Vintage Baird MacGregor Insurance Building gets face lift at 825 Queen East in Riverside

October 19th, 2017 – Ward 30 Councillor Paula Fletcher joined Baird MacGregor Insurance Brokers and other local businesses and residents today in congratulating Baird MacGregor on the extensive improvements to the face of its beautiful vintage building, which was built in 1915.

BEFORE Facade Improvement


AFTER Facade Improvement


“We are excited about making this investment in our building, and appreciate the contribution that the City of Toronto has made through its Façade Improvement Program,” said Philomena Comerford, CEO of Baird MacGregor. “Baird MacGregor is committed to the Riverside community.”

The complete project cost over $100,000 and includes new awnings and new windows. Baird MacGregor received the maximum grant of $12,500 from the City of Toronto through its Façade Improvement Program; these grants are only provided to businesses which are part of a Business Improvement Area (BIA). Baird MacGregor has been part of the Riverside community since 1988 and is an active member of the Riverside BIA.

Councillor Paula Fletcher, Ward 30 Toronto-Danforth shared that “The City of Toronto is pleased to partner with our BIAs and local businesses through the Facade Improvement program. This is another welcome change on vibrant, bustling Queen Street East.”

“We think our rejuvenated building looks great in the day time – and make sure to check it out when the lights are lit up in the night time! The new lighting brightens the whole block,” Comerford says. “We hope our inviting new façade, and initiatives to reach out to our neighbours and our community will remind them that we are here to serve them in getting the best, most cost-effective insurance products possible.”

“The Riverside BIA is excited to see this significant street scape investment within our neighbourhood, and to work together with Baird MacGregor on great community events, such as the annual Light Up Riverside, coming up on November 25th,” says Mitch Korman, Chair of the Riverside BIA.

Baird MacGregor is a full service commercial and personal insurance brokerage serving Toronto, the GTA and Southern Ontario. It has earned the faith and confidence of its clients over decades of building relationships based on innovation, education and collaboration.

Baird MacGregor’s building, situated at 825 Queen Street East, is a well preserved 20,000 square foot, 2-story brick and beam building featuring a 1950s style diner and a fully equipped gym for their staff’s use.  The building’s predecessor businesses over the past century included Superior Homes Limited in the early 20’s, Wear Right Textile Company from 1923 to 1925, Slazengers sporting goods from 1925 to 1943, General Printing Ink from 1943 to 1973, Fairway Construction from 1978 to 1980 and Agincourt Productions, a VHS production company from 1983 to 1988.  Dunlop Tire factory was situated across the street from 1905 to 1970 and was eventually replaced with Jimmie Simpson Recreation Centre and Jimmie Simpson Park, a 2.6 hectare urban green space.


For more information contact

Rita Smith for Baird MacGregor, 647 242 5505

Jennifer Lay, Executive Director, Riverside District BIA 416-466-8167

A Bunch of Brunch in Toronto’s Riverside

If you have a hunch that brunch might be the bomb in Toronto’s Riverside neighbourhood, you are correct.

Queen Street, east of the Don Valley, is a haven for hashbrowns, French toast and, of course, every member of the Benedict family that has ever existed: Veggie, Pastrami, Duck Benny, Riminese, to name a few.

Take a stroll through Riverside on a Saturday or Sunday between 10 am and 3 pm, not only will you smell the aromas of fresh pastries and sizzling bacon as it wafts onto the street, you’ll know you’re in the hood when you see all the busy brunch spots.

A staple in Riverside, celebrating 20 years in 2017, is award-winning Bonjour Brioche. Recently though, new rise and shine restaurants have joined the club –  and brunch goers can’t seem to get enough: The Peasant Table, White Lily Diner, Sugar Loaf Bakery & Cafe, and Eastbound Brewing Co, all opened in Riverside in the past couple years. And let’s not forget other popular spots that have been around for many years: while they may be better known for their late night crowds, Prohibition Gastrohouse and Aft Kitchen & Bar make a mean morning meal, best served with cocktails.

If you happen to find yourself visiting Toronto’s east end, here are a few local hotspots to hit up for mid-day mocktails, cocktails, or coffee, and any kind of brunch you can dream up. If you’re a local dweller, you’ll already know and love many of these spots!

Aft Kitchen & Bar

686 Queen Street East ~ Brunch served Saturdays & Sundays from 11AM to 3PM

If you’re super starving (and/or in need of a hungover cure), you can’t go wrong with the Hoppin John – smoked (on the BBQ) and shredded ham hock served with simmered tomatoes, black-eyed peas, avocado, a sunny-side-up egg and tortilla chips. Yum! Tip: Aft is first come first serve, as they don’t take reservations.

Bonjour Brioche

812 Queen Street East ~ Brunch served Tuesday to Sunday from 8AM to 4PM

Bonjour Brioche is Riverside’s Little Paris with buttery pastries, warm baguettes in a French cafe style setting. There is always a lineup on weekends at this cash-only brunch so come early or late if you’re with a group. A dish to try for sure is their smoked salmon and scrambled eggs served with chives, roti potato, creamed horseradish, and caviar. This restaurant’s grab-and-go counter is just as delicious and convenient if you’re in a rush or would prefer to enjoy the morning  in nearby De Grassi Parkette. Bon Appetit.

The Peasant Table

782 Queen Street East ~ Brunch served Saturdays & Sundays from 10 AM to 4 PM

Are you in the mood for double smoked bacon mac and cheese in a stylish setting. The dish is served with shredded smoked mozzarella and sunny side up eggs while the restaurant delivers service with a smile that will make you feel right at home. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to sit by the window and practically dine al fresco as you watch Riverside roll by.

Prohibition Gastrohouse

696 Queen Street East ~ Brunch served Saturdays and Sundays from 10AM to 4PM

While Prohibition Gastropub is well known for its after dark club scene, brunch is also a big thing here. When late night party-goers hit the hay, this restaurant is prepping for early birds with dreams of comfort food and a coffee (or a cocktail). Try the savoury house-made Mexicana Waffle topped with five kinds of cheese, guacamole, cream and three eggs over easy. (P.S.  kids under 10 eat for free from the Kids Brunch Menu and Signature Cocktails are only $9 during brunch)

White Lily Diner

All day Breakfast – Saturdays & Sundays from 9AM to 10PM, Wed-Fri from 8AM to 10PM

One of the newer kids on the block, White Lily is a rocking brunch west of Broadview Ave in a cozy ‘70s diner setting. There’s been a lineup here since day one but (tip) if you leave the host with your number they’ll call you when a table is ready. Take that time to enjoy other Riverside attractions and build up your appetite for a good old-fashioned plate of steak and sunny eggs served with hash browns, poblano relish, and small batch caesar.

Eastbound Brewing Co

700 Queen Street East ~ Brunch Served Saturdays and Sundays from 11AM to 2PM

Not only does Eastbound Brewing specialize in craft beer, this Queen Street East hot spot also specializes in brunch: snacks, plates, and side. Next time you find yourself strolling around Riverside on the weekend, pop in for a fork and knife fried chicken sandwich with maple bacon, pancake bun, smoked cheddar and two egg omelet. Wash that down, of course, with a refreshing Eastbound brew.

Sugar Loaf

729 Queen Street East ~ Saturdays & Sundays from 9AM to 2PM

While this Riverside bakery sounds more like a place you’d go for sweet treats, Sugar Loaf also serves up a savoury brunch on weekends. In addition to your typical continental breakfast, here you can also indulge in rare dishes like the mushroom and black truffle terrine with house-made brioche pudding, sauteed mushrooms, cheese, black truffle oil, thyme, and a poached egg. The cafe is small so get there early before it fills up, and enjoy your brunch with a mimosa if it suits you!


Karen Lloyd is a writer, photographer and website designer in Toronto’s Riverside neighbourhood. This blog is part of the series giving you the inside scoop on  Riverside, Toronto. Read other blogs in the series: Riverside Patios, Places to Stay in Riverside






Community Thanksgiving Dinner at RTCC on Oct 7th

In the spirit of Thanksgiving and the upcoming holiday season, Rivertowne Safety 1st and Caribbean Sunset will be building a sense of togetherness and belonging among residents by hosting a FREE Thanksgiving Dinner for the Riverside community.

New to the neighbourhood, Caribbean Sunset opened this past June and is known for its selection of island eats such as Jerk Chicken, Goat Curry and fresh coconut.

What better way to express your gratitude and appreciation of your home, Riverside, then with your family and neighbours by your side? It is the chance to see some friendly faces, and meet some new while stuffing your stomach with a hearty meal (without having to cook!) .

Drop by on Saturday, October 7th from 3:30PM to 7:30PM at the Ralph Thornton Community Centre (765 Queen Street East, 2nd floor)!

Nuit Blanche Toronto 2017 comes to Riverside, Sept. 30 – Oct. 1

Nuit Blanche Toronto 2017 comes to Riverside, Sept. 30 – Oct. 1

The Riverside Business Improvement Area (BIA) collaborates with Project Gallery, Streetcar Developments Inc., The Broadview Hotel and ERA Architects to showcase artistic projects for the all-night art festival

Toronto, ON – The Riverside BIA presents Since Now, From Then for Nuit Blanche Toronto 2017 on Sept. 30 from sunset to sunrise on Oct. 1 (7 p.m. – 7 a.m.). Curated by Project Gallery and in collaboration with Streetcar Developments, The Broadview Hotel, and ERA Architects, the Riverside community invites Nuit Blanche visitors to explore a series of performances, projections, sculptures and installations that will take over various spaces within the Broadview Ave. and Queen St. E. corridor.

Independent  Project #77 of Nuit Blanche 2017 features five projects by local artists, Callen Schaub, Alex McLeod, Nadine Bariteau and Rosemary Jeffares, Wiggly Artist Collective, and ERA Architects. Together, the projects merge art and architecture, technology and nature, as well as public and private spaces to inspire visitors to reflect on the social, political, cultural and physical context of the neighbourhood. The projects invite visitors to understand the neighbourhood’s past, relish in its present and look to the future of the changing east end of Toronto.

Nuit Blanche is an important institution in the city that celebrates contemporary art, and as a strong supporter of the arts in Riverside, the Riverside BIA is thrilled to participate in this year’s festival and host Nuit Blanche in our historic neighbourhood,” said Jennifer Lay, Executive Director, Riverside BIA. “Riverside is in the midst of an incredible transformation and through these talented artists, festival-goers will be taken on a journey that reflects the past and looks to the future of the changing east end of Toronto.”

The exhibits that make up Independent Project #77 of Nuit Blanche 2017 include:

Elevation by Alex McLeod

The Broadview Hotel, 106 Broadview Ave. (West-facing façade)

 A new media visual artist, McLeod’s images and simulations recall the wide-open vistas of romantic landscape painting and strange otherworldly dystopias. For Nuit Blanche 2017, he’ll project a video animation on the west façade of The Broadview Hotel. Exploring themes of rising populations, urban over-development and climate change, his dramatic scenes can be considered a cautionary tale about ecological responsibility, technology and development.

Sign/age by ERA Architects

The Broadview Hotel Rooftop, 106 Broadview Ave., 7th floor

ERA Architects contributes a photo-based installation in the glass box of The Broadview Hotel’s Rooftop as part of the heritage interpretation of the iconic building. Through a kaleidoscopic projection of vibrant signage from surrounding Riverside businesses, this interpretive installation brings the evolving neighbourhood context into one of its landmark buildings. Diverse commercial signage is an important feature of the urban landscape and its changing shapes, colours, and typefaces is filtered through the kinetic and multi-perspectival lens of the kaleidoscope.


Wiggly Street by Wiggly Artist Collective

The Broadview Hotel Laneway, Queen St. E. and Broadview Ave. (behind the hotel)

Wiggly Artist Collective is a multidisciplinary collective that combines sculpture, visual arts, video, dance and audio as mediums to create environments that unite audiences and consider a future made beautiful by community. Wiggly’s project includes projection mapping, sculptural installations with LED components representing futuristic urban forestry, and live audio and group dance performances. Each hour, representing s 24-hour cycle, will begin with a live performance that tells a story of love, harmony, and unity of the potential unknown.

Dereliction by Nadine Bariteau and Rosemary Jeffares

Broadview Houses, 25-60 Broadview Ave.

An interdisciplinary artist whose practice is rooted in printmaking, sculpture, installation and video, her works are studies of permanence and ephemerality in the interplay between human-made and natural environments. Bariteau, in collaboration with Rosemary Jeffares of Quince Flowers, responds to the changing nature of domesticity in Toronto using the Broadview Houses to reimagine space through architecture, nature and technology. While visitors will not be able to enter the properties, they will be exposed to spatial experiences.

 Centrifuge by Callen Schaub

Parking Lot, 3 Hamilton St. (Queen St. E. and Hamilton St., west of Broadview Ave.)

Callen Schaub, an abstract artist who works with paint, natural forces and machines in an innovative way to produce bold and thought-provoking contemporary art, utilizes a crane as a painting tool for this live performance happening every hour on the hour for 20 minutes throughout the night. Visitors will witness paintings created and destroyed in real time. Between each performance, lights illuminate the overflow-splattered paint that Schaub unleashes at the site.


In partnership with the Agha Khan Museum, a free shuttle is available to and from The Broadview Hotel and the Agha Khan Museum from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Visitors wishing to visit the Riverside Nuit Blanche exhibition and/or the Agha Khan Museum can be picked up at Nuit Blanche Exhibition Area A at Charles St. and Queens Park Ave.

Since Now, From Then, Location 77 of Nuit Blanche 2017 is presented by Riverside BIA, curated by Project Gallery and made possible by contributions from Streetcar Developments, The Broadview Hotel, and ERA Architects. Follow along live on Sept. 30 at #nbRiverside2017.

For more information, images or to arrange an interview, please contact: 
Daliah Marsons, rock-it promotions, inc. at or 416.656.0707 ext. 109
Lara Buchar, rock-it promotions, inc., at or 416.656.0707 ext. 121

About Streetcar Developments
Since 2002, Streetcar Developments has designed and developed a series of mixed use, community-centric projects in some of Toronto’s most beloved neighbourhoods. Along the way they have earned accolades for being a different kind of developer who invests in exciting neighbourhoods, improving the quality of entire communities. Their celebrated projects integrate seamlessly into their surroundings, respecting the historic look and feel of the area while providing a glimpse into what could be. With an unwavering commitment to build a more liveable and culturally rich Toronto, Streetcar eagerly accepts its responsibility to do its part to ensure this great city achieves its potential.
Website: Twitter: @STREETCARlofts Facebook: StreetcarDevelopments

About The Broadview Hotel

Located in the heart of Riverside at the corner of Queen St. E. and Broadview Ave., The Broadview Hotel is a boutique hotel, restaurant, lobby Café + Bar and Rooftop bar. The Romanesque Revival-style building constructed in 1891 is a heritage property, as designated by the City of Toronto. Cleverly reimagined as a charismatic gathering spot, each space is infused with the spirit of the east end: it’s a place where international travellers relax alongside local residents. Drawing from The Broadview’s iconic façade, visitors and community members will enjoy a uniquely crafted hospitality experience.
Website: Instagram: @BroadviewHotel Twitter: @BroadviewHotel Facebook: The Broadview Hotel Hashtag: #BroadviewHotel

About ERA Architects

In practice since 1990, ERA Architects Inc. has over 90 staff members based in Toronto, Ottawa, Kingston and Montréal. Our core interest is in connecting heritage to wider considerations of urban design and city building, and to a larger set of cultural values that provide perspective to our work at every scale. Our core values are in generating professional integrity and expertise through research, education and mentoring. To that end ERA frequently works collaboratively with other firms to engage in city building, conserving heritage architecture and improving the built environment.

Website:  Instagram: @ERAArchitects Twitter: @ERAArch Facebook: ERAToronto

 About the Riverside BIA

The Riverside Business Improvement Area (BIA) is a community-oriented not-for-profit association of local business people, organizations and property owners. The Riverside BIA works in partnership with the City of Toronto and its partners to improve, beautify and promote the Riverside business district through public programming, partnerships, and streetscape improvement projects. Riverside is located along Toronto’s Queen Street East from the DVP to Empire Avenue.

 Website: Instagram: @Riverside_bia Twitter: @RiversideBIA Facebook: RiversideTO Hashtag: #RiversideTO

 About Project Gallery

Project is a commercial art gallery and studios in Toronto that opened in 2013 and exhibits a critical selection of artists whose work reflects new and innovative developments in contemporary art. With a gallery space in the heart of Leslieville and a studio overlooking the Don Valley in Riverside, Project is focused on establishing the careers of local emerging and mid-career contemporary artists through distinct exhibitions and projects.

 Website: Instagram: @ProjectGallariesandStudios Twitter: @ProjectGalleryT Facebook: ProjectGalleriesandStudios

Welcome to the Neighbourhood: Cry If I Want To

Cry If I Want To is new to Riverside and has introduced Alley Row Designs: a boutique firm designing wallpaper, interiors, stationary and events!

This summer, owners Allison and Rochelle moved their business from Leslieville to Riverside, settling in a 696c Queen St East, just above Prohibition.



Allison and Rochelle love the east end of Toronto, and say that “Riverside is such a vibrant area that we were excited to move back here. We used to have a retail store and shared space with another business in the neighbourhood.”

Cry if I want to

They shared more about what Alley Row Designs has on offer:

GRAPHICS & STATIONERY DESIGN: We create wedding invitations and associated elements on plantable papers and other high end stationery. We also coordinate the production of signage, custom packaging and other graphic design projects.

CUSTOM WALLPAPER: Our custom wallpapers are produced on papers that are easy to install and can be removed without damage to existing walls. We have a curated selection of our designs, will produce wallpaper with our customer designs or we will custom design wallpaper based on our customer’s requests.

INTERIOR STYLING: We aim to make public and private spaces interesting, stimulating, and cozy. A supplier of Tempaper and custom wallpaper design. The cry if i want to team, featured in Toronto Life Magazine as design experts, create trend-setting yet comfortable home designs.

EVENT DESIGN: Styling events such as film festival parties, charity fundraisers, and corporate branding events, cry if i want to is known for their innovative and creative styling.

Drop by and say hello or check them out online: