comes just months after a previous increase from 50 across the city.
Clean up our communities together, city urges
Toronto is asking communities to register local litter cleanups to take part in the city’s annual spring cleanup from April 21 to April 23.
We can register three kinds of cleanups:
- The 20-Minute Makeover on April 21 is for local businesses (BIAs, are you listening?) to clean up public spaces, like parks, sidewalks, ravines or beaches (though local residents can take part too).
- Also on April 21, students and staff of schools, colleges and universities can spend 20 minutes cleaning up their schoolyards or neighbourhood parks.
- On April 22 and 23, community groups, families and individuals are encouraged to visit local parks or other public spaces to help pick up litter.
Get more information and register for whichever cleanup works for you on the city’s Clean Toronto Together page.
Feeding any wildlife, anywhere in city to be banned
On April 1 a new city bylaw comes into effect prohibiting the feeding of wildlife anywhere in Toronto.
And for good reason, according to wildlife experts. You may think you’re helping the animals but you’re not.
Even the traditional practice of throwing bread crumbs to birds is not helpful, the experts say.
Read Dennis Hanagan’s full story in Streeter news about the bylaw and the dangers of feeding the animals.
BIA hiring coordinators for summer
The Cabbagetown BIA is seeking a marketing and events coordinator, as well as an operations coordinator, for the May 8 to Sept. 29 season.
The marketing and events coordinator assists with connecting uses, people, and public spaces, helping acquire and retain a vibrant retail mix, and attracting more people to the area. The job also involves coordinating projects, including marketing for the Cabbagetown Festival, social media and marketing for the BIA, and smaller-scale events. You can find more information and apply at the indeed job site.
The operations coordinator helps coordinate activations and events, manages some aspects of the Cabbagetown Festival, and assists the BIA’s executive director with managing streetscape and public realm improvements. Find more information and apply at the indeed job site.
The deadline for applying for both jobs is April 7.
What’s going on with Allen Gardens?
No, the circus is not in town. That big white tent in Allen Gardens is covering the ongoing renovations at the historic conservatory buildings.
The city is restoring and upgrading the Palm House heritage building, the 114-year-old structure on the east side housing the botanical collections we’ve all visited, as well as the administration building, public washrooms and the surrounding park.
Improvements include replacing glazing and glass cladding, upgrading ventilation and air quality systems, and improving access to free public washroom facilities.
Interior work began last October but winter weather forced a delay in raising the scaffolding and the protective enclosure until February and March, which is probably why you just noticed it recently. Construction is expected to be completed in May 2024.
Gunshots heard this afternoon
Reports of gunshots shortly after 3 p.m. today brought police to the area of Bleecker and Wellesley streets to investigate.
However, no victims were found, according to to a police tweet. No further information has been released yet.
Stabbing at park, one arrest
Police and paramedics were on the scene at Allen Gardens park after reports of an altercation and stabbing at about 4:30 p.m. today.
One person was located and arrested, police reported on Twitter.
Medics attended the stabbing victim but no news is available about the victim’s condition.
Officer criminally charged after parked car struck
A Toronto police officer faces five charges including failing to stop for police, failing to remain at the scene of an accident, and impaired operation of a conveyance.
On March 20 at about 3:45 a.m., the officer was off-duty driving his own vehicle, when he allegedly struck a vehicle parked on Shuter Street, according to a police news release.
He reportedly continued south on Parliament Street. When police found the vehicle, the driver did not stop immediately. Eventually he pulled over at King and Sumach streets and was arrested.
For more details, see the police news release.
Outdoor skating continues to Sunday — if the ice holds up
The city is encouraging skaters to enjoy the last few days of the official outdoor skating season at our local rinks. However, the weather seems poised to end the season earlier than the scheduled March 19 deadline.
Sunday evening is when the city starts to close its outdoor artificial ice rinks, natural ice rinks and skating trails and begin its annual conversion of spaces into skateboarding parks, tennis courts and pickleball spaces.
Meanwhile the forecast for the next four days calls for rainy and overcast days with temperatures mainly above zero.
Locals upset by cutting down of Don Valley trees
Nearly 2,800 trees in the Don Valley are being cleared to make way for construction of the Ontario Line.
It’s a move that reportedly appalls nearby community members and representatives who say Metrolinx has not communicated adequately about the massive cutting.
See the recent Toronto Observer story about the local reaction.
Farm drop-in planned for March Break
Starting tomorrow, Riverdale Farm is presenting a program of farmer demonstrations of animals, crafts and play, and other family fun. It’s all free, running from March 13 to 17.
See the Streeter Things To Do listing for the schedule and other information.
Councillor opening local office
Toronto Centre councillor Chris Moise announced in his newsletter today he will soon open a constituency office just for Ward 13. This will allow him to meet with residents in the area, rather than in his city hall office, he says.
The office will be at 329 Parliament St. He’s planning to host a grand opening on April 29.
Report of gun at Jarvis Collegiate investigated
Police were at Jarvis Collegiate Institute today at about 1:30 p.m. to investigate reports of a person with a firearm on school property, according to a police Twitter message.
No injuries were reported and police have released no further information about the alleged incident.
UPDATE: The school lockdown was lifted and police told media no firearm was found, despite reports a student had claimed to have a gun. No charges were laid.
Falling tree just misses school
Today’s storm knocked a tree across the Ontario Street walkway in the middle of St. James Town, missing the front entrance of Rose Avenue Public School by just a couple of feet.
Our roaming photographer caught these images:
Metrolinx to move planned layover facility from Don Valley
Metrolinx appears to have given in to demands that a planned layover facility not be built in the Don Valley alongside the parkway north of the Prince Edward Viaduct.
Yesterday the provincial agency overseeing public transport announced it has found a new location in a light industrial area near York Mills Road and Leslie Street.
The proposed 11-acre site in the valley has been the subject of protests and petitions from environmentalists and community members who said building the facility there could damage the valley’s sensitive ecology.
Success! Metrolinx has moved the proposed Don Valley Layover facility out of the Valley. Thank you to all the advocates who’ve spoken up to protect this important natural area. https://t.co/i6sgwF41bc pic.twitter.com/5vNSnHUWh1
— Paula Fletcher (@PaulaFletcherTO) March 1, 2023
Summerlicious applications open
Winterlicious seems barely over and it’s already time for local restaurants to sign up for the summer edition of the fixed-price dining festival.
Applications to participate in the Summerlicious program will be accepted from today to March 22, the city has announced.
This year’s Summerlicious runs from July 7 to 23 and there’s good news for participating restaurants: the fees have been cut to less than half the pre-pandemic rates. The new fee is $550. The city says this reduction should “make it easy and affordable for restaurants to participate and will encourage more Toronto residents to dine out and celebrate Toronto’s diverse culinary scene.”
Restaurants can find more information on the City’s Summerlicious 2023 Restaurant Participation webpage.
March for homeless on ‘coldest night of the year’
It wasn’t quite the coldest weather we’ve had so far this year, but it was cold enough for 440 people who braved it this evening to support the poor and homeless.
Fifty-five fundraising teams met at St. Paul’s Bloor Street, 227 Bloor St. E., for the Toronto Downtown Yonge edition of The Coldest Night of the Year walk, one of many walks taking place across Canada today.
In the warmth of the church they heard a brief address from Angela Solomos, vice-president of philanthropy for the Yonge Street Mission, who reported they had already raised 89 per cent of their $160,000 goal.
And then they poured out into the cold, to take their message east on Bloor to Sherbourne Street, then south onto local streets including Parliament Street, Yonge Street and Gerrard Street East.
Local home prices dropping, real estate board says
Home prices are down by seven per cent from last year in this area, according to figures recently released by the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board.
The report indicates the year-over-year decrease for the real estate “C08” area, including Cabbagetown, St. James Town, Church-Yonge Corridor, Regent Park, Moss Park and Waterfront Communities.
As of January, the average home here is now $813,700, TRREB reports.
The higher end properties — single, detached houses — have taken the biggest hit, dropping 15.4 per cent to about $2.2 million.
Beloved St. James Town variety store still closed
The Philippine Variety Store at 240 Wellesley St. E. in St. James Town is still closed several months after the death of its popular owner.
Leonida McNabb, 64, died peacefully on Nov. 29, according to a message still posted on the door of the store.
“Regrettably, there is nobody available to run this store, and this store will remain closed until we decide how to proceed,” the sign says.
So far there has been no word on the store’s future.
An appreciation of the store and owner appeared in BlogTO today.
Rave for Cabbagetown’s new vegan restaurant
Revelstoke, which opened at 195 Carlton St. in November, is the subject of a story on blogTO today.
The restaurant bills itself online as a “plant-based restaurant serving brunch, lunch, dinner and cafe service” and the article, plus Instagram video, raves over the food that “is convincing carnivores to go vegan.”
Get ready to walk on the Coldest Night of the Year
The Coldest Night of the Year charity walks to serve the hurt, the hungry and the homeless take place on Feb. 25, with the Toronto Downtown Yonge edition hosted by the Yonge Street Mission.
The local walk starts at St. Paul’s Bloor Street, 227 Bloor St. E.
To sign up for the walk, to donate or just to find out more, see Toronto Downtown Yonge’s Coldest Night page.
Backyard fire, arson rumoured
A fire erupted behind an Aberdeen Avenue residence early this morning. Some Cabbagetown neighbours on social media are calling it arson, though we have no official word on it yet.
Local musician Danny Marks, who lives behind the house on the next street, caught the blaze on camera and posted the picture on Facebook.
Parking restrictions eased for Family Day
Police have announced they will not be ticketing vehicles parked on the street on Feb. 20 on rush-hour routes and in areas with posted Monday–Friday regulations.
Gerrard reconstruction delayed for a year
Road reconstruction along Gerrard Street between Sherbourne and Parliament streets, originally scheduled to begin this year, has been put off until 2024, it has been announced.
See the city’s “Gerrard East Complete Street” webpage for more on the project.
Report our potholes to be fixed
You may see repair crews out on the roads today as the city launches its first pothole-fixing blitz of the year.
Chances are, though, plenty of Cabbagetown potholes will remain unless they are reported. To get those car-wrecking eyesores filled, report them via the 311 Toronto mobile app, online at Toronto.ca/311 or by calling 311.
The city says most repairs are carried out within four days of potholes being reported.
Trees to be cut down for Ontario Line kept from two MPPs
The Toronto Star is reporting the provincial government instructed Metrolinx to leave two Toronto MPPs off a notice to politicians about trees in their ridings to be cut down to make way for the Ontario Line subway.
Toronto Centre’s Kristyn Wong-Tam and Toronto-Danforth’s Peter Tabuns, who have both been critical of the Metrolinx plan, sent a letter to Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney asking why they were deliberately excluded.
Red Cranberries, 601 Parliament St. in Cabbagetown, is one of many restaurants across town offering a special Valentine’s Day menu and romantic atmosphere for Feb. 14.
But spaces are filling up everywhere, so get your reservations in as soon as possible.
Now this ward has three cameras to catch speeders
The city is adding 25 automated speed enforcement cameras, one for each ward in Toronto. The most recent ASE in Toronto Centre is on Queen Street East near Sackville Street.
It joins two other such cameras in the ward, currently located on Alexander Street east of Yonge Street and on Sherbourne Street south of Wellesley Street East.
See the full Streeter story on the new cameras.
Cabbies reported asking money upfront for some areas
Some taxi drivers are accepting fares to certain “dangerous” areas of the city only with advance payments, blogTO is reporting.
The blogTO story relates the attempts of a rider trying to catch a cab in the Church and Wellesley area a short distance to Sherbourne and Dundas streets, and being asked for $10 and $12 advances.
Longtime local butcher’s difficult story is told
The family business serving this community for more than five decades, St. James Town Steak & Chops, is featured in a Toronto Star story appearing today.
Owner Mark Michelin relates the history of the Parliament Street shop, started by his father in 1971, including a tragic incident about 30 years ago that changed his perspective on life and business.
Start making reservations for Winterlicious
Winterlicious is back, set to offer prix fixe lunches and dinners from Jan. 27 to Feb. 9.
Cabbagetown-area restaurants participating in Winterlicious Toronto include Butter Chicken Factory on Parliament Street, The Blake House on Jarvis Street, F’Amelia on Amelia Street, Maison Selby on Sherbourne Street and Dominion Pub & Kitchen on Queen Street East.
You can find the entire Toronto list on the city’s Winterlicious page.
CampTO registration set to open
It’s time to start planning the kids’ summer camp activities at local parks and centres this summer. The city has announced its CampTO programs are online for your consideration, ready for registration beginning Feb. 11.
Some new programs have been added to the CampTO lineup for the programs that run from July 4 to Sept. 1.
Camp locations in and around the Cabbagetown area include:
- Regent Park Community Centre, 402 Shuter St.
- Riverdale Farm, 201 Winchester St.
- Wellesley Community Centre, 495 Sherbourne St.
For more information on the program and registration, see the Streeter calendar listing.
Maintenance work in and outside St. James Town
Dance theatre moving from Winchester
The School of Toronto Dance Theatre has been based at 80 Winchester St. in the heart of Cabbagetown for more than four decades. Now it’s grown too big for that space and is moving. But not far.
The theatre plans to be opening its own space at Artscape’s Daniels Spectrum, a multifaceted cultural centre in Regent Park.
The plan is to move four months from now. See the full Toronto Dance Theatre release.
Beer Store gone, at least for now
Some local drinkers are still grieving the loss of their Beer Store, which had been serving the community for more than two decades at Gerrard Street East and Seaton Street.
During COVID lockdowns, this was one of few beer stores that would accept empties, often resulting in very long lines of people returning them, local beer drinkers recall.
The Georgian, a seven-storey mixed-use condominium building, is planned for the site at 227 Gerrard St. East.
The condo project was first proposed in 2017 but the Beer Store closed down only recently and our roving photographer just noticed it was gone today.
It’s anticipated that a new Beer Store will be opened on the ground floor of the new building, although we