RiversideTO has what you are looking for for Valentine’s Day

Stamp happy valentine's day and i love you.

The countdown to Valentine’s is here – and you don’t have to look any further that #RiversideTO  for all your needs.


We have Chocolates, Cards, Flowers, Gifts, Wine and more that will sure to delight your sweetie.  While many restaurant seatings are filling up there are some still available.  If dining out is not on your plans, we can also help you have a special romantic dinner in.

Walk, TTC or Drive along Queen East between the DVP and Degrassi and you will find:

Chocolates and Sweets:

A visit to Chocolatier Ambiance Chocolate is a delight for everyone.  Ambiance Shown here is a box contained 24 hand-crafted chocolates (this is the box I bought for my husband…he doesn’t share!!).  Blog TO lists Ambiance Chocolate as one of the Best Chocolate Shops in Toronto.

If you are looking for something with a British Flair, then Empire the Collection has a large stock of chocolates from across the pond – and many other great gift items. Pick up a box of Chocolates for that special someone. Three sizes of Cadbury Milk Trays, Roses in Tins or Boxes, Butler’s Assorted Truffles, Thornton’s Dark Chocolate and Quality Street. EmpirevalWhile there, be sure to pick up a card for your sweetie from Keep Me Posted  keep me posted(Also on a BlogTO list for the best cards in TO).


Yummy shortbread from Mary MacLeod

If you want something other than chocolates –visit Mary MacLeod ShortBread for a tasty cookie treat – they  have a great Valentine’s Promotion on right now! Tall canisters of Chocolate Crunch, 4″ mini’s in traditional or chocolate crunch, canisters of nuts and our red gift boxes all for $10.; or Desmond and Beatrice or Petite Sweets for a cupcake masterpiece.  Check out Desmond and Beatrice’s  “Love of Mayan”  for the big day Thanks to @brookejenn for the photo.d&b

Gift Items:

Bergstrom’s Original is  fully stocked in 8 great colours of their ever-popular 3-in-1 bags! At $72, could they be the perfect gift for your Valentine?

Bergstrom's Original - 3 in  1 bag

Bergstrom’s Original – 3 in 1 bag

Or what about a unique cooking experience from Olives & Olives –  – a class on how to debone, stuff and roast a whole Chicken (this is a gift that you can also benefit from :0)

A cooking Class from Olive & Olives

A cooking Class from Olive & Olives

Perhaps find that special little number from Debbie’s Vintage Vibes or Common Sort.  Don’t forget the Wine from Wine Rack Barb-wine rack

And be sure to wrap the gift up pretty with some Ribbon from macFABsews 7-8-heart-grosgrain-ribbon


 Quince Flowers is hosting the Artist Network show – For the Love of Art.  You can pick up a one of a kind painting and some flowers.  Look at what Quince has on special:QuinceVal




Healing for the Body

OMA Chiropractic has OMA Love on Friday Feb 14th – an evening to love yourself (and your love one ) which includes:  Hand Reflexology, Shoulder and Neck Chair Massages, Tarot Card Readings, Vendors and more…all this for a $5 donation towards Nellies Shelterphoto (2)


Special Dinners in

You can get special romatic meals from:  Appetite  ; RubyEats,  Tabule.  Or, visit Butcher’s of Distinction butchersfor some an old fashioned custom cut, sourced from local farms,  from your neighbourhood butcher,


And of course – evening entertainment

Rasputins has singles night  Come drink vodka and feel happy!!!



Boots and Bourbin has Valentine’s Country Line Dancing for Lovers and Lonesome Hearts


And An Sibin Pub is having an anti-Valentines Party



So much to choose from in #RiversideTO – please visit our wonderful local merchants, surprise your sweetie and have a wonderful Valentine’s Day

Quince Flowers: What makes them unique



When you walk into Quince Flowers is such an oasis of calm and beauty, that you’re at loath to have to step back out. Quince Flowers is fantastically community oriented, recently Owner Rosie Little, voiced the necessity of promoting Second Harvest’s Hero Campaign, which the Riverside BIA is proud to support.

Quince Flowers love flowers and the possibilities they bring to creating meaning in people’s lives.  From wedding and event floral decor to an individual gift from one friend to another, to a simple purchase to animate one’s day. Flowers do it all, say it all, and it’s all good!


 We Asked Rosie what makes her love what she does

R: “I love working with flowers! It’s a privilege for me to select our stock at market in the early morning, to prepare a special bouquet for a client, to come into work every day with wonderful staff. Not only does having my own business allow me to work at what I love, it allows me to choose who I work with!  The team at Quince Flowers is phenomenal! I’m so grateful for my excellent florists.”


What makes Quince a unique/special business in its industry?

R: “We get involved with our community, fundraising for Second Harvest, Canfar, and Porridge for Parkinson’s for example.  We volunteer time and resources to the Riverside BIA and many events throughout the city. Within our industry we participating in many floral events like Canada Blooms, Spring Awakening at the Gardiner Museum, The Wedding Room show at the Arcadian, to name a few. For a small business with a staff of just 4 full-time and 2 part-time employees we are open 7 days a week, ready to serve, as well as to sell. I think our community engagement sets us apart.”

Why do you love being in Riverside?

R: “Quince Flowers has been in business for 16 years, with locations in Queen West, Corktown, The shops at Don Mills, and at Yonge and Lawrence.  I love Riverside the best because I actually live nearby.  I can walk or bike to work, my City Councillor Paula Fletcher serves me in business as well as a householder.  The business owners of Riverside are a tight, supportive group. Lunch breaks here mean an excellent meal and conversation with many friends and neighbours. I am proud that it is a community that is inclusive.”

For Second Harvest, Quince Flowers has a selection of goodies by their cash register that are free with a five dollar donation to the cause.  This week it is Saxon Chocolates, Next week is boutique seeds!

Hi-Lo: A New Riverside Local

Photo by Jesse Milns from BlogTO

Photo by Jesse Milns from BlogTO

The new Riverside watering hole, Hi-Lo is a fabulous new addition to the hood. Hi-Lo’s owners are an East End powerhouse with Riverside’s Table 17, Leslieville’s Ascari Enoteca and Gavin Holmes being the man behind the bar, who knows when you need a top up.

Paying homage, to the beloved Avro, Hi-Lo provides a low-key “where everyone knows your name” vibe, but mixes in a trendier higher brow polish. With drinks that cater to both a high and low budget and pallet with  drinks range from $5 bottles of Heineken to $13 cocktails using exotic and classic ingredients and top-rail booze.

Photo from Toronto Life

Photo from Toronto Life

Although not a formal eating establishment, Hi-Lo whets the pallet with quality, yet unpretentious tastes which include: chicken liver mousse, fried chickpeas, Superbowl-style chili, ham-and-cheese platter, a daily sandwich, pickled quail eggs, house marinated olive, and homemade pickles.

The décor is an eclectic mix with a stunning reclaimed wood table, re-purposed arcade game tables, a classic pinball machine and a funky wall photo-collage of old-school Rock legends.

So pull up, take a load off and grab a drink at the local.


Coming Together For Breakfast + Investing in Community

On Friday Morning, December 13th, An Sibin Pub, Chef Scott from Culinary Adventure Co. and the Riverside BIA are coming together to create a community fundraiser for St. John’s Compassionate Mission – a charity that also has the bakery on Broadview which acts as a social enterprise.

Deborah Baic - Globe & Mail

Picture Taken by: Deborah Baic – Globe & Mail

Since 2001 St. John’s Bakery has been one of Toronto’s finest and unique artisan bakeries that bakes  breads and sweets made with certified organic ingredients using French recipes that are over 200 years old. More than just baking exquisite bread, they also provide important skill building opportunities for those on the margins of society; they work with people on Ontario Works, people with Disabilities, people struggling with addictions, people with emotional and  mental illness, people new to Canada and single parents.

Chef Scot from Culinary Adventure leads wildly popular food tours and adventures throughout Toronto, with one of his most popular being the Riverside/Leslieville Food Tour, which stops at the St John’s Bakery. Moved by the employee stories, and the bakery’s empowering mission of helping some of societies most vulnerable to help themselves, Chef Scott felt he wanted to do more.

Last year Chef Scott, An Sibin Pub and The Riverside BIA teamed up to make this happen with the Riverside Antler Breakfast, to add some extra holiday cheer to those at St. John’s Compassionate Mission. The event was such a success, ad was a great way for the Riverside Community  businesses and residents, as well as folks from outside of the east end, to get together and share some holiday cheer.

This year, on Friday Dec 13 with 2 seatings at 8am & 10am  we will have great music by Stella Panacci, raffle prizes, a visit from Santa, and of course a hearty Irish Breakfast which has plenty of meat lovers and veggie options.

  • Scrambled Eggs,
  • Irish Links,
  • Bacon,
  • Home Fries,
  • Baked Beans (vegetarian),
  • Green salad,
  • Fruit Salad,
  • Mountain View Estates Organic Coffee, and
  • Barry’s Irish Tea complements of Empire by Bullet

We hope you can join us for this Community event.

You can get your tickets here: button-register

Mustard Seed/ Sisters of St. Joseph and Fontbonne Place – Nurturing Community for Riverside’s older generations

For all of our events Riverside businesses feel it is important to support our local charities. For Light up the Riverside on Nov 30th our local Charity is Mustard Seed/ Sisters of St. Joseph and Fontbonne Place. Read on to learn more about these dedicated organizations.

sisters of st. joseph

SISTERS OF ST. JOSEPH began in 1651 in southern France to serve the needy. The order has spread throughout the world. 4 Sisters of 4 different nationalities came to Canada in 1851 (via the U.S.) to care for victims of the Irish famine: orphans and the sick in fever sheds They went on to establish hospitals, schools, homes for the needy, addiction treatment in Toronto and across Canada, plus third–world missions.

FONTBONNE PLACE. In1999, St. Michael’s Hospital (then owned & operated by the Sisters of St. Joseph) pulled out of their satellite clinic at 791 Queen St.E. The Sisters sought what needs could be served there. Permanent safe affordable housing for women 40 to 60 was decided upon. As the zoning laws permit only 3 storeys, there are only18 one-bedroom apartments plus a 3- bedroom on the ground floor.

MUSTARD SEED. The space on the ground floor adjacent to the buildings next door and the basement were unsuitable for housing. Sister Gwen Smith, who had worked for 10 years in Parkdale in social justice (including housing, refugees, community gardens, community kitchens and wholesale food store), was invited to explore what needs might be met in this space. With the government reduced resources for social services, Sister was told not to siphon funds or resources from other services, but rely solely on support from the Sisters and their benefactors.

With encouragement from agencies like Ralph Thornton, South Riverdale Community Health Centre, Jimmy Simpson, St. Michael’s Hospital and Woodgreen a community garden, community kitchen and an art group were started. Other Sisters & friends added their talents of sewing, health care, foot care, counselling, spirituality, meditation, computer training, crafts, gentle tai chi, self-expression via writing, baking. East End Drop-in Network asked Mustard Seed to provide a drop-in in the cold weather. Mustard Seed was a founding member of the Riverdale Food Working Group, which promotes affordable nutritious food with workshops, markets and farm field trips. These activities are where the mission of Mustard Seed takes place: to nurture community!