5th Annual Riverside Wine & Craft Beer Fest: FREE Craft Beer Talks and Tastings With Voula Halliday!

Riverside is kicking off spring with our 5th annual Riverside Wine & Craft Beer Fest that will take place from April 2nd to April 6th. Get to know Riverside shops, eateries and community spaces while enjoying Ontario wines and local craft beers – all in local Riverside venues. The 2019 five day festival is made up of a variety of events that include, wine tasting, talks, and demos. The first event on the festival is a FREE Craft Beer Talk & Tasting hosted by the Toronto Public Library’s Queen/Saulter Branch from 7-8:30pm

This year’s festival sponsors are Hullmark and Bentall Kennedy and supported by our festival partners Eastbound Brewing Co, Saulter Street BreweryToronto Food Tours, the Ralph Thornton Community Centre and All Wrapped Up Events.

Take part in the fun and learn about the pairing and cooking with Ontario Beers from chef and author Voula Halliday. Voula will provide expert advice on pairing foods with local beers while tasting excellent local beers from Eastbound Brewing Co and Saulter Street Brewery. While enjoying the talks and the tasting take advantage of the selection of books on Ontario beer and wine for your perusal.

Voula is a local to the Riverside community and is an expert on everything food related. Voula is a Cordon Bleu-trained chef, the author of the cookbook Eat at Home, a curriculum developer and professor at Centennial College in the Food Media Post Graduate Program. Voula is an expert recipe developer, a television and radio presenter where she formerly was a Chef Expert on CBC award-winning show, Steven and Chris.

Voula is currently the president and CEO of Cast Iron Press Publishing and multi-media visual artist based in Toronto. Be sure to follow Voula on her social media to learn all about what she is getting up to.

Instagram: @voulahalliday@eatathomevoula

Twitter: @voulahalliday@eatathome_voula

Facebook: @eatathomewithvoula

This FREE event will fill up fast, so reserve your spot now: Riverside Wine & Craft Beer Fest. *

Suggested donation at the door of $5-$10 in support of Ralph Thornton Community Centre’s children’s programming.



Irish Design House – Riverside Business Profile

Irish Design House

When Irish Design House owner Sinead Clarke and her husband arrived in Toronto, it didn’t take them long to realize Riverside was where they wanted to live and do business.

Riverside Q&A Irish Design House (2)

“We loved the area and felt very comfortable here,” she says. It’s now been four years since she opened Irish Design House, and Sinead has only warm thoughts about running a business in Riverside.

“I love the sense of community,” she says. “There is such a lovely feeling when you know a customer well and are able to serve them well.”

The Queen Street shop specializes in natural and sustainable clothing and home decor, predominantly and beautifully, handmade Ireland. You’ll also find an eclectic selection of stylish women’s clothing that is designed and manufactured in Toronto, including Sinead’s own line of adorable headbands among other items. The colder the weather in Toronto, the warmer the shop becomes. In fact, year round, the Irish Design House feels more like a country home.

In addition to unique and cozy gifts (for yourself or loved one), the Irish Design House offers beginner sewing classes in a comfortable studio at the back of the shop.


Karen Lloyd from Riverside

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 PatiosPlaces to Stay in RiversideBrunch SpotsHealth & Wellness in Riverside,  Kid-Friendly RiversideEvent & Catering SpotsRiverside ChefsSelf-Care in RiversideIt’s Easy Being Green in RiversideThe Dirt on Gardening in RiversideEat Around the World in Riverside, and Saying ‘I Do’ East of the Don.

2019 Riverside Month of Love: Date Ideas

Searching for last-minute date ideas? Look no further, Riverside BIA has put together a list of some of our favourite date night spots. From great cider to beautiful bouquets of flowers, be sure to check out all of the local gems right in the neighbourhood.


Brickworks Cider 

Brickworks Cider House is a local favourite that offers a variety of ciders as well as a delicious menu that pairs perfectly with the ciders. Brickworks Cider House offers plenty of seating and their open concepts allows the positive ambience to travel through the place. Be sure to try the Queen St 501 cider to get the true Riverside experience.

Ruby Watchco

For those looking for a special night out and are willing to spend a bit more, Ruby Watcho is a must. Chef Lynn Crawford and Chef Lora Kirk are two of Canadian culinary masters that offer a new menu every night at their restaurant. The prix fixe menu offers locally sourced ingredients and is willing to accommodate dietary needs as well as provide vegetarian options if interested.

Peasant Table

The Peasant Table offers the perfect date spot for both lunch and dinner or weekend brunch. The Peasant Table takes a German approach to Italian inspired dishes while adding a unique twist to everything. Be sure to pair your meal with one of their signature cocktails and their daily dessert special.

Broadview Hotel

The Broadview Hotel has cemented itself as one of Toronto’s chicest and trendiest dining destinations, featuring 3 eateries and a special 7th floor (rooftop) tower reserved for special events. The main floor dining room, The Civic, was named one of Toronto’s ‘Best New Restaurants‘ in 2018, and 0ffers a menu with a focus on hyper-seasonality offerings.

The Cafe/Bar located on the main floor serves up more casual fare ranging from cocktails, to coffee and croissants and is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

The Rooftop Bar is the showstopper of the bunch, featuring a 360° glass facade and an expansive rooftop terrace with views over the Don River and Toronto Skyline. Offering small shareable bites and a selection of drinks/cocktails, The Rooftop Bar is the perfect location for an intimate evening with partners or friends!

Gift Giving Tip

Quince Flowers

Because nothing says a perfect date better than a fresh bouquet of flowers. Quince Flowers has been in the Riverside community for over 20 years and is always there to provide the most beautiful floral arrangements for all occasions. Quince Flowers has been working hard to make sure that there are a variety of unique and meaningful arrangements for everyone Valentines Day. Be sure to call today to organize your arrangement!

Irish Design House

Looking for quirky and curated Irish goods for both men and women? Look no further than The Irish Design House! A passion for quality and handmade products is what led owners Sinéad Clarke and Benny Corrigan to open this Riverside gem.

Tiny Record Shop

If you’re on the hunt for a unique record or a classic hit, the Tiny Record Shop is where you will be sure to find it. Their new renovation has allowed them to hold even more records and display them in an easily accessible manner. A record is a perfect gift for a loved one, a friend or for yourself! And if you aren’t sure what records you want, there are some very helpful staff members who are more than happy to help you out.

Arts Market

Explore a wide selection of products handmade by local artisans at Arts Market. Empowering local creators by offering retail space for rent with no commission or long term contracts, Arts Market prides itself on their diverse selection of 175+ creators. There’s no shortage of gift options here!


Opera House

Spend the night with a bit of live music, dancing and great food! Grab a bite beforehand at the Grill for some yummy Greek food and enjoy a show. This month the Opera House is hosting a variety of artists from Corrosion of Conformity to The Neal Morse Band. Pick up two tickets online and surprise your significant other with a night out!

Jasper Dandy

Fans of the Leafs, Raptors, or the Jays? Enjoy the next game at Jasper Dandy! With two rooms filled with TV’s broadcasting all of Toronto’s favourite sports teams, Jasper Dandy makes for a fun social night out! Order some wings and beer and cheer your heart out with a room full of Toronto lovers.

Boxcar Social

Enjoy a unique experience by trying the worlds best coffee roasters, winemakers, craft breweries, and whiskey distillers. Boxcar Social offers an educational experience where you are able to learn about the origins and the story behind the ingredients while enjoying them at the same time.


Valentine’s Day Specials in Riverside

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, the businesses of Riverside are showing all their love through deals and specials for you. Riverside BIA has put together all the places you should be this weekend and all the specials you won’t want to miss.

To start the day off you will want to check out Chi Junky Yoga + Wellness Studio for their full themed Valentines Day in the studio. Beginning at 9:30am Stephanie Mills will be holding a 75min Be My Sweaty Valentine – Sweat Flow, followed by a 50min Slow Flow is my Valentine with Whitney at 12pm. Or if in the evening you want to have a deep chill out, join Rebecca for a 60min ‘Lets Get YINtimate. To see their full Valentines Day Schedule check out their website Chi Junky Yoga + Wellness Studio. If you are a newcomer and want to check it out, Chi Junky Yoga + Wellness Studio offers an intro pass for two weeks unlimited classes for 45$ +HST.

Enjoy great craft beer and burgers at the Eastbound Brewing Company or Saulter Street Brewery who are having some great specials this weekend. Saulter Street Brewery is brewing up a brand new Oyster Stout that will be released on Valentines Day and we can’t wait to try it.

Eastbound Brewing Company will be having a prix fixe dinner for two on Valentines Day. For 45$ each of you will enjoy an appetizer, 1/4lb smash burger with fries, & a shared dessert. And if you are feeling like a night in, when you pick up a four pack of Baker’s Breakfast Chocolate Oatmeal Stout you will receive fresh Stout Chocolate Chip Cookies from the kitchen.

Saulter Street Brewery’s Oyster Stout, released on Valentine’s day, features a 5% Irish stout, brewed with outlandish oysters from the West coast and sourced by Rodney’s on King St who helped to brew the beer. With a briney and slightly roasty flavour profile and a $6 price point,  the beer pairs very well with dark chocolate and is sure to be a tasty treat!

Spend a night away at the Broadview Hotel and enjoy their Valentines Day package that is running from February 13-19th. The package includes an in-room mimosa kit, the Temptation kit, a 30$ credit to use at the Cafe + Bar or Rooftop venue, a breakfast box and a late checkout. This package can be booked directly here, or check out their website Broadview Hotel for more details.

If you are looking for a lovely dinner out, the Civic restaurant is having a special prix fixe for two. The dinner includes Ontario Burrata, Hokkaido Scallops, Duck Carbonara a Trio of Chocolate for dessert and many more. Wine pairings or Oysters can be added as well! The price is $75 per person (+ tax + grat) and can be booked by emailing dinewithus@thebroadviewhotel.ca.

Riverside Barefoot Beauty

Barefoot Beauty is also honouring the day of love and offering $10 vouchers for any wax service when you come visit them on Valentine’s Day or if you book an appointment with us on the 14th for a future date.


There is no better love than self-love. If you are looking for ways to improve your game and get inspired, speaker Laura Beauparlant from Lab Creative may be the perfect event for you. On February 20th, Laura will be hosting Branding Mistakes and How to Cure Them event from 9:30am – 11:30am at The Mayfair Club in Toronto. Author of Brand Chemistry will be teaching how to gain clients and keep them and will let you in on the secret to branding success for your small business. Tickets are$25 and are available for purchase here! 

Looking to extend your Valentines Day celebrations? Check out the Turbo Street Funk, Monkey Fightin’ Snakes & Kings of Our Kin hosted by The Jam Factory T.O on February 23rd, 2019. Enjoy three local bands at the historic 150 year old building at 2 Matilda Street (Second Floor). Doors will open at 9pm and run until 12am, tickets can be bought ahead of time online for $12 or at the door for $15. For more details check out Jam Factory T.O’s Facebook page! 

Riverside Brickworks Cider

Love is in the air and Brickworks Ciderhouse will be offering a Four Course Valentines Prix Fixe Menu from February 14th to 17th (Thursday to Sunday). They also have partnered with local flower shop Quince Flowers to make this a special Valentine’s Day. Guests can request to have flowers ready at the table for an additional $20 for Valentine’s Day flowers. PRICE: $68 per couple

Be sure to hashtag #RiversideTO and tag @Riverside_bia if you take advantage of any of these specials this weekend!

Arts Market – Riverside Business Profile Series


Riverside Arts Market

The Riverside Arts Market is a perfect outlet for Toronto artists and the consumers who can’t get enough of them.

Riverside artsmarket-owner

Located on Queen Street East near Boulton Ave. since 2016, this vibrant and colourful artisan boutique offers low-cost space to local creative entrepreneurs and an eclectic selection of unique, affordable items for everyone.

“At Arts Market, 100 percent of sales go back to our local vendors,” says Riverside Arts Market manager, David Stamnes. “By shopping at Arts Market, people directly support vendors and artists in their community,”

From floor to ceiling and everywhere in between, you’ll find a wide variety of beautiful home accents, including handmade soaps, canvas art, one-of-a-kind jewelry, and scented candles. The Art’s Market is a lifesaver if you need to pick up a last minute birthday gift or anniversary card. Staff will even wrap your merchandise at the cash register.

After successfully managing locations on College Street and in Leslieville, the team felt Riverside would be the perfect spot to open a store. “This is a close-knit neighbourhood with a real sense of community,” says David.


Karen Lloyd from Riverside

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 PatiosPlaces to Stay in RiversideBrunch SpotsHealth & Wellness in Riverside,  Kid-Friendly RiversideEvent & Catering SpotsRiverside ChefsSelf-Care in RiversideIt’s Easy Being Green in RiversideThe Dirt on Gardening in RiversideEat Around the World in Riverside, and Saying ‘I Do’ East of the Don.