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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Sweatin' to the Babies

Okay new moms out there: so you moved to Danforth East, you renovated your house, lived the fabulous double-income, no kids life for about five minutes and the next thing you know, you have a stroller on your porch and you’re 'flab-ulous' carrying around ten extra pounds of baby weight. Trying to squeeze in exercise during nap time? Not possible, when mommy napping is just so delicious. However, now there are no excuses.

Starting this week, two local fitness studios are giving us an extra kick in the butt to attend classes. BOMB Wellness at 1338 Danforth is now offering a new program called Toonie Tots, a child minding service for zero to five year olds for just $2.00 per child per class (Tuesdays and Thursdays to cover classes from 10:30am to 12:30pm). This is a no brainer! Just another bonus of attending a local fitness studio that caters to the neighbourhood.  In the words of co-owner Victoria “can you tell we REALLY want you to work out?”!

Also starting soon, Andy over at Legacy Spinning has added on one more Mommy and Baby boot camp class. Currently, the classes run on Monday’s at 3:30 but he has added another class on Thursdays at 3:00, beginning Thursday June 14. Word of warning: Pioneer and Junior Pioneer #2 are regulars at this class and it ain't your momma's Sweatin to the Oldies. Your little tyke may weigh 'only' 14 lbs but after 100 dead lifts, chest presses and shoulder raises, 14 starts to feel like 40!

And for anyone reading this 55 years young or up, Kevin and Victoria at BOMB are introducing the very first Danforth East Fit For Life workout. These classes run Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8:45 a.m. and are geared towards baby boomers who are interested in starting a fitness regime and don't know where to start.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Market mania

It's that time again on Danforth East, when the sound of farmer's trucks trundling into our parks break the silence of the lazy, hazy days of summer (okay, it's still officially spring, but it sure does feel like summer!).

Pioneer loves farmers' markets, mainly because cheese is our favourite food group, along with fresh Ontario corn and Niagara peaches. Danforth East is lucky to have not just one, but two fabulous farmers' markets in our realm.

Bob 'The Sweet Potato Guy'
This morning, we hit up the market at the East York Civic Centre (on Coxwell north of Mortimer) and the excitement was palpable. The line-up in front of the smoked meat and baked goods truck was raucous - moms with strollers and civil servants clamoring for all-beef summer sausage and fresh loaves of bread. Delicious!

Everyone's favourite farmer Bob the sweet potato guy is back with his tasty taters, and Pioneer noticed a whole table full of pickled veggies, jams, fig chutneys and other spreadable goods. The selection of fresh spring asparagus, radishes and rhubarb was mouth watering, 

The next big event is the opening of the East Lynn Farmers' Market on June 7. This year is a big one: it marks the fifth year anniversary of this popular market. Celebratory events are happening on June 14 including a birthday cake from Melanie's and a clown performance at 4:30. 

So now the problem is....what can one do, exactly, with a bushel of radishes???

Friday, May 25, 2012

Out of the mouths of babes

As Danforth East eases it's way into summer, and our tiny East York semis heat up, lots of us are leaving windows open during the evenings to let the cool night air in. However, I was alarmed to hear an acquaintance relate her run-in with a cat burglar one warm evening this past week. The cheeky fellow had silently removed a screen from an open window and was about to climb into the family abode when he was confronted by the homeowner. In her own words:

"This was a very calm fellow looking for good opportunities with open windows due to the heat wave, not riff raff looking to score drug money. The guy was very tall and lean, dressed completely in black, with gloves and crow bar. He removed one of our big window screens from our back extension and was calmly hiding it beside our garage before returning to enter when I found him and started screaming profanities at him. He leaped over the fence with Olympic ease, despite the fact the gate was open, and fled."

What shocked Pioneer was the realization that the homeowners and their children were upstairs sleeping. This could happen to any of us (well, except Pioneer because we have a beefy shitzu who barks at every tiny little noise, much to our chagrin...). So, please heed this warning and keep those downstairs windows locked!

Disclaimer: do not try this at home! If you are being robbed, please don't confront the bandit - call 911 pronto!

Happy Weekend everyone!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Update on Starbucks

We hope everyone had an amazing long weekend along Danforth East, we know we did!
This is just a follow-up to my post last week about the Starbucks opening up at Plains Rd. &  Coxwell.

Pioneer made an inquiry with the media relations team at Starbucks HQ, not expecting a response to our tiny little community blog. However, within the hour, a lovely PR rep responded to the phone call with more details about the opening.

What we discovered is that the unofficial "official" opening date is June 28 (just around the corner!).

Just as a side note: Pioneer wouldn't normally be touting the opening of a corporate coffee chain around Danforth East. We already have a great java jive going on with a large selection of really amazing local coffee shops to choose from (including the newest kid on the block Circus Coffee). A Starbucks situated along Danforth would definitely affect the success of these businesses, which is what we don't want.
However, the location of this Starbucks (at the northern tip of Coxwell) is actually a great fit and it's far enough away from the Danforth that it won't have that much of an impact on current establishments.

At the very least, it's somewhere to get a decent coffee while gassing up for the 4-hour commute to cottage country!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Colour our world

The Art of the Danforth 10 Minute Paint fight was the most fun that Pioneer and Junior Pioneer have ever had with paint.  It was actually only about 8 minutes until the paint ran out, but at the end of the exhilarating segment, there wasn't one dry, white t-shirt to be found. This was the opening act of two weeks of fun. If you missed it, there are still a lot more zany events to attend, so make sure to check out for all the details!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Art of the Danforth 2012

A few years ago, a local woman named Cindy Rozeboom had a vision to turn the Danforth's empty storefronts into a walkable gallery full of art from artists near and far. Although she was not the first to think about creative uses for the derelict storefronts, it was her perseverance and art world know-how that brought to life the first incarnation of Art of the Danforth in 2010. Cindy and her team are back with the next chapter of Art ofthe Danforth and it starts this weekend with the Make A Joyful Noise Parade in East Lynn Park. In Pioneer's opinion, costumes + kids + noise makers = best fun ever.

What's even more exciting is the opportunity to throw paint at total strangers.....wait...say what??? You heard us. As Art of the Danforth describes it: a closed street. 100 gallons of paint. 200 people dressed in white, anxiously waiting to throw paint at each other. The insanity starts at 12:30 p.m. on the nose, this Sunday. Wear white and don't be late. When the 10Minute Paint Fight is over, there will be a living breathing piece of art to behold!

The installations and performances happen between May 20 and June 10 - two full weeks in which our neighbourhood will come alive with art, music and fun. For a full schedule visit

Art of the Danforth exhibit by Real & Barbara Eguchi at Coxwell and Danforth, April 2010.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Salud to Summer

Pioneer noticed the sign above out front of the Bus Terminal diner a few months ago, and as the warm weather has begun to slowly creep onto the Danforth, a quick check discovered that yes, you can still have a pitcher of sangria for $16 on Thursdays. Nothing says warm weather to Torontonians more than a nice sunny patio and maybe a glass (or pitcher) of this European patio drink of choice.

In the United States, sangria was first tasted at the World's Fair in New York in 1964, however, Toronto's early and diverse European population probably means that sangria has been here at the centre of the universe for much longer than that. This ambrosial concoction is mixed different ways in different places, but is usually a combo of wine, chopped fruit, sometimes a hit of various liquers and a combo of fruit juice and/or carbonated beverage.

Danforth East is lucky to have Relish Bar & Grill (2152 Danforth) in our midst, a great Spanish tapas restaurant that most definitely serves top-notch sangria. Although they don't have a patio (boo hoo!!), their tapas and small plates menu is delectable and worth a visit. Sangria is not on the drinks menu, but they will make it for you as a special order. 

A call into Morgan's, the new pub at Linsmore with a nice patio, revealed that they are working on a new summer menu and a new summer cocktail list (to be debuted within the next week or two) that will include both traditional sangria with red wine and 'Sangria Blanco' made with white wine. Yum!

As a side note, while the patio at the Bus Terminal does not have the greatest view (unless you can re-imagine the Green P parking lot into the plazas of Madrid), a recent search for Mother's Day fare on reveals that it is rated quite high on the list for breakfast and brunch spots in the area. 

So Salud! Raise a toast to summer and this delicious warm weather!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Tagine and more!

I know this post is a little bit late in coming, but I just read over on the DECA Facebook page that BlogTO calls Danforth's Walima Cafe the "most dependable (and tasty) Moroccan restaurant in Toronto". Three cheers for our multi-cultural strip! Here is a link to the article. Pioneer hasn't checked it out yet, but it's definitely on our Danforth 'to do' list!

Also, as seen over on DECA Diaries: Danforth East is a finalist in The Grid's search for the most under-rated neighbourhood in Toronto. Go and vote! Winning 'hood gets bragging rights....