Riverside BIA 40 Years, 40 Stories: #1 How it All Began with the Queen-Broadview Village BIA in 1980

It’s the late 1970s, several local community-minded business owners in the Riverside neighbourhood, along Queen Street East near Broadview Avenue in Toronto, had been sitting and planning around a kitchen table on many a late night. Among them was Albert Edelstein, owner of Edelstein Jewellers and Watch Makers and Jack Korman, owner of Corby’s men’s clothing store, along with a handful of others.

Mitch Korman, Jack Korman’s son and long time owner of Korman and Co. Lawyers, has been Riverside BIA’s Chair since 2005. His father Jack Korman, who passed away in April 2009, was one of the founding members of the BIA, which was the Queen-Broadview Village BIA prior to being renamed the Riverside BIA (in 2004).

Generations of Community-Builders: Mitch Korman - Riverside BIA's Chair since 2005, holds photos in front of his law firm which has the Corby's sign from his late-father Jack Korman who helped found the then Queen-Broadview Village BIA in 1980

Generations of Community-Builders: Mitch Korman – Riverside BIA’s Chair since 2005, holds photos in front of his law firm which has the Corby’s sign from his late-father Jack Korman who helped found the then Queen-Broadview Village BIA in 1980

Mitch often speaks of his father being the motivational force in his own work with the BIA  – “My first experience in the neighbourhood was working in my dad’s clothing store. I started there when I was 10 and every duty possible, I did it.” “I remember late night meetings in my house discussing the BIA. Even after (my dad) retired, he continued with the BIA because he had so much passion for the neighbourhood.”

There the original founders of this Business Improvement Area – the 12th formed in the city of Toronto and one of the first in the world  – created it as a labour of love for the community and out of a real need to collectively improve the marketing, programming and streetscape of the area.

In 1983 Kicker's the nighclub occupied what is now The Broadview Hotel. Photo Creator: Harvey R. Naylor, Date: August 31, 1983, Archival Citation: Fonds 1526, File 71, Item 18, Credit: City of Toronto Archives, www.toronto.ca/archives, Copyright was transferred to the City of Toronto by the copyright owner.

In 1983 Kicker’s the nighclub occupied what is now The Broadview Hotel. Photo Creator: Harvey R. Naylor, Date: August 31, 1983, Archival Citation: Fonds 1526, File 71, Item 18, Credit: City of Toronto Archives, www.toronto.ca/archives, Copyright was transferred to the City of Toronto by the copyright owner.

Forming a BIA in Toronto is not an easy task, it requires at least a full year’s work of advocating, meeting, and convincing every existing business and property owner to buy into the idea and agree to pay a levy on commercial property taxes. Then, the formal City of Toronto process must be followed to create and adopt a bylaw for that new BIA by the City Council. The BIA then becomes a Board of the City. This was indeed done and signed on July 21, 1980 by then Mayor John Sewell. Even today, on the 50th anniversary of BIAs in the world, there are about 90 in Toronto itself which attests to the level of commitment needed to form one.

Those countless nights sitting around the kitchen table in Riverside were out of desire to create an association of business and property owners who, for 40 years now have been working together to “make direct investments to improve business as a group” by putting budget and effort together toward “collective promotion” as well as “joint business-community festivals” and “street improvements, making the area someplace proud to do business and attractive to shop, dine and use services.” (quotes taken directly from the BIA’s early Board of Directors Meeting Minutes)

This was where the Riverside BIA began, as the Queen-Broadview Village BIA in 1980 and before long the rewards would start coming in from these hard-working community builders.

Albert Edelstein, a local jeweller and watchmaker, and one of the original founding members and Chair of the Queen-Broadview Village BIA (officially renamed the Riverside BIA in 2004), showcasing a banner and planter - early streetscape improvement efforts (1993, Photo Credit: Jack Keohane), on Queen Street East, Toronto

Albert Edelstein, a local jeweller and watchmaker, and one of the original founding members and Chair of the Queen-Broadview Village BIA (officially renamed the Riverside BIA in 2004), showcasing a banner and planter – early streetscape improvement efforts (1993, Photo Credit: Jack Keohane), on Queen Street East, Toronto

Queen-Broadview Village received an honourable mention from the Toronto BIA Association (TABIA) in 1987 for streetscape improvements in TABIA's July 1987 Edition of 'The Storefront' newsletter, Toronto.

Queen-Broadview Village received an honourable mention from the Toronto BIA Association (TABIA) in 1987 for streetscape improvements in TABIA’s July 1987 Edition of ‘The Storefront’ newsletter, Toronto.

The ‘Riverside BIA 40 Years, 40 Stories’ Series is part of how we’re celebrating the 40th anniversary of this incredible neighbourhood of community-builders.

FIND THE SERIES HERE AS WE SHARE NEW STORIES EACH WEEK in 2020

DO YOU HAVE A STORY OF THE RIVERSIDE BIA? SUBMIT YOUR STORY

Riverside BIA is looking for 40 Stories to Celebrate 40th Anniversary in 2020

The Riverside BIA is celebrating 40 Years in 2020!  First formed in 1980 by a group of local business and property owners, the Queen Broadview Village Business Improvement Area is one of the first dozen BIAs in Toronto and the world. The BIA spans Queen Street East from the Bridge (Queen Street Viaduct) to just past De Grassi Street.

In 2004, the name change to the ‘Riverside’ BIA reflected the neighbourhood’s name since the 1880s.  The BIA and business community it serves have seen many other changes over the decades – some very big news and others perhaps hidden gems.

This year to celebrate and commemorate these first 40 years, we’d like to capture and share 40 short stories of the BIA.

Riverside BIA map, Toronto

Riverside BIA is located along Queen Street east from the Bridge (at west) to Empire Ave (just past De Grassi Street)

If you are a current or past: local business or property owner, employee of a local business or organization, resident or visitor – we’d love to hear your story!

These stories will become a blog series, virtual time capsule, and self-guided Scavenger Hunt that will help locally-based folks and tourists alike get to know the Riverside BIA in 2020 and for years to come.

If you have a short story, pls share it (ideally up to 500 words plus photos) with us via this link:

SUBMIT YOUR RIVERSIDE STORY

If you prefer to call us or email us your story, please do so via: 416-466-8167 (we can help record your story) or office@riverside-to.com

You can submit your story with your name or anonymously.

We look forward to hearing about and sharing your story of Riverside!

Tips and resources to Get You Through this pandemic

Local businesses are taking extra precautions to ensure your health: call ahead and ask, order online, buy a gift certificate to redeem when things settle down, or maybe ask a friend to pick up items. Let’s not forget this is a strong resilient community that can rely on each other.

Let’s all encourage each other to wash hands, clean surfaces regularly & check up on the most vulnerable around you.

Find local service providers, variety & discount stores, and activities near you on our online directory for your Go-to Local List: www.riverside-to.com/business-directory/

Below are articles you may find helpful:

1) The Ontario Curriculum: Elementary: Want to ensure your kids don’t fall too behind while away from School for 3 weeks; here’s a link for The Ontario Curriculum: Elementary as well as a list of Policy and Resource Documents for the Ontario Curriculum: Elementary is available,

2) The family lockdown guide: how to emotionally prepare for coronavirus quarantine,

3) Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Awareness resources from Public Health Ontario; Infographics & fact sheets,

4) Planning a Local Event? Risk-informed decision-making for mass gatherings during COVID-19 global outbreak.

New Park + New Name = Riverside Common

Riverside Common, Riverside neighbourhood , Toronto

A message from Councillor Paula Fletcher – Ward 14,Toronto-Danforth:

Welcome to Riverside Common!

The new park coming to Riverside Square at 667 Queen St. East was officially named at Toronto & East York Community Council.

While Riverside Common fulfills the parkland requirement for the Riverside Square Development it will function more as a plaza and public space for the neighbourhood with opportunities for many kinds of community uses.

This name recognizes our special east end neighbourhood. Thank you to everyone who signed the petition last year.

Current Timeline: Construction is expected to start this Summer.

Congrats to Nellie’s Coldest Night of the Year Walk in Toronto’s Riverside on $52.7K Raised!!

It’s cold out there and some of the most vulnerable among us experience that more than others.

On Saturday, February 22, 2020, Riverside neighbourhood took part in the Coldest Night of the Year (CNOY), a nation-wide family-friendly walk to raise money for charities serving hungry, homeless and hurting people in our community.

In Toronto’s Riverside neighborhood, the walk was hosted by Nellie’s Shelter to raise much needed funds.

The event was a huge success with:

*20 Team Captains
*94 Walkers
*43 Volunteers
*7 Sponsors
*9 Goods & Services Sponsors
*$52,000 raised for Nellie’s

We surpassed our goal of $25,000 by 211%. WHOOO HOOOO!

Check out this amazing video of the experience:

Big thanks to local husband and wife real estate team, Jon and Cheryl of J & C Toronto Real Estate Team, for donating their time and skills to produce this incredibly moving video. www.jandcrealty.com