Monday, January 12, 2015


Like a lot of people after the holidays are over, Pioneer is back to wearing stretchy pants whenever possible and thinking about our impossible resolutions for 2015. A good friend sent us a cartoon recently that said "I've made peace with the fact I'll never hit my goal weight.....6 lbs 5oz just isn't realistic". While our intentions are not that dramatic, we had a few things on our bucket list to check off and one of them was learn more about Pilates and what the heck's a Reformer anyway? 

Our quest led us to this hidden gem: Counterbalance Studio Pilates at 1911 Danforth Ave**, a studio co-operative started by Pilates pro Elaine Biagi Turner. 

What Pioneer really loves about this warm and inviting space is it felt like what we think a 'studio' should be. People in the fitness industry often over-utilize the term studio to imply any large space dedicated to group classes. At counterbalance, the owners host private sessions, small group classes, an attention to each participant, community harmony and an intense focus on 'moving well' both in and out of the studio. If you are a beginner and want to start out right with guidance, proper instruction and to avoid injury then this is the place for you. 

Pioneer's studio tour guide (and co-owner) Sasha recommends calling or emailing to book a one-on-one introductory session, not only for a physical assessment but also to get you familiar with how the studio works. As for the Reformer, it truly is a medieval looking contraption with tubes and sliders, but Sasha promises that it does assist with strengthening and movement (as does the "Cadillac" - another device that you might or might not see in 50 Shades......). 

Counterbalance also hosts interesting workshops that tie into the Pilates foundation so if you aren't quite ready to hit the mats, you can still ease into good health this year with The Art of Breathing (coming up Feb 7), Restorative Movement and Alignment Rescue (seriously, we all need to learn how to stand up straight!)

For more information, you can contact counterbalance here. See you on the mats!

(**unfortunately Pioneer's camera malfunctioned so no beautiful photo to share!)

Monday, December 29, 2014


Pioneer hasn't updated our 50 Reasons to Love Danforth East in awhile and it's that time of year when people tell their best friends on Facebook or their pet Tamagotchis about their resolutions for the new year. So, as the final countdown approaches we are prepping for 2015 with some new resolutions to share with you, actual people that live here and love it just like us:

1. Pioneer wants to bring you the new 50 Reasons! We're going to a) test lots of food b) drink lots of drinks and c) check out lots of things blossoming around the neighbourhood to make a stellar list.

2. This year will see some changes and possibly some blog posts too. We're tinkering with a format change and we might even get our act together to do some reader polls.

3. Our biggest resolution is that we want to get back to Pioneering. That means discovering the hidden gems and undiscovered wonders of this neighbourhood. Yes, we still want to cover new restaurant openings and cool shops but this is just a reminder to ourselves (because let's face it, Pioneer's memory belongs in a home for the old and creaky these days) that we can't forget our origins on this blog, or in this neighbourhood.

We hope you'll keep sending us your opinions! Email with your favourite things, comments and hidden gems that we can share with the world (before BlogTO does anyway...).

XO and Happy New Year,


Friday, December 19, 2014

Looking to the East

At Pioneer homestead we usually try and stick to a pretty healthy kitchen but with the pressures of work and the Juniors' picky palates, it's fair to say we hit the golden arches way more than we really should. If you're in the same boat, you'll be happy to hear about Danforth East's newest delectable destination called East of York Gourmet Food Emporium at 1904 Danforth.

When Pioneer popped in earlier today to meet chef and proprietor Ashvin (or Ash as everyone calls him), the space was already filled with delectable aromas as he prepped for his soft opening day. He wasted no time in helping us fill our belly with his first offerings while chatting happily about how East Of York went from dream to reality.

A former banker turned caterer, Ash had a vision to bring healthy (affordable) gourmet to the people of East York in a store-front catering format. He has lived in and around East York for practically his whole life and has witnessed the change in the neighbourhood first hand. He feels proud to be part of this community (and has a 1.5 minute commute to work!). In his own words he says "it feels good be part of something special happening here". Well, we're glad to have you!

All the East of York menu items are $1 each or 12 pieces for $11 and the offerings will rotate every few months. Ash promises they will be low in saturated fats, low in sodium but very high in deliciousness. It's mostly small fare, but enough of a combination that a family or four could easily fill up for dinner.

The international menu is currently highlighting Ash's Guyanese and Indian background. As soon as we popped (ok, crammed!) a samosa into our mouth, we realized Ash is a miracle worker. The warm little packet of kale and jerk chicken (which was baked instead of deep fried) was the best thing we've noshed on in a long time. And don't get us started on the caramelized walnuts....

East of York is open every day from 11 - 7 except for Mondays and holidays! Bon Appetit!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Follow-up to Local 1794

We have ALL been eagerly anticipating the opening of Local 1794 since Pioneer blogged about it back in the lazy hazy days of summer. The leaves are all falling now, and the sky is grey (cue the Mamas and the Papas) and the windows of this local gem are still papered up while the resto waits for the City of Toronto to upgrade water service. However, we have great news! Pioneer's sleuthing skills have determined that all the issues will soon be resolved and Harry is only weeks away from firing up his brick oven and opening up the 25 craft beer taps. Wowzers! Even writing that makes our mouths water. Looks like we better get moving on a reservation. See you there soon!