This year again the Riverside BIA is proud to partner with long-time BIA member Baird MacGregor Insurance Brokers LP, along with new co-sponsor Gillis & Kennedy RE/MAX, to present Light Up Riverside – the area’s annual tree lighting and cheer event, inviting the whole community! The fun festivities are happening on Saturday, November 25, 2017, from 5pm to 7pm in the Mustard Seed Courtyard at 791 Queen E – just steps west of the Baird MacGregor offices.
Originally formed in 1979, Baird MacGregor Insurance Brokers LP eventually relocated to and purchased their Riverside home at 825 Queen Street East in 1988. This fall, the company completed and publicly celebrated extensive improvements to the face of its beautiful vintage building, which was built in 1915.
The company has over 30 years of history supporting individuals and the community. At the helm of the company is President and CEO Philomena Comerford, a woman with an outstanding career and a proven leader who is equally compassionate about her employees as she is about her clients.
The brokerage is 85 members strong, with many longtime employees who now have the opportunity to have their children work alongside them. In fact, an example of this familial workplace relationship is Philomena Comerford herself and her son Dylan Luft.
We interviewed Philomena to find out more about the firm’s long time ties to Riverside, what the company stands for, and why supporting Light Up Riverside is important to them.
Tell us what you’d like the neighborhood to know about your company:
Baird MacGregors Insurance Brokers LP are not the traditional insurance broker. The firm has a long track record of success through caring for its clients, strong family ties and taking the time to have fun. Employees at Baird MacGregor have to be people persons. This is furthermore exemplified in Baird MacGregor’s long tradition of giving, whether it is supporting Light Up Riverside, to clothing drives, Interval House or the Fred Victor Centre.
You’ve been in this neighbourhood for nearly 30 years – what’s made your firm stay here in Riverside?
As an east-ender myself, much like many of the associates at the firm, Riverside has always felt like home and from the start it suited the firm’s ‘outside of the box’ character. Originally, Riverside was a rougher neighbourhood but we saw its potential as a place that was changing for the better and we were right. Today, Riverside is a vibrant, colourful and artistic neighborhood that has an eclectic feel to it. It’s a bit of an oasis outside of the city. The area is convenient considering its closeness to downtown and major highways so it was not a difficult choice to settle here.
Finally, we have invested a lot in the neighbourhood, and last year our building (825 Queen Street East) turned 100 years old – it has become an important part of our identity. This past month we cut the ribbon on our extensive “awning project” rejuvenating our vintage building’s facade. With a $100,000 investment from us, and a $12,500 grant from the City of Toronto, we have helped enlighten Riverside’s street scape with our new lighting, awnings, windows and our art deco entranceway, which was designed, built and installed by my talented brothers.
Why did you decide to sponsor Light Up Riverside 2017? How does it connect to Baird MacGregor’s values?
Light Up Riverside is all about family, fun and warmth: virtues that Baird MacGregor values very deeply. The event is an opportunity to combine some of our favorite things about the season with the aspect of giving, making it an enjoyable time for the community and for us. Sponsoring the event again this year continues in our tradition of giving back while being able to take part in the festive ceremony and meet the community.
What is a fun fact people may not know about Baird MacGregor Insurance LP?
One of the more unknown parts of our firm is the 1950s-themed diner as well as the gym on our second floor. The diner is complete with leather booths, a jukebox and lunch counter, and serves as employee lunchroom and party venue.
What is your favorite part about the work that you do?
The relationships we build with clients, that is: supporting people in times of need, being of value to them, and earning their trust. The feeling of helping others is unmatched, and being able to do that must be part of your DNA in order to work here.
A BIG THANK YOU to Baird MacGregor Insurance Brokers LP and to Gillis & Kennedy RE/MAX for co-sponsoring the Light Up Riverside 2017 festivities! Let us know you’re coming, join in the fun and meet our sponsors.