Riverside – A History of Giving Back and Investing in the Neighbourhood

map_revised_lowresRiverside and it’s BIA members a history of investing and giving back.  Over the past 30 years, BIA members have invested to better the neighbourhood. Riverside  is proud to be one of the longest running BIAs in the city of Toronto. Established over 30 years ago in 1980, this 10 block strip along historic Queen east from the DVP to just east of Degrassi,  has a long tradition of promoting and investing in our community. While the retail businesses have changed with the times, many of the current property owners have been around since the inception of the BIA and continue to invest in the neighbourhood.

A BIA is formed when both business and property owners agree to come together and invest in the neighbourhood.  They voluntarily agree to pay a levy – in addition to their taxes, mortgage or rent – specifically for the purpose of promoting and beautifying the neighbourhood.  BIA members also donate countless hours of volunteering to administer the BIA, as the BIA is run by a volunteer Board of Directors who set the budget, the strategy and the plans.  This board is responsible to each and every paying BIA member – and must hold an Annual General Meeting where the members can provide input and vote on the proposed budget and plans and priorities.

Beyond promotion and beautification – the BIA is the contact point for many communication needs – across all levels of government, neighbourhood associations and other groups.

Over the past 30 years, the Riverside BIA has invested a significant amout above and beyond any tax or individual business investment.  The BIA also spear-headed government grant applications and private investments which help to make Riverside a safe and desirable neighbourhood.  Examples of investment and improvements are: public art installations  including the 3 part installation of world renowned artist Eldon Garnet –  above the DVP bridge, the “Time” phrases on each of the 4 corners at Queen + Broadview and the Flags in the Jimmy Simpson Park.  Other examples of public art are community Murals on the degrassi bridge and at Queen + Grant.  Over the past 3 years, the BIA has been working on preserving our Urban Forest with environmentally friendly Tree Pits.  We also help improving neighbourhood safety by encouraging pedestrian traffic with the addition of decorative benches and lighting.  There is  enhanced green space with contributions to the Joel Weeks Park – and Riverside Community Gardens- opened in 2012 and the Thompson Dog Parkette in 2013.   The BIA pays for street maintenance above and beyond the city minimum standards with a weekly grafitti removal service, installation and maintenance of decorative planters and part time maintenance staff, who regularly cleans the sidewalks.

Official Lauch of Riverside Mural      Untitled

In keeping with the spirit of giving back to the neighbourhood – in 2012 the BIA adopted a charity policy where each event has a local charity partner to help increase awareness of their cause and provide a venue to raise funds. Riverside has partnered with Woodgreen, Nellies Shelter, Mustard Seed, St John’s Compassionate Mission and the Ralph Thornton Centre.


Supporting Nellie’s – Eats & Beats 2013 

In 2013 the BIA played a leadership Role in establishing the Riverside Good Food Market – to bring fresh affordable food for those in need.  The BIA dedicated  a full time volunteer to help coordinate the market while it was in operation.

Flyer colors                  01ebgfm

All of these initiatives and the community spirit that the BIA drives helps make the neighbourhood safe and desirable.

Matt & Ben Proudly Lighting up Riverside


Matt and Ben are dedicated community guys, and putting on a holiday event which brings together the East End Community is a way for them to give back to this great community that they are a part of.

A big part of buying a home is also about loving the community you’ll be in. Matt and Ben recognize this, and the importance of giving back, and Riverside and the East End is such a great community that they are delighted to be a part of.

Matt and Ben are a dynamic duo, whose different skillset are truly complementary, making them so successful at finding the perfect space for their clients

Matt and Ben use their extensive network of contacts, unique marketing experience, technology expertise, and real estate knowledge to help their clients purchase or sell their homes. They are interested in servicing all real estate needs, although they specialize in the Greater Toronto Area. When you hire Matt and Ben, you get a team for the same price as a single agent elsewhere – for twice the value. They are full-time realtors, working hard for their clients with complete and total focus.

Matt and Ben recognize the importance of relationships, and their client’s happiness is their #1 concern and they are committed to establishing a relationship with their clients that will last a lifetime.

Explore Riverside Neighbourhood and get walking!

Walking is directly correlated with better health, a lighter environmental impact, cost-efficient living, and an overall better quality of life. So, go for a walk this week in one of Canada’s most walkable cities, according to Walk Score’s and rate your walkability in the one of TO’s hidden walkable neighbourhood gems –  Riverside.

Walk Score, a Seattle-based company that computes the “walkability” of addresses across North America; it has revolutionized the way people think about how their neighbourhoods and communities are designed. It’s the first standardized yardstick for quantitative rankings of walkability.

Jane's walk image

Jane’s Walk in Riverside

Saturday, 26th October Riverside will be promoting Toronto’s walkability, with 9 unique walking tours,  plus there is a host of different Halloween fun including Jimmy Simpson’s Park Haunted House, Nell & Natasha’s Annual Pumpkin Give Away and Fun Kid’s activities by our charity partner Ralph Thornton Center.

In keeping with promoting walkability, Riverside partnered with Jane’s Walk.  Jane’s Walk promotes a festival of neighbourhood walking tours on the first weekend of May. The tour was named after urban activist and writer Jane Jacobs to celebrate her ideas and legacy by getting people out exploring their neighbourhoods through locally led walking tours.


Jane Jacobs at the White Horse Tavern in 1961 (Credit: Cervin Robinson)

This year Jane’s Walk have encouraged Jane’s Walks to occur throughout the year outside of the Festival May weekend – and the Riverside WalkFEST teamed up to be a series of showcased walks.


An example of a Jane’s Walk during the festival weekend

When it comes to making improvements to the livability and vibrancy of neighbourhoods, people are often isolated or unaware of others who may share their interests. Jane’s Walk helps bridge these gaps and encourages people to explore the sidewalks they use for the basic tasks of daily life – tasks like shopping, getting to school and work.

To register on one of the walk, go to: https://riversidewalkfest2013.eventbrite.com

Riverside WalkFEST was possible due to generous sponsorship from Streetcar.

Get A Fresh Look At The Medicines Growing In Your Own Back Yard!

Ever wonder if plants that you consider “weeds” and any use, or if there were plants in you own backyard that could heal you?

Well, look no further. On Oct. 26th at 12pm, Riverside’s local herbalist – Danette Steele – will take you on a walking tour to discover that there are actually a lot of medicinal plants literally right in front of you. Many everyday local plants have a lot of healing properties… and Danette, who also has her practice with Oma Chiropractic, loves to share plant wisdom with people to encourage safe and effective self-care using herbal medicine

On the Medicinal Plant Walk some of the wild plants that you will see and talk about are: Dandelion, Burdock, Plantain, Yellow dock, and Red clover. Plus, you’ll get the medicinal down low on everyday herbs that you have in your kitchen and backyard.


An insiders Surprise medicinal weed is…. The pervasive Dandelion. This plant is awesome – it is known as the plant of survival / survivors!! The root is a great tonic for the digestive system and the liver; the leaf is a mild bitter – also a liver tonic. The leaf is a diuretic and encourages elimination through the kidneys, and Dandelion is included in combination remedies for skin problems, for aching joints and gout.


So Who is Danette?


Danette has been working as a Herbal Medicine Practitioner for many years. A recent returnee from Nova Scotia (her former home) where she taught, led plant medicine walks by the sea, harvested plants for medicine at organic farms, and made root medicines in a local clinic.

She has clinical practice where she meets with people who want to work with her to develop treatment plans using whole herbs and nutrition for wellness. She works through Oma Chiropractic and the Centre for Social Innovation, in addition to her Halifax Clinic

Danette is also an avid city farmer, working with people using a collaborative design process to design edible gardens for food and medicine and pollinators.

Come check out this Free Medicinal Walk, with a couple of tasters along the way. Register here:  https://riversidewalkfest2013.eventbrite.com

Riverside WalkFEST was possible due to generous sponsorship from Streetcar.



Every Brick has a Story to tell…

In Riverside Toronto, there is a plethora of historic buildings and a layered history of the urban planning and development starting from before the 1800s.

Detailing of Jilly's brick

Detailing of Jilly’s brick

Ever wonder how certain buildings were built? How did people build structures without contemporary tools? Are there reasons why you see an abundance of some materials over others, and most intriguingly, what are the politics and back stories behind what was built in riverside, and what never ended up materialising. 

Scadding Cabin Plaque

Scadding Cabin Plaque

This Walk is a collection of stories behind the urban planning that shaped both Riverside and had an impact on the wider city of Toronto. From Toronto’s first house – Scadding Cabin – gracing the Riverside boundary, the Opera House being a vaudeville hot spot, the artisanal process of making the signature Riverside bricks, to the development to Don Mount Court/Rivertowne community – Canada’s first mixed-income development.


The Opera House – former Vaudeville Haunt

This fascinating walk will be led by two knowledgeable East-siders:

Adrian Lightstone, local resident, engineering/architectural economist, and overall urbanist, he has contributed to Spacing Magazine, The Globe and Mail, and Toronto Star on urban planning related issues.

Edward Keenan is the author of “Some Great Idea: Good Neighbourhoods, Crazy Politics and the Invention of Toronto” and writes columns about city politics, planning and life for The Grid, The Toronto Star, and Spacing. He spent his childhood living in Riverside.

Space is limited. Register now and get inspired: https://riversidewalkfest2013.eventbrite.com

Riverside WalkFEST was possible due to generous sponsorship from Streetcar.