It’s About Time: “Time: and A Clock” Public Art in Riverside

The Queen Street Viaduct, or ‘Riverside Bridge’ has become Riverside’s most iconic landmark thanks to the public art project by the Riverside BIA in partnership with the City of Toronto, renowned local artists and others.

The passage was originally built in 1803 as a wooden bridge. In 1911, the bridge was updated to the structure you still see today. The steel truss century old bridge now known for its unique appearance and modern nighttime illumination got its artistic facelift in 1996. Artist Eldon Garnet with the help of others, created the “Time: and a Clock” multi-piece art series for Riverside. The first piece in the series, which sits proudly atop the bridge, took inspiration from Greek Philosopher Heraclitus.

“This river I step in is not the river I stand in”

The locally famous phrase on the bridge art is referring Heraclitus’ notion that one cannot step into the same river twice as new water continues flow on those who step into a river. Like water, time continues to flow. It is constantly in motion, never standing still. The commissioned artwork fuelled the Riverside community which in turn sparked the neighbourhood’s revitalization. The art installation helped bring the business-community together with renewed purpose and identity as home to one of Toronto’s most well-known landmarks.

On June 5th of 2015, the Riverside Gateway Bridge Project, a 3-year capital improvement project was completed to illuminate the bridge, including the iconic art, each night. The colourful Riverside wayfinding art on the posts you see on each side of the bridge was also added at that time.  The bridge was illuminated just in time for the 2015 Pan Am Games. It was a way to put Riverside on the map as the world would be on Riverside’s doorstep.

The “Time and a Clock” art series has three parts, all building on the theme of the flowing of time. All situated in the neighbourhood’s nerve centers. You can find the art pieces on the Riverside Bridge (Queen St Viaduct), in the four corners of the Queen and Broadview intersection, and beside Jimmy Simpson Park. Artist Eldon Garnet explains that you can’t experience the artwork in one moment; it is a process over a period of time to visit each site to get the whole picture of the installation.

Art Piece Site #1 – On the eastern entrance of Riverside, on the Queen Street Bridge. “THIS RIVER I STEP IN IS NOT THE RIVER I STAND IN”.

Caption: photo taken at the unveiling of the lights of the Riverside Gateway Bridge Project in June 2015

Art piece #2 – At the intersection of Broadview and Queen Street: four expressions dealing with time; embedded in the sidewalk at four corners: “TOO SOON FREE FROM TIME”, “TIME IS MONEY: MONEY IS TIME”, “BETTER LATE THAN NEVER” and “TIME=DISTANCE X VELOCITY”

 Art piece #3 – Beside Jimmy Simpson Park are four stainless steel pennants, four declarations of time, a lyrical poem, one word per pole: COURSING, DISAPPEARING, TREMBLING, RETURNING.

The “Time and a clock” art series spear headed future Riverside public art projects and has solidified the importance of art in the community. The art pieces are also part of the Riverside public art self-guided walking tour, check out the other stops on the tour virtually!

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The ‘Riverside BIA 40 Years, 40 Stories’ Series is part of how we’re celebrating the 40th anniversary of this incredible neighbourhood of community-builders.

FIND THE SERIES HERE AS WE SHARE NEW STORIES EACH WEEK IN 2020

DO YOU HAVE A STORY OF THE RIVERSIDE BIA? SUBMIT YOUR STORY

Change is a Brewin’ in Riverside

Riverside is proud to have two independent breweries in the neighbourhood – Eastbound Brewing Co. and Saulter Street Brewery – and Toronto’s first cidery- Brickworks Ciderhouse. While all are relatively new in Riverside – all having opened within the last few years – each has a rich and locally-rooted story to tell and have cemented their place in Riverside as local favourites.

Eastbound Brewing Co.

The space at 700 Queen Street East has seen many changes over the years – as a former furniture store space, and long, long ago a former theatre called the Teck Theatre, to name just a couple – and most recently transformed into a brewpub. serving up freshly brewed beer, elevated pub food and good times. Founded by names experienced in the food and beverage industry – owners Dave Watson, David Lee, Adam Stiles, and Peter Moscone, along with head Chef Tara Lee came together to launch in 2017 the Eastbound Brewing Company.

Eastbound Brewing Co. aims to be a completely transparent operation, from the open kitchen to the bar stool lined brewing operation in the beautiful 3200 square foot storefront. Their menu features unique beer-complimenting dishes like their famous Beer Can Chicken. As husband and wife, Brewer & Chef team, Dave and Tara Lee are all about thoughtful flavour ideas that start from scratch. They encourage you to get curious about what’s on your table and see how great food and beer can pair so well together.

During COVID-19, their operations pivoted to their Eastbound Online Store with a variety of takeout and delivery options for beer and food, and a growing retail shop in store with grocery and prepped meal offerings made from scratch in their kitchen.

Eastbound is always connected to the pulse of the community and very involved. Owner Dave Watson has been active on the Riverside BIA Board and Marketing Committee since before Eastbound opened up.

“We looked at several neighbourhoods when searching for a space to open our doors, and Riverside was a clear winner. We wanted somewhere we could grow our roots as a young business – somewhere with diversity, character, community, and also somewhere we could live. My wife and I used to live in the west end of the city, but ended up moving just a few blocks away from Eastbound and haven’t looked back. We love it here and love being a part of our community,” said Dave.

Caption: CafeTO program launched with Mayor Tory and Councillor Fletcher at Eastbound Brewing Co on July 1, 2020

Saulter Street Brewery

Riverside is home to a hidden gem at the end of Saulter Street. This brewery named after the very street it lies on, was founded by John Sterling and brewer Peter Kufeldt in 2017. Saulter Street Brewery offers small batch experimental beers only available in their onsite taproom (and during COVID-19 for takeout and delivery). A Czech-style Pilsner is their flagship brew called the Riverside Copper Pilsner.

John was first drawn to the ‘small town in the big city’ vibe of Riverside- an escape from the city, a place where time slows down. He always aimed to build a sense of community in the space and inspire people to live in the moment. The logo for the brewery features a clock, a motif featured in many local art pieces including the Time and A Clock piece by Eldon Garnet. The taproom is meant to feel relaxed and homey with tables made out of barrels, repurposed wood, and exposed equipment adding to the local charm.

Since closing their taproom to the public due to COVID-19, the Saulter Street Bottle Shop has been popular for online orders and pickup.

Brickworks Ciderhouse

Riverside’s Brickworks Ciderhouse is the perfect example of turning your dreams and passions into a reality as the ultimate form of success. The owners Adam Gerrits and Chris Noll went to Western University in London, Ontario to pursue their post-secondary education. It was there where they began brewing their own wine, beer, and cider for their friends. They had dreams of pursuing brewing ciders as their full-time gig but ended up going on to develop successful careers in other industries. Later, the emerging craft beer and cider industry reeled Adam and Chris into the business and to follow their dreams.

Brickworks Ciderhouse opened up in Riverside in 2018 and their dreams became reality. They were Toronto’s first cidery since 1920s prohibition and located in a bright and airy two-story space at the iconic corner of Queen and Broadview, kitty corner to the then newly revitalized and reopened Broadview Hotel. Taking inspiration from the city, Toronto is deeply embedded in their creations.  Each cider has a story behind their inception. One of their ciders, Batch: 1904, as written on Taps Magazine is reflective of some Toronto history, “a catastrophic fire that consumed the downtown core in 1904. The cider industry was winding down at that time as well, so the brew celebrates the subsequent rebirth of the city and the rebirth of the cider industry, The company’s trademark name “Brickworks” harkens back to rebuilding the city with bricks made from the crimson red clay in the Don Valley.” They also still offer their original ‘Queen Street 501’ cider which is a favourite.

After closing their taps and dining/events spaces to the public due to COVID-19, they pivoted to include a special menu of cider and food offerings available for pick up through their takeout window.

With Toronto now in Stage 2 of opening during the COVID-19 pandemic, check out new offerings from these amazing local establishments such asCafeTO on-street patio spaces!

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The ‘Riverside BIA 40 Years, 40 Stories’ Series is part of how we’re celebrating the 40th anniversary of this incredible neighbourhood of community-builders.

FIND THE SERIES HERE AS WE SHARE NEW STORIES EACH WEEK IN 2020

DO YOU HAVE A STORY OF THE RIVERSIDE BIA? SUBMIT YOUR STORY

 

Tkaranto Past/ Tkaranto Future Mural

June marks National Indigenous History Month to honour the history, heritage and diversity of Indigenouspeoples in Canada. For the fifth feature in the Riverside BIA ‘40 years, 40 stories’ series, we are commemorating the ‘Tkaranto Past/ Tkaranto Future’ mural painted in 2017 by artists Odinamaad , in partnership with Chief Lady Bird  and Dave Monday Oguorie. They developed the mural concept by collaborating with Traditional Wisdom Keeper, Philip Cote and youth participants from Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre. The mural moves beyond animating the walls of Woodgreen Services’ 650 Queen Street East location, by rooting the area’s history.

Mural Artists (left to right): Odinamaad, Chief Lady Bird and Dave Monday Oguorie

 

The mural embodies that Tkaranto (Toronto) has always been considered a meeting place: first, for Indigenous nations for travel, trade, hunting and fishing, and in present day, for people who come here from around the globe to gather on the traditional territories of those who first occupied the land. Odinamaad and Chief Lady Bird shared the meaning behind the mural images:

The West-Facing Wall

Floral

Floral designs reference Anishinaabe woodland style painting, quill work on birch bark boxes and beadwork on friendship bags; also a symbol of feminine energy, growth and nurturing. Bead work is a placework marker of where different First Nations are from.

Otter

The otter is from the Ojibwe Creation Story of Turtle Island, symbolizing where everything began, the origins of the land that we are on and the sacrifices by the animals.  In that first story, the otter is a symbol of “Survivance”, representing how Indigenous peoples are staying rooted in the face of colonialism, and how art is another form of surviving, and sharing first stories.

Fish

The fish is a main form of sustenance for Indigenous peoples; and also a reference to the fish fences, also called Weirs or Mnjikaning, in Chief Lady Bird’s community of Rama First Nations and many other communities.

Water

Water is life; symbol of the three rivers in Tkaranto and the many underground rivers which have been hidden by development; it’s also a symbol of honouring the clean water we have here in Tkaranto, which many Indigenous communities do not have and there are calls to change this as access to clean water is a basic human right.

Sky Domes

These ‘sky domes’ were included at the request of a local First Nations resident for whom they held special significance in her culture. Sky domes are Haudenosaunee designs, which honour the sky world from where life became.

 Eagle

The eagle offers guidance; a symbol of connection to healing and communication with the spirit world.  Mural artist Chief Lady Bird is from the Eagle Clan.

Bear

The bear is a reference to the Big Dipper (Ursa Major) constellation representing self-sacrifice and annual cycles of renewal.

Half Moon/Half Grandmother

Reference to the ‘moon grandmother’ who has 13 cycles, teaching us how to live and what to do each month.

Lady Slipper

A symbol of persistence to care for people as it is a reference to the story of Lady slipper: a young girl who went to fetch medicine for her people. On her journey her feet became frozen and bleeding. She passed away but where her blood fell lady slipper flowers grew in the spring, becoming a source of medicine for her people.

Woman + Child

The baby in this depiction is strapped into a cradleboard which is a traditional protective baby-carrier that safeguards the infant and makes them able to be placed at eye level so they can see and experience the structure, ownership and learnings within the family; references a different viewpoint, as well as creation of bonds between peoples.

Spirit Connection

The west wall has an overarching spirit connection (yellow lines) starting from the cradle board that links back throughout the mural; symbolic of a prayer toward the next generation of youth.

The South-Facing Wall

Birch Bark Baskets

Birch bark baskets are used for many purposes such as drying fish, and safekeeping berries, and are used around river sides in communities; a symbol of abundance where there is unity.

Thunder Birds

The thunder birds protect us and bring cleansing with the rain, keeping dark spirits down; they symbolize clashes with underwater forces.

Rabbit

The Trickster ‘nanaboozhoo’ is a benevolent being, sometimes taking the form of a rabbit, the co-creator of everything; ‘boozho’ is also a greeting for ‘I see you’, acknowledging and giving credit to the creators.

Eagle Feather

The eagle feather is the highest honour you can receive, based on contribution to the community, given from one Indigenous person to another. The Tkaranto skyline provides a contemporary connection whereby the feather becomes your medicine and symbolizes the enduring Indigenous presence here in Tkaranto.

The mural is part of the Riverside public art self-guided walking tour, check out the other stops on the tour!

READ THE FULL ARTISTS’ STATEMENT ABOUT THE MURAL:

Tkaranto has always been considered a meeting place. First, for Indigenous nations who have gathered here to travel, trade, hunt and fish. And now, in present day, for people to gather here from around the globe on the traditional territories of those who first occupied the land.

The land has always been known to guide us physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally. Through this holistic lifestyle our ancestors are able to guide us through struggles and instill teachings and guidance to help us find the kindness in our path and hearts to heal ourselves and find balance. As a people, we are hurting. There are many young people suffering from depression as a repercussion of the continued effects of colonialism. In addition, there is both a water crisis and suicide epidemic impacting many First Nations communities within Canada. With all of this in mind, this mural aims to foster pride and hope and depicts hopeful metaphors alongside historic symbols surrounding our urban dwelling, such as the eagle feather – a sacred item for our people.

Public art that positively represents First Nations histories, contemporary living and imagined futures, is a way for us to smudge positive energy over our communities. This mural integrates traditional practices of this area, such as the use of fish racks, star knowledge and matriarchal family structures. By sharing this imagery with the people of Toronto, we are all able to keep the true history of Canada alive and acknowledge the enduring Indigenous presence on this land. Traditionally, this bounty was shared. This is what we are trying to do right now; exhibiting and sharing the bounty of Indigenous energy and culture – making space for Indigenous youth to have a voice and retrace their ancestors’ way of life.

Public art that shares Indigenous stories not only shares this history with our own peoples, but it also enables us to share with others as well. We hope to move toward a healthier and more holistic future that respects mother nature in a more sustainable manner so that we can provide for future generations like our ancestors did before us.

Thank you to Mural Supporters

This was a Cultural Hotspot SPARK project made possible in part by the Government of Canada, City of Toronto, StreetARToronto, the Government of Ontario, and Riverside BIA.  Thank you also to Woodgreen Community Services and Sherwin Williams.

The ‘Riverside BIA 40 Years, 40 Stories’ Series is part of how we’re celebrating the 40th anniversary of this incredible neighbourhood of community-builders.

FIND THE SERIES HERE AS WE SHARE NEW STORIES EACH WEEK IN 2020

DO YOU HAVE A STORY OF THE RIVERSIDE BIA? SUBMIT YOUR STORY

 

Ramping up the Arts in Riverside

If you’ve been into the Riverside Arts Market at 790 Queen Street East since it opened in February of 2016, then you’ve likely seen the ramp painting that features the iconic Queen Street Viaduct, referred to by locals as the Riverside Bridge.

Painted by local artist Christine Miller (www.millerart.ca) in 2016 shortly after Riverside Arts Market opened, the ramp pays homage to local history while also shining a light on local art. The piece was commissioned by Arts Market owner, Daniel Cohen, who noticed that there were many young families with strollers in the neighborhood and saw that a ramp featuring art would benefit the community. By 2016, this was Daniel’s third Arts Market location (Leslieville Arts Market opened in 2011 and College Arts Market opened in 2013) and having already rented space to hundreds of local vendors and artists, he knew that working with Christine would inspire artists and creatives in Riverside.

Studying the bridge closely in person & taking photos for reference, artist Christine Miller sketched out her plans for the ramp. Over the course of 9 hours in the evenings when the Market was closed, she painted the ramp with porch and floor paint, then adding sand (for grip) and sealant, knowing that it would be well traversed in the years to come. Christine was recently surprised at how well the ramp had held up with over one-hundred-and-thirty-thousand people walking on it over the course of four years!

To see this unique piece of art and works from many other Toronto vendors, visit Riverside Arts Market today! The Arts Market went completely online for the first couple of months during COVID-19 but now both the Riverside (790 Queen St E) and Junction Arts Markets (2978 Dundas Street East) have reopened for shopping from 11am-6pm daily. Support the over 150 local artistic entrepreneurs that sell their products at the Arts Market. Find them online at www.artsmarket.ca.

Robbie and Lindsay at the Riverside Arts Market during COVID-19 (June 2020)

 

The ‘Riverside BIA 40 Years, 40 Stories’ Series is part of how we’re celebrating the 40th anniversary of this incredible neighbourhood of community-builders.

FIND THE SERIES HERE AS WE SHARE NEW STORIES EACH WEEK IN 2020

DO YOU HAVE A STORY OF THE RIVERSIDE BIA? SUBMIT YOUR STORY

A Telltale Sign of Riverside: Ron Fletcher’s Riverside Gallery and the Riverdale ArtWalk

As part of our ‘Riverside BIA 40 Years, 40 Stories’ series we’re pleased to share this story from Toronto’s Riverside neighbourhood.

Stories can come from unexpected places and sometimes now innocuous things have a deeper history, waiting to be told. Look at 808 Queen Street East, a space that has not been used as a commercial storefront for many decades. However, the mysterious but lasting Riverside sign on its facade remains as a reminder of the space’s legacy from the 90s involving some of Riverside’s local movers and shakers.

Ron Fletcher, the co-founder and first President of the Riverdale Historical Society, took us on a trip down the memory lane, sharing, “Stan Jones and I were business partners in Riverside Gallery, an art gallery and bookstore that we ran in the late 90s.”

Ron – who is also a historian, author, and a former Chair of the Riverside BIA – recalled Stan’s contribution to the creation of the sign. He said, “Stan designed the script and made the sign himself out of solid wood, using woodworking tools. The sign was in two pieces that Stan joined and then hung above the door on the front of the building.”

There’s a lot more to the story though: Ron himself also played a significant role as BIA Chair in renaming the original ‘Queen-Broadview Village BIA’  to ‘Riverside BIA’. Talking about that Ron says, “We chose the name Riverside because it was the historic name of the community until 1884, when it voted to join the city of Toronto.” The name Riverside can be seen on 1880s historic maps in the Toronto archives, along with neighbouring Leslieville.

Ron’s contributions to the BIA have continued over the years, as a tour leader of Riverside history, architecture and film & TV tours in partnership with the Riverside BIA through Doors Open Toronto, and Heritage Toronto.

Yet another important contribution of Ron and Stan was the Art Studio Tours they ran in their first few years of business with the Riverside Gallery. The tours eventually morphed into the Riverdale ArtWalk.

Now, in its 22nd year, the Riverdale ArtWalk is a public fine art exhibition which has been voted the best outdoor art show in Toronto. Until this year, the ArtWalk has been a free two-day public fine art exhibition at Jamie Simpson Park and Recreation Centre. In the current time of COVID-19, the Riverdale ArtWalk is launching as a virtual online art show running June 6th-30th! There will be over 2000 original pieces of art to enjoy and purchase, all from the safety of your own home. Find the perfect piece to add some beauty to your space.

With lots of Riverside businesses now open, don’t miss taking a physically distant stroll down to the Riverside sign at 808 Queen E, and check out some nearby shops such as the famed Arts Market and tons of great local takeout. A big thanks to Ron and Stan for all their community contributions and thank you for supporting local!

 

The ‘Riverside BIA 40 Years, 40 Stories’ Series is part of how we’re celebrating the 40th anniversary of this incredible neighbourhood of community-builders.

FIND THE SERIES HERE AS WE SHARE NEW STORIES EACH WEEK IN 2020

DO YOU HAVE A STORY OF THE RIVERSIDE BIA? SUBMIT YOUR STORY