“Riverside is ready to host the world in 2015”, claimed Mitch Korman, Chair of the Riverside Business Improvement Area (BIA) as he welcomed an impressive guest list at their AGM held on Sept 30, 2014 at the Royal Canadian Curling Club. The highlight was a special announcement by MPP Tabuns and Councillor Fletcher awarding 2 Ontario IgniteTO Grants totally $20,000 for the October 25, 2014 Riverside WalkFEST and the June 2015 Riverside Eats & Beats StreetFEST.
Councillor Fletcher and MPP Tabuns announcing Riverside IgniteTO Funding
MPP Tabuns stated ”The 2015 Games will be the largest international multi-sport event this country has ever hosted and we are proud to be part of the Host community. The Riverside BIA has a track record of community leadership and involvement and we are pleased to help Riverside embrace the Ignite 2015 status.” Councillor Fletcher, exclaimed “I’m always proud to support local businesses, and the Riverside BIA has an exceptional history of delivering signature events, like WalkFEST and Eats & Beats. This partnership with the PanAm Games is a terrific initiative to showcase this very special neighbourhood, the gateway to the east end, when the eyes of the world are on Toronto.”
In addition to BIA members, MPP Tabuns, Councillor Fletcher; senior reps from the Pan Am / Para Pan Am games and city staff in attendance including, Aaron Glynwilliams, Senior Manager, External Partnerships at Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games Organizing Committee Pan Am, James Gen Meers, Executive Director Pan Am Path, Brent Chamberlain, Chair, Pan Am Path; John Kiru; President of TABIA; Mike Major ,Marianne Szczuryk and Michael Bertuzzi from City of Toronto Economic Development & Culture; John Rishworth, Shop the Neighbourhood and more
John Rishworth, Mike Major and John Kiru at the Riverside AGM
MPP Tabuns introduced Aaron Glynwilliams who outlined the scope and legacy of the Pan Am /Parapan Am Games – with a special mention of the CIBC Athlete’s Village immediately to the East of Riverside. During the Games, over 10,000 Athletes and officials will be staying in DownTown Toronto. Riverside will be hosting thousands of visitors who want a local Toronto Flavor.
Audience watching Presentations at Riverside AGM
Councillor Fletcher welcomed Brent Chamberlain, Executive Director-Friends of the Pan Am Path. Brent, lives in Riverside and runs on the PanAm trail regularly and shared the short and long term plans for the 80+km PanAm Trail, which runs through Riverside, and has an entrance off Queen Street to the Lower Don Recreational Trail
Brent Chamberlain – Chair of the PanAm Path presenting at Riverside AGM
The Riverside BIA has been operating as Community Partner with the PanAm/ Para Pan Am games for over 4 months, having previously been awarded Ignite 2015 Community Partner Status. However, it wasn’t until last week that the BIA received confirmation that they were also awarded a grant for 2 BIA Festivals. The Riverside WalkFEST planning has been underway for several months, and are now able to significantly expand outreach and programming.
At the AGM, BIA Board members showcased their 2014 accomplishments and outlined 2015 plans which will further help Riverside host the world. Rachel Conduit, chair of the Streetscape committee presented details for the completion of the 3 year Riverside Bridge Gateway Capital Project. Rachel received unanimous approval for this plan and announced that the lighting will be installed on Oct 25th. With the Riverside Branding and wayfinding marker installed in early 2015. The project would be complete well in advance of the PanAm games. Rachel thanked the sponsors: Streetcar Development, Hullmark Development, Harhey Developments, Ashlar Urban Realty. Rachel thanked Councillor Fletcher for securing Public Realm funding and supporting the release of Section 37 funds. Rachel noted that this project would not happen without City of Toronto Economic Development and Culture project leadership and 50/50 grants and thanked Mike Major, Marianne Szczuryk and Raj Kumar.
Rick Aulier of An Sibin Pub presented the annual Riverside AGM Streetscape award of excellence. An Sibin was the winner in 2013, and was thrilled to announce there was a tie for 2014 – the recipients are – newcomer The County General, and long standing member Baird MacGregor. The County was recognized for transforming the corner of Bolton and Queen with their beautiful patio, planters and benches – all of which Bobby has designed, implemented and maintains. Beyond the exterior, just this week they installed a behind the bar mural of a historical map of the neighbourhood – please pop in and see it. Baird MacGregor has long been an anchor for the BIA’s East side. Their seasonal planters have no rival, and this past year, they remodeled their east curb side to provide ample parking space for employees and customers. Congratulations.
An Sibin provided Guiness Stew at Riverside AGM – YUMM
Marianne Szczuryk facilitated the Board Election. Chair Mitch Korman was delighted to report that 8 of the 9 board members planned to return. Returning members are: Dale Sonier, Mia Sturup, Adrienne McRuvie, Adam Meery, Rosie Little Jefarres, Aly Damji, Natasha Varjacic and Mitch Korman. Saeed Mohammed has stepped down, and Mitch thanked Saeed for his long standing service. Athena Towers-Perrin of The Opera House stepped up to replace Saeed. The members unanimously approved the new board.
Closing remarks included impromptu remarks and accolades to the Riverside BIA from Mike Majors, Manager of Economic Development and Culture. Mike claimed that “Riverside BIA is an example to all other BIA’s and they set the standard for the quality and quantity of work they do, and the community relationships” Jim Rishworth of Shop the Neighbourhood exclaimed that Riverside was “the most successful” Taste the Neighbourhood Tour during their inaugural Toronto Promotion. The Riverside Tour was the first one to sell out – and in less than 24 hours.
Mitch Korman concluded by thanking Rick Aulier and AnSibin for the delicious Guiness Stew and Curry the members enjoyed and recognized Brian McAndrew of the Royal Canadian Curling Club as our host. Brian shared with the group that on this day in 1929, the RCCC first opened. He also announced that in 2015 the RCCC will also be welcoming the world LGBT bonspiel in March, and the RCCC will proclaim for one day to have a PanAm Bonspiel for the annual Riverside BIA bonspiel. Mitch said that the BIA looks forward to this. Mitch acknowledged the tireless and outstanding efforts of Perry Lupyrypa – Executive Director and Anjuli Solanki – Marketing and Public Programs Director and adjourned the meeting.