Joy’s Tea – Westminster Avenue

In my last post on Verde Juice Bar, I mentioned that I ended up there because Joy’s Tea happened to be closed the day I intended to visit. Joy’s Tea has been open since December. I was their first paying customer the day of their soft opening.

Cutlery Coat Rack at Joy’s Tea.

One of the things that struck me when I walked in was the spare decor of the place. I also really like the fact that they have a couple of touches that separate them from other restaurants/coffee shops. The first is the coat rack that uses cutlery for it’s hooks. The second is a couple of cabinets that look like medical cabinets that you would see in TV shows depicting turn of the 20th century hospitals. Continue reading


Verde Juice Bar – Westminster Avenue

Verde Juice Bar is one of two new places on Westminster Avenue. I ended up there on my first visit, because Joy’s Tea which is next door was closed. The decor at Verde is the same as many of the newer restaurants opening. Lot’s of light wood, and wooden type sign boards and menu. Pleasant enough, but after awhile there seem little to distinguish one place from the next as far as appearance goes.

Menu on the table

Verde Juice Bar Table with Menu.

Verde Juice Bar for Beverages

My first trip to Verde I was meeting with my friends Graham MacFarlane and Aaron Peterson to discuss a pilot project for a Sunday Evening service at St. Philip’s. Arriving late in the afternoon we ordered drinks but no food. It was a little chilly that day, and I decided on a hot chocolate. I can’t remember what Aaron ordered, but Graham ordered the Pineapple Express smoothie, which he enjoyed. Continue reading

Bell Tower Community Cafe

It’s a typical scene that you see at many food banks. People come in the door, line-up and wait as they proceed along to the table, where they register to receive a food hamper. However, it’s what happens after they’ve registered that make this food bank a little different. This food bank is the Bell Tower Community Cafe, operating out of Westminster United Church

Once the clients have registered they are encouraged to go and grab a bowl of soup, or now that it’s summertime, head back outside and grab a hot dog and hamburger along with some salad, bread, or cookies. ┬áThen there’s coffee and tea. Not the add one cup of grounds for 100 cups of water type either. The coffee is likely to be from Thom Bargen’s and the tea from DAVIDsTea.

If you hang around long enough you’ll see the auditorium transformed. There’s a band up on the stage. While people enjoy the music and conversation a line of children will snake its way around the tables, or they’ll be out in front dancing. Often some of the adults will join them in dancing. Among the noises, laughter and shrieks of delight will also be frequently heard.

This is not some idyllic scene. After all, many of the people here are clients whose income makes feeding themselves and their families difficult. Since it began it February, right up to last Friday, the Bell Tower Community Cafe, has shared over 800 hampers for more than 1,600 people, about 600 of whom are children. Yet, despite this there is more laughter and pleasure here than you will see at many other food banks. How did this happen? Continue reading