THANK YOU: Riverside Eats Virtually!

‘Riverside Eats’ marked a milestone as the Riverside BIA’s first virtual event! ​ ​The event did double duty of showcasing some of the incredible restaurants and ​chefs right here in Riverside​,​ while raising money for an amazing local caus​e!​ We had an ​fantastic team of ​volunteer ​professionals giving time to make this an event a success​,​ along with our amazing technician who pulled it all together seamlessly. We had a wonderful and very ​enthusiastic audience​,​ and loved every minute​ of the experience!​ Thank you to everyone for helping raise a​round $1,000 for Mustard Seed, Fontbonne Ministries local food program here in Riverside!!​ Please see our website for for THANK YOU credits to all those who supported this event.​

Please find the links below to ​the full recording of the Riverside ​Eats event to watch at your l​leisure and all the incredible short restaurant videos​ with summer recipes so you can follow along, as well as the heart-warming video showcasing the incredible work of our charitable partner!

ENJOY:

​*Riverside Eats (Full Event Recording – Video)
*Riverside Eats: Eastbound Brewing Co (Video)
*Riverside Eats: Est Restaurant (Video)
*Riverside Eats: Tabule (Video)
*Riverside Eats: Punjabi By Nature (Video)
*Riverside Eats: Food Program at  Mustard Seed, Fontbonne Ministries Food Program (Video)

RIVERSIDE EATS CREDITS – THANK YOU!!!

Riverside Businesses: 
Est Restaurant – Chef Sean and  Chef Reece
Tabule Middle Eastern Cuisine – Diana and Chef Rony
Eastbound Brewing Co – Dave and Chef Tara
Punjabi By Nature  – Lucky and Chef Manmeet
Irish Design House – Sinead
La Carnita Riverside – Jay

Our Charitable Partner

Fontbonne Ministries, Mustard Seed – Elizabeth and AnnMarie

 Our Event Partners and Hosts

Jon and Cheryl from J & C Toronto Real Estate
Lars from Laughing Vikings

 Riverside BIA & Marketing Committee Members

Jennifer, Mona, and Ria from the BIA virtual office
Dave from Eastbound Brewing Co
Kris from the Jam Factory TO
Dan from Chiasson Homes

Video Production

J & C Toronto Media

Graphic Design

Geo Conidis

 Technical Support

Guillermo Subauste

*Thank you to the City of Toronto BIA Innovation Fund for helping make this project possible.*

Girls Mural Camp 2020 in Riverside

Girls Mural Camp 2020 officially got underway in mid-August 2020 and wrapped up on August 28! Coordinated by East End Arts and led by professional street artists Bareket Kezwer and Monica Wickeler, Girls Mural Camp (GMC) is an opportunity for youth who identify as girls, young women, female or non-binary to explore the history and practice of street art, and to co-create a large street mural together. Campers went through an incredible ‘in-class’ learning experience, and then took their ideas and skills to the streets to work on a real mural creation.

Big thank you to  lead artists, @bkez & @monicaonthemoon, for leading the youth campers through this exciting mural program and to the 10 participants who created such a unique and inspiring piece of mural art together.

Riverside BIA is so inspired by all the creativity as and attention to detail that went into the collaborative co-creation process. Kudos to all the artists who worked together to bring this vibrant and meaningful collective work of art to Riverside neighbourhood. It was a pleasure to support Girls Mural Camp 2020, thx to @cityofto @eastendartsto @omachiropractic.  Riverside BIA was proud to support this program, thanks to a grant from the City of Toronto Outdoor Mural Program.

Stay tuned for the artists statement, some final polished photos of the completed mural at 4 Munro Street (back wall), and an exciting video from @cassrudolph that captures the participants’ full mural journey!

Girls Mural Camp 2020 getting underway at East End Arts home St. Matthew’s Clubhouse!

Mural painting underway on the north-facing wall at 4 Munro

Girls Mural Camp 2020 in Riverside: Co-created mural process by an amazing team at 4 Munro

Girls Mural Camp 2020 in Riverside: Co-created mural process by an amazing team at 4 Munro

The result: "Girls Mural Camp - 2020 Mural in Riverside" on the north facing wall of 4 Munro (in the laneway)

The result: “Girls Mural Camp – 2020 Mural in Riverside” on the north facing wall of 4 Munro (in the laneway)

Extra mural work on a portion of the east facing wall of 4 Munro Street as part of "Girls Mural Camp - 2020 Mural in Riverside"

Extra mural work on a portion of the east facing wall of 4 Munro Street as part of “Girls Mural Camp – 2020 Mural in Riverside”

The girls even left a little extra for the neighbours, so lovely!!

Humans of Riverside: OMAR’s Story

“I was raised by a single mom who showed us how to be together despite our differences. And, as with my family in Afghanistan, I believe we can be strong and successful when we put aside our differences and work together.” 

Omar Barakzay

Business Owner, Pizzaiolo in Riverside

His Story:

My story begins in Kabul, Afghanistan. As a child, I grew up in a country that was peaceful. Like many other children around the world, I went to school, played soccer with my friends after school and visited family members. It was as normal a life as anyone could ask for.

But all this changed in 1991 when the Mujahideen took over the Afghanistan government and the tribal war began. Many families lost their loved ones and I lost close friends who I had gone to school with, played soccer with and whose families were friends with mine.

My family and I were stuck in our basement for six months during the war. We barely had enough to eat but invited many of our neighbors to stay with us because our basement was safer from rocket attacks and thieves at nights. For six months we helped each other to survive and we got to know the true meaning of family as we huddled together, helping each  other to survive the evil we faced.

Finally, we managed to escape into the darkness one night. It was 1 a.m., the sky was moonless and there were dead bodies everywhere. We all ran together and stayed together, leaving no one behind. We survived by staying together and believing in each other.

Today, we face many challenges due to COVID-19 and some of us have lost our jobs, businesses and loved ones. It’s sad, but we believe that after every darkness there is light.

In Canada, we are of different colours, we come from different cultures, have different religious practices and political views, but it is time to put our differences behind and to become one family.

We have a saying in Afghanistan: “You have five fingers and all of them are brothers, but they are different.”

If you make a fist with your five fingers, they become one and strong. The moral of this is that we need to become one and support our communities, our cities, and our country.

Now is the time to care for one another to survive for the future.

Making Space: Art by Bareket Kezwer and Yshmael Cabana accompanying Omar's story on the Queen St window at 1 Munro Street

Making Space: Art by Bareket Kezwer and Yshmael Cabana accompanying Omar’s story on the Queen St window at 1 Munro Street

About the Humans of Riverside: Giving Voice and Making Space for BIPOC” Storytelling Series:

The Riverside BIA – located along Toronto’s Queen Street East from the iconic bridge over the Don River to just past De Grassi St – is proud to celebrate diversity and inclusiveness with this story-telling series.

The project launched in summer 2020 as part of the Main Street Art Challenge and collaborated with writer and editor Grace Cameron, artists Bareket Kezwer ( @bkez ) and Yshmael Cabana (@_yshyshysh) to bring public art and launch this story-telling series in partnership with local businesses in the Riverside BIA. This project is supported by @STEPSInitiative as part of their Main Street Art Challenge. The story-telling project gives physical space in storefront windows for BIPOC artists, and gives voice to stories from local BIPOC community members in Riverside. Each piece of art and each story shared has a bigger meaning that connects to the local business/window and to the BIPOC community member by sharing a link/QR code to their full story online. The Main Street Art Challenge brings this new and ongoing storytelling series to life, and the art produced for the challenge will continue to live virtually beyond the Main Street Art Challenge as part of the ongoing ‘Humans of Riverside‘ storytelling initiative.

Humans of Riverside: GRACE’s Story

“My grandmother was fearless, or so it seemed, when she had a lot to be fearful of. She always found a way. Born left-handed, she learned to write beautifully with her right hand when she was punished at school for being a leftie.”

Grace Cameron

Locally-based Writer and Editor & part-time employee of RTCC in Riverside

Her Story:

I think about her often.

There’s not a day that goes by that my grandmother, Melitta Elizabeth Johnson, isn’t on my mind. Gran, as we called her, was fearless, or so it seemed, when she had a lot to be fearful of. She always found a way. Born left-handed, she learned to write beautifully with her right hand when she was punished at school for being a leftie. I used to marvel at her meticulous handwriting. The perfect, slanted penmanship was a far cry from my own sloppy scribbling which I developed as a result of taking notes while interviewing others for stories.

Born an only child in the Jamaican countryside and raised in the capital city of Kingston, her father was a butcher and her mother a housewife. She took on the role of mother to me and my younger brother when our parents migrated to the UK to make a better life for us all. We received the occasional parcels and packages from England, but the plane tickets to join our parents never materialized.

Her daughter’s (my mother) betrayal broke her heart, I later learned. But back then I only knew that no matter what, Gran hustled to ensure that we ate three meals a day, our school uniforms were clean and intact and at the end of every August, she took us to the bookstore in downtown Kingston to buy textbooks and school supplies. At 12, when I passed the national exam to attend a prestigious high school, she cleaned houses during the week and sold lottery tickets in smoky bars on weekends to ensure the school fees were paid and that come the first day of school I was decked out in new shoes, proper uniform, new school bag and all the textbooks that were on the lengthy booklist. She was determined that I should hold my own amongst the rich kids and the smart kids.

She endured many indignities but maintained her dignity and integrity. I was about 10 when I overheard her telling her best friend that she took a short cut on the way home from work after buying two loaves of bread with her earnings. She ran into a man who raped her and stole the rest of her money. But, she noted, he never got to take the bread because she used them as a sort of pillow so that he would not notice and steal those as well. The bread was the only food she had for me and my brother.

She didn’t realize that I overheard, and I’ll never forget that day. My heart ached.

It’s funny, I never asked about her dreams, but I don’t think migrating to Canada was on her bucket list. She made the move to give me and my brother a better life. I can only imagine how daunting that must have been. But even in the ‘strange’ new world of Toronto, Gran spoke up, spoke out and represented herself well. When I tried to retreat into my bookish world, she challenged me to get out and make friends. ‘You go to that (school) party,’ she would say, ‘and don’t be a wallflower. I don’t want to hear that you hid against the wall and didn’t speak to anyone.’

She supported my dreams, even when she couldn’t imagine where they might lead. And when the going got tough, Gran would always remind me: ‘It may be long, but it ain’t forever.

Keep going.’

Making Space: Art by Bareket Kezwer and Yshmael Cabana accompanying Grace's story on the window at 700 Queen Street East

Making Space: Art by Bareket Kezwer and Yshmael Cabana accompanying Grace’s story on the window at 700 Queen Street East

About the Humans of Riverside: Giving Voice and Making Space for BIPOC” Storytelling Series:

The Riverside BIA – located along Toronto’s Queen Street East from the iconic bridge over the Don River to just past De Grassi St – is proud to celebrate diversity and inclusiveness with this story-telling series.

The project launched in summer 2020 as part of the Main Street Art Challenge and collaborated with writer and editor Grace Cameron, artists Bareket Kezwer ( @bkez ) and Yshmael Cabana (@_yshyshysh) to bring public art and launch this story-telling series in partnership with local businesses in the Riverside BIA. This project is supported by @STEPSInitiative as part of their Main Street Art Challenge. The story-telling project gives physical space in storefront windows for BIPOC artists, and gives voice to stories from local BIPOC community members in Riverside. Each piece of art and each story shared has a bigger meaning that connects to the local business/window and to the BIPOC community member by sharing a link/QR code to their full story online. The Main Street Art Challenge brings this new and ongoing storytelling series to life, and the art produced for the challenge will continue to live virtually beyond the Main Street Art Challenge as part of the ongoing ‘Humans of Riverside‘ storytelling initiative.

Humans of Riverside: DREW’s Story

“I like eating and trying to replicate dishes from different parts of the world. I love cooking because it gives me a chance to be creative and to test myself.”

Drew Dopwell

Maintenance for Riverside BIA

His Story:

My favourite thing to do is cook.

I like to try food from all over the world and I’m grateful that I don’t have to travel far to enjoy dishes from different areas.

I like preparing and cooking food as much as I like eating. I enjoy the aroma and I like seeing the satisfied faces of people who try my creations.

Cooking inspires me to test myself and go beyond what I know. I find the whole process, from prepping to when it hits the table, soothing. However, if I had to choose my favourite ingredient, it would be pasta – of any kind. I also experiment with herbs and spices. My top picks are garlic, onion, ginger, turmeric and curry. The smell gets me every time and I’ve discovered that I can create tasty dishes when I work with these.

I learned to cook when I was young. Growing up in Hamilton, I had to rely on myself and making my own food was one of the ways I could take care of myself. I remember taking cooking classes in high school and then I took a chef’s course while attending Sir Sandford Fleming College in Peterborough.

By the time I was 19, I was a cook at the Golden Griddle chain of family restaurants in Peterborough. Since then, I’ve cooked in many venues, feeding people from every class and various backgrounds. I also like sharing food with people who are in need.

The most memorable meal I’ve prepared was Christmas dinner for 250 seniors. I was 18 at the time.

One of the lessons I’ve learned from cooking is to follow directions. Some recipes require that you follow the directions precisely.

My cooking journey continues as I’m determined to master making dough. I think that’s my biggest failure in the kitchen. I’ve been trying to perfect making Jamaican patties, not the filling, but the crusty dough.

If I could choose my last meal on earth, it would probably be pizza (made my way)

Making Space: Art by Bareket Kezwer and Yshmael Cabana accompanying Drew’s story on the window at 686 Queen Street East

Making Space: Art by Bareket Kezwer and Yshmael Cabana accompanying Drew’s story on the window at 682 Queen Street East

About the Humans of Riverside: Giving Voice and Making Space for BIPOC” Storytelling Series:

The Riverside BIA – located along Toronto’s Queen Street East from the iconic bridge over the Don River to just past De Grassi St – is proud to celebrate diversity and inclusiveness with this story-telling series.

The project launched in summer 2020 as part of the Main Street Art Challenge and collaborated with writer and editor Grace Cameron, artists Bareket Kezwer (@bkez) and Yshmael Cabana (@_yshyshysh) to bring public art and launch this story-telling series in partnership with local businesses in the Riverside BIA. This project is supported by STEPS Initiative (@STEPSInitiative) as part of their Main Street Art Challenge.

The “Humans of Riverside: Giving Voice and Making Space for BIPOC” story-telling project makes physical space in storefront windows for BIPOC artists, and gives voice to stories from local BIPOC community members in Riverside. Each piece of art and each story shared has a bigger meaning that connects to the local business/window and to the BIPOC community member by sharing a link/QR code to their full story online. The Main Street Art Challenge brings this new and ongoing storytelling series to life, and the art produced for the challenge will continue to live virtually beyond the Main Street Art Challenge as part of the ongoing ‘Humans of Riverside‘ storytelling initiative.