The Opera House Has Pivoted to Become The Hub in Toronto

The Hub in Toronto is latest way that The Opera House, an iconic venue in Toronto’s Riverside neighbourhood, has reinvented itself. THE HUB is a full broadcast + content capture studio at the Opera House.

Over 125 years of history of the venue has seen many iterations and changes with the times.

This pandemic has hit pretty hard:

“We haven’t had a show come through The Opera House since March 2020. While we likely won’t see the return of live events until summer 2021, we are looking forward to welcoming new, and familiar faces back into our house through the launch of @thehubintoronto. This is a great opportunity for the arts and entertainment community here in Ontario.” – Athena Ellinas-Towers, General Manager

Athena Ellinas-Towers at the Opera House - The Hub in Toronto

Athena Ellinas-Towers at the Opera House – and now The Hub in Toronto

THE HUB is a full broadcast + content capture studio at the Opera House.

Lemmon Entertainment, in partnership with PRG, the world’s leading provider of services and solutions in entertainment and events, and the Opera House are proud to partner to present THE HUB. This space is a multi-faceted solution for all areas of the Creative, Entertainment and Corporate spheres.

THE HUB offers a low risk, high value, full-service approach that is designed to support all levels of innovation.  Concerts, keynote speeches, product launches, comedy shows, information sessions and content capture are just a few of the flexible options that this venue can provide.

Need support hosting a concert or live streamed event? @thehubintoronto has all of the assets you need. They’re equipped with top of the line audio, lighting, visuals, and a team with deep industry knowledge. Check out the website in their bio to see how the team can elevate your organization for entertainment-based projects & brand growth. #thehubintoronto

The Opera House = The Hub in Toronto

Looking Back at Riverside BIA Accomplishments of 2020 to Help Us Move Forward in 2021

A message from Riverside BIA Executive Director, Jennifer Lay:

YES, this has been A YEAR…..BUT this past year has reinforced the perseverance, ingenuity, kindness, caring and resilience of everyone in this business community. I’ve appreciated working more closely albeit mostly virtually, with many of you and getting to know you better.

While we could not do our usual annual roster of event-based programming, when the pandemic hit and the shutdown was ordered, the Riverside BIA virtual office and operations did not shut down, even for a day, and we responded immediately to start supporting you through information updates, one-to-one support, enhanced online presence to share your updates, ‘support local’ campaigns, and many innovative virtual events, fundraising efforts, and offerings.

One initiative our Marketing Committee came up with is these Open signs – featured in BlogTO and emulated by BIAs across Toronto – to help let people know, at a glance, what’s Open during COVID. This was very helpful as a promotional tool during the major shutdown and as reopenings happened, and can still be seen on the street today.

Our Board also decided to support our members directly with PPE kits of supplies, and a link to preferred pricing with suppliers of locally-made PPE. We’ve given out 60 such kits and if you need a kit or a contact, just get in touch.

I can attest, advocacy can work and it is really about bringing our concerns, needs and good ideas forward to our elected officials to help inform critical policies and programs. The BIA has been doing this throughout the pandemic and will keep doing this proactively and in response to government announcements. We have done more of this in the past 6 months than ever in our history and will keep it up. It has produced results.

During 2020 we also ramped up our streetscape programs, including enhanced Weekly graffiti removal services thanks to our awesome service provider Wipeout, neighbourhood beautification, and litter collection. Did you know that we have a cigarette butt collection program? Our street maintenance manager Drew has collected nearly 100,000 units since 2015 that have been recycled.

We also implemented some special streetscape projects this year. Thanks to East End Arts and an Outdoor Mural grant from the City of Toronto we participated in the Girls Mural Camp 2020, here in Riverside. Girls Mural Camp is an opportunity for youth who identify as girls, young women, female or non-binary to explore the history and practice of street art, and to co-create a large street mural together. Girls worked with established mural artists Bareket Kezwer and Monica Wickeler. Their piece on the back of 4 Munro Street, explores their growth and journey during the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on the question, “When everything stops, what keeps going?”

 

We also had the privilege of participating in the iheART Mainstreet Art Challenge, thanks to a partnership with the Steps Initiative, RBC, and Toronto artists, Riverside business, and local story tellers. We implemented the ‘Humans of Riverside’ series: this project not only supported the Goal of Giving Voice and Making Space for BIPOC individuals, but added incredible public art to storefront windows. I am pleased to share that among all the participating BIAs, Riverside won the challenge prize and we will be putting this prize toward our Window Wonderland contest in Riverside, stay tuned for details on how to take part and get your window designed and installed by a local artist!

 

A key program the BIA worked extremely hard on was outdoor patios in partnership with the City’s CafeTO Team. Riverside BIA was among the first two BIAs to launch the CafeTO program on July 1 with Mayor Tory and Councillor Fletcher at Eastbound. Most of our 20+ CafeTO member operators benefitted from about 20 weeks of the program. I want to emphasize this would not have been possible without the support of the City, and want to applaud this incredible economic support program. We look forward to working with our members to navigate outdoor dining as part of the Winter CafeTO program, and bring back the full CafeTO program, new and improved in 2021.

Shifting gears, as part of our efforts to promote Riverside digitally, we’ve created the Riverside Online Marketplace using Shopify, thanks to a grant from the City of Toronto BIA Innovation Fund. This is focused on helping promote members with online products and/or services of which there are more and more every day thanks to partnerships like Digital Main Street, ShopHere and ToGo Toronto.

As part of this grant we have been testing a number of virtual events. Our very first was Riverside Eats, in collaboration with local chefs, which doubled as a fundraiser for the local food program at Mustard Seed, Fontbonne Ministries. Just last week, we hosted our Riverside HOWL-O-WEEN virtually in collaboration with all our community partners. Our Riverside Public Art Tour was a hit and lastly, our virtual Riverside Antler Breakfast was the most successful yet (more on this below!!).  We used these experiences to create a toolkit for all Toronto BIAs to learn how to do this. Again, big thanks to the City for making this possible.

And we could not forget, it’s our BIA’s 40th anniversary year. We launched the Riverside 40 years, 40 stories series to tell the stories that make this neighbourhood special. From the story of how the BIA began with a small group of dedicated business owners, sitting around a kitchen table at night, to big projects like the Riverside bridge lighting and stories from local business members like George the Barber who has been here longer than the BIA itself. This story telling series is powerful and meaningful. We’re now nearly half-way through and would welcome you to submit a story to share.

This year’s Riverside Window Wonderland was a collaboration coming out of the Steps Initiative and RBC IheART Main Street Art Challenge!  As the winner of the Community-Engaged winner, Riverside BIA used resources to expand our placemaking initiatives to showcase community pride, collaborate with more artists and businesses in this year’s edition of Window Wonderland. Click to see all the designs and find out who won this year’s contest!

We capped off the year demonstrating a virtual coming together like never before by raising $12,784 for the Rivertowne Breakfast Program through the 9th Annual (1st virtual) Riverside Antler Breakfast. THANK YOU to all the sponsors, donors, supporters and organizers and the outpouring of support from the community.

Here’s to a brighter 2021 of working together on big and little initiatives in the Riverside BIA – Bring it ON!!

That’s A Wrap for the 9th Annual Riverside Antler Breakfast! Thank You Supporters!

The 9th Annual Riverside Antler Breakfast (first held virtually!) was a huge success! Organized by the Riverside BIA, Chef Scott Savoie, Ralph Thornton Community Centre and Rivertowne Safety 1st, the event raised funds for the year-round operation of the Rivertowne Breakfast Program.

The outpouring of support this year was truly phenomenal, and the $12,748 raised in sponsorship and donations will fund the program through 2021!

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE VIRTUAL SHOW 

Big thanks to our sponsors:

Our sponsors this year included: Santa sponsor Outline Financial; our Santa’s Helper sponsors: Tertulia, Baird MacGregor Insurance Brokers LP, Streetcar Developments and J & C Toronto Real Estate Group; our Reindeer sponsors included: Oma Chiropractic and Wellness, Quince Flowers and Dimensions Custom Framing and Gallery; and our Elf sponsors included: the Irish Design House and MPP Peter Tabuns (Toronto-Danforth).

Also thank you to our Auction donors: Tabule Middle Eastern Cuisine Gift Card, HeadshotsTO, MP Julie Dabrusin, Quince Flowers, Dresden Vision, Dirty Pawz Dog Wash, and Queen Garden Centre.

Now in its 9th year, the Riverside Antler Breakfast raised funds in support of the year-round operation of the local Rivertowne Breakfast Program. While we couldn’t get together this year, supporters experienced the fun of the in-person event virtually, on December 12th, 2020.

No Fixed Address Launches Local Gift Tags Fundraiser to Support Riverside Businesses

Local business No Fixed Address Inc. is giving back to their home based this holiday season! Located at the East Room in Riverside, they’ve created a unique fundraiser selling gift tags for a good cause:

“We created what might be the world’s most expensive gift tags. Why? This year has been tough on all of us, and even tougher on small businesses. So we’re asking you drop some big bills on these custom gift tags, so small businesses can pay theirs. If you shopped local, thanks for giving a little extra. And if you couldn’t, what a great way to spend big to help us save small. Perfectly priced at $20.20 each with all proceeds going to the Riverside BIA.”

Visit shoplocalsavelocal.ca learn more about supporting local and get your tag!

Riverside Window Wonderland Contest: Meet the Artists

Each year, during the holiday season, Riverside shops and retailers host the “Window Wonderland” contest, displaying festive imagery and getting in the holiday spirit! This year is an extravaganza with 20+ participating storefronts with many designs by local artists!  It’s a fun way to get into the spirit whilst supporting local business and artists.

SPECIAL THIS YEAR…

This year’s Riverside Window Wonderland is a special collaboration coming out of the STEPS Initiative and RBC iheART Main Street Art Challenge!  As the winner of the Community-Engaged winner, Riverside BIA hasexpanded our placemaking initiatives. We are proud to collaborate with the STEPS initiative, local artists and local businesses to get through this pandemic together in holiday style.

Artists Ailsa Craigen (@pentopapier), Asli Alin (@aslialin), Enna Kim (@fongkikid), and Vivian Rosas @vivianrosas) have each created five window displays with hand-drawn illustrations and decorative lights, totalling twenty storefront windows as part of this festive project!

MEET THE ARTISTS…

Ailsa Craigen

Ailsa Craigen at Riverside Burgers, Riverside Window Wonderland 2020 (Photo Credit: Selina McCallum)

Ailsa Craigen at Riverside Burgers, Riverside Window Wonderland 2020 (Photo Credit: Selina McCallum)

Ailsa Craigen is an interdisciplinary illustrator and designer residing and working in Toronto, Canada. Specializing in line drawings, Ailsa’s work has been featured in spaces across Toronto including Mallo, Goldstruck and Lovt Studio. She is the illustrator behind Pen to Papier.

Check out her website and Instagram

View her Riverside Window Wonderland creations and VOTE for your faves until Dec 14!!

Asli Alin

Alsi Alin at Tabule Middle Eastern Cuisine, Riverside Window Wonderland 2020 (Photo Credit: Sharon Mendonca)

Alsi Alin at Tabule Middle Eastern Cuisine, Riverside Window Wonderland 2020 (Photo Credit: Sharon Mendonca)

Asli Alin was born in Istanbul and immigrated to Canada in 2002. Alin formally studied Landscape Architecture and Photography and worked as a Landscape Architect for 15 years. While Alin always considered herself an artist, her professional career began when she was commissioned by the City of Burlington to create five public art benches. Her art has been featured in a number of galleries throughout Toronto and abroad. Alin lives and works in Toronto.

Learn more about the motivation behind her art by reading her overall artistic statement

Check out her Instagram

View her Riverside Window Wonderland creations and VOTE for your faves until Dec 14!!

Enna Kim

Enna Kim at Eastbound Brewing Co, Riverside Window Wonderland 2020 (Photo Credit: Selina McCallum)

Enna Kim at Eastbound Brewing Co, Riverside Window Wonderland 2020 (Photo Credit: Selina McCallum)

Enna Kim is an experimental, interdisciplinary artist based in Toronto. Studying Digital Futures at OCAD University, Kim relies on digital spaces to find ways of navigating her cultural past, carefully extending her online world into her offline identity.

Learn more about the motivation behind her art by reading her overall artistic statement

Check out her Instagram

View her Riverside Window Wonderland creations and VOTE for your faves until Dec 14!!

Vivian Rosas

Vivian Photos at Tertulia Espresso, Riverside Window Wonderland 2020 (Photo Credit: Sharon Mendonca)

Vivian Photos at Tertulia Espresso, Riverside Window Wonderland 2020 (Photo Credit: Sharon Mendonca)

Vivian Rosas is a Toronto-based Latinx illustrator and designer. Since graduating from OCADU, her primary work has been in editorial illustration, as well as in the animated video sphere. Her work is created in a variety of mediums including digital and screen-printing. She seeks to explore themes of feminism, empowerment, and diversity. Play and discovery are key to her practice, especially when she gets a chance to work on a mural.

Learn more about the motivation behind her art by reading her artistic statement

Check out her Instagram

View her Riverside Window Wonderland creations and VOTE for your faves until Dec 14!!

 

THANK YOU TO ALL THE ARTISTS – DON’T MISS VIEWING THEIR CREATIONS AND VOTING!!