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Monday, February 27, 2012

Coffee Break

T.O's weekly alternative newspaper The Grid recently featured an item on the economics of independent coffee shops in the city, and one key thing that Pioneer took away from reading it is that we need to support Danforth East's coffee shops now more than ever. There are some great little nooks to hit up for your java, so Pioneer thought it would be a good idea to do a recap of the top spots.

1) Seb's Cappuccino: Those in the know, know that Seb's walk-up window is the place to get one of the best cappuccino's in the city. For under $3, it's a steal! 1928 Danforth.

2) Red Rocket: It's the newcomer on the block, and a transplant from Leslieville, where it lived for it's first five years. It offers great coffee and espresso, good ambiance and really, really delicious treats - and free wi-fi! 1364 Danforth.

3) Cozy Cafe: not only can you get a good, inexpensive coffee here, you can also pick up some fresh bread for dinner, relax with some comfort food (like fresh soups and sandwiches) and pig out on some delectable european style treats. A recent facelift by the DECA business revitalization team created a welcoming oasis at the corner of Danforth and Woodbine! 2075 Danforth.

4) True Brew: under new ownership, this comfy little space is a great place to grab a coffee on the go. A little small if you've got a stroller with you, but there is always a friendly local to help with the door. Here is a link to a review by the Toronto Star's Amy Pataki. 2116 Danforth.

5) Last Drop: Service with a smile at the corner of Salmon and Coxwell. A little off the beaten path of Danforth,  locals know that the Brazilian expats who run the place are part of this cafe's charm. A full breakfast and lunch menu means it's easy to linger during a rainy morning over a bagel and a coffee! 459 Sammon Ave.

6) Caketown: While the name is a little bit deceiving (don't expect a display case full of cakes like we did!) this little cafe's specialty is desserts and Pioneer can attest that nothing goes better with a piping-hot Americano than a gluten-free peanut butter cookie. You don't have to fret about bringing your Jr. east enders, as the staff knows how to make a kid-friendly hot chocolate just right and there is plenty of room for strollers. 2039 Danforth.

And one last thing before we wrap up:

Pioneer would like to hear your feedback on the places/events we talk about, so don't be shy about commenting! Did anyone try Morgan's this weekend? And if so, do you agree it's a Danforth gem? Let us know!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Weekend Hideaway

We might be getting a blustery nor'wester this weekend, but thanks to the new local called Morgan's at 1282 Danforth, there's a great spot to cozy up and enjoy some indoor sports such as eating and drinking.

Morgans took over the space formerly called Taps & Tales, and while there are still some remnants of the previous tenants, the interior has been redefined by owner Anna Sorrenti. The tan banquettes, oak tables and cozy seating arrangements are reminiscent of a great apres-ski bar in the village somewhere. It makes you want to linger over a glass of Pinot (or anything from their great wine list) just a little bit longer!

The menu is extraordinary. Locally sourced ingredients and a passionate, experienced kitchen staff make every dish a winner. Appetizers like calamari and pan-seared scallops have a perfect consistency and are an ideal accompaniment to main dishes like game hen and black cod. If you're not in the mood for a full meal, the charcuterie plate has a delectable selection of smoked meats and pates that you will not want to miss, paired with a pint of one of their many local craft beers.

The piece de resistence? The sticky toffee pudding was perhaps the best dessert Pioneer has experienced at a "pub" - or perhaps ever.


Friday, February 17, 2012

Pioneer thought it would be great to update everyone on some neighbourhood news - some that are merely rumours, and some that are facts!

First out of the gate: DECA (Danforth East Community Association) has a newly revised Facebook page, so we encourage everyone to add it to your groups (because Pioneer knows y'all are FB fanatics, right?). The benefit to this is that you will be able to get community news right in your news feed!

Now on to real estate:
Pioneer always has its ear to the ground when it comes to real estate and rumour has it that a Starbucks is moving in to the former real estate office at the corner of Coxwell and Plains Road, just south of O'Connor. This is good news because it protects the local, small business coffee shops on Danforth but provides all those morning commuters on Coxwell with a good cup of java!

A rumour that can be confirmed, thanks to the sleuthing work of DECA member Susan S., is that a Dollarama is opening up at Danforth & Woodbine in the former Ethiopian Community space. No opening date has been set as of yet, but Pioneer will keep everyone posted.

Happy pioneer-ing!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Parking at Earl Beatty Public School

After a year long hiatus, East End Pioneer has officially come out of hiding to bring to light a hot topic that has plagued both Daddy Pioneer, and many other parents who have children attending Earl Beatty Public school, for quite some time.

The City of Toronto has designated a student pick-up and drop-off area (a 10 minute parking area between 8am and 5pm) on the south side of Wolverleigh Blvd, just east of Woodington Ave. (see picture below). Due to private driveways, there are six parking spots at best.  Of these six parking spots, the number of available spots has been steadily going down. Slowly but surely, there has been a growing number of cars with Accessible (disabled) parking permits using these spots as permanent parking spots. As of this morning there were three (see pictures below).

Pioneer does not have an issue with accessible parking - we believe everyone deserves freedom of mobility - but to date, there have been numerous sightings of non-disabled adults using these vehicles.

The domino effect is that parents, with sometimes more than one child between infant and preschool age in tow, have to park quite far away from the school and daycare doors unless they want to do what Daddy Pioneer often does: "break the law".  They have turned to parking outside the parking posts as well as parking on the north side of Wolverleigh Blvd.

The City in turn often capitalizes on the situation.  The parking authority arrives at around 9am (the peak of child drop off time) and tickets all offenders.  In talking to the "meter maid", on the record they told Pioneer they can't do anything about the situation due to the Accessible permits on the cars.  According to City of Toronto bylaws, an individual with an Accessible permit may park anywhere they wish, including do-not-park zones.

While Pioneer definitely condones a walkable community, and tries to use foot power as often as possible, the need for cars to drop off children at school/daycare is sometimes necessary. It would be great if the drop off area could remain free and clear for parents to use during school hours.

If this situation affects you, Pioneer is asking you to please send a letter or email to our councillors to see if anything can be done about the situation. Here is the contact information for your convenience: