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Jubilee Cakes to Budapest

Beach Hill’s rather mysterious Jubilee Cakes is being transformed into a Hungarian restaurant to be called Budapest.

The old bakery seemed to be frozen in time. Was it ever open for business? The sign offering sandwiches for $2.50 seems to belong to another era, that’s for sure. I never saw anyone in there, neither baker nor buyers.

So the bakery is not a loss and the new restaurant is promising. Budapest is the creation of a pair of Beach Hill entrepreneurs who have already made a success of City Jug Milk, our local corner store. Edit Csomo and Lorie Ditchon know how to run a business.

I am documenting the transformation of the building, which involves a complete gutting of the old space. Everything is new, including the plumbing, wiring, ductwork and kitchen. A friendly working contractor named Darrin was happy to show us around but didn’t want to be in photos himself. Darrin is very well regarded in the neighbourhood. He knows his stuff and certainly doesn’t need a plug. He’s got more work offers than he can take.

The space looks narrow, and it is … but wait! There are plans! At present, the space next door is in use as a site office by the construction company building the Beach Hill condo next door. As soon as the condo is far enough along, the site office will move into it and the restaurant space can double.


Lorie and Edit are on target for a July opening. They plan to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. Danica and I look forward to being customers. Meanwhile, I’ll go back for more photos as things develop.


Black monolith reference

Ins and outs of VPN tunneling

Ever wish you could tunnel past country restrictions to see web content denied to foreign visitors? Sometimes you can, using a Virtual Personal Network.


I recently purchased a VPN service that encrypts all of the web traffic between my computer and the source. It’s a good thing to have if you check your email via public wifi networks at coffee shops or the library. Your passwords and communications are kept private.

A bonus is that your point of origin is also obscured. I kind of like the fact that government spy agencies don’t like VPNs. China goes so far as to ban them. If Brits can watch our CBC content and I can see some of their BBC content, I don’t mind that either.

VPNs don’t remove all geographical barriers on the internet. Some content will still hit blockades. The main purpose of such networks is to frustrate the ever-increasing army of snoops, social platform profilers, marketeers and spies who monitor everything we do online.

Which brings me to a quote I admire, from Edward Snowden:

Arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.

Dead at 93? Are we sure about that?


Surely everyone’s favourite Dracula will live on in horror films forever. Christopher Lee created monsters and elegant, tormented villains in so many films, it’s impossible to imagine the genre without him. That would have been enough, but Lee went on to memorable roles in Bond films, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, The Wicker Man classic and many, many more. He will be mourned by generations of moviegoers.

Another green ravine walk discovered


No one is on the wrong side of the tracks in our vicinity. There are nice, leafy walks to be found on both sides of the railway, thanks to a common ravine that holds Small’s Creek. A local told me that the stream runs all year, never freezing. The waters surface only occasionally and are mainly channeled into pipes that run beneath roadways. The rushing sound is always audible through manhole maintenance hole covers.

This particular walk runs along the north side of the Via Rail tracks, a bit further south than the bottom of East Lynn Park. The little enclave of homes down there is a quiet retreat. Very pleasant and easy to miss, which pleases residents, I’m sure.

Monarch Park revisited

Yesterday I took a photo from the same position that I shot from in April. The big tent is off for the summer and the facility is open to the public, free of charge.


This tenting and untenting seems to be a successful example of a public-private partnership (3P, in bureaucratese). A company has teamed with the school to make the facility useable all year around, profiting from entry fees during the tented months. Some of that revenue returns to the school. During good weather months, the facility reverts to public use.


While perusing the literature table in the front office, an attendant asked “Can I help you?” with a suspicious look that made the question’s meaning seem to be “What are you doing here?”. Am I delusional or are security fears becoming part of everyday life? Media hype and political maneuvering seem to be having widespread effect. A brief conversation with a woman on the sidewalk the other day revealed that she wanted to keep the Conservatives in office because she was afraid of ISIS.

Realtime weather report

The sky-darkening downpour presented a suitable occasion to capture neighbour Ralph’s ’87 El Camino filling up with rain.


Neighbour Ralph parks under our bedroom window and revs his engine at 6:00 a.m. and midnight. The revving is recreational, not necessary.

Our downpours seem to be especially fierce this year and come along with cooler than average temperatures. Everything is nice and green as a result, but we had to get fatter drainpipes installed to handle all the water.


When Mayor John Tory’s office replied to my email asking him to stop the police practice of “carding”, I was pleased to learn that he will now be working to end the practice. I wrote back thanking him and commending him for being able to change his mind; a difficult thing for politicians to do.

Danica felt it worthwhile to tell me that it wasn’t my letter that had moved the mayor. Oh, darn.

Colombo Aphorisms go to print

Uncommonplaces: Aphorisms of John Robert Colombo has been available as a Kindle book for a while now, but the author has decided that it should exist on paper as well. That meant the book would need a back cover as well as a front.


If you would like a sample or three, I’m sure JRC will consider it “fair use” for me to illustrate with some I noted:


Anti-Semitism is defined as discrimination against the Jewish people, but the definition also extends to the Arab people because the Arabs like the Jews are a Semitic people.

(I wonder if Stephen Harper considers himself an anti-Semite when he frowns on wearers of the niqab.)


What the imp offers a man is a glimpse into the perverse side of his human nature.

(Anyone out there know why I picked this one?)

Purdy, Alfred W.

Large and ungainly, occasionally reflective and generous, he struck me as a man who was genuinely himself, no more, no less.

Many of Colombo’s “aphorisms” have people’s names as titles, followed by descriptive phrases, insightful praises or short assessments of the person’s work. Colombo has known personally a remarkable number of Canadian notables and many, many have visited the Colombo home. His listings and observations will be of value in the long run.)

Use FAST and TTC in the same sentence

If you think the only way to meet the challenge is by saying something like “TTC    service is never fast”, you haven’t thought about wi-fi speed. Our public transit system may be slow at moving people but where it offers wi-fi, the web pages fly!


Downtown subway stations deliver a pretty good  (for North America) internet connection while we wait for a train to board. Our bank branch now offers wi-fi to customers in queues, too, but so far the connection has been too flaky to get a speed reading.