Finding free food

Website tells students where to get free food on campus

Doughnuts are great; they’re even better when they’re free. Finding free food around campus is easier than you may think thanks to (NMFF). Clubs and organizations love promoting their events by giving out free food, and NMFF provides daily tips on where to find free food on or near campus. It usually announces two or three locations where students can get their free food fix.

NMFF was established by Johns Hopkins alumnus Will Shepherdson in December of 2011. NMFF initially operated exclusively at Johns Hopkins but has since expanded to U of T.

“Nothing revolutionary here,” stated one of NMFF’s main organizers, who did not wish to disclose their name. “Quite a number of people have thought about the ‘free food information’ aggregation concept. This is not surprising. We know that college kids love to party, sleep in, and score free food.”

When asked about possible expansion of the program to other universities, they replied, “Right now, we’d love to keep the underground nature of NMFF by staying small and serving our subscriber base at these two universities. However, some students from other universities have expressed interest in having an NMFF page for their school. We’re tallying these requests and it will inform our decision when we start thinking of expansion.”

One website that influenced NMFF is Food-Bot. Food-Bot was founded by Carnegie Mellon computer science alumnus Greg Woloschyn in early 2010. By creating an algorithm which searched for keywords such as “food” and “pizza,” he was able to program an app which notified students of current events giving away free food. It also rates them in terms of food quality and awkwardness.

Food-Bot has since been introduced to 19 other universities, U of T is not among them.

An unfortunate bug in Food-Bot’s algorithm once caused mayhem when an email stated; “Pet a baby chinchilla feed a hamster its favorite food and catch a fish with a big green net,” and Food-Bot mistook this as an invitation for free food, because of the keywords food and fish.

Student groups often give away free food to promote an event. On Wednesday October 30, the Polish Students Association (PSA) distributed jelly donuts and hot chocolate on the UTSU front lawn. The PSA’s November 23  wine and cheese dance party has been promoted on the website. “I have heard about it, but I had no idea we were on the page,” said Charles Robert, a member of PSA.

Get Crafty — held every Thursday at Hart House from 11:oo am to 1:oo pm in the Reading Room — provides a space for everyone to catch up as well as have some cookies and tea. “I think it’s great that they are giving students this opportunity,” said Sarah, a Get Crafty organizer who had also heard about NMFF. “If they come for tea and cookies and meet people, that would be cool.”

Chess pieces and paper cranes

REBECCA OSTROFF explores some samples from U of T’s plethora of clubs

Chess pieces and paper cranes

During the clamor of Clubs Fair, it’s difficult to focus on any one group, as an endless mass of enthusiastic faces throw flyers, free pens, and sign-up sheets into your arms. Navigating the Ulife directory of clubs online is a similar undertaking, presenting an overwhelming variety of groups to explore. The Aquarium Club meets to “discuss the hobby of fish keeping.” The Yo-Yo Club gathers monthly to hone its members’ skills, while the Writers of Controversial Philosophy debate and discuss at the Mississauga campus. “We ParTea” meets to drink and discuss tea, aiming to spread awareness of tea around campus. Although confusing to navigate, U of T’s variety of clubs is an excess of riches that satisfy every niche of our diverse student body — and when they don’t, there are ample ways to start one up to fill the gap.

Everyone has quirky passions and interests, and while those may seem to set people apart from one another, the diversity of the U of T student population allows for the growth of niche communities with similar interests through clubs. In spite of their great variation, U of T’s clubs collectively bring students together and create small, warm collectives within the university.

Hart House Chess Club

ChessThe Hart House Chess Club was established in 1895, beginning as a small but skilled group of mostly male chess players. This year, however, the majority of executive members are women — an especially significant feat considering that, prior to the year 2000, there were no women in any  Hart House chess tournaments. President Sanja Vukosavljevic notes that the club is now decidedly inclusive, although they are often quite boisterous — constantly laughing and trash-talking one another. She adds that: “there are more chess variations than atoms in the earth,” giving players plenty of reasons to criticize and analyze one another throughout the game. This also means that there is always a lot left to learn for beginners and experts alike.



The club meets from 4:00–11:00 pm on Friday nights — a slot reserved for partying for many students. Nonetheless, Vukosavljevic contends without hesitation: “Honestly, I have more fun at the chess club. It’s the best part of my week.”


U of T Naginata Club (UTNC)


Before joining the club, president Tomas Almonte had a negative impression of the practice because of how useless Naginata swords were designed to be in his favourite video games. Before I met Almonte, I had absolutely no idea what a Naginata sword was. Both of these forms of ignorance about Naginata are quite common, Almonte explains. Many of the club’s members had never tried the martial art prior to joining, he among them: “I had my Star Wars phase, but never actually used a sword until I joined Naginata.” He was compelled to continue attending practices by the emphasis on teamwork.


Naginata consists of “choreographed encounters,” making it a discipline that is only possible to practice with others. As a result of the necessity of teamwork, members of the club are very social with one another. The club hosts events outside of practice, like karaoke nights, to confront the pleasant problem of too much chatting among friends that has become disruptive in practices.


Fly with Origami, Learn to Dream (FOLD)

OrigamiThe FOLD office at 21 Sussex is whimsically decorated with an abundance of paper ornaments. Colourful cranes, flowers, and Angry Birds origami projects fill the room, while even more spill out of full storage boxes on the floor. “We’ve been raffling these off regularly, and we still need more space in here,” comments FOLD president Qingda Hu. In addition to these lotteries, the club also donates a lot of their projects to hospitals in the area. Off-campus volunteer projects have always been a facet of FOLD, which has also participated in teaching origami at Sick Kids and Relay For Life.


In addition to the joy that comes with a finished origami product, the act of learning to fold is relaxing and enjoyable, with an emphasis on thinking geometrically and following instructions closely. Teaching others how to fold origami requires a measure of skill, but proves very rewarding for the club’s students.


African Cuisine Club (The Afriks)


When Sandrine Uwimana and Taiwo Idris came to U of T from Rwanda and Nigeria, respectively, they had the idea to publish an African Cuisine cookbook. They started writing down recipes and established an on-campus club dedicated to planning, shopping, and cooking their favourite dishes in 2011. The two take turns teaching different western and eastern styles of cooking, and sessions are often thematically focused on one African country. Sandrine notes that the club’s most treasured dishes are its plantains, soft but crunchy sweet potato cookies, and spicy vegetarian stews. The group now aims to get fresh, healthy dishes into the campus dining halls at affordable prices.

Uwimana and Idris are particular about their idea of “fresh”— refusing to cook with ingredients that haven’t been purchased that same day. The two refuse to discuss the difference between plantains and bananas, insisting that it must be experienced rather than described.


Astronomy and Space Exploration Society (ASX)

StarsYou don’t need to know a lot about astronomy and space exploration to join ASX, nor should you expect to spend meetings lying in the grass and staring at the sky. Although, says new member Zack Zajac with a smile, “I do that anyways, multiple times a day.” Ammar Javed, the president of ASX, envisions making the potentially intimidating subject of astronomy accessible to students of all backgrounds, noting that astronoomy is essentially, “…the study of everything.”


Starry-eyed students learn about life beyond Earth, the environment on Mars, and contact with outer space. These quite romantic practices inspire some high-quality pick-up lines, as Javed adds that there is nothing that sweeps someone off their feet like learning astronomy under the stars.


U of T Beekeeping Education Enthusiast Society (BEES)

BeeCute is not the adjective most students would associate with bees, but Theresa Reichlin, secretary of BEES, gushes: “I love bees! They’re just so cute.” The term “enthusiast” is used quite literally in the title of U of T’s beekeeping club, which is made up of students who are truly passionate about bees. Pointing out that bees, unlike wasps, are not dangerous, Reichlin hands me a full-on protective suit and instructed me to climb onto the roof of Trinity College to observe the group’s beloved bees. Ironically, many of the club’s executive members have suffered childhood traumas involving bee stings. Being a part of the club has not only helped members to get over their fears, but has made them appreciate the measures that bees take to protect their hives.


Reichlin described the importance of bees to our planet, a timely warning given the current threats to the bee species. Apart from being an educational experience, being a beekeeper at U of T can also be both sweet and therapeutic. Reichlin notes: “The pure honey we extract is so healthy… I even use it to heal my skin burns”.


U of T Culinary Arts Club


Shari Li, co-president of the Culinary Arts Club, says that in her club, “We make everything from scratch.” Members of the Culinary Arts Club have varying levels of cooking skill. Both students who don’t know how to cook and those with a passion for culinary arts are welcome to attend events, where different culinary skills are taught. Both a social and educational experience, these often include multiple course meals, testing out recipes, and enjoying the experience and the food together. The club focuses both on the art of food presentation and on various advanced culinary methods. A particularly special event, as Li describes, was the club’s venture to make, “rum baba, a French pastry with real rum.”

Annual beer festival celebrates the art of cask ale

Cask Days invites visitors to sample specialty beers at weekend long event

Annual beer festival celebrates the art of cask ale

The Don Valley Brick Works was once at the center of Toronto’s industrial boom. Bricks formed at the quarry were used to build Casa Loma, Osgoode Hall, and many other Toronto landmarks of the era. Unfortunately, over time, alternative building materials replaced bricks, and the Brick Works fell on hard times. The city’s industry and development had moved on, leaving the space vacant and dilapidated. In 1997, Evergreen — a Canadian non-profit organization focused on restoring nature in urban spaces — moved in, and has transformed the grounds. The historic Toronto institution got a facelift and is now home to a buzzing cultural center focused on the environment. The pockmarked and graffiti-covered walls of the original structure have been preserved, giving the venue a gritty street vibe while also sticking true to the grounds’ long history.

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This past weekend, the Brick Works played host to the ninth annual Cask Days Festival, a two day event designed with beer connoisseurs in mind. For the price of $25, one is invited to come and sample from the festival’s selection of 200 plus specialty cask beers, tour the massive urban-inspired building, and be entertained by DJs and breakdancing.

According to the festival’s organizers, the family behind Toronto’s Barvolo, cask beers differ from your everyday run-of-the-mill draughts in several key area. Before the advents of refrigeration and co2 pressurization, beer had to be fermented and preserved in casks. Cask beers are typically ales, bitter, and stout beverages which are low in carbonation and — as opposed to the draught beers we all know and love — are poured without external gas. Once the beer makes it through the brewing process to the cask itself, it continues to ferment until it is served. A vent is opened in the top of the cask to release any internal pressure and special additives called “finings” are added to make the yeast in the beer sinks to the bottom. Cask beers are famous for their more complex, artisanal flavours which run the gamut from dark, creamy stouts to softer, fruitier beers and hoppy pale ales.


On entering the 27,000 square foot pavilion, visitors to the festival are handed an informational booklet and a mason jar — invaluable tools for the trial that is about to begin. The air is full of the sweet smells of roasting meat and the dulcet tones of artists ranging from Kendrick Lamar to Rush. There is a constant stream of music coming from the DJ booth standing in the middle of the roiling crowd.

It is hard to know where to start when you walk into a room chock full of beer casks with names like, “Quantock Wills Neck,” “Central City Red Racer Berry Colada,” and “Deepcove Loud Mouth.” The selection of beers is broken up across multiple tables by region. The United Kingdom made a strong showing, but Ontario, Manitoba, Quebec, the Maritime provinces, Alberta, and British Columbia were all represented. Here are some of our favorites, and some we just couldn’t go without mentioning:


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Whistler Imperial Espresso Black Tusk Ale (Dark Mild) — British Columbia

Coffee and alcohol — a match made in heaven. This dark brew stays true to its mysterious name and will not disappoint anyone looking for a compromise between a darker, fuller beer and your morning shot of espresso.


Grand River Brewing Beetifide Bohemian Beet Beer — Ontario

This is vegetable beer, plain and simple. It is defined by the earthy sweetness of the dark red root plant from which it originates. This disturbingly pink libation would probably be best matched with the rest of a holiday meal, or whenever you get a hankering for beets.


Brasserie Artisanale La Souche Parkeville American Pale Ale — Quebec

A great fall beer! This Quebecois concoction has a nice balance of malt and hoppiness that makes for a delicious, albeit bitter, experience. It has a depth and complexity of flavour that makes it perfect for a relaxing conversation with friends.


Storm Brewing Co. Black Forest Cake Stout –— British Columbia

Another west coast beer worthy of your consideration. This is a dark, smooth beverage with hints of chocolate and sweet cherry. While quite tasty and definitely worth a try, this brew is a dessert and should probably remain an indulgence.

Living Arts: Cooking with 2 Chainz

“My stove deserve a shout-out, I’m like: “What up, stove?”

Living Arts: Cooking with 2 Chainz

“I smoked a blunt for dinner, another blunt for breakfast,” boasts Taulheed Epps, a hip-hop artist better known as 2 Chainz on his new album, B.O.A.T.S. II #METIME. While 2 Chainz implies that this breakfast is a satisfactory meal for him, it’s clear that he is too much of a foodie not to pair his blunts with some high quality seafood.



The album is accompanied by a cookbook entitled #MEALTIME. Besides gold chains and hashtags, 2 Chainz has a penchant for kale and heirloom tomatoes. The recipes were created in collaboration with Chef Aleem, an upcoming celebrity cook from Atlanta who went on tour with 2 Chainz.

I decided to have some #METIME myself and try out the recipes, mostly because I was feeling #hungry.

The cookbook opens with an advisory introduction: “2 Chainz doesn’t write down his music, it flows naturally from his mind. Follow 2 Chainz and feel free to freestyle your cooking… Remember: embrace mistakes, and always cook within your comfort zone. #TRU.”

I began by making sautéed asparagus. The instructions begin with putting on “an Adidas sweatsuit, Chainz N Thangs.” I don’t own these things, but I did my best with what I had: Roots sweatpants and some gold necklaces. Then I played the mandated track, “Mainstream Ratchet.”

The recipe is relatively simple and takes about two and a half rounds of “Mainstream Ratchet” to cook. The last instruction is to “vibe out” to the song. I contemplate the lyric: “I’m real, you ain’t, calamari, crab cakes,” which seems to suggest that calamari is more authentic than crab, yet 2 Chainz has a recipe for crab cakes in his cookbook. Assuming he’s referring to artificial crab, I digress to the “Me Time” sauce.

The sauce is tricky, because it requires you to go to the mall and spend “a handful of racks” on a new outfit for the night, get a manicure and pedicure, and spend some “me time” at home catching up on seasons of The Wire. The sauce itself is quite simple, and feels personal, as 2 Chainz is revealing his favourite recipe, which he suggests pairing it with almost all of the others. It’s delicious, even without a full commitment to its instructions. I assume that when Chainz suggested getting a new outfit for the night, he was not talking about a sweater from The Gap, but that’s what I bought for my “me time” meal. I didn’t get a manicure or pedicure, but I did make my roommate paint my nails while we watched clips from The Wire on YouTube.

The recipe for mashed potatoes begins with the reasonable advice to remove your four-finger ring, if wearing one, and set it aside before beginning­ — I was not (but normally would be, of course). This recipe is a bit more time-consuming, but smells amazing all the way through, and is broken up in the middle by the instruction:“…play “Feds Watching” and celebrate the good times you had this year,” before adding the sour cream and parsley to the potatoes. You’re supposed to serve the mashed potatoes in a gold bowl, which I did not have. “Feds Watching” continued my speculation of 2 Chainz’ abhorrence for imitation crab meat with the line: “I’m raw, talking California rolls,” since raw seems to refer to genuine crab meat rather than the fake stuff.



For the mixed seafood kebabs, you are meant to invite your friends over for a cook out, telling them that “2 Chainz is firing up the grill.” That would, however, be a lie — and I cannot afford to feed all my friends seafood, so I ignored this rule. The recipe itself is really good — like the other recipes, it is surprisingly simple, flavorful, and healthy, and pairs quite well with a nice helping of “Me Time” sauce.

The food is actually really good and the album is consistent with the promised theme of “me time.” A highlight is the end of “I Do It” featuring Drake and Lil Wayne, a gospel celebration of taking time to yourself. 2 Chainz is preaching to do so by making some delectable eats. Surprisingly, I was genuinely inspired by the 2 Chainz cooking experience.

At the end of the meal, I get to cleaning the kitchen to the sounds of “Fork.” In the wise words of 2 Chainz: “I’m ballin like Mr. Clean, I gotta keep my kitchen clean.”

Green smoothies made delicious and easy

Smoothies are convenient, easy to make, and a great way to get enough fruits and vegetables in your diet. They are full of of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. In addition, they can also serve as a great pre- or post- workout meal because they can pack in carbohydrates and protein.

It is important to keep in mind that all smoothies are different, and a commercial smoothie may not provide the same nutritional value as something made at home. Many vendors use ingredients from concentrate which can be loaded with sugar, and the actual nutrition value of the fruit is not there.

Green smoothies are becoming increasingly popular and have become new additions to the menu at many commercial places. Although the thought and appearance of green smoothies may not seem appetizing, greens are relatively tasteless and are packed with nutrients. Combined with some fruit, they can make a great smoothie. Green smoothies are great because they provide an easy way to incorporate greens into your diet while on the go, and because they are alkalizing.


Here’s how you can make your own green smoothie:

1. Choose a liquid (2 cups)

• milk (almond, soy, rice, coconut, or dairy)

• coconut water

• water


2. Greens (2 cups)

• spinach or baby kale


3. Fruit (2 cups)

• berries, cherries, grapes, pineapple, pears, mangoes, apples, peaches, oranges, banana, or papaya. I use at least part frozen fruit because it eliminates the need to add ice


4. Healthy Fat (2 tbsp)

• flax seeds, chia seeds, coconut oil, nuts, or nut butters


Optional Add-Ins

• Sweetener (agave, honey, stevia)

• ice cubes


Here is my favorite recipe:

• 2 cups water

• 1 orange

• 1 cup frozen mango

• 2 cup spinach

• 2 tbsp chia seeds

Add ingredients to blender in order listed and blend until desired consistency is achieved.


With files from

Movie Junk Food: American Pie

The cinematic equivalent to the stereotypical student diet

Movie Junk Food: American Pie

Everyone needs a little junk food in his or her cinematic life. Don’t get me wrong, watching healthy films adds value to your life — it helps shape your perception of the world. Cinematic masterpieces like Citizen Kane, North by Northwest, The 400 Blows, The Shawshank Redemption, and Fight Club are must-sees But every once in a while it’s okay to give in to the junkm the films that don’t do much for us intellectually, but are nonetheless an absolute pleasure to watch. Case in point:  American Pie.

Released in 1999, American Pie was an instant teen film classic. I have never met someone my age who does not know the phrase: “This one time, at band camp… ”Everyone has a special place in their heart for the Stiffmeister, and who could forget the awkwardness that is the duo of Jim Levinstein and his overbearing father?  These are just a few of the many things that make American Pie such a great movie.

The film centres around the four main characters –– Jim, Oz, Kevin, and Finch — and the pact they have made to lose their virginities by prom; the naiveté of the four boys is what makes the contract endearing, rather than piggish. The conversation the boys first have at  their hangout spot, Dog Years,  about what it’s like to get to third base is one example of the realistic, honest portrayal of teenagers in this movie. Jim asks what it feels like, and Oz replies: “Like warm apple pie,” with a knowing smirk on his face, to which Jim then asks: “McDonalds’ or homemade?” Oz is part of a club that Jim desperately wants to join, not knowing that it’s exactly his desperation that’s keeping him out. It’s sweet and reminds everyone watching of how they felt in his position, which albeit awkward at the time, reminds us of the innocence of a time when sex was still a beautiful mystery.

There are many different ways to discover these mysteries in the movie, and everyone can relate to at least one of them. We have Kevin, the boy with the girlfriend who wants it to be perfect; Finch, the boy who uses a badass reputation to garner interest; Oz, the boy who uses sensitivity to get what he wants; and Jim, the one who has no idea what he’s doing and always seems to mess it up, even when a naked girl is in his bed ready to go… twice.

The saving grace of each of these boys is that even if they didn’t start with the greatest intentions, what each of them finds is that their tactics for getting laid work in unexpected ways. Kevin tells Vicky he loves her, and their first time is sweet and perfect — which is what Kevin wanted in the end. Oz ends up falling in love with Heather. Finch’s lies are exposed and he goes to prom alone, but then ends up with possibly the coolest reputation by sleeping with Stifler’s mom — the original incarnation of the word “MILF.”  Finally, Jim happens upon sex with Michelle, the band geek, despite embarrassing blunders with former love interest, Nadia.

Also thrown in are the side stories of Stifler and Sherman, referred to as “The Sherminator.” Stifler treats girls terribly and technically gets what he wants, but he is not glorified for it; he’s a boy with many friends, but none that are close to him. He also finds out what Finch has done with his mother and feels betrayed. Sherman is exposed at prom for lying about sleeping with a girl who he merely talked to at a party. Because these boys were disrespectful, they do not have happy endings in the film – yet it’s still lighthearted enough that we can laugh about these events and not think on a deeper level about their consequences.

This movie is a feel-good ride all the way through. There are sentimental moments about the innocence of youth, wedged in with hilarious scenes of absolute ridiculousness: Jim’s father giving him a lesson in masturbation and, who could forget, the classic pie scene. Not to mention, a wicked soundtrack, which leaves you feeling as satisfied if you had just eaten a big plate of nachos. It’s comforting, it’s a classic, and it’s guaranteed to make you smile.

Rescheduled Trinity College orientation event costs $563 per person

Eleven students attend rescheduled Toronto Island event intended for 475

Trinity College’s Orientation Week event “Island Day!” cost $6200 for a turnout of 11 students. The event was advertised as a fun day to relax on the beach, play games, and go to Centreville, with lunch included. Originally scheduled to take place on the afternoon of Saturday, September 7, Island Day! was rained out and rescheduled for September 27. The event was to provide food, round-trip transportation, and space on the island for 475 attendees. On the rescheduled day, only 11 people showed up. Island Day! was one of the most expensive events of Trinity College’s Orientation Week.

Allison Spiegel, co-chair of Trinity Orientation Week, says that the planning committee had its hands tied with the contract signed with Centre Island. Alyssa Volk, a representative of Centre Island, says that according to the island’s policy, no portion of the deposit is refunded with a cancellation request less than two weeks prior to the event. A full refund is only given when an event is cancelled six weeks prior; Volk adds that the contract signed by Trinity’s Orientation coordinators clearly outlined this policy.

Spiegel says that the committee had explored other options, such as saving the voucher for an end of year party, or using the voucher for next year’s Orientation Week. However, Centre Island’s rain insurance policy does not carry over to the next season. After conferring with administration, Spiegel insists that the best solution was to do a later event. The rescheduled date was decided upon due to its congruence with Trinity College’s social calendar, and an attempt was made to factor in the weather. According to Spiegel, the change of date was advertised through multiple forums, including an email to every Orientation Week registrant and postings on the Trinity College Class of ‘17 Facebook page.

A trip to Centre Island is a regular on the list of Orientation Week activities for many colleges, as it provides an opportunity for students to interact with upper years in an off-campus setting. Benjamin Crase, male head of college at Trinity, defends the choice of event — saying that by voting in favour of the Island Day! event last year, Trinity students made it clear that they were interested. When asked about the low turnout, Crase said that once students are out of “Orientation Week mode,” it is difficult to get large numbers of students to attend off-campus events. Orientation Week leaders, executives, student heads, and dons who would have been at the original event were not obligated to attend, since it was outside of the dates outlined in the original contract.

When asked if she predicts that Trinity will attempt the event for next year’s Orientation Week, Spiegel says that she hopes they will. According to Spiegel, events like Island Day are always a gamble, and there is an inherent risk in planning Orientation Week events of any kind. Spiegel maintains that the originally planned event would have been successful. However, “rolling with the punches” is what Orientation Week is all about, she said. Trinity’s Orientation Week is funded exclusively through participation fees paid separately from student fees.

Honestly, the sale of Mirvish Village is a huge loss

The sale of Honest Ed's and surrounding property could spell the end for some unique Toronto businesses

Honestly, the sale of Mirvish Village is a huge loss

“There’s no Place like this Place, Anyplace!” reads one of the many quirky signs for Toronto’s famous discount store, Honest Ed’s. Opened in 1948 by the late Ed Mirvish, Honest Ed’s has been a Toronto landmark for over 65 years. The ostentatious exterior cannot go unnoticed at the intersection of Bloor and Bathurst streets. Inside, the massive emporium carries groceries, housewares, clothing, and many other necessities.

In the 1960s, Ed Mirvish bought the Victorian homes surrounding Honest Ed’s and leased them to artists and business owners.  For over 40 years the eclectic hub has been home to a variety of shops, galleries, and restaurants, each with their own unique character. Today, this neighbourhood is known as Mirvish Village and is, unfortunately, one of Toronto’s planned business improvement areas.

Like many Torontonians, I was shocked to hear that it was for sale. David Mirvish, Ed Mirvish’s son and the current owner of the property, revealed in an interview with the Toronto Star that Honest Ed’s is just part of the 1.8 hectares of land up for sale. This means that in addition to the iconic discount store, other unique, interesting businesses in the Mirvish Village are also for sale.

Many of the people living and working around the area are upset about the proposed changes. Mike Anderson, an employee at Hollywood Canteen for over 15 years, claims that the store recently moved to Mirvish Village for the location and atmosphere. He was saddened at the possibility of having to move out, as it would mean losing the foot traffic that comes from being downtown.

Next to the Hollywood Canteen is a jewellery and clothing store called Chokka Jewellery. The artisan studio features clothing made with natural fibers in addition to items produced by both local and international artists. Having only just opened earlier this year, owner Katarina Loizou finds the sale upsetting. “I looked for five years to find the perfect spot; it’s such a pity a beautiful cultural landmark is for sale,” she explained.

However, not everyone in the area believes that the sale of Honest Ed’s means shoppers should worry about changes to Mirvish Village anytime soon. The owner of a shop called The Rock Store was optimistic, noting that the plan to sell property in Mirvish Village along with Honest Ed’s is not a new development and that if any change does happen, it will not be for another three years at least.

Next, I stop in the Coal Miner’s Daughter, a boutique store which carries contemporary as well as vintage fashion. I am greeted by co-owner Krysten Caddy, a jewellery designer, who opened the store four and a half years ago with clothing designer Janine Cockburn-Haller. She points out that although tenants have come and gone, the area has become an established place for local artists, and views the sale of Honest Ed’s as: “a sad reality that everything is being developed. A lot of charm and history is being bulldozed.”

Finally, I head into The Beguiling Books & Art, a comic book store which has been open since the early 1990s. The current owner, Peter Birkemoe, summarizes Mirvish Village as an “arts-focused shopping district,” and says he would hate to see it go. Considering the property value in the area, Birkemoe explained that the store has benefitted from the generous rent rate offered by the Mirvish family. Immediately after he heard about the sale of Honest Ed’s and parts of Mirvish Village, he was struck with a feeling of uncertainty. Birkemoe questions the intent of whoever decides to buy the property, and is concerned it might affect his business and the atmosphere of the neighbourhood. As I leave the store, a man enters and announces with surprise that there’s “so much to look at.”

Leaving Mirvish Village, I cannot help but imagine how the street would look without some of these businesses. At the intersection I watch as a busker plays the guitar, something that is becoming harder to find in the developing parts of the city; I wonder if in a couple of years, this place will still welcome him.


Andrea Themistokleous is a third-year student double-majoring in criminology and political science.