Remember when we crowned Gerrard Pizza & Spaghetti (1528 Danforth) as our DECA Gem on May 14?

We have all likely heard by now that last Saturday, just two days later, a terrible crime occurred at Danforth and Coxwell. What you may not know is that this was right next door to Gerrard’s, and during that ordeal, Gerrard’s front window was smashed.  Vito and his family are now out-of-pocket to pay the high deductible to get it fixed.

So, friends and neighbours, let’s do what we do best and show Gerrard’s some love.

DECA and Gerrard’s are happy to announce that SATURDAY, MAY 23 FROM 1-5PM, COME TO GERRARD’S FOR A SLICE (Veg or Pepperoni) + a PINT OF CRAFT BEER FOR $10!  This neighbourhood special will help Gerrard’s recover some (or all!) of their costs, and we all get to drink beer and eat pizza in the afternoon. Win-win!

*Update* – if beer ain’t your thing, a slice and a pop can be yours for $3.50

The special will end at 5pm but don’t let that stop you from heading over there for dinner on Saturday!

The East Lynn Park Farmers’ Market will be back for an 8th amazing year starting June 4th! We have some new farmers and vendors joining us this year and some returning favourites. The list of participants has been updated on the DECA website, but we have two new wineries and a few food vendors added to the roster, including a pizza vendor and a cookie maker!

Farmers Market 2015

The market will run for 20 weeks, from June 4 to October 15 with five larger events planned:

  • Grand Opening Celebration – June 11
  • Jammy Jazzfest – July 16
  • Movie in the Park – August 20
  • Applemania – September 17
  • Harvest Moon – October 8

Of course, each week will still be loaded with fun – facepainters, music, children’s games, storytimes and more! As well, local practitioners will be back each week to inspire you on living your best life at the market’s Wellness Booth. There will be everything from yoga, pilates and 3D movement to parenting and career coaching experts.

But, we still need more help! There’s different ways to get involved depending on your interests. The easiest way for many is to simply come and sit at the DECA booth for a few hours. Others get involved by cooking meals for the farmers. We could use some help designing posters for our events and we’re also looking for an eager high school student looking for 3-4 volunteer hours each week.  Send us a note at events(at)danfortheastcommunityassociation.com to find out more.

Did you catch any of the DECAction last week? (I just made up that word – could you tell?) We Imagined the Danforth on Monday and had a DECAgem filled few weeks leading to the crowning of Gerrard Pizza last Thursday. Not to mention all sorts of planning for the Farmers’ Market (beginning June 4) #DanforthEast Garage Sale (June 13) and on and on…

This Thursday from 7:30-9:30pm, we are having our monthly Board meeting. Do you want to come? If so, drop a line here for details. We love it when people join us and it’s a great way to get to know us a little better.
Here are a few other events…

Rain Garden Workshop, Thursday May 21 7:00pm

We wrote about this last week but wanted to make sure that you all saw this very cool event where you can learn to plant a garden to protect your home against flooding. Awesome, right? Click here to read our earlier post on this, and to register (it’s free)

Earl Beatty Public School Fun Fair, Saturday May 23, 10am-3pm

Saturday May 23, 10am-3pm
Earl Beatty PS: 55 Woodington Avenue (just north-east of Danforth and Coxwell)
FEATURING: games, a special play area for young children, bouncy castle and slides, great food, ice cream, bake sale, face painting, and new this year the Amazing Beatty Race! Presented by EBSAC in partnership with Beatty Buddies. Revenue generated by EBSAC is going towards support of the Scientist in the School program.

Twitter: @EBFunFair
Facebook: Earl Beatty Fun Fair


History Talk at Danforth/Coxwell Library: Five Things You Don’t Know About Terry Fox, Wed, May 27


6:30 p.m.8:00 p.m. 

You know he is a national hero but what did he add to the national conversation? Jenny Ellison explores how Canadians were inspired by Terry Fox in ways you might not expect.

History Matters takes a slightly idiosyncratic look at sports history to mark the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games in Toronto. Presented in collaboration with ActiveHistory.ca

For more information, click here.

For those unfortunates of you, who couldn’t make it to last Thursday’s “Battle of the Gems,” here is a recap of the night, in photos.

The judges started the night at Gerrard Pizza, where the Greco family emerged from the kitchen and greeted them, with pizza of course!

The judges started the night at Gerrard Spaghetti and Pizza, where the Greco family emerged from the kitchen and greeted them, with pizza of course!


The judges were then chauffeured to the next “gem” in our Gem-Mobiles — thanks Annette!


Mary was busy behind the counter at Vincenzo’s when we arrived. She and her mom Sam had put together a huge spread of food for the judges in the store.


Mary explained how her father Vincenzo had opened the store 51 years ago, after arriving from Italy with nothing. She and her mother Sam have been struggling to keep the store running since his death last fall.

Action shot of judges and DECAgems team walking next door, to Sunny's Auto Clinic.

Action shot of judges and DECAgems team walking next door, to Sunny’s Auto Clinic.


Sunny has plans for a mural and some new paint. He started off alone three years ago, but has managed to hire two staff. He pretty much is the most lovable human on the Danforth. We all decided to take our cars to him immediately.


The judges walked upstairs and into Face to Face Games to be confronted by 60-odd 20-year-olds playing a game called Magic. This is a typical Thursday night at Face To Face, owner Kelly explained. He and his wife met while studying early childhood education. He dropped out early from the course to open this games stores, because he decided he was more interested in prevention than therapy. Most of the clientele come from across town though — so he hopes DECA could spread the word about their after-school programs and summer camps for kids!


Tibebe welcomed us all to his restaurant, Hirut, for the party.


Jenn and three young teenage boys told the crowd and judges why they loved Face to Face Games and why it should win. “It has changed my life,” one of the boys said.


The judges each made their selection. In the end, the tally was 3-1-1-1 for…..

Gerrard Spaghetti and Pizza!

Gerrard Spaghetti and Pizza!

Thank you to the creative, hard-working and fun group of volunteers who pulled off this wonderful event. Thank you also to the judges who gave us their valuable time. And thank you to all of you who voted, came to the party and continue to support local business.

The makeover, led by another great team of DECA volunteers, will take place in June.


#DanforthEast Garage Sale Reminder & Posters

Just a quick reminder that the #DanforthEast Garage Sale is set for June 13th, rain or shine. All the sign up information can be found on the DECA website, including how to be sure your address is included on the map.

We have posters ready to help advertise the event. If you can help to put some up this weekend, please contact us at  deca.yard.sale@gmail.com.

St. Brigid’s Fun Fair – Friday, May 22

Swing by the St. Brigid’s Fun Fair next Friday for food and fun! You should probably spend some time prepping your gardens this long weekend as there will be vegetables to plant, native perennials species and colourful annuals available at the flower sale.


All four DECA Gems finalists were shocked when they heard the news.

They all had the same reaction as Mary Masellis, owner of Vincenzo’s Supermarket (2406 Danforth): “Oh my God.”

She then said “Thank you, thank you,” and covered her face with her hands, giggling.

Mary and Sam

Mary and Sam Masellis, the mom and daughter team behind Vincenzo’s Supermarket

“It was surprising. When you think of an auto shop, they don’t have the reputation to be a gem in a neighborhood,” Sunny Gafur of Sunny’s Auto Clinic. “I was happy to even be nominated.”

“I didn’t think we were a hidden gem, because we’ve been around forever,” said Vito Greco, one of three generations that owns and runs Gerrard Spaghetti and Pizza (1528 Danforth). “It’s great. I love it.”

Kelly Ackerman, the owner of Face To Face Games (2077a Danforth) quickly posted the news to Facebook, “Thank you a million times over.”  He was giddy and excited. He said he wanted to rush out and congratulate the other three nominees.

Kelly Ackerman, owner of Face To Face Games.

Kelly Ackerman, owner of Face To Face Games.

You, our neighbours and friends, nominated 100 businesses in our little catchment as “hidden gems.”

We whittled those down to the Final Four, using three principles: popularity among voters; the impact our #DECAgems marketing prize pack could have on the particular business; and, what this business might give back to the DECA community.

The Final Four stretch across our district. Their owners vary in age from 29 to 83. One of them has been in business on the same spot of the Danforth here for 51 years, another hasn’t reached his first anniversary here.

And their businesses couldn’t be more different: a restaurant; an auto mechanic shop; a gaming store that offers after-school programs for kids and a small Italian grocery store. What they all share is a good story, great potential and a lot of neighborhood love.

Sunny's AutoHundreds of you have been voting in our “Battle of the Gems” poll here  — telling our panel of judges which of the four you think they should pick.

On Thursday, we will take the judges on at tour of the Final Four, give them a plate of food and a glass of wine, and settle into serious lobbying and discussions.

Will you join us?

We will offer you some food, good conversation and entertaining speeches. Plus, you will get to crown DECA’s first gem. That opportunity will never come again.

Doors open at Hirut, 2050 Danforth (just west of Woodbine), on Thursday May 14 at 7 pm. Judging will start around 8 pm.

We hope to see you there.

Gerard Pizza is a family business. Here are the owners, three generations of Grecos: Nancy, 10-year-old Massimo, Guiseppe and Vito.

Gerard Spaghetti and Pizza’s owners, three generations of Grecos: Nancy, 10-year-old Massimo, Guiseppe and Vito.

PS. If you didn’t hear DECA’s Anita Schretlen on CBC radio’s Metro Morning being interviewed by Matt Galloway about this fabulous project, you can listen to her here. Way to go Anita!

Rain Garden Workshop – May 21

Thanks to Heather Bean for this post:

Did last summer’s torrential rains find their way into your basement or flood your street? Consider planting a rain garden: a plot of native flowers and grasses strategically placed to absorb stormwater runoff. These little gardens can suck up a surprising amount of water: up to one inch of rain on your entire property. Rain gardens are designed to drain completely, so your backyard won’t be harbouring any baby mosquitoes. They also filter water that would otherwise carry contaminants down to the lake–and into our drinking supply.

Sound pretty great? Want to learn more? On Thursday, May 21 at 7 p.m. at Kimbourne United Church, Toronto Region Conservation Authority experts are offering a workshop to discuss the latest developments in rain gardens, rain chains, rainwater storage, and permeable paving. Click here to register (the registration setup is a bit disorienting, but yes, it is free!).

Native Plant Sale at Artisans at Work – May 16 & 17

Don’t forget to vote in our #DECAgems contest! Click here for all the info, and please join us on Thursday at Hirut when we will announce the winner!! 

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