MURAL QUANDRY: These pillars in Underpass Park will soon be a canvas for a brand new mural. StreetART Toronto wants your feedback on the artist proposals. Photo courtesy Waterfront Toronto.

Corktown news & events for the week of May 19, 2015

UNDERPASS PARK MURALS: The City of Toronto Street Art (StART) program has just published an online survey through which members of the Corktown community have an opportunity to comment on the three artist proposals being considered for a new mural that will adorn five pillars in Underpass Park. (On the east side of the park, near the basketball courts.)

Three proposed designs are being considered by a jury. Your feedback will help ensure all shortlisted submissions enhance, and reflect the aspirations of the local community.

Click here to fill out the survey!

The survey is available until May 22. You can also see the proposals in person this week by dropping by Roselle Desserts at 362 King East. (Get yourself something sweet while you’re there!)

SUPPORT CORKTOWN WITH COFFEE: The Corktown Residents & Business Association is excited to announce a brand new partnership with local business Sparkplug CoffeeFor a limited time, a portion of all coffee purchases made with Sparkplug Coffee will go toward the CRBA to support important neighbourhood initiatives.

For more information and to order, click here.

MEETING MINUTES: The website is now up-to-date with draft meeting minutes for our 2015 public meetings. You can find them on our Meeting Minutes page.

The best part? We’ve got presentation files from some of our great guest speakers:

CORKTOWN IN THE NEWS: All eyes seem to be on Corktown these days!

At BlogTO, they list 10 new stores and restaurants in the neighbourhood. They also highlight our own Odin Cafe + Bar as one of the Top 10 Coffee Shops for a First Date in Toronto.

Meanwhile, Metro has an article highlighting the Green Roof Build taking place at the new Cherry Street YMCA. We’re looking forward to the finished product!

ALBUM RELEASE AT LITTLE TRINITY: On Friday, May 22, Little Trinity Church will host band THE YOUNG NOVELISTS as they launch their second album. The all-ages and accessible event kicks off at 8 p.m. $12 advance; $15 door — details are online.

51 DIVISION OPEN HOUSE:  The 51 Division Community Police Liaison Committee is hosting an Open House and BBQ free to members of the community on Saturday, May 23, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event will be hosted at 51 Division police station at 51 Parliament Street (at Front Street East).

The event will feature bicycle registration, the Toronto Police Coppertones band, guided tours of the station every 20 minutes, free hot dogs and pop, mounted Police Services officers with their horses and a presentation of the 51 Division CPLC Community Hero Awards 2015.

DOORS OPEN TORONTO: And don’t forget that this weekend is DOORS OPEN TORONTO, with hundreds of venues across the city opening their doors for free tours.

In the Corktown area, you may want to check out the Pure Spirits Still House, AGATHOM Co. Architects or the Regent Park Aquatics Centre. You can view a complete map of locations here.


  • The next meeting of the Corktown Residents & Business Association will be held on Tuesday, June 2. We’ll have more details posted soon.
  • Our friends in Riverside with the Riverside BIA are hosting an event to celebrate the lighting of the Queen Street Bridge! It’s been a long-time coming. The ceremony and associated festivities will take place Friday, June 5 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Details are online.
  • As announced at our public meeting last week, there will be a LIVE ART FESTIVAL held in Underpass Park on June 20 between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m. You won’t want to miss it. Some details are online, but we’ll have much more information posted in the weeks ahead.




The Corktown Residents & Business Association is excited to announce a new partnership with local business Sparkplug Coffee!

Sparkplug Coffee provides fresh roasted coffee direct to your door! You can try it out or sign up for regular delivery. For a limited time, a portion of sales from any coffee purchased from Sparkplug Coffee in the neighbourhood will be donated to the CRBA!  

No discount code to enter, just buy coffee. They’ll tally up all the Corktown & area sales and cut a cheque to support neighbourhood activities.

Everybody wins. You get fresh coffee, and the CRBA gets a donation!

Click here for all the details — and to order. Don’t delay!

The CRBA loves to support Corktown businesses through promotions like this one. Interested in working with us? Email


The City of Toronto Street Art (StART) program has just published an online survey through which members of the Corktown community have an opportunity to comment on the three artist proposals being considered for the five pillars of Underpass Park. (On the east side of the park, near the basketball courts.)

Three (3) proposed designs are being considered by a jury. Your feedback will help ensure all shortlisted submissions enhance, and reflect the aspirations of the local community.

This is another exciting opportunity to have great public art in our neighbourhood!

The survey is open until May 22.

Click here:

The mural will be painted to to coincide with the Live Art Festival taking place at Underpass Park on June 20!

UPDATE: You can also view the artists’ proposals for a limited time at ROSELLE DESSERTS! Stop by and check ’em out at 362 King East. (Get yourself something sweet while you’re there!)


Updated draft minutes from the CRBA’s 2015 public meetings are now available on our Meeting Minutes page. Finalized versions will be approved at the next CRBA board meeting.

We wanted to direct your attention to a couple of presentation files from our most recent meeting, as they include important information.

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Toronto 2015 Pan Am / ParaPan Am Games Information Presentation

The above presentation file contains many details about the logistical plans for the Pan Am Games this summer. For more, check out Toronto 2015’s Games Information Sessions webpage, and this Government of Ontario website.

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Live Art Festival – Underpass Park, Corktown – June 20, 2015

Live Art Festival will take place in Corktown on June 20, 2015 at Underpass Park, with mural painting, live art activities, live music, performances, food vendors and more. Check out the presentation from the May meeting for an overview.

Volunteers are needed! To learn more, email or phone 416-698-7995.



FIRED UP: Corktown’s Flame Shack will have an expanded menu and extended hours starting July 1 – just in time for the Pan Am Games. Read more in our Business Spotlight. Photo by Dennis Kucherawy.

FLAME SHACK: Flame Shack (506 Queen East) is in the spotlight this week with a feature story on our website by Dennis Kucherawy. Check it out to learn more about owner/operator Saber Chowdhury’s journey from Bangladesh to Toronto, and his plans to greatly expand his menu and hours this summer.

COCINA ECONOMICA: There is a ton of buzz about Cocina Economica, the new home-style Mexican restaurant just open at 141 Berkeley in Corktown. Check out reviews at both Toronto Life and BlogTO.

CORKTOWN KITCHEN: Further bolstering Corktown’s emerging food scene, CORKTOWN KITCHEN is now open at 354 King East, in the former Weezie’s space. Check ’em out ASAP!

CYCLING SURVEY: The City of Toronto wants your thoughts on building Toronto’s cycling network. You can fill out the survey here.

WATERFRONT TORONTO NEWSLETTER: The latest issue of Waterfront Toronto’s newsletter is now available. Check it out for a complete rundown of construction updates. Note too that Waterfront Toronto is looking for people to help out with the grand reopening of Queens Quay on June 19.

THE PEOPLE, UNITED: The Toronto Star had an interesting article last week about EAST UNITED, the new condo development planned for Parliament Street. The CRBA even gets a shout-out.

GWNA MEETING: The Gooderham & Worts Neighbourhood Association is set to meet on Monday, May 11 between 6:30 and 8:30 p.m., with presentations from the Transit Implementation Unit of Toronto’s City Planning Department, and 51 Division. The meeting will be held in the second floor amenity room at 80 Mill Street. The full details are on the GWNA website.

CORKTOWN CHAMBER ORCHESTRA: On Thursday, May 14, the Corktown Chamber Orchestra is set to perform at Little Trinity Church (425 King East). The concert will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are just ten bucks, with kids getting in for free. Check out the flyer for details.

BIG IDEAS: Alumnae Theatre Company’s NEW PLAY DEVELOPMENT group brings BIG IDEAS: A Festival of Staged Readings to the
Alumnae Theatre Studio this week. It all starts on Tuesday, May 12. You can check out the complete schedule of works online — admission is FREE!


  • Play on, MacBeth. Starting on Thursday, May 21, the Wolf Manor Theatre Collective is presenting their production of MACBETH at Alumnae Theatre.  It’s a bloody classic. You can buy tickets online.
  • The next meeting of the Corktown Residents & Business Association will be held on Tuesday, June 2. We’ll have more details posted soon.
  • Calling all connoisseurs – you’re invited to celebrate 25 years of the city’s premier culinary event, Toronto Taste presented by The Daniels Corporation. Savour scrumptious dishes from 50 top chefs, a startling array of beverages and breathtaking lakeside views. Best of all, you’ll enjoy the satisfaction of helping those in need by supporting Second Harvest’s food rescue program. The event will take place on Sunday, June 7 at Lakeside, Corus Quay. Details are online.
  • As announced at our public meeting last week, there will be a LIVE ART FESTIVAL held in Underpass Park on June 20 between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m. You won’t want to miss it. Some details are online, but we’ll have much more information posted in the weeks ahead.

Got a story about something going on in Corktown? Email


Just in Time for PanAm/Parapan Games
Owner/operator Saber Chowhdury celebrates his “Silver Maple” anniversary


SERVING CORKTOWN: “This is an exciting time for our neighbourhood,” says Saber Chowdhury, owner/operator of Flame Shack.

By Dennis Kucherawy

With Toronto’s PanAm/Parapan Games 60 days away, Flame Shack’s Saber Chowdhury doesn’t need a medal.  He’s a champion already.  This proud new Canadian is celebrating not only the games, but also 25 years of life here.

The year 2015 is his “Silver Maple” anniversary.

“I had $50 in my pocket when I arrived in 1990,” he said. “ Now, I have my own business, two houses and two beautiful children.”

As an immigrant from Bangladesh, the owner/operator of Flame Shack relates personally to the Games and how Toronto/Corktown is welcoming athletes and visitors from more than 40 nations.  “Canada for me is the land of opportunity,” he enthuses.  “I know they will discover that for themselves.  They will see how they can improve their lives in Canada.

“That’s what my family, my friends and I will be celebrating on Canada Day when we expand our hours, how grateful we are for the wonderful opportunity with which our great country continues to provide all of us.  I hope many people will join us not only on July 1st, but throughout the games.”

Located on Queen Street East, just a block west of River Street,   Flame Shack is renowned for its fresh, delicious food and is especially popular with people from local businesses and Corktown, Cabbagetown, Riverdale and Leslieville residents as well as visitors for its eat-in and takeout service.

As of Canada Day on July 1, it will be open daily from 7 a.m. until midnight.  “We’re located only about two blocks from the Athletes’ Village,” explained owner and operator Saber Chowdhury. “We know that late at night people will be looking for a place to eat and drink, gather and watch the game highlights on our new HDTV set.”

It’s new, expanded menu will include Breakfast dishes with additional sandwiches, bagels, steak and eggs and a Mexican Fiesta (Huevos Rancheros) made with sautéed onions, green peppers, fresh tomatoes and a hint of jalapeño on a  flour tortilla topped with two eggs.

Lunch and dinner entrées will include classic New York strip steak, lemon herb chicken, Cajun chicken breast, lamb chops, smoky beef ribs and grilled chicken kebob.

Appetizers will include chicken fingers and buffalo smoked wings, calamari and a Greek Mezes platter of thyme roasted red peppers, hummus, herb feta cheese, tzatziki, stuffed grape leaves, kalamata olives with pita bread of dipping.

Other highlights will include pasta and fajitas/sizzles, chicken avocado burger, triple decker clubs and taco dishes featuring a fish taco, comprised of wild caught atlantic cod chunks in a crunchy breading, served on a soft flour tortilla with jalapeño salsa and  cilantro lime sauce.  Seafood will include fillet of sole and grilled Atlantic salmon.

Chowdhury opened Flame Shack two years ago on June 18th, 2013.  Before that, he worked as a chef in Greek and Italian restaurants as well as in a steakhouse.  Flame Shack’s quickly became popular and successful because all the food it serves is fresh, not frozen.  He and his colleagues grind their own meat daily for the wide variety of burgers they serve.  The menu also includes vegetarian and low carb burgers.

Fresh chicken breasts are cooked to order and the fries – both regular and waffle – are fresh cut.  Salad, wraps and fish and chips are popular as are daily specials that vary from jerk and butter chicken to shish kebobs and Philly Cheese steaks.

“We want our guests to eat and feel like champions,” Chowdhury quips.

He is modernizing the décor in the spirit of the Games and will have an HDTV television so guests may watch the games and late night diners may catch up on the day’s sporting highlights.

Chowdhury says Flame Shack’s new menu will live on after the Games, reflecting  the growth and sophistication of the new Corktown and growing Canary District development. “This is an exciting time for our neighborhood.  Following the Games, many people, and students, will move into the condos that were the athletes’ accommodation.  The village will become condos.

“The Toronto Star called this development `a bold, new vision of Toronto,’ and we’re proud to be part of it.

“Our celebration is just beginning.”

About Flame Shack Restaurant:

It is located at 506 Queen St. E., Toronto, ON.

For reservations and takeout, please call (416) 603-3526.

Continue reading »



Please see the attached notice regarding TTC work to reinstate the streetcar overhead power lines between Sumach Street and the Queen Street bridge. Work will take place between May 5 and May 8, at night and during the day.

You can view a PDF version of the notice here.


Corktown Meeting Poster - May 2015-mon-update

Corktown news & events for the week of May 4, 2015

CRBA MEETING: Your Corktown Residents & Business Association is set to hold our monthly public meeting this Tuesday, May 5 from 7 to 9 p.m.

Note that some technical difficulties have meant we’ve changed the originally-planned location. Find us in the basement at Little Trinity Church (425 King street East).

On the agenda this month: a little thing called the Pan Am Games, the coming Corktown Live Art Festival taking place June 20 in Underpass Park, some great business introductions from Made in Canada and Sparkplug Coffee (providing free cups of joe!) and so much more.

Do not miss it!


MORE PAN AM GAMES INFO: For even more detail on the coming Pan Am and Parapan Am Games, the organizing committee will be holding two sessions on Wednesday, May 6 at the St. Lawrence Rec Centre (230 The Esplanade.) The business session will run from 3 to 5 p.m., with a session for residents running from 6 to 8 p.m.

FUTURE OF THE GARDINER EAST: Deputy Mayor Pam McConnell and the West Don Lands Committee are hosting a meeting on Monday, May 4 from 7 to 9 p.m. on The Future of the Gardiner East. Speakers Paul Bedford, Ken Greenberg and Michael Kirkland will provide an overview of the looming council decision and spark a community conversation. The meeting will take place at St. Lawrence Hall. (King East & Jarvis). Details are online.

THE RETURN OF THE KING CAR: Let’s not count our streetcars before they hatch, but we’ve received word that Infrastructure Ontario and the TTC are both on track to have the King East connection to the Queen Street bridge re-opened this Sunday, May 10 for both automobile and streetcar traffic. You can read the official notice here. Keep your fingers crossed.

KING ODIN: A hearty congratulations to Odin Cafe & Bar (514 King East), named one of the top 10 new cafes in Toronto by BlogTO. Odin has a bunch of events coming up that you should know about, including Games Night (the first Tuesday of every Month), a Mothers’ Day Brunch on Sunday, May 10 and a Patio Opening Party on Friday, May 15. Follow their website to keep informed!

WHITE ELEPHANT ROCKS: White Elephant Restaurant & Bar (366 Queen Street East) continues to bring great musical acts to Corktown. Don’t forget to check out their upcoming calendar of shows.

COCINA ECONOMICA IN CORKTOWN: After much anticipation, Cocina Economica has now opened at 141 Berkeley Street. It’s open from Wednesday to Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., serving food in the style of Mexican home cooking. You can learn more about the new restaurant here.

BIKE SHARE ON THE MOVE: We’ve received word from Bike Share Toronto that, due to upcoming roadwork, the bike station on Trinity Street has been moved to a temporary location in front of 51 Division near Front Street East & Parliament.

MOTHERS’ DAY AT FUSILLI: Longtime Corktown fave Fusilli Ristorante (531 Queen East) has a special on for Mothers’ Day this Sunday, May 10, with a special entree and a complimentary rose and dessert for the lady of the day. Click here for details.

CONTACT PHOTO FESTIVAL: The Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival has kicked off across the city, with a series of photography exhibitions running at locations across Toronto.

Some exhibitions in and around Corktown you might want to check out:


  • The Alumnae Theatre (70 Berkeley Street) presents Big Ideas, a week of staged readings of works-in-progress from the award-winning writers of the Alumnae’s New Play Development group. It runs from May 12 to 17, with 8 p.m. shows Tuesday through Saturday, and 2 p.m. shows on Saturday and Sunday. ADMISSION IS FREE!  Click here for details.
  • The world famous Corktown Chamber Orchestra next performs on Thursday, May 14 at 8 p.m. at Little Trinity Church. Tickets are just ten bucks at the door, with children getting in for free. Details here online.
  • Play on, MacBeth. Starting on Thursday, May 21, the Wolf Manor Theatre Collective is presenting their production of MACBETH at Alumnae Theatre.  It’s a bloody classic. You can buy tickets online.

Got a story about something happening in Corktown? Email


Corktown Meeting Poster - May 2015-mon-update

Join us! All residents and businesses welcome!

The Corktown Resiedents & Business Association will be holding our next monthly public meeting on Tuesday, May 5.

Corktown Public Meeting

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

7 to 9 p.m.

Little Trinity Church Basement – 425 King St. East

(Just east of Parliament) Please note the change in location from the original meeting notice.

On the agenda this month:

  • Pan Am Games info
  • business introductions from Made in Canada and Sparkplug Coffee (who will provide free coffee!)
  • updates on local development and community issues

See you there!



CHEERS TO THAT: A shot from the recent SOLD-OUT wine tasting and gourmet meal at Corktown fave Fusilli Ristorante. Read all about it here. Photo by Dennis Kucherawy

CORKTOWN WANTS A GROCERY STORE: We asked and you answered. A survey conducted by the CRBA last week revealed — by a huge margin — that Corktowners most want a grocery store or food retailer. You can read the full survey report here. We’ve forwarded the results to commercial leasing agents working in the area.

CHEER THE MARATHON: Friends of Corktown Common is once again hosting a marathon cheer station for the Goodlife Toronto Marathon. It’ll be held this Sunday, May 3 at the southwest corner of King & River. Things will get going around 8:30 a.m. and continue until all the runners pass by. There will be music — bring your signs, noisemakers and high-fives. There will be a lot of high-fives.

MARATHON ROAD CLOSURES: Of course, with marathons come road closures. The complete list of Sunday morning lane and street closures is available online. Of note to Corktowners:

  • Bayview Avenue will be closed both ways from Rosedale Valley Road to Lower River between 8 and 11 a.m.
  • King East will be closed westbound between River and Sumach between 8 and 11 a.m.
  • Sumach Street will be closed both ways between King East and Eastern Avenue between 8 and 10:30 a.m.
  • Eastern Avenue will be closed both ways between Sumach and Front between 8 and 10:30 a.m.
  • Front Street East will be closed both ways between Eastern and Wellington between 8 and 11:30 a.m.

If you park your car on any of the streets, be advised you’re likely to get a notice asking you to move before Saturday night.

WALK THIS WAY, TALKS THIS WAY: This weekend is the much-loved Jane’s Walk weekend in Toronto. There are dozens and dozens — maybe hundreds? — of great guided group walks scheduled all across the city on Saturday and Sunday. You can check out the map here.

Some local walks to consider:

PAINT SALE: Our friends at Dulux Paints (487 King East, at Sackville) have a BUY ONE GET ONE FREE promotion right now. Buy one gallon of Dulux or Glidden paint at regular price and get the second gallon free. It’s a great deal available until May 3. Check ’em out if you’ve got some spring painting to get done.

ACROSS THE BRIDGE: BlogTO has a good article profiling some of the recently-open retailers and restaurants in Leslieville and Riverside. Lots of cool new stuff worth visiting now that the weather is warmer.

WEST DON LANDS COMMITTEE: The West Don Lands Committee will host their monthly public meeting tonight — on Monday, April 27 — at 39 Parliament Street in the 11th floor amenity room. On the agenda this month: the Gardiner Expressway East EA, the Island Airport runway extension and the 2015 Pan Am Games. It runs from 7 to 9 p.m.

SOMETHING’S BREWING: On Tuesday, April 28, a special lecture is being held as part of the Annual General Meeting of the Enoch Turner Schoolhouse (106 Trinity Street). Join Jordan St. John, author of Lost Breweries of Toronto, as he places brewer and philanthropist Enoch Turner into the context of the emerging Toronto of the mid-19th century. Book sale and signing follows. It takes place starting at 6 p.m. The details are online.

BOOK CLUB: The St. Lawrence Library is hosting a TEA & BOOKS session on Wednesday, April 29 between 2 and 3 p.m, with special guest Caroline Ingvaldsen, who will discuss “Armchair Travel.” Details are online.

FREE YOGA: The Cherry Street YMCA presents its FINAL free yoga class this Wednesday, April 29 between 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. at the Canary District presentation centre. (398 Front Street East, at Cherry) Bring your own mat! The details are here.

GO PLANET: Councillor Pam McConnell hosts her annual Community Enviornment Day this Thursday, April 30 at Lower Sherbourne Park. Come down between 4 and 8 p.m. to pick up free compost,  exchange your damaged green bin for a new one, drop off unwanted items, unburden yourself of hazardous household waste and more. The details are online.

ALBUM RELEASE: An album release concert featuring Laila Biali & the Radiance Project is set for this Saturday, May 2 at Little Trinity Church (425 King East). This special homecoming album release will feature a large ensemble including guest vocalists, a string quartet, horns and an award-winning rhythm section. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available online.


  • The next monthly public meeting of the Corktown Residents & Business Association is set for Tuesday, May 5. This month, the meeting will be held at the Little Trinity Church Annex (403 King East) — that’s the newly-renovated historic storefront just east of King & Parliament. Find us in the second floor meeting space. We’ve got a great agenda lined up, including a presentation delivered by representatives from the Pan Am Games. It’ll run from 7 to 9 p.m.
  • Speaking of the Pan Am Games, there will be public information sessions for both businesses and residents on Wednesday, May 6 at the St. Lawrence Rec Centre. The Business session will run from 3 to 5 p.m., while the Residents session will go from 6 to 8 p.m. View the details here.
  • When was the last time you did something nice for your mom? Right that wrong by celebrating Mothers’ Day at Corktown’s Fusilli Ristorante on May 10 with a special menu. Click here for reservation details. Fusilli just recently had a SOLD-OUT wine tasting and gourmet meal — you can read all about it on our blog.

Got a story about something happening in Corktown? Email