Cabbagetown is a neighbourhood of beauty, heritage, cultural diversity and inclusion. We are Anita Bostok and Noman Hathaway and we’re proud to contribute this regular feature where you get to know the people and businesses that make Cabbagetown so special. If you’d like to be featured or would like to nominate someone please get in touch.
Tewfik – In getting to know Tewfik, the design genius and owner of Face Furniture Optical 464 Parliament St, we learned that he came to Canada 34 years ago after leaving his native Ethiopia to escape violence. Shortly after his arrival, he became an optical lab technician and optician. With his true passion being design, Tewfik opened Face Furniture in 2012. Customers love the high end and unique designs of FFO’s frames, the quality lenses, and Tewfik’s intuition in knowing what will suit them. They also respect his honesty, pleasant nature, and attention to detail. His wife is now also training to become an optician. Outside of work, family is his main focus. Tewfik makes it a point to always work hard to set an example for his three children. He loves to give to charities, collecting old eyeglasses for the poor, and reading when he gets the time.
Catherine Pacak – Entering the Poa universe at 546 Parliament St, I was greeted by the delightful Catherine, owner and creator of this unique concept store. I immediately felt comfortable in the relaxed, yet beautifully decorated space complete with a mural of the French countryside. A soothing fragrance fills the air, and music plays softly in the background. The boutique is by appointment only, ensuring a safe and calming experience. The hand-picked Parisian fashions are tempting, but Catherine encourages me to “buy only what you love!” Downstairs is the serene spa where Catherine offers Italian facials intended to liberate the central nervous system using Vagheggi products. Upstairs is the restorative yoga studio, only virtual classes for now. Originally from Manitoba, Catherine’s passion for travel has taken her many places in the world including Kenya and France. She loves music, especially the violin, and is passionate about photography
Ho Kyoung Woo – Six months after coming to Canada with their two young children, Ho Kyoung and his wife Hyo Soon opened the Jamestown Milk convenience store. A neighbourhood staple for three decades, the store offers a great selection of cut flowers and potted plants, from the Niagara Green House, as well as standard food and household supplies. The couple met in their native Korea, where Ho Kyoung drove taxi and Hyo Soon operated a hardware store. The hours are long, but the sacrifices have brought a better quality of life for their children. The hard working couple rarely shares meals or gets together for holidays because someone has to man the store. They thrive on support from the community which they consider extended family.
Saba – What a treat it was to have Saba offer us a traditional Ethiopian coffee service, complete with freshly roasted coffee! We discovered Shalom restaurant at 587 Parliament St while walking in our neighbourhood. The food is delicious, authentic Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine with many healthy vegan options. The charming Saba became co-owner of the restaurant a year ago, joining talented chef Titi. Saba, being a true people person, prefers to be out front waiting tables and meeting customers. One of 7 children, Saba came to Canada 14 years ago from Ethiopia. She always wanted to come here because her parents had talked about what a great country it is. She had no problem adjusting to climate, loving the winter and especially the snow. She enjoys discovering Toronto’s many bike trails and playing soccer.