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Monday, July 6, 2015

Danforth East Mural: It's Done!

During the wee hours of May 19, the windows of Pioneer HQ were rattling with what sounded like dump trucks cruising up and down our usually serene street, awaking even the soundest sleeper in the house. Finally managing to catch a glimpse out the midnight window, we discovered it was a TTC bus. Enraged, we wondered why they were driving empty buses up and down a side street on the Monday of a long weekend.  Our sleepy consciousness would never have settled on the truth, that someone had just been murdered only 700m away from our door (and closed down a major bus route). It wasn't until the next morning that the reality of nocturnal Danforth descended on us. At first, we were much like everyone else, grappling with disbelief and not content with the middling answers of our politicians. Once the dust settled though, Pioneer knew we had to take action and do something symbolic and positive, to let the world know Danforth East is still a great place where people care about their 'hood.

Thanks to DECA who not only provided funding for the project but also connected Pioneer with neighbourhood volunteer Sherry Lin, a super-mom of two plus a community thinktank 'thinker' in her day job. Two heads are better than one and the idea for our 100in1day #danfortheast mural was born. 

It was quite a feat to witness, and we are so thankful to everyone who came out and helped paint a picture of what Danforth East means to them. The finished result is 25 feet of heart! 

Drumroll please......and here it is! 


The mural has finally made it to its public debut, one month to the day, on the boards next to 1801 Danforth. It took some convincing to get it there, but Daddy Pioneer really just wanted it out of the HQ's basement so he volunteered to do most of the labour to hang it. Thanks! 

Please take a stroll by and take in some of the loveliness, and if you weren't able to contribute, let us know Danforth East means to YOU in the comments below! 



Wednesday, June 17, 2015

What's In The Oven: New Pizzeria On Danforth


Pioneer loves breaking the news about a  new business opening up, particularly when it's food related, however this new resto announcement is a bit bitter sweet. We happened to notice an open door and some construction happening at 1450 Danforth this past weekend and popped our head in to investigate. The former Marrakech Restaurant is being overhauled and already has a new facade and exterior. The inside was a construction zone, but one of the crew stopped to chat and shared that there would be a new Magic Oven Pizza opening up. A call to the company's Danforth location confirmed that this is in fact true: the current location will be closing and shifting down to our neck of the woods at the end of July.

Although we're glad a solid business is opening up on this strip, this will have an impact on our favourite local pizzeria Gerrard Pizza & Spaghetti, who are on that block and already make a long list of fresh custom pizzas the way that mama used to make them.

Hopefully there's room for everyone: the experience at both places will be completely different as people head to Gerrards to say hi to Vito and wave to their neighbours over a glass of house wine, while Magic Oven is a destination for pizza lovers from all over (either pick up or dine in).

The take-out and delivery option at Magic Oven will probably generate a lot more car traffic issues, but looking at the glass half-full made us realize this will also create more foot traffic which is what this block needs. So although there might be double-parked delivery cars jamming up Danforth on occasion, more people will be walking to pick up their pizza pie!



Friday, June 5, 2015

Come & Paint: Danforth East Mural

A short post today, as Pioneer is busy getting ready for our community mural project we're working on with DECA. If you haven't heard about it, come down to Coxwell parkette Saturday morning between 9:30 and 12:30 and have your say about what Danforth East means to you in paint.

This mural came about as DECA and Pioneer were talking about something awesome we could do on 100in1DayTO to help people remain positive after the most recent violent crime on our strip. And there's lots to love about #danfortheast, so we're pretty sure you'll find something to say on our mural (or on Twitter if you can't make it!). **Weather pending!**


Monday, June 1, 2015

East Lynn Farmers Market: So Where's The Beef?

The East Lynn Park Farmers' Market opens for the season this Thursday, and we’ve got some great news for meat lovers: the beef sold at the market by farmer Henricus Verhoeven just got glowing marks for its nutritional value! You might remember Verhoeven from last summer as the bearded gentleman who sold his delicious homemade sausages and a huge variety of meats and eggs from Styrofoam coolers at the front of the market.

Recently, Professor Richard Bazinet, a professor of nutritional sciences at U of T, tested Verhoeven's steak and found it contained a far better ratio of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids than typical supermarket beef. Verhoeven's meat boasted a spectacular omega6 to omega3 ratio of just over three to one. 

Amazing, you are all saying. But Pioneer, what does that mean?? This is good because beef is typically a higher, unhealthier ratio.  Omega-3s are a family of fats generally considered to be healthy, in fish like salmon and plant versions like flax and chia. Omega-6, on the other hand, is pro-inflammatory, and we get too much of it from processed foods. In other words, shop at East Lynn market for your dinner and you’re one step to getting healthier!

Verhoeven, who runs the 100-acre Bio Vision Farm north of Guelph, says his certified-organic beef is 100 percent grass fed, a coveted status among the health-conscious these days. His Scottish Highland herd -- the sample that was tested at U of T --  has been on grass for about 25 years. But ‘grass-fed’ is a tough claim to prove, since there’s no certification for it. That’s why Professor Bazinet, a fatty acids researcher, has started testing beef himself. Verhoeven’s beef was low in omega-6 and high in omega-3, Bazinet says, and that’s convincing evidence the herd was truly eating grass.

What’s the biggie? Well, Bazinet has sampled a lot of steak, and says the flavor is much better with grass fed -- but he cautions that it must be cooked differently than supermarket steak.

“I put in on a really hot grill for 30-40 seconds, flip and wait another 40 seconds,” he advised. “My wife says I should not be allowed to call it cooking!” (please be careful trying this at home!)

The weather forecast calls for sunny skies this Thursday, a perfect day to fire up the grill and give some grass-fed steaks a whirl and don’t forget some fresh Ontario asparagus on the side! 

***THANK YOU to our guest blogger Heidi who did ALL the leg work on this story for us. We hope she will come back and blog for us some more! 
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