Festival of Lights, THIS Saturday, 5-6 pm

Join us for singing, dancing, and visits from Santa before we turn on the lights in East Lynn Park this Saturday from 5 to 6 pm. And don’t forget your donation for Centre 55 (non-perishable food or cash) to be entered to win a fantastic prize.


Poster by Angela Wagner, Umlaut Design.

Shop Local Saturday

Also happening in the neighbourhood this Saturday, the Danny BIA is hosting Shop Local Saturday, with buskers moving through the neighbourhood between Jones & Westlake from 2-5 pm to entertain you while you explore our local businesses.

shop local

Calendar Pictures Wanted

MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith is asking for photo submissions of community events for his 2018 calendar. If you have a great photo from an event, or of the community, please send it to: nathaniel.erskine-smith@parl.gc.ca. Please send them in as soon as possible if you’d like your picture to be considered for the community calendar.

See you on Saturday, rain, snow or shine!


Are you the future of DECA?

Farewell from outgoing DECA Chair, Sheri Hebdon

I was first elected to the DECA Board in 2009, by accident. I showed up at a “neighbourhood cocktail party” with my wife and baby after seeing posters and hearing about it from a nice woman I met at baby-and-me yoga.

On arrival, my new friend Natasha (DECA’s founding Chair) welcomed us at the door and she casually asked me if I would be interested in joining the Board. I said I was interested in learning more and then we moved on to other conversations.

Later in the evening, I was discreetly nursing my baby when all of a sudden Natasha and another woman stood up on chairs and announced that the cocktail party was actually the AGM. They (and others) gave short pitches about their projects like the farmers’ market and the business revitalization team (who did store makeovers) and then I heard my name.


Then everyone voted yes and I was on the Board. Just like that. While nursing my son.

Eight years later, at tomorrow’s AGM & Party (we’re a bit more up front about the AGM part now!), my time on the DECA Board, where I have been Chair for three years, will come to a close. While I am confident that the Board will be in excellent hands for next year, it’s hard not to worry about what the future will hold.

Though, the real question is not what, but who. DECA isn’t a thing – it’s the sum total of a group of people who all add what they (we) can to make our neighbourhood better. Bringing new people into the fold is critical, but it’s not easy. We have the things now that DECA has helped to build over the past decade and people may take it, and us, for granted. Or maybe they just don’t know? Or maybe they just can’t take on one more thing.

Whatever the reason is that you aren’t more involved, here is my pitch to you to get involved. Don’t think about what you’d put into it, think about what you will get out of it.

Volunteering for DECA has given me so much over the years. No matter what else is happening in my life or in the world, I have taken a lot of solace knowing that I’m doing something to make the world better, even if it’s just in my little corner of it. I find it energizing to help in big and small ways, and feeling so much more connected to my neighbours and local businesses positively impacts me on a daily basis. My children (there are three of them now) understand that volunteering is part of life, and each of them have legitimately volunteered for DECA too by doing things like putting up posters, helping to set up events, handing out cookies and candy canes at the Festival of Lights. Given that parenting is a long game, instilling this so early is important.

Start with one hour. One hour of involvement per year could mean helping at an event, putting up posters, tossing pumpkins or cooking for the farmers. Maybe you have two hours? Maybe five? What about one hour for every year you’ve lived here? If you have kids, get them involved and you won’t believe how proud they will be of themselves. Start with one hour and you may find that you that you’ll want to do more.

At the very least, join DECA as a member. Sign up online or in person tomorrow at Hirut. $10/household for the year.

If you don’t know where to start, come to the event tomorrow and ask me, or any of the other Board members. Meet your neighbours. Get involved.

Here’s the poster one more time:

Oh, and there will be door prizes!

Thanks for a great eight years, Danforth East! See you all around the neighbourhood.


This weekend!

Now, we all know that Silly Goose Kids is an amazing store. Recently, this was verified by Now Magazine readers who named them one of the best Toy Stores in the city! (Many, many of our beloved locals earned nods in the city-wide “Reader’s Choice Best of Toronto” – click here for all of the winners)

The fact that this awesome little store manages to undertake many community events only makes us love them more. Join Silly Goose Kids this Saturday, November 18 for Neighbourhood Toy Store Day where they will be offering 15% off all day along with exciting events, giveaways and activities including a visit from the Gruffalo himself!! (So excited…er, I mean, my kids will be so excited…).

See you there at 2054 Danforth, just west of Woodbine from 9:30am-6:00pm.


Another shopping event is happening at the Nooks!

Shop for all of your holiday gifts at the EVERYTHING IS UNDER $50 POP-UP Market on November 18th from 11am-6pm. This is the perfect pop-up to shop for everyone on your list! Featuring a curated selection of hand-made, local and artisanal good (again, ALL UNDER $50! You can’t go wrong!). 2005 Danforth Avenue

Check out their Facebook event for more info.

Add A Little Purr To Your Life: Wag on the Danforth Cat Adopt-A-Thon this Saturday!

Adopt! Adopt! Adopt! Please Toronto Cat Rescue on Saturday, November 18th from 10am – 4pm for an adopt-a-thon with Wag on Danforth! Kittens and cats will be waiting for you in-store to adopt them and bring them home.

*** Special Adoption Fees at the event only! Our adoption fee at the event only is $100 (vs. the standard $175 adoption fee) for cats and kittens over 8 months of age, and $175 for kittens under 8 months of age – payable by cash only. Our fee includes: spay or neuter, vaccination (receive a rabies vaccination, if age appropriate) and includes 6 weeks of free pet insurance. For City of Toronto residents, the adoption fee includes a mandatory City of Toronto cat license that is valid for one year.

Wag is a family-run shop located in the East end of Toronto at Danforth Ave. & Woodbine Ave., Wag is easily accessible via car with street parking or TTC (Woodbine station). 1918 Danforth Ave / (647) 349-8263

Next weekend!

The Danforth Mosaic BIA is hosting an all-day local shopping celebration next Saturday, November 25 concurring with DECA’s 6th Annual Festival of Lights from 5-6pm. Here’s what they have to say about the event:

Make the Holidays special by shopping, eating and playing on Danforth East this Holiday Season!

Join the Businesses of The Danny BIA on November 25, 2017, for Shop Local Saturday – a great opportunity to explore and discover the great businesses that are in this neighbourhood that have everything you need to make your holidays special!

You’ll Love What You Find Here! There will be buskers moving through the neighbourhood between Jones & Westlake from 2pm-5pm to entertain you while you explore our local businesses.

Here’s the Facebook event for more info

One more thing…

Are you coming to our Annual General Meeting & Party on Monday? Hope you can make it, but if not, please do sign up to be a member of DECA. It takes 5 minutes, costs $10/household (per year) and you will feel great about supporting our 100% volunteer run community association. Here’s the link!

Our Annual General Meeting  & Party is coming up on November 20 from 7-9 pm at Hirut (2050 Danforth). Hope you can join us!

At the party you can:

  • Meet your neighbours
  • Enjoy Hirut’s delicious food (on us!)
  • Find out how to get more involved with DECA
  • Join DECA or renew your $10/year per household membership
  • Meet our Board and many of our other amazing volunteers
  • Vote for next year’s Board if you are a member (this is the AGM part!)
  • Enjoy the cash bar

If you’ve never come to the Party & AGM before, the short formal part will go from about 8:00-8:30pm and you’ll hear about our annual events and ongoing initiatives, the not-to-be-missed Treasurer’s report, nail-biter Board elections and last but not least, remarks from our outgoing Chair (yours truly). The rest of the time is for chatting with neighbours and hanging out. Not a bad way to spend a Monday evening.

Membership and voting are limited to people who live in our catchment (Main to Lumsden/Mortimer to Monarch Park to the train tracks) but everyone who cares about this neighbourhood can come to this and all of our events.

The Board will be putting forward the following nominees for election to the 2017/18 Board:

Loreen Barbour (Co-Chair)

Gay Stephenson (Co-Chair)

Audrey Kvedaras (Vice Chair)

Anita Schretlen (Treasurer)

Nicole Bergot-Browning (Secretary)

Alison McMurray

Amanda Olson

Melissa Peretti

Jennifer Scott

Rebecca Green

Brad Bradford

Lorraine Chen


If you are interested in future opportunities on our Board, please ask us about it on Monday or reach out to us by email and we can talk about getting you involved over the coming year.

See you on Monday!

Mark your calendars! The 6th annual DECA Festival of Lights is happening this year in East Lynn Park on Saturday, Nov. 25, from 5-6 pm.

DECA-Festiv-Lights-2017 (1)

Thank you to Angel Wagner of Umlaut Design for this beautiful poster.

We have a stellar line up of entertainment planned–from the The S.P.A.C.E. and Pegasus Studios dancers, to the daring dynamics of Zero Gravity Circus, to the sweet sounds of the The Music Project Choir sing along–before we officially turn on the holiday lights at the park. We’ll also have a Santa tent again this year for the little folks who’d like to visit the big man in red.

As always, everything at the festival is free, but we’d love you to bring a non-perishable food item (or a few) or a financial donation for Community Centre 55‘s holiday food drive. Not only will you feel good by helping out, you’ll be entered into a raffle for a fantastic prize.

This year we are so lucky to have so much support putting this show together. Thank you to our lead sponsors MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith and MPP Arthur Potts, as well as Councillor Mary Margaret McMahon for once again hosting the event, and generous donations from our local businesses Sugar MoonTrust Realty Group, Danforth EastBMO Bank of Montreal at Woodbine & Danforth, Sauce on the Danforth, and Celena’s Bakery, plus contributions from the The Danny: Danforth Mosaic BIA!

And if that’s not enough fun for you, the Danny BIA is also hosting a Shop Local Saturday on Nov. 25th. There will be street musicians to keep you entertained while you check folks off your holiday gift list. Why not make a day of it by heading to the Danforth, then dropping by the park to celebrate the season with your neighbours?

See you on Saturday, Nov. 25!

Special thanks to Angela Wagner of Umlaut Design for her beautiful poster.

Upcoming DECA Events

First of all, thank you to everyone who came out to the Pumpkin Parade at East Lynn Park on November 1st and especially to the volunteers who tossed pumpkins in less-than-ideal weather to help us restore the park at the end of the night.

The Pumpkin Parade was the first of four November DECA events. Here is the low-down on what else is coming up!

DECA Pride cinq-à-sept | November 9 |5-7pm

Bringing together East End LGBTQ+ folks and allies, DECA Pride is hosting a casual get together at Local 1794 from 5-7pm. Light snacks provided. Meet at the back!

Click here to join the DECA Pride email list and here to join the Facebook group.

DECA Annual General Meeting & Party | November 20 | 7-9pm

It’s our last official #DECAde event – the Annual General Meeting & Party! Come to Hirut Café and Restaurant to eat delicious Ethiopian food, listen to some live music, meet your neighbours, renew your membership or join DECA and celebrate another great year of community-building. Cash bar. Board elections and formal remarks will be short, starting at around 8. Facebook event is here.

Stay tuned for our recommended nominations for next year’s Board. Spoiler alert: change is afoot!

DECA’s Festival of Lights | November 25 | 5-6pm

For the past five years, DECA has organized a tree lighting event at East Lynn Park to celebrate the festive season and this year promises to be the best one yet!

Rumour has it that Santa himself has cleared his schedule to visit us.

Watch this space for the beautiful poster to come, and in the meantime, save the date!

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Meet Marisa and Josh, co-owners of the Hollandaise Diner


By the time regulars are sliding into their seats, Josh already has their order started on the flat top; he knows what they like. There’s Betty who likes ham sandwiches.  The Grilled Cheese Ladies are regulars and there’s the couple who max out every button on the iPad when they customize their eggs benny.  With offers from customers to help with heavy plates and friendly hellos to Josh while he’s cooking in the kitchen, The Hollandaise Diner has become what they hoped it would be – a homey place that’s a nice breakfast option for the neighbourhood.


Being family friendly was their biggest thing.  The stack of highchairs by the front door attests to this and so does their menu.  Josh and Marisa had their nieces and nephews test the food before putting it on the menu.  What is Owen going to eat when he comes here?  The answer is usually pancakes.


Kids love Josh’s pancakes.  One of their servers, Sandra, is often called The Pancake Lady by little ones who pass her on the street.  With three different choices of batter (chocolate, coconut, and classic) and five different sauces (blueberry, banana, strawberry, raspberry, or chocolate), I can see why she’s a neighbourhood celebrity.


At the Hollandaise Diner, adults can feel like kids too.  With a Build Your Own Benny option, you can let your imagination run wild.  Meatloaf? Grilled cheese for a base? Maybe a few or all of the 12 toppings available.  You can build it up with as many things as you want.  There’s coconut hollandaise sauce (Josh’s favourite) or four others to top your creation.  For Josh and Marisa, they have lots of fun seeing what people come up with.  There have been benny’s so high off the plate that they’ve been afraid to carry them to the table for fear they’d topple over.  Photos were taken because it was ridiculous (in a good way)…

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Many of their main ingredients come from east end businesses.  Their smoked salmon is from The Smoke Bloke at Victoria Park and St. Clair.  After one taste, Josh knew he had to figure out a way to incorporate it into the menu, hence The Smoke Bloke benny.


Marisa and Josh wanted to buy bread locally.  After a sample of Celena’s sourdough, the decision was made.  Oh my god, this is the best bread I’ve ever had in my life (Josh). With their menu about to be printed in two hours, Josh rushed back to the diner to hopefully come up with one more item to add.  Two hours later, he had their best selling benedict on the menu – The Croque Madame.  A grilled cheese sandwich cut in half (made with Celena’s sourdough bread), with fried ham, two poached eggs, hollandaise sauce, and fresh parsley.  It’s the benny that everyone talks about.


So why a diner?  How did it all begin?  Their friend Dave suggested it.  Josh and Dave have been friends since grade 5 and grew up in the neighbourhood (Josh lived across the street from Toronto East General Hospital).  I didn’t think he was fully serious.  I never thought in a million years that I would have my own diner (Josh).


Josh was a sous chef who worked at Fran’s downtown.  Working most weekends, Dave and Marisa would have weekend brunch dates.  They had favourite places they’d frequent and were finding brunch to be an expensive outing for families.  The three started talking about a diner that would provide delicious food for a reasonable price. Maybe they would call it The Hungry Diner or Hollandaise.  Hollandaise Diner was decided upon to capture the laid back, family feel of a diner.  The pieces started coming together and soon the three started to think, yeah, we can do this. Together, Dave, Josh, and Marisa opened Hollandaise Diner, and Dave has since moved on to open up another business.


I remember counting the seats and thinking, we’ll have to get this many people, ordering this many times, spending this much money…I was freaking out.  And then the first week, I was having the opposite problem.  I was here for 16 hours because I couldn’t keep up.  I would spend all day cooking and then have 8 hours of prep ahead of me. It was just amazing the turnout we had.  (Josh)


With more breakfast places appearing along the Danforth, Marisa and Josh are happy to see multiple options that will keep brunch-goers staying local.  Fellow business owners and residents have made them feel so welcome and supported. People stop by just to say hi, to have a meal, or to offer a helping hand.


This has always been home to me.  The fact that I can be here and have so much support from the community, it means the world to me.  It’s unreal.  (Josh)

The Hollandaise Diner is open 7 a.m. – 3 p.m. daily and is located at 2231 Danforth Ave (across the street from the Honda dealership).  You can see their amazing food on Instagram or check out their menu online.  For this weekend only, add chocolate and SKOR bits to your pancakes or French Toast! (Nov. 3rd – 5th, 2017)



Additional posts from The Humans of Danforth East series:

Kari from The Pop Stand

Chris from Firefly Creative Writing

Erin & Yvonne from Origin Wellness

Colleen from The Nooks

Paola from Sugarmoon Salon

Introducing the Humans of Danforth East

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