Bellwoods Beer Bottles Now Accepted for Returns at beer stores

logobellwoodsThere was a bit of controversy in Trinity Bellwoods Park after the long weekend. So the story went, hipsters left their trash behind, the Bellwoods Beer bottles were everywhere, and who gets stuck with the clean-up? This led to some trash talking on the Friends of Trinity Bellwoods Park social, with people piling on Bellwoods for not taking deposits on their bottles.

As they say, it’s a long story – it’s never simple, is it? To summarize very briefly, Bellwoods Brewery beers are not available at LCBOs, so they are not automatically accepted for returns at The Beer Store. Yes, we live in Ontario where anything to do with alcohol is still controlled by those two monopolies. Since Bellwoods is quite a small facility, they cannot start a recycling program in their space.

We ran into Mike from Bellwoods on Ossington on Tuesday evening and discussed the situation with him. His plan was to try again to convince The Beer Store to start taking returns. Maybe because they can use some good press, it seems to have worked. Read the update on Bellwoods’ website, just added this afternoon. The gist of it is they’ll be taking a 10 cent deposit, and you can return your beers at the Beer Store like all the other beers you buy.

If you’re curious about the initial complaints, and want to read the whole thread, or learn more about what the Friends of Trinity Bellwoods Park are doing, click here.

Final note,  many of the bottles returned to The Beer Store are not being re-used, they are basically going to the same recycling centres as our blue bin plastics and cans. So while it’s fun to point fingers at a company for not doing things exactly the way you want them to, remember there are nuances to these stories, and let’s remember that individuals, not the brewery, left their beer in the park. So, next time you enjoy a picnic in the park, bring your trash out with you or throw it in a receptacle. Be a friend of the parks!

And the winners in our area were….

As I’m sure most of you know already, John Tory has won the position of Mayor of Toronto. Locals in our area also voted for city councilor and Toronto District School Board (Ward 10) and Toronto Catholic District School Board (Ward 9).

The local winners were:

For City Councillor, Mike Layton won with an overwhelming 83.6% of the votes.


Mike Layton 21014 83.664%
Scott Bowman 2490 9.914%
Albina Burello 964 3.838%
George Sawision 649 2.584%

For Ward 10 in the Toronto District School Board, Mike Layton’s pick, Ausma Malik, made it with just over 40%:


Ausma Malik 16197 40.016%
Colleen Kennedy 7454 18.416%
Kenneth Chan 4399 10.868%
Michael Sims 3813 9.42%
Sabrina Zuniga 3499 8.645%
Tony Aires 2178 5.381%
Ybia Anderson 1302 3.217%
Richard Klagsbrun 1099 2.715%
Hans Bathija 535 1.322%km

Finally in the Catholic School board race Jo-ann Davis, the incumbent, took that race:


Jo-Ann Davis 8505 60.607%
David Shaw 3654 26.039%
Manuel Ching 1874 13.354%

We look forward to having these candidates represent us in the neighbourhood and help build a city for everyone.

Toronto City Election: Our Ward

oct27vote2014Toronto has a pretty important election coming up, and the decisions we make this month affect us for 4 years – at least. October 27th is the official election day for mayor, city councillor and school board trustee positions. We’ve got information on the election, including where and when to vote, who is running in our Ward, and even some details on rewards for voters.

If you already know who you want to vote for, just go out and vote already. Advance voting started today through Sunday, October 19. You can vote from 10a-7p each of these days at Trinity Community Recreation Centre.

Toronto has a great new site with all the information on the candidates for each position. All you have to do is type in your address and the reference is all there. The only problem is there are about 100 candidates listed for mayor alone! Since we’re confident you’ve seen enough coverage of the mayoral election, we’ll focus on the Ward 19 City Council and Ward 10 School board elections.


This election we have four candidates running for Ward 19 City Council. Take some time and click through, read their platforms and learn about what they bring to represent the ward.


Scott Bowman comes to the race supported by provincial MPP Han Dong, the liberal representative for Trinity Spadina. Follow his twitter acccount here and his Facebook here. He is not the most googled Scotty Bowman, the ex-NHL coach. This Scott Bowman has an entrepreneurial background, and has been involved as a community activist, working for people with disabilities and youth.

Albina Burello has a set of well-outlined positions on everything from transit to animal rights to diversity and community centres. You can keep up with her on twitter here (although you’ll need to ask to get her to open up her blocked account). Albina’s background is in the private sector – working for financial services and training companies.


Mike Layton is the incumbent candidate in the ward and has been active in the area since the last election. He’s on twitter here and his Facebook election page is here. Many of you who have lived in the ward have seen Mike at community events and meetings and riding his bike around the area.

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George Sawision has been on the ballot here in Ward 19 before and he’s running for a 3rd time this year. He’s well known for his colourful and opinionated tweets. Sawision, a master electrician, placed second his first campaign in 2006 with 1,710 votes, but underperformed in the 2010 election with only 356 votes.

Read up and make your decision based on what works for you in our ward.


Ward 10’s representative, Chris Bolton, the former chair of the TDSBresigned earlier this year amidst corruption scandals.  As a result, there is no incumbent in Ward 10, so please pay attention to who you vote for in this election. The school board is still embroiled in scandal, so here’s our chance to influence it for the good with an honest representative.

There’s quite a few candidates running for Ward 10 TDSB so their names and sites are linked below (if they have them). We encourage you to read up on all their platforms, and don’t just trust the signs. Mike Layton supported Bolton last time and look what happened there.


Is doing your civic duty and having your voice heard not enough incentive? There are some people who guessed that, and they are offering free beers for voting. As far as we can tell, there are at least 2 different promotions going on around voting and beer.

Happy Voting Hour: A few Toronto bars, including Rock Lobster on Ossington, are offering early discounts on beer and apps to celebrate the election. Rock Lobster is offering the specials tomorrow, Wednesday, October 15 from 6-8pm. Another local spot, The Dog and Bear, hosts on Thursday from 6-8pm. Use the code “I VOTED” to get your special discount

Vote for a Party:  Targeting only voters in Ward 19 (lucky us!), this campaign encourages all voters on October 27 to look for volunteers who will give them a ticket to one of 3 parties at bars in our Ward: Opera Bob’s, The Caledonian, and Brazen Head. This ticket will get you a free Beau’s beer, only available on Election Day.

Get out to Vote – Trinity Spadina Federal By-election – June 30

The next in the series of elections for our neighbourhood, the Trinity-Spadina By-Election, takes place June 30th. If you didn’t vote early, head out on Monday and have your say.

The federal Trinity Spadina seat is being contested to fill the empty seat left by Olivia Chow, who resigned to run for Mayor of Toronto in the Oct 27th election. With no incumbent to vote for, this opens up a new set of candidates to run in this riding.

There have already been controversies in this election, ranging from sign stealing and party infighting. There was also a local debate which aired on Rogers TV;  unfortunately, unless you are a Rogers customer, you’re not privileged enough to  watch or listen to this debate.

There are six candidates running to be the Trinity Spadina MP and we encourage you to read up on all of them and pick the one you feels represents you and this neighbourhood. Below is a list of the candidates and links to their websites where available.

Joe Cressy is running as the New Democrat candidate. He is in the incumbency party and has strong ties to the neighbourhood. He comes from a political family, and is close friends with city councillor Mike Layton. His website is here.

Adam Vaughan is running for the Liberal Party of Canada. Adam was a city councilor in Ward 20, an area that covers downtown Toronto. Meet Adam on his page here.

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Running for the Green Party, which seems to be running a strong campaign in the riding, is Camille Labchuk.

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The Conservative Party is running Benjamin Sharma


Also in the running are Linda Groce-Gibbons from the Christian Heritage Party of Canada, a party with a singular pro-life focus; and the rather interesting John “The Engineer”  Turmel, whose own website isn’t working, but who does have a fairly complete Wikipedia page.

Get out and vote on Monday, June 30.

Get out to Vote! Provincial Trinity Spadina – June 12

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 3.43.48 PMThere are a whole lot of elections coming up – first Provincial, then a Federal by-election to replace mayoral candidate Olivia Chow, and then in October, municipal elections.

The first one is upon us soon. June 12th is the day we head to the polls to elect a Provincial member of parliament for our Trinity Spadina neighbourhood, and that helps determine our provincial leader – the race between Tim Hudak for the PCs, Kathleen Wynne for the Liberals and Andrea Horwath for the NDP.

In our region we have a few competitors for this provincial election, some with a chance of winning, some less so. We encourage you to click through to each of their websites (if they have them) and read up on your local candidate. We also asked each of the candidates how, if elected, it would affect the Ossington area, and we’ve posted the responses we’ve received below. We will post more if they come in.

Here’s our quick outline of who’s running.

Our incumbent is Rosario Marchese from the NDP, who has led this riding for 15 years since winning the new district created in 1999.

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“Obviously, people in Ossington share the same concerns about health care, education and transit as other Torontonians, but the issue of development is particularly relevant to Ossington. Last year I introduced Bill 20 to free Toronto from the OMB, and I am the only candidate in Trinity-Spadina who has made OMB reform a top priority. My other priorities include stronger protections for condo owners and tenants, defending the waterfront from jets, funding for cycling infrastructure, and immediate funding for the Downtown Relief Line and Clean Trains to the airport.” – Rosario Marchese


If street signs in our area are any indication, the biggest competition to Mr Marchese will be the Liberal candidate, Han Dong.

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Given this region’s left leaning tendencies as a downtown urban district, Green Party candidate Tim Grant may have a chance of gaining share of the vote.

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The provincial PCs are running candidate Roberta Scott.

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Libertarian Andrew Echeverria, is also making a play in this riding.

Andrew - Libertarian

“I love the cultural diversity Ossington Village offers, it’s one of my favourite parts of the city. If elected, I would cut the red tape to starting and running a business, so that Ossington Village can continue blooming as a centre for small business and entrepreneurship.” – Andrew Echeverria

Other candidates include Vegan Environmental (there’s a party called that?) Paul Figueiras, Party for People with Special Needs, Dan King, who ran last election as a Green Party Candidate.

Get out to vote June 12th. Check the Elections Ontario website to check if you’re on the list and for where to vote.


Where to Watch Sunday’s Gold Medal Men’s Hockey Game

team-canada-hockeyWant to cheer on Team Canada in public tomorrow? While some of us may barely get out of bed to catch the gold medal game, thanks to Councillor Mike Layton, bars will be open early and serving drinks. So, the question is, which local bars will be open for you to watch the game with other fans?

Opera Bob’s, at 1112 Dundas West, frequently opens early for Man City football games, so they have no problem opening this Sunday in time for the 7am puck drop. This friendly bar has several small TVs behind the bar, and they’ll pull out the big screen for events like this.

New sports bar The Dock Ellis will open their doors at 1280 Dundas Street West at 6am, so you can get your prime seat and a pint of Ontario craft brew, and be all set for the first period.

Know any other local spots showing the game? Share with us in the comments or via twitter.

Go Canada!

Changes at Humbert St – Mamakas to arrive soon

The corner of Humbert and Ossington has been going through some changes recently. The two locations on the north and south side of the intersection are about to change – the south side into a Greek restaurant, and on the north corner we’re still awaiting word on what the new owners want to do.

The south side of the intersection is 80 Ossington, the former location of Ministry of the Interior, a high end design shop that was here until a couple of years ago. The space has been empty for quite some time and until a few weeks ago the sides were boarded up. It has emerged with a grey stucco front and glass doors, and a series of new windows on the north side of the building. It’s starting to have the appearance of a restaurant.

We learned recently that it’s still going to be called Mamakas, but instead of being a bakery, as the signage from April 2012 suggested, it’s going to be focussing on authentic Greek cuisine, with smaller dishes using real Greek ingredients. The windows were installed to allow for a bright airy space, which will be good when they eventually open for lunch. IMG_20140120_154623

On the north corner, as BlogTO and Toronto Life last week reported,  the Levack Block building was sold to new owners. The building sold for almost $3M after being on the market for a while. Levack Block was one of the founding ‘hip’ spots on Ossington, catering to young partiers who crowded the back room regularly and quite likely led to the restaurant moratorium in 2009 due to noise complaints and other issues. The building does not have official historic designation, but any changes will certainly be examined by the Toronto Historical Preservation services as it is one of the oldest buildings on the strip. The building features a beautiful upstairs party space which hosted numerous corporate parties and weddings. Although we don’t know what’s going in there at this point, we’ll let you know when we hear news.




Get Your Rob Ford Merchandise at Crywolf

Rob Ford is a popular topic of late night news shows and Korean cartoon video makers. Do you want a memento of these crazy days, or a gift for a non-local friend? Crywolf Clothing, at 91 Ossington, has the “You Crack Me Up” line of merchandise, and they are getting attention for it both near and far. When we stopped in this afternoon, a Japanese broadcaster was interviewing designer Chris Aslandis about his popular line of buttons, magnets and t-shirts.



Councillor Layton Solicits Community Feedback

Councillor Mike Layton is looking for community input through a neighbourhood survey he has created and posted on his website.

The purpose of the survey is to get people’s opinions on future development on Ossington Avenue between Dundas and Queen. There are a number of potential sites that could be developed, and Councillor Layton is interested in what residents want for this stretch of Ossington.

It’s your neighbourhood so you likely have an opinion on what happens in it. Click here to fill out the survey. We’ll see what happens.

Hawker Bar is looking for community input and support on their back patio

cropped-name-on-windowIn January this year our local Singapore streetfood joint, Hawker Bar, sent the below note to locals in the area asking for their input and support for a small back patio they are looking to open this summer. The permit process for patios in Toronto can be long and challenging, and the support of local residents is key to ensuring everything runs smoothly and quickly. They have asked us to share the letter as they want to ensure an open and honest dialogue with all the neighbours so if there are concerns they can address them quickly and directly rather than at a hearing room.

They are looking to build a small 23-seat garden patio featuring extensive use of foliage as both decor and sound- reducing devices. Access to the patio will be through a basement traverse through the restaurant, not from Foxley or through the kitchen. There will be no speakers or music present on the garden patio. They intend to build a cover on top of the patio to reduce the noise and close the garden patio at 11pm sharp.

They have asked anyone who has concerns or even wants to help support them to get in touch through their email,, or by calling 647 343 4698.

We are excited by the project and look forward to some nice dinners out under the summer starlight with their Singapore Chicken Wings and Hawker Laska Lamak. Plus, in the summer, everyone will enjoy another outdoor dining option to complement Foxley and Union.

Read through their note posted below and give them a call or a note and let them know what you think.

Hawker Bar – Project Patio Letter to Neighbors