Giving Back with Light Up Riverside: Meet our Charitable Partner & Host Fontbonne Ministries

Light Up Riverside, the Riverside BIA’s annual holiday event, will once again enliven the community with festive lights, live choir music, warm refreshments, and lots of cheer! The fun festivities are happening on Saturday, November 30th, from 5pm to 7pm in the Mustard Seed Courtyard of Fontbonne Ministries.

A long-time host of Light Up Riverside, Fontbonne Ministries’ Mustard Seed courtyard has always been a fitting place for the festivities as it’s all about caring and community. Their mission is “to be a welcoming space — where your life skills can grow, where your creative energies can be unleashed, where imagination, playfulness, and beauty can be celebrated, where your self-worth, dignity, healing, wholeness and spirituality can flourish, and above all, where community is nourished”.

The charity was founded in 2000 by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto. Fontbonne Ministries’ Mustard Seed location in Riverside offers diverse programs that are welcoming and inclusive.  Some of their programs include:

  • The Good Food Market: affordable, fresh and local produce – Thursdays year round from 2pm-5:30pm
  • Community Kitchen: Delicious, nutritious, affordable meals prepared and shared in community.
  • Nifty Knitters: Learn to knit and crochet or work on your own project.
  • Crafts and Sewing: Opportunities for creativity; supplies provided.
  • Spiritual Spas, Special Events and Workshops
  • Community Garden Plots

This year we are welcoming donations toward our host and, as an extra incentive to give generously, there’s a chance to win a gift basket donated by our Light Up Riverside co-sponsor Dianna Kennedy of RE/MAX Hallmark Realty!

Meet our hosts at Light Up Riverside! Get all the details and let us know you’re coming!

A BIG thank you to our 2019 Light Up Riverside co-sponsors, Baird MacGregor Insurance Brokers LP and Dianna Kennedy RE/MAX Hallmark Realty Ltd, and to Fontbonne Ministries for hosting in the Mustard Seed Courtyard.

Get to Know Light Up 2019 Co-Sponsor: Dianna Kennedy RE/MAX Hallmark Realty

On November 30th, Riverside BIA and our co-sponsors, Dianna Kennedy RE/MAX Hallmark Realty & Baird MacGregor Insurance Brokers LP, will be hosting the annual Light Up Riverside holiday event. Light Up Riverside is a free community event that encourages everyone to come out and celebrate the holiday season with live music, photos with Santa, treats and lots of beautiful lights!

This year’s Light Up Riverside event will again take place from 5-7pm at the Mustard Seed Courtyard of Fontbonne Ministries (791 Queen Street E).

Dianna Kennedy has been an active co-sponsor of this annual event since 2017, and we are so excited to have her lend her energy and support again this year! Light Up Riverside takes place beside Dianna’s RE/MAX Hallmark Realty office.

Dianna has been a part of the Riverside community for quite some time, with 20+ years of experience in the area’s real estate,  Dianna has strong ties to the community, and especially with the Riverside BIA since becoming a member of the BIA Board of Directors in 2019. We sat down to catch up with Dianna and chat about this year’s Light Up Riverside and her involvement in the Riverside community.

What are you most looking forward to for this year’s Light Up Riverside event?

This year I’m very excited to be doing a gift basket giveaway with a value of up to $200! Entry to the draw will be free, however, I’m encouraging donations for our amazing event hosts Mustard Seed, Fontbonne Ministries. I love Light Up Riverside because it’s a fun event for people to enjoy, meet others in the community, and it is a great way to kick off the holiday season.

What does this event mean to you and your business?

This event is really important to me because it gives me an opportunity to get outside and spend a fun time with the people of this amazing community!

What is your favourite part of the holiday season?

The holidays are great because it gives people the opportunity to get together with people we don’t see as often as we would like and to spend time with friends and family.

What are some of your favourite things to do in Riverside?

The list is endless. There are so many fun things to do in Riverside, one thing I enjoy doing is going for dinner at The Broadview Hotel and hanging out at their rooftop patio. Riverside is great because there are always so many festivals and events that take place. I really enjoy the Riverside Eats & Beats Streetfest and the diversity of the neighbourhood.

Meet Dianna at Light Up Riverside! Get all the details and let us know you’re coming!

A BIG thank you to our 2019 Light Up Riverside co-sponsors, Baird MacGregor Insurance Brokers LP and Dianna Kennedy RE/MAX Hallmark Realty Ltd, and to Fontbonne Ministries for hosting again in the Mustard Seed Courtyard.

Try Limited Release Liquor Infused Coffee Beans from Riverside’s Tertulia

Introducing: Coffee Beans vs Dark Rum, Cognac and Macadamia Nut Liqueur 

Tertulia Expresso + Bar in Toronto’s Riverside neighbourhood presents their Limited Release Liquor infused coffee beans carefully selected and aged in Oak Barrels. This is a limited edition project just in time for Christmas. These are aged Oak barrels: the Rum barrels are imported from Ecuador, the Cognac barrel (the big 600L one) is from France. They are from very old but reputable cellars and purchased from an artisanal barrel company in Salt Lake City, Utah.

As we speak the green coffee beans are aging in the barrels. They’ll age for 30 days so they can absorb the aromas and flavours of the toasted oak and liquor from the barrels. At the end of 30 days we will decant them for a week. They will be freshly roasted and bottled for brewing.

Brazil X Jamaica
This barrel contains the green coffee beans of our roster’s proprietary Jamaican Blue Mountain Blend infused with Dark Rum. The final coffee will have a silky body, chocolatey aftertaste with a very delicate acidity.

Colombia X France
Tertulia’s Colombia Monteblanco coffee green beans are aging with Cognac. The result will be a svelte complex coffee with sweetness and tasting notes of pear and almond.
It has a syrupy sweet body with a silky texture and delicate tangy finish encompassed by the impactful cognac notes. The perfume when grinding this coffee fills the room beautifully.

Queen & Broadview X Hawaii
The green beans are from Tertulia’s Queen & Broadview specialty blend and we have added Macadamia nut Liqueur for its distinct and identifiable taste and character.
Tasting notes are cashew, caramel and cocoa with macadamia aroma. As a result the coffee is creamy and sweet and has a strong body that is perceptible in every cup.

Get it at all Riverside’s Tertulia Expresso + Bar @ 711 Queen Street East!


What’s in Store: Light Up Riverside and Shop the Neighbourhood on Nov 30th!

Join us for the annual Light Up Riverside and Shop the Neighbourhood on November 30! Just in time for the holidays, come out and share the warmth of the season with a little something for everyone to enjoy!

791 Queen St East

Come for a FUN evening – everyone is welcome! From 5 – 7pm, there will be warm refreshments from local businesses including apple pies from Brickworks Ciderhouse, chicken noodle soup from Opera House Grill served with bread from Blackbird Baking Co, Irish tea from Saulter Street Brewery, special liquor-infused coffee samples from Tertulia for the adults and more!

For the KIDS: holiday crafts and the opportunity to meet and get treats from SANTA and our co-sponsors Baird MacGregor Insurance Brokers LP and Dianna Kennedy of RE/MAX Hallmark. Not to mention our magical light display

It’s all happening in Fontbonne Ministries’ Mustard Seed Courtyard conveniently located at 791 Queen St E.

The evening will also feature performances by the Toronto Beaches Children’s & Youth Chorus (TBCYC)! The TBCYC “aims to promote the love of singing and the joy of drama in children and youth, committed to pursuing the highest standards both chorally and dramatically in an inclusive, supportive, and welcoming community.” Learn more about them and then come see them live at Light Up Riverside!

The event is free to the public, however, donations are being welcomed in support of Mustard Seed, Fontbonne Ministries – and our co-sponsor Dianna Kennedy will be holding a prize draw to help spread the good cheer!


From 12 – 6pm on November 30th stop by the Riverside shops all along Queen Street East from the Don Valley to Empire Avenue for meet and greets, treats, and something special to help ring in the holidays. While you’re shopping you can take part in Riverside BIA’s Scavenger Hunt to get our free Riverside tote bag!

Also, while you’re shopping don’t miss taking a snap of your favourite holiday window display and sharing on Instagram with #RiversideTO #WindowWonderland – for a chance to win a $100 gift certificate in our Window Wonderland contest – on from November 30th until December 11th!

We’ll be posting all the special happenings on our blog

After the party…comes the AFTER PARTY!

After your Light Up Riverside experience, head on down to Saulter Street Brewery Inc for a free sample to warm your heart plus lots of great locally-brewed beer and cheer!

Get all the details of Light Up Riverside and let us know you’re coming!

A BIG thank you to our 2019 Light Up Riverside co-sponsors, Baird MacGregor Insurance Brokers LP and Dianna Kennedy RE/MAX Hallmark Realty Ltd, and to Fontbonne Ministries for hosting again in the Mustard Seed Courtyard.

Experience the Indigenous & Ingenious Show and Sale in Toronto’s Riverside Nov 16/17th

Have you heard? The Indigenous & Ingenious Show and Sale will be back for its 5th year in Toronto’s Riverside. It’s all happening November 16th and 17th, 11AM-6PM at the Ralph Thornton Community Centre and features 19 Indigenous artists and artisans, including hand drumming and singing, food, and incredible art works.

Shandra Spears Bombay will do traditional hand drumming and singing at the Indigenous & Ingenious Show & Sale (pictured here at the launch of Tkaranto Past/Tkaranto Future Mural in Riverside)

An exciting show and sale this year will feature 19 brilliant Indigenous artists and artisans with authentic Indigenous goods including beadwork, paintings, antler and wood carvings and antler jewellery, moccasins, art cards, prints, gemstone jewellery, textiles, honey and beeswax candles, stained glass, leatherwork, dreamcatchers and lots more.

Chief Lady Bird Art

Artwork by Chief Lady Bird Art awaits at the Indigenous & Ingenious Show and Sale

Indigenous & Ingenious is a great place to do your holiday shopping. Tasty Indigenous food prepared by Gail King and crew is available all weekend. Admission is $5.00 and that gives you a chance to win a fabulous door prize! Everyone welcome! The Ralph Thornton Centre has an elevator and is fully accessible.