Navarino's & Images de Femmes

Over at our visual blog, my husband and I have been preparing all week for International Women's Day with 7 days of fabulous women artists from the past and present. (

The cafés in the Mile End are undeniably what makes this area worth visiting. There's plenty of gossip, schmoozing, flirting and excessive coffee-drinking to keep people buzzing and awake for days. One of my favourite places is Navarino's on Park Avenue, which we also refer to as the Greek café. It makes a great latté for $2.75, tasty sandwiches and salads, and serves a wide variety of baked goods and desserts, much to the delight of my children. I like it because they tune in to an Internet radio station that plays Motown and other hits from the 1970s. Yesterday, it was Joni Mitchell's Big Yellow Taxi (fab video) and Linda Ronstadt's You're No Good ). That way, I can enjoy memories of my childhood, as I watch my children create theirs.

The original owners of the café are from Navarino in Greece, and one of the first things you'll notice as you walk in the door is what appears to be a big blue-beaded rosary hanging on the wall. I asked Jimmy Zoubris about this (he helps me out with all things Greek in the hood). Jimmy told me that this was a good luck charm to ward off the evil eye. So yesterday, sipping our lattés, fully protected from the forces of E-vil, my husband and I made our afternoon plans. He was taking our daughter to a presentation on the 30th anniversary of le Prince de Motordu, while I took the chocolate-faced Dude to les Images de femmes, the 18th annual vernissage of Mile End women artists to celebrate International Women's Day. I would have preferred to have taken my daughter because then I would have had the chance to talk, check the names of artists and ask some questions. As it turned out, I got to take a few photos, check out two names and chase my son around the various installations. He thought it was fun for 3 minutes and 30 seconds, but wanted to leave once he was told not to touch anything.

Lotto 649 Tickets and the Dude
Anyway, the vernissage did attract quite a few people, including Mile End Borough Councillor Richard Ryan. I also quickly noted that a stop at Navarino's was completely unnecessary, as there were two tables covered with desserts and sandwiches, not to mention wine, coffee and juice. I did have a chance to glance in that general direction, as the Dude performed gleefully for some older women. I quite enjoyed the dress made from Lotto 649 tickets (Alice Cantine), and the wedding dress with the banner, "Always a bridesmaid never a bride." I loved the vintage photo of the married couple attached to the waist. The artist, Kathryn Harvey, actually wore this dress as her costume when she performed as a clown.

The exhibition is open to the public until March 20, 2011, at the Mile End Library, 5434 Park Avenue, and 14 merchants in the Mile End will also be displaying art by Mile End women, so have your eyes peeled. As part of this event, there will be art-related activities held all month at the library.

This exhibition is one of my favourites because it pulls the neighbourhood together after a long cold winter and reminds us all that it's spring! Don't miss the closing party to celebrate the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day at the Rialto Theatre, another beautiful Mile End landmark, at 5723 Park Avenue, starting at 6:00 pm.


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