Time to Work Your Green Thumb Again

Forget the Wiarton Willie. Gardeners like to see and hear the birds chirping because they want to start exercising their love of flowers and digging into pots.

For most of the summer – when the days are favourable and the rain stays away ushering the warmth of spring and the sweltering days of summer – you can find Ms. Goodfield in her garden.

Before gardening season starts she carefully goes through fliers and also calls around to garden centres to see which have the best products and offerings. She’s somewhat of a bargain hunter too and likes to see which garden centres provide excellent prices.

The ones at convenience stores sometimes have good flowers and special balcony garden mix soil. But, in the last few years she’s found the garden centre at Super Store on Dufferin St. to have the most optimal offerings. Plus the staff are nice, congenial, knowledgeable, and friendly.

She usually takes the Dufferin bus up to The Super Store and cabs it back to her condo. She spends a good 30 minutes at the garden centre perusing the inventory before meticulously selecting what she will choose for her garden. She has an affinity for colour and certain types of flowers to accent her balcony.

Ms. Goodfield has been gardening for years and last summer populated her garden with many varieties. “Last year I was a bit more eclectic I mainly planted impatiens, begonias, hastas, roses, variegated grape ivy, petunias, morning glories and sweet peas.” Quite a collection. “Being surrounded with flowers makes me feel connected to nature and free but still right in the city.”

Here are some tips she provided for anyone wanting to start a garden on their balcony. “First, you want plant to whichever way you’re facing the sun. The more sun, the better is a myth because it depends on the flowers or plants. Basically, you must give ample water depending on the heat and feed them regularly,” she says. Her choice of plant food is Miracle Grow which she gives her plants every two weeks.

Ms. Goodfield further discloses, “Nature’s rain is the best water for your plants to flourish.” She continues, “If you’re the type who does not water plants on a regular basis, gardening might not be for you, because they are going to get dried up and die. And don’t forget to ‘dead head’ which is cleaning off the dried up leaves and dead flowers.”

Gardening, for her, is a form of meditation, a great way to absorb Vitamin D from the sun, plus she loves to become immersed in her garden while relaxing in a chair. That is her true oasis. Her cat Ashleigh also loves to meander amongst her plants. She advices, “Be sure to check which plants and flowers are poisonous to dogs and cats if you happen to have one. For example, begonias are extremely toxic.”

M & D Medical Clinic and Pharmacy

872 Sheppard Ave. West; Phone: Clinic 416-633-1600 and Pharmacy 416-633-6800

On a stretch of Sheppard Ave. West, almost in the epicentre between Wilmington Ave. and Wilson Heights, on the north side, you will find one of the best kept secrets of Downsview. It is an absolute blessing to the neighbourhood. To what am I referring? It’s the M & D Medical Clinic and Pharmacy.

The medical clinic is always filled with patients and is open six days a week (closed on Sundays). Dr. Gobrial, who is the physician at the clinic, has a great bedside manner. He has a very attentive ear, is very meticulous at what he does, and really does listen to the concerns and the symptoms of the maladies which afflict his patients.

He takes his time, methodically deducing what treatment can help his patients. I speak from experience as I have used the clinic on a number of occasions. I was immensely impressed with the way he actually “listened” and did not try to rush through my appointment.

One of the great things about the clinic is that it is attached to a pharmacy. So as soon as you are diagnosed – and if you need medication – the pharmacy attached to the clinic will dispense it for you expeditiously.

The pharmacist, Mr. Hany William, also, like Dr. Gobrial, has a very attentive ear. He is very patient and takes his time when he explains how medications work, their side effects, and how they should be administered.

When Mr. William was asked why he became a pharmacist, he had a very lucid answer: “My main objective for becoming a pharmacist was to help people. It gives me a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.” Very well put.

While awaiting your prescriptions it might behoove you to also peruse the pharmacy’s product lines. It offers a myriad of good products to purchase, from shampoo and conditioner to facial tissue, deodorant, shaving creams, lips balms and toothbrushes, cough syrups to vitamins or female hygiene products, beverages or chocolate bars and more. Also for those special occasions there are many great greeting cards for just a dollar, what a bargain!

If you are visiting the clinic, there is ample parking in the back of the building. You can park in the spots which are labeled “commercial.”

Next time you’re in need of a medical clinic or pharmacy, there’s one right in the neighbourhood. You don’t have to go very far, visit M & D Clinic and Pharmacy!

The clinic and pharmacy operates during the following days and times: on Mondays at 9:30 a.m. until 8:00 p.m., on Tuesdays 9:30 a.m. until 7:00 p.m., Wednesdays and Thursdays 9:30 a.m. until 8:00 p.m., Fridays 9:30 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. and at 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. on Saturdays, closed on Sundays.


Restaurant Review: La Traviata Ristorante & Pizzeria – 852 Wilson Ave. – www.latraviata.ca – 416-635-8891

La Traviata has got to be one of the best Italian restaurants in all of Downsview. On a clear moonlit night I dined with my extended family, on my wife’s side, due to the awesome generosity of my beloved in-laws, who have hearts of gold. We have dined here on maybe ten to fifteen occasions. The restaurant never fails to impress, therefore, never disappoints.

The restaurant is impeccably clean, and the white table cloths add charm to the décor. The grey walls exude a feeling akin to something from Architectural Digest.

The wait staff is always congenial, warm, effervescent, and beguiling, which always wins us over. I would be remiss if I did not mention that it was, of course, mainly due to the awesome cuisine.

The restaurant is very intimate but still affords patrons the opportunity to converse at an audible level. When there are lulls in conversation, there is some very appealing pop music which serenades you as you dine.

Since we usually go with a party of eight, everyone habitually delves into different entrees. We usually forgo any appetizers or desserts due to the fact the entrees are of generous proportions.

My wife habitually opts for the chicken parmigiana with penne -which she devours since it’s so delectable. My father-in-law and mother-in-law sometimes elect to choose shrimp arrabiata or veal parmigiana. Those two entrees are finger lickin’ good! My sister-in-law and her partner usually share two entrees. Their entrees of choice are eggplant parmigiana and the margherita pizza. Since they both share two options, their choices go much further in pleasing the palate. I waver between the chicken cacciatore and the shrimp arrabiata depending on what my gastronomic consciousness is instructing me. Our niece is very much inclined to either of the aforesaid shrimp arrabiata or the mussels arrabiata. Our nephew, who is six feet tall, opts for various things. On our last visit he and I were in sync and so he indulged in the amazing chicken cacciatore.

Regardless of whatever you choose off the menu, all the dishes are winners! You won’t go wrong. Plus the bread which is served with olive oil and butter does its job by whetting the appetite.

The overhanging lights illuminate the restaurant quite nicely, providing ample lighting for you to see your meal and your dining companions, not like some restaurants which have dim lighting.

It’s fully accessible via TTC as there is a stop nearby. If you’re driving there is some parking in the front of the resto or on a nearby side street.

The lavatories are always very clean but be careful walking down the stairs en route if you have to answer the call of nature. La Traviata is open seven days a week so you can go anytime to      have a delicious and very appetizing meal!