Urban Daddy Investigates: What happened to the patio at the Starbucks at 1740 Avenue Road?

On Wednesday of this week, I was asked by the community – my former community of 8 years, actually – to investigate the disappearances of the patio on the north side of the Starbucks at 1740 Avenue Road (at St.Germain) and right across from the fantastic Safari restaurant (the best Chipotle Corn Chowder in the city and amazing lamb burgers!)

This patio means a lot to the community. There is a Facebook page devoted to making this patio and the locals who frequent it into a reality show. I could totally see that. Students, local residents, real estate agents, all kinds of people flocked to that patio to sit, chat and consume Starbucks products. This patio is one of a kind in that upper-middle class area of Toronto and It was the place to be seen… And heard.

Our urban family, often spent time hanging out there with our real estate agent, Mr. Real Estate himself, Marshall Cohen or with my in-laws where the kids would watch the world go by eating oatmeal, yogurt or mint frappuccino chip (oops, that last one was me).  More common was myself with a grande Americano while the kids covered themselves in yogurt or ate the pre-packaged egg, apple, cheese snack.

Ask anyone who has sat there or walked by and they will tell you about the characters who hang out there.  Some seem to be there ALL the time.  One common memory was of the guy with the full-length fur coat (but not a real fur coat, that’s cruel) smoking his cigars, of the elderly couple who meet there every day to chat with the neighbour and their family before everyone heads out to the office or for a stroll. 

I checked online to see if the City of Toronto had posted some patio guidelines or amended the official plan to prohibit patios from the West side of Avenue Road and found only one possible link to a draft City-wide zoning bylaw amendment to the official plan relating to Patio’s, drafted by Toronto City Planning department. 

Outdoor Patios

Proposed rules under the draft City-wide zoning by-law

Area 2 (part of the Former City of Toronto): -rear yard patios are not permitted in CR zones -side yard patios are permitted up to a maximum 50% of the building depth


maximum size restriction (the greater of 30m2 or 30% of GFA)

separation from Residential zones (40m if elevated & 10m if not elevated)

entertainment uses not permitted

Since it is not clear to me whether or not these proposals were made permanent, or even if there was a public consultation, or if the slightly raised patio was within 10 meters of the residential property to the West of the location so I reached out to my friend, Ward 16 City Councillor Karen Stintz to ask for an update as to why the city asked Starbucks to remove the patio and why one cannot be added back to that spot.  I explained the value of this patio to our community and the fact that Tim Horton’s which had just opened up further north on Avenue Road asked for and was granted a permit for a kick-ass patio, yet this Starbucks location was not.

I was curious to hear what she has to say on this matter.  She is very alert to issues within her ward.


Repost: My first born at 22 months old

Let me start this repost by stating the obvious…

I hate the Second Cup.  Their coffee is ALWAYS bitter… and at $2.07 for a large, they are another price increase away from bankruptcy.  Plus, they never have the good flavours – Butter Pecan, Caramelo, or Cinnamon Hazelnut, out, just the crappy Irish Cream (barf).

So as a result… I’d rather walk the extra 8 blocks (even in the rain) to get my large double double from Tim Horton’s or even the 4 blocks to Starbucks for a Cafe Americano.

My point???

My wife, when pregnant with our second child, loved to drink the Second Cup’s frozen hot chocolate drink, (now called skinny chocolate chiller) and as a result, I often went there, alone, with her, or with Linus to get her one.  Sometimes in a moment of desperation, I would decide to have a cuppa bitterness for myself – which always ends bad for me.

Sorry.  Back to the story…

Now the Second Cup near us (on Avenue Road) has a really nice kid working there, with long hair and porkchop sideburns who marvelled one day at Linus’ sign language and more recently on how much he loved the live music that was being played in the store and hoe much he enjoyed dancing.  A real cutie my boy is.

So would it come to anyone’s surprise that tonight as I took the Linus to Shoppers Drug Mart for more diapers, we ran into that kid who works at the Second Cup (out of context, nonetheless) and my son would point at him and say, “Coffee”.

Smart, eh?

But there is more.

He then said to him, “Large Double Double”. Not once, but 4 times.

After we both chuckled about it, the Second Cup guy said, “Do you want a double espresso… ha ha ha”, to which my son replied, “Linus no coffee… Daddy coffee”.

I love this kid.  He’s going to smart like his Mummy… Whew.

Did I mention he learned to say “coffee” and “hockey” on the same day?!?

That was a great day in his development.

A Crystal Meth Lab, you say???

Where?  Some crappy little town somewhere, right?

What?  Around the corner from my house, backing on to the park that all the local kids play at, and what is this I hear about the backyard being booby-trapped.  A neighbour was told by the police this afternoon that the backyard – whose gate was open – was booby-trapped in order to keep trespassers out.   Turns out the police scared a squirrel that was in the yard before they walked in, and the squirrel did not make it.

Nice.  Safe.  And to think I actually had one foot in this backyard picking up my neighbours soccer ball.

So this is what happened last night that lead to the surrounding area being roped off by the cops.

A suspicious chemical odour (acetone – which smells like nail polish remover) led authorities to a meth lab inside a home in one of the city’s most sought-after neighbourhoods.

Toronto police closed off a block of Woburn Avenue near Avenue Road, located in Toronto’s quiet Bedford Park community, while they investigated the duplex. The street address was 438 and 440 Woburn. These properties were sold in 2008 for $810,000.00 each to a developer who was going to tear them down and put up three houses.  The economy went south and the developer rented them out, in this case to an individual met over the internet.  

“This was a full methamphetamine lab,” Staff Sgt. Jim Qualtrough of the Toronto Police drug squad told reporters on Wednesday.

“What is particularly disturbing in this case is this lab is right in the middle of a residential neighbourhood,” said Staff Inspector Mario Di Tomaso. “Because of the volatile chemicals that are used, they are a great danger to neighbours.” 

If you look in this picture you see the house on the left and behind is the “chicken park” called that because of the KFC right beside it.  Pretty much anytime you are in the park, you can smell the fried chicken.  Local kids play there during the day with their parents and nannies.

No one was inside the home at the time of the discovery and as of Wednesday evening, no arrests had been made.

I guess there are some lessons to be learned from this fiasco.

1) Never rent to someone you meet over the internet

2) If you are going to run a meth lab, please keep it away from parks

3) Know your neighbours!

4) This area has been called desirable and ritzy.  What do you think that will do to my property value?