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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Hot Times, Summer in The City

Not all of us are lucky enough to have a private Muskoka getaway to escape to when the mercury soars, so if you are stuck soaking up the rays "turtle-pool"-side rather than dock-side, this Saturday is jam-packed with happenings on Danforth East.

Doors Open Toronto runs this Saturday and Sunday, and the best news for this Pioneer is that the Greenwood and Danforth TTC train yard will be open to the public on Saturday afternoon. This is exciting, because as most people know, kids love trains, so there really is no better way to enjoy a Saturday morning than brunch at Sarah's or Ten Feet Tall (take that, cottage country!!) followed by a backstage pass to a "subterranean locomotion" repair shop. For history buffs, I have it on good authority (okay, from Joe Cooper at the Mirror) that the very same site was a quarry that served as a labour camp for German POW's during WW2. Danforth East is like an onion: peel back the layers and you never know what you'll find!

Also on Saturday from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. is the annual Earl Beatty Fun Fair which offers fun and games for kids, a marketplace and silent auction for parents and general fun and mayhem all around! See flyer below.

And don't forget: many homes on Danforth East will be holding a Yard Sale for the Cure (all proceeds go to Breast Cancer research), so get out on your bike early for all the best deals! Hint: good stuff to be found on Milverton, just west of Monarch Park!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

How does your garden grow?

When it comes to having a green thumb, yours truly has two thumbs. Sort of like how I've never been able to bake a cake, I've also never really been able to keep plants alive. However, now that I've got a little piece of land to call my own, I think that it's time to start getting into the gardening groove.

Although this past Saturday morning was drizzly and grey, I decided to head on over to the new Reeves Garden Centre at 999 Danforth Ave (at Donlands) to pick up some shrubs and easy-to-keep-alive plants.

Perusing the aisles of flowers, I was a little overwhelmed by the great selection, but a friendly pink-shirted gardening ambassador was only too eager to assist a bumbling newbie gardener. She took the time to explain to me how to plant shrubs and what grows best in shade (luckily, Hydrangea is my favourite flower!).

Although parking and getting the plants to the car was dicey (scurrying across Danforth with potted plants is not easy on a Saturday morning), it seemed that there was no shortage of "helpers" at the front entrance to assist with loading and unloading. As an added bonus, my new Reeves' "client card" gives me cash points every time I purchase something, which means that if I kill my plants, it won't hurt the wallet quite so much!

Friday, May 21, 2010

The 'meat' of it all

It's Friday night and DH and I have spent the last few days working on rebuilding our front porch, since the old one was starting to rot and was just plain old ugly. This means that I've neglected all other wifely duties such as grocery shopping and cooking. There is a celebratory mood in the air, however, and not just on our driveway!

The excitement is palpable all over the city that a) it's the Friday of a long weekend and b) it's "shorts" weather finally - we can at long-last throw off the shackles of winter!!

That means that it's officially BBQ weather, which solves the dilemma of what to cook for dinner. However, I am now going to have to share my secret with you, one that I've been holding on to since I moved into the neighbourhood: Jerry's Supermarket at Monarch Park and Danforth sells enormous $1.99 marinated beef and chicken shishkabobs that are better than any meat skewer item that I've ever bought elsewhere.

Throw in a loaf of bread from North Pole bakery and some [local] asparagus, and DH and I can eat like kings for under $10.

So if you see the strange site of two adults having a picnic dinner tonight on their driveway and staring lovingly at their new porch, that will be us!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Danforth East debut on the small screen

Cool news of the day:
Did anyone catch CBS filming at the Bus Terminal restaurant yesterday afternoon?
I missed it, but I bet we'll all be keeping an eye out for the 'Flashpoint' episode to air on CTV, which will be featuring our lovely breakfast joint in one of their crime scene investigations!

Fish Tales:
On another note, thank you to all the readers who suggested Happy Sushi.
They are amazing! Although the salad was downright soggy, the rolls were huge and delicious. Fresh tuna was the special of the day, and it was excellent. DH was over-the-moon, which is all I can ask for.

Treat of the week:
I swung by the new bakery at Woodbine and Danforth last week, the one with the old sign saying "Coffee, Coffee". I don't know how to express my delight, but let me just say that the powdered shortbread cookie I bought for junior pioneer and myself to share (yes, I let my kid have cookies before dinner, ha!) was the best I've EVER had in my life. Melt in your mouth sweetness, moist and soft, with the perfect amount of powered sugar as icing. My vote for treat of the week!

The baklava in the photo below was also divine: not too much chocolate, and not too sweet....perfect!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Bike Lane Survey

The debate heats up, city wide, over bike lanes. Here's a recent heartbreaking Toronto Star item:

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/808941--cyclists-crushed-by-councillor-s-mis-vote?bn=1

Just a reminder to cast your vote on the East End Pioneer poll, for or against bike lanes along Danforth East!

Monday, May 10, 2010

To Bike or Not To Bike?

The City of Toronto's suggestion that they are putting bike lanes across Danforth East has become a complicated issue for many of our community stakeholders. We are a strong cycling community and if you've ever walked the Danforth between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. you will be witness to the legions of people who use Danforth Ave. as a main artery for commuting by bike. However, by limiting parking on a major thoroughfare, the BIA feels that the city could essentially be cutting off access to small businesses along the strip.

What do you think? Should Danforth East have bike lanes? Choose yes or no in the poll on the right hand side of the page.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Bombay Calling

The other night I had an opportunity to go out for dinner sans junior pioneer. It was an exciting prospect, the world was our oyster. In a city the size of Toronto, we could have gone anywhere we wanted without having to worry about whether the resto was accessorized with high chairs. However, in typical Pioneer fashion, DH had a craving for Indian so we ended up staying local (no matter how hard I try to get away I always find amazing options close to home).

I always forget how close we are to Little India. It really is a stone's throw from Danforth East and there are some really great dining spots to choose from. My neighbours favour Siddartha (vegetarian) but we decided to hit up the Famous, a spot we often order take out from. We were a little dissappointed in the selection at the buffet, but the food was edible and we were hungry. I'll probably try something else next time, like the new The Five Spices - featuring Hakka cuisine (Indian Chinese dishes).  Check out the review at sweetspot.ca here.
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