Riverside Antler Breakfast Raises Funds Each Year for the Year-Round Rivertowne Breakfast Program

Each year, on a Friday in mid-December, businesses and community come together for the Annual Riverside Antler Breakfast: join your neighbours at the crack of dawn for some hearty eats, great company, fun entertainment and of course, your antlers – all in support of a good cause! It all happens at The Ralph Thornton Community Centre (765 Queen E, 2nd Fl). This amazing charitable event is organized and supported by the Riverside BIA, Toronto Food Tours, The Ralph Thornton Community Centre, and the Rivertowne Safety 1st group. This year the fun is happening on Friday, December 13th.

Proceeds of the Riverside Antler Breakfast support The Rivertowne Breakfast Program, providing a hot breakfast to youth, families and anyone in need every Friday, year-round!

About the Rivertowne Breakfast Program

The Rivertowne Breakfast Program is championed by Rivertowne Safety 1st, a resident collective comprised of Toronto Community Housing women leaders dedicated to making a positive impact in their community. The Breakfast Program runs every Friday, year-round, to provide children, youth and families in the neighbourhood with a free, warm breakfast. It also aims to bring people in the Rivertowne community together regardless of their family’s income level and give them something to look forward to while building a sense of community. This program is supported by a variety of community partners including Ralph Thornton Community Centre, Riverside BIA, and Toronto Food Tours. The program runs in Rivertowne on Friday mornings, 7am-11am, at 50 Matilda Street, Toronto.

Children enjoying the Rivertowne Breakfast Program, Riverside, Toronto

Children enjoying the Rivertowne Breakfast Program, Riverside, Toronto

The Riverside Breakfast Program began in 2012, and was funded entirely by Rivertowne residents, the majority of who belong to low-income households. The program initially served 28 residents, mostly youth. Since then, the program has grown to provide a warm breakfast to close to 80 residents and is supported by local fundraising efforts. Of the participants in the Breakfast Program, 60% are youth (13-29), 20% are children (0-12), 10% are people with disabilities and 10% are seniors.

The weekly cost to host this program once a week (Friday mornings) is under $200, or less than $3 per person. The program is a way for the community to come together to ensure that vulnerable members of the community, particularly children and youth are provided with a healthy breakfast and social connections.

A healthy breakfast is provided every Friday at the Rivertowne Breakfast Program, Riverside, Toronto

A healthy breakfast is provided every Friday at the Rivertowne Breakfast Program, Riverside, Toronto

A number of participants are seniors and people with disabilities, who often face barriers to regular employment, or are on fixed incomes. This breakfast enables them to connect with their community while also receiving a nutritious breakfast. The weekly breakfast typically includes pancakes, turkey bacon, eggs, bagel, cheese, milk, and orange juice. A diversity of cultures benefit from the Rivertowne Breakfast Program, furthering the important goal of bringing people in the community together.

What do people say about the program?

“The program is very helpful because as a single mom, I know my child is getting a healthy, hot meal”- N

“I have 5 kids and my 6-year old child is diabetic, making it very important to get the healthy meals that the program offers.”- F

“I’m a single mom of three kids, and am attending college. The program helps me and my kids to get a good meal before they go to school, it takes away the worry.” -J

“Friday morning is less stress for me. Me and my kids get up and go to aunty Joan to eat breakfast.” F

“Friday is a family day for me. It’s a blessing.” F

“Friday is a nutritious day for me. Usually, I eat just cereal.” A

“I look forward to Friday, breakfast is great! Normally I would not eat at all!” J

“I look forward to meeting people in the building.” And good eats.” T

“The breakfast program and Joan is the heart of Rivertowne, it keeps the community together, everyone is always welcome. “ J

“It’s always better for me to have breakfast here. Especially when I cannot go outside with my wheelchair.” CH

“Thank you for this idea. It’s very helpful for everyone here including me. A blessing.” B

“This program is very reliable, brings the community together and helps families and children. It saves us time every Friday and the service is fantastic.” N

“I love coming to breakfast and appreciate getting woken up for it.” S

“Everyone is so friendly. And I see my long-time friend.” S

Here are ways you can support the Rivertowne Breakfast Program

Riverside BIA Shines in TABIA Awards & Congrats BIA Co-Chair Mitch Korman!

The Annual Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) recognizes outstanding efforts by Toronto BIAs and their members.

Riverside BIA is proud this year to be the recipient of the Branding Award for vibrant branding efforts over the past year. A huge thanks to the Riverside BIA Board, Marketing Committee, Streetscape Committee, and our graphic designer Geo Conidis at geocdesign!

Riverside BIA branding

Examples of Riverside BIA branding efforts over 2018-19: Magazine, Hydro Pole Wraps, Website, Hydro Pole Banners to name a few!

Riverside BIA receives the 2019 Branding Award from TABIA - Left to Right: Chair of TABIA, Jennifer Lay - Executive Director of Riverside BIA, Geo Conidis - Graphic Designer for Riverside BIA, Mitch Korman- Riverside BIA Co-Chair

Riverside BIA receives the 2019 Branding Award from TABIA – Left to Right: Chair of TABIA Maureen Sirois, Jennifer Lay – Executive Director of Riverside BIA, Geo Conidis – Graphic Designer for Riverside BIA, Mitch Korman- Riverside BIA Co-Chair

We are also particularly proud to share that our long time Board Chair (Chair since 2005, Co-chair since 2018), Mitch Korman of Korman & Company is the recipient of a the TABIA Michael Comstock, Community Builder Award. We’re putting the spotlight on Mitch’s long history with the BIA which began with his father Jack Korman, and his achievements with the Riverside BIA – it’s dedicated BIA members like Mitch who make this an amazing community to be a part of!

Mitch 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 initially known as the Queen-Broadview Village BIA prior to being renamed the Riverside District BIA.

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.”

He understands and exemplifies the importance of community volunteerism and leadership and their importance to the BIA. In 2013, he implemented the annual Jack Korman Volunteer award for outstanding community spirit and longstanding volunteer contributions – in his father’s legacy.

Mitch Korman, Riverside BIA Chair at 2015 Riverside Bridge Lighting Project Unveiling, 2015, Toronto

Mitch Korman, Riverside BIA Chair at 2015 Riverside Bridge Lighting Project Unveiling, 2015, Toronto

Mitch also helps bring grand visions to reality – most notably the Riverside Bridge Lighting Project, a 3-year capital improvement project completed in 2015 which was a dream of Mitch’s for over 10 years.  In 2012, Mitch was instrumental in extending the Riverside BIA boundaries to include the Queen St Viaduct (dubbed the Riverside Bridge), recognizing that it would be prudent for the BIA to officially include the bridge and ancillary properties as the BIA was embarking on the Riverside Gateway Bridge project.    This project with the City was both a branding and beautification plan for Riverside’s Western gateway through a high impact bridge lighting and public art way-finding initiative.  This project has become an iconic symbol of Riverside and Toronto, and entry point to Toronto’s East End.

Mitch also helped envision the Riverside Magazine – creating a professional magazine as a vehicle to help promote the community.  To get it started in 2012, Mitch was very active with helping secure advertisers and sponsors to get the magazine launched. Today it is glossy, beautiful and successful.

Riverside BIA Board of Directors, staff and community members with the Riverside Magazine, 2017

Riverside BIA Board of Directors, staff and community members with the Riverside Magazine, 2017

He has an entrepreneurial approach to promoting Riverside – Mitch was an advocate of supporting food tour companies – including Chef Scott Savoie’s popular Toronto Food Tours – who are key partners in many of Riverside’s popular signature events, as well as hotel concierges.

Mitch is always an advocate when important city infrastructure work is being done in Riverside.  During the 2014 TTC Track work, with his support, the BIA requested financial assistance from the City of Toronto to run promotions and events during the summer to help encourage local residents to shop and dine in Riverside.

He’s generous with his time and involves his family – acting as spokesperson at many of the BIA’s annual events, including Riverside Eats & Beats Streetfest, Wine & Craft Beer Fest, Light Up Riverside and more. He stresses the importance of taking the time to welcome new businesses to the neighbourhood and recognize business contributions and helping form long-lasting connections which support the BIA.

Mitch Korman with Councillor Paula Fletcher and CEO & President Philomena Comerford at Baird MacGregor Insurance Brokers LP's new Facade Unveiling, 2017

Mitch Korman with Councillor Paula Fletcher and CEO & President Philomena Comerford at Baird MacGregor Insurance Brokers LP’s new Facade Unveiling, 2017

His vast experience is beneficial when embarking on important, necessary and difficult work that help the Riverside BIA stand out.

Congrats to Mitch Korman and the Riverside BIA as a whole for amazing work!!

Mitch Korman, Riverside BIA Co-Chair receives the 2019 Michael Comstock - Community Builder Award

Mitch Korman, Riverside BIA Co-Chair receives the 2019 Michael Comstock – Community Builder Award from TABIA Chair Maureen Sirois

Riverside BIA Chair Mitch Korman thanks TABIA Executive Director John Kiru for the Award, 2019

Riverside BIA Chair Mitch Korman thanks TABIA Executive Director John Kiru for the Award, 2019

Many thanks to Riverside BIA current and past Executive Directors, Jennifer Lay, Anjuli Solanki, and Perry Lupyrpka for contributing to this article.

Thank You + Photos: Light Up Riverside 2019

We celebrated the warmth of Toronto’s Riverside neighbourhood this past Saturday, November 30th with our annual tree lighting and cheer event Light Up Riverside! As always it was a fun event full of great moments and it was inspiring to once again see the Mustard Seed Courtyard, Fontbonne Ministries packed with families, smiling faces, and it was lovely meeting and catching up with so many of our neighbours and friends.

BIG THANKS to our 2019 Light Up Riverside co-sponsors: BIA members Baird MacGregor Insurance Brokers LP who served up hot drinks and warm smiles and Dianna Kennedy RE/MAX Hallmark for the amazing gift basket prize!

THANK YOU:

*To our hosts, Fontbonne Ministries, for welcoming us again to their courtyard and cozy indoor area. We decked out and lit up their beautiful courtyard landscape with hundreds of lights and decorations, which will grace Riverside and the Mustard Seed Courtyard until January.

*For the generosity of local Riverside businesses: the Opera House Grill for providing their always popular chicken noodle soup, Brickworks Ciderhouse for their delicious apple pies, Tertulia for their liquor-infused coffee samples, newcomer to Riverside Blackbird Baking Co. for providing fresh bread, and to Saulter Street Brewery for welcoming folks after the festivities!

* Toronto Beaches Children’s and Youth Chorus, who enlivened and uplifted us with their beautiful voices!

*Our always supportive local politicians, Councillor and Riverside BIA Board member Paula Fletcher, MPP Peter Tabuns and MP Julie Dabrusin who came out to meet & greet the community.

*Our amazing volunteers from the Riverside BIA Marketing Committee and office, from George Brown School of ESL, York University and TDSB – we could not have done it without you!

We were pleased to recognize an outstanding Riverside volunteer Kristin Light of the Jam Factory T.O. for her long-standing contributions to Riverside BIA’s Marketing Committee, public programming and magazine. We awarded Kris with the Jack Korman Memorial Award for 2019, presented by our BIA Board member and event co-sponsor Dianna Kennedy.

THANKS TO EVERYONE in the community who came out to take part, and provide donations to Mustard Seed, Fontbonne Ministries and enjoy the memories! All photos from Giancarlo Pawelec of PAWELECphoto

Special guest Santa at Light Up Riverside, Toronto, 2019

Special guest Santa at Light Up Riverside, Toronto, 2019

Dianna Kennedy, event co-sponsor and Riverside BIA Board member with Jennifer Lay, Riverside BIA Executive Director, Light Up Riverside 2019

Dianna Kennedy, event co-sponsor and Riverside BIA Board member with Jennifer Lay, Riverside BIA Executive Director, Light Up Riverside 2019

Brickworks Ciderhouse staff serving up famous apple pies, Light Up Riverside, Toronto 2019

Brickworks Ciderhouse staff serving up famous apple pies, Light Up Riverside, Toronto 2019

George from Tertulia serving up cognacr-infused coffee, Light Up Riverside, Toronto 2019

George from Tertulia serving up cognac-infused coffee, Light Up Riverside, Toronto 2019

Event sponsors Baird MacGregor Insurance Brokers LP serving up hot chocolate, Light Up Riverside, Toronto 2019

Event sponsors Baird MacGregor Insurance Brokers LP serving up hot chocolate, Light Up Riverside, Toronto 2019

Dianna Kennedy, sponsor and BIA Board Member, welcomes everyone, Light Up Riverside, Toronto 2019

Dianna Kennedy, event sponsor and BIA Board Member, welcomes everyone, Light Up Riverside, Toronto 2019

(Left to Right) Elected officials MP Julie Darbusin, MPP Peter Tabuns and Councillor/ Riverside BIA Board Member Paula Fletcher, Light Up Riverside, Toronto, 2019

(Left to Right) Elected officials MP Julie Darbusin, MPP Peter Tabuns and Councillor/ Riverside BIA Board Member Paula Fletcher, Light Up Riverside, Toronto, 2019

Dianna Kennedy, sponsor and BIA Board Member, awarding Jack Korman Memorial Award to Kristin Light, Light Up Riverside, Toronto 2019

Dianna Kennedy, sponsor and BIA Board Member, awarding Jack Korman Memorial Award to Kristin Light, Light Up Riverside, Toronto 2019

Families enjoying the light display, Light Up Riverside 2019

Families enjoying the light display, Light Up Riverside 2019

Kids enjoying the crafts, Letters to Santa, Light Up Riverside 2019

Kids enjoying the crafts, Letters to Santa, Light Up Riverside 2019

Toronto Beaches Children's and Youth Chorus, Light Up riverside 2019

Toronto Beaches Children’s and Youth Chorus, Light Up riverside 2019

Light Up Riverside 2019

Light Up Riverside 2019

Toronto Beaches Children's and Youth Chorus, Light Up Riverside, Toronto, 2019

Toronto Beaches Children’s and Youth Chorus, Light Up Riverside, Toronto, 2019

Family time with Santa, Light Up Riverside 2019

Family time with Santa, Light Up Riverside 2019

Light Up Riverside 2019 Light Up Riverside, Toronto 2019

 

Welcome to Riverside: Blackbird Baking Company

We had the pleasure of being one of the first visitors to Blackbird Baking Co‘s new space in Toronto’s Riverside neighbourhood on its opening day on November 27, 2019 at 635 Queen E. It’s beautiful, with a warm and welcoming retail portion (thanks Sasha and Imogen!) and a big view to all the important baking operations.

We love their locally branded space and cool swag (shopping bags, bread bags and more!). Kudos to owner Simon and his team!

The Story of Blackbird Baking

Handcrafted breads and pastries available locally in Toronto since 2011. When chef Simon Blackwell decided to make bread, he looked close to home for inspiration. The opening of Blackbird marked the fourth generation of bakers in his family beginning in Staffordshire, England in 1894.

This tradition of small scale, hand-crafted production using local ingredients remains at the heart of Blackbird’s work to bring fresh bread and pastry to the neighbourhood, and retailers restaurants across Toronto.

They are award-winning and recently were named Best Bakery/Bread in NOW Reader’s Choice of 2019.

Drop by for amazing bread, sandwiches and baked goods, and help give them a warm welcome.

NOV 30th: WHAT’S ON FOR RIVERSIDE’S SHOP THE NEIGHBOURHOOD

To kick off the holiday season, Riverside establishments will be opening their doors and inviting everyone for meet and greets and special happenings on November 30th!

Fun and festive happenings will take place throughout the day along Riverside’s Queen Street east from the DVP to Empire Ave, culminating in the Light Up Riverside tree lighting and cheer event (5-7pm, 791 Queen E).

Here are some of the special happenings in store – keep checking back – we’re adding more daily to this live blog as we count down the days!

This year you can take part in our Riverside Shop the Neighbourhood Scavenger Hunt – pick up a flyer at any participating location and visit them – then come get your free Riverside shopping tote at 791 Queen St East!

Saturday is also the first day of the Riverside Window Wonderland Contest! Start snapping & sharing your pics on Instagram with #riversideto #windowwonderland for a chance to win some holiday shopping $$.

SWITCHBACK CYCLERY, 651 Queen St E, 12-6pm: Pop by Switchback Cyclery for some holiday treats and shopping, including
* 40% off all helmets
* 25% off pannier bags
* 20% + off all 2019 bikes (plus free winter storage valued at $75)
* 25% off Holiday Greeting Cards

QUINCE FLOWERS, 660 Queen St E, 12-6pm: Purchase a $100 Floral gift card for just $80 (offer on until December 6).

CRY IF I WANT TO,  696 Queen St E (2nd Fl Suite C), 12-6966pm: Shop Cry If I Want To’s greeting card and gift packaging clearance sale while enjoying complimentary warm drinks and treats – find them on the 2nd floor at 696 Queen St E!

EASTBOUND BREWING CO, 700 Queen St E, 12pm-6pm: Check out the seasonal things on offer at Eastbound:

  • Ever had an espresso in your IPA? Eastbound will be partnering with local roasters, Stereo Coffee, to make fresh brewed ‘Espresso Cloud IPAs’.
  • Eastbound x Sawdust City Christmas beer collaboration will also be released this weekend – limited pre-packaged gift baskets for Shop The Neighbourhood!

BRICKWORKS CIDERHOUSE, 709 Queen St E, 10:30am-1am: Purchase a $100 gift card and receive a $50 gift card for yourself! Offer ends Dec 15.

TERTULIA, 711 Queen Streat E, 12-6pm: T777ry samples from Tertulia’s Limited Release Liquor infused coffee beans carefully selected and aged in Oak Barrels.

RUBY WATCHCO, 730 Queen St E, 12-5pm: Ruby Watchco is having a special open house including jewelry showcase with local artisan Leslie Paul Designs. They will also have cookbooks signed by Chef Lynne Crawford and gift certificates available for sale along with some mulled wine for the sippin’. Join them 12-5pm!

DIMENSIONS CUSTOM FRAMING & GALLERY, 732 Queen St E, 12-6pm: Enjoy holiday treats and a draw to win one of three $100 gift cards toward custom framing. No purchase necessary, just pop by and fill out a ballot!

JOHN HOOD STUDIO, 756 Queen Street East, 2-8PM: Meet local artist John Hood at his Annual Holiday Open House and get a tour of his studio which offers oil painting classes. Enjoy complimentary holiday cheer/ refreshments!

COMMON SORT, 760 Queen E, 11am-7pm: Sip on hot mulled apple cider while you shop the best in second-hand vintage fashion (p.s. Check out their free styling service here.)

TOKEN, 777 Queen Street E, 11am-7pm: Enjoy complimentary treats while you shop unique local gifts!

ARTS MARKET, 790 Queen Street East, 12-6pm: Get some holiday shopping checked off of your list! Come by our Riverside location to enjoy shopping from local artisans with free gift wrapping available for Arts Market purchases! Join our mailing list for a chance to win a gift basket that’s chock-full of goodies from local vendors!

TABULE MIDDLE EASTERN CUISINE, 810 Queen St E: Purchase a $50 Tabule gift card for only $40! Offer available until December 6th.

SAULTER STREET BREWERY, 1-31 Saulter Street, GIFT BASKETS are available $25 and $50. Each basket also includes a taproom gift certificate for two 12 oz beers of your choice on us! A little token of appreciation.

Join us to Light Up Riverside from 5pm-7pm in the Mustard Seed Courtyard, Fontbonne Ministries!

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

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!

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

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.

After your Light Up Riverside experience, also check out:

SAULTER STREET BREWERY, 1-31 Saulter Street, 7pm – 9pm: Check out the Light Up Riverside After Party at Saulter Street Brewery for complimentary samples and cheer!

EAST END HOLIDAY MARKET at Ralph Thornton Community Centre, 765 Queen St E, 5-9pm: Shopping for your dear ones? Join us for some local shopping, vegan food, music and good vibes. Pick up a handmade gift, enjoy some holiday treats and hot chocolate and meet your local artist.

Don’t forget, our Window Wonderland Contest starts Nov 30th! Snap & Share your fave decorated windows using #RiversideTO