Eye on Business

Residents who shop in East Danforth are joining a contest to uncover the neighbourhood’s hidden gems.

Until May 7, residents are invited to nominate an East Danforth business they think more people should know. The winner will get a free marketing package that includes professional staging, photography, and web design.

More than 80 businesses have been nominated so far, says Anita Schretien, a member of the organizing Danforth East Community Association. All the shops and services have storefronts on or near Danforth Avenue, from Monarch Park Avenue to Main Street.

“It’s great to see people so enthusiastic,” said Schretien.

Whether for lack of signage, or plain force of habit, Schretien said there are lots of amazing shops in East Danforth that go unnoticed by locals, herself included.

“And I’m a pretty diehard shop-local person,” she added.

On May 14, Schretien will join six other judges on a tour of the top four nominees, which residents are telling DECA about using the #DECAgems hashtag on Twitter and Facebook, and by sending emails to DECAgems@gmail.com.

Also on the judging panel are CBC music commentator Errol Nazareth, local restaurateur and world-champion oyster shucker Patrick McMurray, Spacing magazine founder Matthew Blackett, and Ray Coburn, keyboardist with the Kim Mitchell band, as well as another DECA member and the chair of the Danforth Mosaic BIA, Billy Dertilis.

After the judges’ walkabout, residents are invited to a 7 p.m. awards ceremony with light refreshments and a cash bar at Hirut restaurant on Danforth Avenue just west of Woodbine Avenue.

Polina Privis, left, and Tracey Kornblum stand at the counter of The Kingston Social, a new community hub they started in late April to host food markets, dinners, art, workshops, yoga, and pop-up shops on Kingston Road just west of Warden Avenue. It even has a kitchen sink. PHOTO: Andrew Hudson
Polina Privis, left, and Tanya Dercach stand at the counter of The Kingston Social, a new community hub they started in late April to host food markets, dinners, art, workshops, yoga, and pop-up shops on Kingston Road just west of Warden Avenue. It even has a kitchen sink.
PHOTO: Andrew Hudson

Birch Cliff is getting social.

Tucked along a busy stretch of Kingston Road east of Warden, the neighbourhood has its charms – a string of antique shops, Jatujak’s street-style Thai food, the ever-popular Busters by the Bluffs, open mic night at the new Café Chez Helene.

But after moving to Birch Cliff from the Beach three years ago, Polina Privis found the neighbourhood had too much of a good thing: quiet.

With so few shops and restaurants, Privis said residents had few places to meet, and the area’s new sidewalks are often empty.

This May, Privis and her wife Tracey Kornblum are looking to change that by opening The Kingston Social.

A food market, yoga studio, art gallery, and local dinner spot, Privis said the Social aims to be everything Birch Cliff needs to get out more.

“It’s a community hub,” said Privis. “Just a place to meet up with some neighbours, and to have a chef cook them a meal without having to go to the west end.”

As locals shopped for small-flock eggs, fresh produce, and home-made pickles at the Social’s Monday afternoon food market, Privis said the newly renovated space could also host weekend pop-up shops.

It’s a mix, but everything Privis and Kornblum have planned for The Social ties into a bigger question that was also the title of a recent Jane’s Walk, “What could Birch Cliff be?”

To find out what’s next for The Kingston Social, visit www.thekingstonsocial.com.

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