Squibbs turns 95

Squibbs celebrated their 95th anniversary this week and got a nice piece on CityNews.

“I know this was the path I was put on, to be in retail and I think more to carry on the legacy of the Squibb’s.”

Weinberg-Linsky has never forgotten the goal of the family business – to be 100 per cent Canadian and independent. Despite the reconstruction plan taking over her block, she plans to keep Squibb’s alive for its 100th birthday.

“There is a proposed redevelopment of the stretch that I’m on and we refused to sell until we realized that we were the last ones,” she said. “We had made the decision that we will keep it going until 100 and then we’ll close.”

Olympic Variety is closing

My heart is broken. My dear Olympic Variety, at the intersection of King and Elm—and just across from my house—will be closing on March 31.

I can’t tell you how much joy May, Steven, and Pa have brought to me and my family. They sold us pounds of candy, barrels of Fresca, and yards of freezies—and they saved many, many dinners.

My kids grew up with that little store. They learned to cross the street safely to go buy treats. They bought their friends way too much candy, and they sat happily for hours on the front porch gabbing and eating it.

Olympic Variety was a part of our family. May, Steven, and Pa, we’re very grateful.

Article in The Star on YIMBYs in Mount Dennis

The Toronto Star has a long article on the Picture Mount Dennis Planning Framework and the changes coming to Mount Dennis.

The lack of investment in Mount Dennis is readily apparent. Many businesses near the former plant are struggling or have closed, as you can see when you drive south on Weston Road, a major street in Mount Dennis that has a number of boarded-up shops.

But a comprehensive new 223-page “Picture Mount Dennis Planning Framework” based on input from local residents, business owners, local non-profits and community groups, aims to change that narrative, as Mount Dennis is about to turn into one of the most transit-connected parts of the city.

Overall, the framework document calls for more development and density for the Mount Dennis community. Residents and businesses in the area say they’re open to that and hope to parlay it into local investment and community benefits that other parts of Toronto enjoy.

El Catracho: really good!

The family and I got takeout from El Catracho on Jane this week. It was very good, and I’m sorry that I hadn’t been earlier. They serve Latin American food from a Honduran foundation.

We ordered enchiladas, Mexican-style tacos, nachos, and tacos flauta (fried tacos). I’d happily do the same again; each mains came with three servings, and we passed them around (except to my wife, who is a vegetarian).

I think the tacos flauta were best. They were filled with chicken, and the shell was golden and crunchy. They were topped with cabbage, sauce, and cheese, and looked as good as they tasted.

Tacos flauta

I didn’t get to try the enchiladas, but my son, who knows a thing or two about eating (not food, eating) said they were “very good” and had “lots of flavour”. The nachos, he said, were “excellent”. I agree. The thinly-sliced peppers were beautiful, too.


My parents’ carne asada tacos were also good. They are, however, served in the Mexican style—which shouldn’t have been a surprise, since they are called “Tacos Mexicanos”. I didn’t know, though, that Tex-Mex tacos have sour cream and shredded cheese, while true Mexican tacos do not.

Tacos Mexcianos—w. sour cream from the fridge

If you’d survived my cooking, you’d know I’m in no position to give suggestions. Still, I would love to see some vegetarian (or even vegan?) options on the menu. The chef was extremely accommodating when I asked if they could make something for my vegetarian wife. She got very nice looking meatless enchiladas with beans in place of the beef. Still, I felt a little awkward ordering off the menu.

Vegetarian enchiladas

El Catracho is at 1808 Jane, just south of Queens Drive. The restaurant is small and bright, and the staff couldn’t have been better. Dinner was about $20 a person, and well worth it. They don’t have a liquor license.

Golden Crisp Fish and Chips closed permanently

A Mount Dennis fixture has closed permanently. The Vandekemp family says that Golden Crisp Fish and Chips—which had been in business for 60 years— will close after the sudden death of Harry Vandekemp, in November.

Their website says,

Harry worked so hard to provide for his family and to make sure you all were welcomed with a warm smile. The love you all have shared for Harry has not gone unseen. You have all been a part of Harry’s legacy and have been faithful costumers right ’til the end, even through this pandemic! Yes, Harry loved his work but more over he loved his people. You. You were his people. We know that we, his family, are not the only ones feeling this loss. 

Nunziata: be nice and clear your ice.

Yesterday, Councillor Nunziata issued an email reminding people and businesses about snow removal and being good neighbours. At the end, she gave the word to businesses:

Finally, business owners must clear the adjacent sidewalk of snow or ice within 12 hours of the end of a snowfall, as per the Snow and Ice Clearing Bylaw. The fine for not clearing snow from public property can be up to $135.

Frances Nunziata

Read the councillor’s email here.

Walking around Weston today, it seems obvious that some major corporations, for example, Bell have failed in their duty to clear their sidewalks.

Looking along Belleview Avenue towards Weston Road on January 21. The sidewalk is buried under a huge mound of snow removed from their parking lot.

No doubt a fine of $135 is very small potatoes for the mighty Bell corporation but forcing pedestrians to walk in traffic is very bad for public relations. They might want to uncover their missing sidewalk along Hickory Tree Road too.

Bell’s sidewalk in balmier times. Google.
Bell’s sidewalk on January 21st.