The Inside Scoop on Health and Wellness in Toronto’s Riverside

~By Guest Blogger, Karen Lloyd

No matter your age, Toronto’s Riverside neighbourhood has something to boost your health and wellness, with a variety of services along Queen Street East. As we are approaching cooler climes and busier times, it’s the perfect moment to take stock of the resources available to all of us.

Until I sat down to write this blog, I was out of the loop on health, wellness and beauty in Riverside but after just a little digging , I found myself in the know about Riverside’s plethora of incredibly unique wellness and beauty boutiques, fitness studio and wellness centres. My conclusion: there’s really a complete package of health and wellness options for all ages right here in Riverside.

Here are some of my favourites and tidbits on how they will be featured during this Saturday, September 16th’s complimentary Riverside Health & Wellness Walk.

Oma Chiropractic & Wellness Centre


Feel safe, cared for, and at home in the loving, gentle hands of Oma Chiropractic & Wellness, located at 1 Munro on Queen East. In addition to a range of health services such as chiropractic care and massage therapy, Oma Chiropractic & Wellness hosts regular wellness workshops and unique opportunities to support the whole family, including the family dog!

For example, the Riverside Health & Wellness Walk, coming up on September 16th, will feature a complimentary talk by creative entrepreneur and business coach Marnee Bruno. Then, on September 28th at Oma, will be a workshop called “Tame Tantrums and End Power Struggles” with peaceful parenting coach Sarah Rosensweet.

“The workshop will offer several strategies for how to manage meltdowns when they happen, and how to firmly, yet lovingly set boundaries,” says Oma Chiropractic director Adrienne McRuvie, a chiropractor, a reflexolgist, reiki therapist and yoga teacher. Adrienne’s training with the International Pediatric Chiropractic Association sparked her passion for prenatal care and care for children of all sizes.

For more about Adrienne, her clinic, and upcoming workshops visit

The Chi Junky Yoga Studio


With small class-sizes in a warm and inviting atmosphere, The Chi Junky Studio guarantees a personalized experience and hands on approach when it comes to yoga and your health in general. Beginners are welcome!

Each 60-minute session includes complimentary yoga equipment, tea service, towels and alkaline water. Some sessions are even lit with candles. In addition to regular weekly classes like ‘Candlelight Sweat Flow’, ‘Chill and Let Go’ or ‘Move to Sooth Hatha’, “The Chi Junky organizes regular relaxation retreats outside of Toronto with the next one coming up Oct. 12 in Prince Edward County”, says owner and instructor Rachelle Wintzen.

“It’s a full weekend of complete luxury and relaxation,” says Rachelle noting the retreat will include exceptional meals made with local and organic ingredients, daily wine tastings from PEC wineries, and twice daily yoga.

Come meet The Chi Junky in person on September 16th and take part in a complimentary meditation during the Riverside Health & Welllness Walk.

For more information visit them at 70 McGee Street, steps off of Queen East, or check out more at




Framewrk is a new Riverside fitness studio that offers a mix of different fitness programs including something you may have never heard of before – Essentrics.

According to Framewrk founder, owner and instructor Josephine Cuthill, Essentrics is a dynamic and fluid combination of strengthening and stretching (using ballet, Tai Chi, and even physiotherapy) for a full-body workout.

“Essentrics is good for everyone, but can often especially be good for people recovering from injury and can even help in that process,” says Josephine.

Additionally, the bright spacious studio offers classes in yoga, pilates, cardio, and weight training.

Enjoy a complimentary demo of Essentrics at the Riverside Health & Wellness Walk this Saturday, drop by the studio at 9 Davies, Suite 206, or for more information or visit

Barefoot Beauty


It’s all about hands and feet at Barefoot Beauty which opened up at 643 Queen Street East in Riverside this summer.

This salon prides itself on offering healthy and clean manicure and pedicure services using all-natural organic products made in-house. A particularly unique service at Barefoot Beauty is IBX,  a two step application used to strengthen and repair weak, cracking, or peeling nails.

“This treatment is a wonderful option for anyone who wants to stop using acrylic or bio-gel enhancements,” says Barefoot Beauty owner and head chiropodist Emily Stock. With regular use, she says the IBX treatment can reduce the occurrence of white spots on nails, repair and toughen nails, promoting a smoother nail plate, and improve the appearance of the nail plate.

“We absolutely love this product and are one of the few salons in Toronto to offer this specialty treatment,” she says. IBX can be used on its own for a healthy, natural nail look or under regular polish or gel (Shellac-style) polish to help strengthen and repair the nails.

Come meet Emily and experience Barefoot Beauty’s gorgeous space during the Riverside Health & Wellness Walk on September 16th.

Read more about the other unique services Barefoot Beauty offers in this blog or visit their website at


Clinique De Mode


At Clinique De Mode, just a few blocks east of Broadview at 750 Queen East, you’ll find a menu of medical treatments designed to give your skin a youthful glow.

Included in this mix of treatments is the Vampire Facial which had everybody in the ‘hood talking for a while after it was introduced via sidewalk sandwich board. Rightfully called Platelet Rich Plasma treatment, the Vampire Facial uses your very own blood to stimulate the regrowth of new collagen and aid considerably with epidermal repair.

“When people stop by the boutique, without a doubt the most frequently asked question is, what on earth is a Vampire Facial?!” says co-owner and skin care specialist Christina. “It’s one of the most effective facial treatments available in the industry for targeting pigmentation, acne scars, fine lines, and wrinkles.”

Meet co-owner Stephen to get the inside scoop on the Vampire Facial and more during the Riverside Health & Wellness Walk.

Clinique De Mode also offers chemical peels, laser hair removal, body contouring and more. Learn more at


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 this series: Riverside Patios, and Where to Rest Your Head in Riverside

Where to Rest Your Head in Riverside, Toronto – An Urban Sanctuary

Toronto’s Riverside neighbourhood is a mecca for restaurants and boutique shops. Fortunately you can also spend the night in a range of great accommodations available here, just steps from downtown Toronto. This blog highlights the places you can stay, the people you will meet, and the experiences you can enjoy in Riverside.


David, Riverside resident and host


No showers after 11:30 pm is the number one rule at host Sandy’s Victorian home in Toronto’s bustling Riverside neighbourhood.

“It’s loud!” she says, laughing, during a recent interview with several local residents about what it’s like to open their homes to Toronto travellers. Each host spoke highly of their unique accommodations, interesting guests, life east of the DVP and how recent tourism trends have contributed to the local economy, including their own wallets.

Semi-retired, Sandy has been sharing three bedrooms in her beautiful four-bedroom home with travellers since 2015, and she loves every minute of it – especially cooking dinners for guests, sharing wine with them, and basically getting to know wonderful people from all walks of life, from all over the world.

“Many of them are now friends with warm invitations to visit them in their homelands,” she says.

There are at least six dozen residents in Riverside offering either private rooms, trendy self-contained studios, or their full spacious home with rooftop deck and enough room for six guests. Prices typically range from $33 to $200 a night.


Steve, another host, has been renting the apartment on the second floor of his home to travellers since 2015. Unlike Sandy, he doesn’t share space with his guests or interact with them. He only asks they leave it as tidy and clean as they found it.

“When I give you the key to my place you have your own pad,” he says. “Most of the time they’re out sightseeing.”

Both hosts agree sharing their space has not only been a great way to supplement their income – Steve says, “I own a house and I couldn’t own a house without it,” – but it has also introduced the Riverside neighbourhood to visitors who may otherwise normally stay closer to downtown Toronto.


While there are lots of sights to see and things to do in and around Toronto (including jumping on the highway to visit Niagara Falls), globe trotters are finding out that Riverside can hold its own on a travel itinerary.

“I read somewhere that this is one of the hottest neighbourhoods in the city,” says Steve.
In fact, many of Steve and Sandy’s guests have left rave reviews for both their accommodations and the Riverside neighbourhood.

In August, traveller Kara from Grand Rapids, Michigan wrote, “Steve was a very friendly and kind host. His home was very comfortable and beautiful. The home is very close to the public transportation system which can take you downtown, and steps away a very lively and fun main street full of shops and restaurants.”


Pretty much anywhere you stay in Riverside is close to the streetcar, and everything else is a minute to get to by foot. The neighbourhood’s location in between Toronto’s major attractions  – downtown and the beaches – also make it very attractive, not to mention The Danforth just steps north.

“There’s definitely something special here,” says David.

Travellers, especially families, are already checking out the availability of his four bedroom home for next summer. Since 2016, David has rented his home approximately 20 times to families who want to share their travel experience under one roof. If they stay longer-term, for a month or more, he takes off to Mexico. If it’s short-term he’ll stay with his girlfriend in the west end.

“I think [home-sharing] is a totally new vacation phenomenon,” says David.
The busiest time of year for David and most hosts in Toronto is from May to September with the majority of visitors coming from small towns across Canada, United States, and Europe. Their thousands of reasons for being in Toronto are as varied as the accommodations available to them.


The Opera House is often mentioned by guests as a reason for visiting as well as the Riverside Eats & Beats Streetfest and Riverdale Art Walk in June, Riverside breweries, celebrity chef Lynn Crawford’s restaurant Ruby Watchco, and even De Grassi Street which was made famous by the Degrassi TV series of television shows for youth in the 1980s.

Bonjour Brioche owner and host Lori says a lot extended family stay in the neighbourhood, as well, to be close to relatives but not in their way, as most homes in Toronto are fairly small.

“Grandparents are huge,” says Lori who’s one-bedroom apartment is located above her bakery on Queen Street East and usually rented long term.

You can find all these great local hosts and accommodations via Airbnb 

Those looking to rest their heads in-style in Riverside can do so in one of the swank new rooms at The Broadview Hotel which re-opened in August 2017. It’s “a 126 year-old building and an historic neighbourhood landmark that has been meticulously restored and re-imagined as a 58-room boutique hotel and charismatic gathering spot”.


The Broadview Hotel boasts uniquely decorated guestrooms, three restaurant/ bar/ cafe spaces, a variety of special event spaces, and a range of unique events happening in-house. With nods to Riverside’s history and modern life throughout, you will also get an intimate view of the neighbourhood at The Broadview.

Read more and get a further inside view in Riverside Magazine, including an interview with the hotel’s General Manager, Murray Henderson. Book your stay via The Broadview Hotel’s website.

Broadview Hotel Room



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 Blog 1 in the series on Riverside Patios.

THANK YOU AND PHOTOS: Tkaranto Past/Tkaranto Future Mural Launch

Toronto’s Riverside Business Improvement Area (BIA) launched a new mural – ‘Tkaranto Past/Tkaranto Future’ – on August 27th with a public celebration including Indigenous music, dance food and remarks. A big thank you to the community for coming out and celebrating this important addition in Riverside and Toronto, and to all our speakers, artists and artisans who made the event come alive!

Riverside Toronto Mural Launch Aug 27 2017 (16)

Lead Mural Artist Isaac Narcisco Weber – Odinamaad (Turning Wind)

Riverside Toronto Mural Launch Aug 27 2017 (17)

Shandra Spears Bombay

Riverside Toronto Mural Launch Aug 27 2017 (19)

Left to Right: Catherine Campbell (StreetART Toronto); MP Julie Dabrusin, Mwarigha (Woodgreen Services), Rosie Little (Riverside BIA), MPP Peter Tabuns, Councillor Paula Fletcher


Philip Cote, MA, Traditional Wisdom Keeper, Artist, Activist & Historian

Riverside Toronto Mural Launch Aug 27 2017 (20) Riverside Toronto Mural Launch Aug 27 2017 (21) Riverside Toronto Mural Launch Aug 27 2017 (22) Riverside Toronto Mural Launch Aug 27 2017 (23)


Riverside Toronto Mural Launch Aug 27 2017 (25)

Nimkii Osawamick, Hoop Dancer

Riverside Toronto Mural Launch Aug 27 2017 (26) Riverside Toronto Mural Launch Aug 27 2017 (27) Riverside Toronto Mural Launch Aug 27 2017 (28) Riverside Toronto Mural Launch Aug 27 2017 (6) Riverside Toronto Mural Launch Aug 27 2017 (8) Riverside Toronto Mural Launch Aug 27 2017 (11)
Riverside Toronto Mural Launch Aug 27 2017 (12)

Medicine Pouch Craft Workshop by Tammy Enosse (pictured at top right corner)

Riverside Toronto Mural Launch Aug 27 2017 (13)
Riverside Toronto Mural Launch Aug 27 2017 (14)

Indigenous catering by Suzanne Smoke

Riverside Toronto Mural Launch Aug 27 2017 (15)

Thank you cards signed by the lead artist Odinamaad!


Thank you to Mural Supporters

This is a Cultural Hotspot SPARK project made possible in part by the Government of Canada,  City of Toronto, StreetARToronto, the Government of Ontario, and Riverside BIA.  Thank you also to Woodgreen Community Services  and Sherwin Williams.

What’s Happening August 27th: Celebrate New Mural With Indigenous Food, Music and Dance in Riverside

Toronto’s Riverside Business Improvement Area (BIA) has a new mural developed by lead artist Odinamaad, in partnership with Chief Lady Bird and Dave Monday Oguorie, and in collaboration with Traditional Wisdom Keeper, Philip Cote and youth participants from Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre. The mural moves beyond animating the walls of Woodgreen Services’ 650 Queen Street East location, by rooting the area’s history.

Join us in launching and celebrating Tkaranto Past/Tkaranto Future on August 27th with Indigenous music, dance, and food.  Learn more about what will be happening and all the Indigenous artists and artisans who will be there through this blog and come experience with us!

What’s Happening August 27th


About the Artists and Artisans


Philip Cote
Phil Cote

Philip Cote is an artist, activist, educator, a Sundancer, a Pipe Carrier, a Sweat Ceremony leader, and a member of the Eagle Society. A graduate of OCAD University’s Interdisciplinary Master’s in Art, Media and Design in 2015, Philip creates opportunities for teaching methodologies on Indigenous symbolism, language, knowledge, and history. His teaching philosophy comes from his personal experience of experiential learning through working as Indigenous knowledge and wisdom keeper, whether it be through ceremonies, sharing oral stories, or observations through land-based teachings. He has been involved in Indigenous cultural practice for most of his life and this has led him to recognize that Indigenous people’s identity and language are directly linked to their relationships to land and to one another.

Philip took part in conceptualizing the Tkaranto Past/Tkaranto Future Mural and we are honoured that he will be speaking at the launch.


Shandra Spears Bombay
Shandra Spears Bombay

Shandra Spears Bombay (Ojibway) is an actor, singer, writer, drummer and visual artist. Her television credits include Forensic Factor, Cold Blood, Murder in Paradise, Paranormal Witness, and Motives & Murders. Shandra toured with Debajehmujig Theatre Group before completing her Honours B.A. in Drama & Communication Studies at the University of Windsor. Formerly a part-time professor at George Brown College, Shandra has a solid background in curriculum design and workshop delivery, with a focus on arts and communication. Shandra is a member of Rainy River First Nations/Manitou Rapids and a member of the wolf clan. Raised in Chatham, Ontario, she now makes her home in Toronto.

We are grateful that Shandra can be at the mural launch to do traditional drumming and singing.


Tammy Enosse
Tammy Enosse

Tammy Enosse, a beadwork and leatherwork artist, has been inspired by different women in the Indigenous community, including her mother. A citizen of Wikwemikong Unceded Reserve, Tammy is now based in Toronto. Even though she’s a mom to four boys ranging in age from 3 years to 15 years, and has a job working in the community, Tammy finds the time to do spectacular beadwork and leatherwork, creating her own designs.

Come meet Tammy Enosse and and take part in her medicine pouch craft workshop at the launch.


Nimkii Osawamick
Nimkii Osawamick

Twenty-five year old Nimkii Osawamick is a hoop dancer, actor and entrepreneur. He’s been dancing since he was three years old. “When we dance, we’re giving thanks for all the abilities we have. We dance to remember and we dance to honour,” he says in a YouTube video made last year titled, Hooping with Thunder. “Through the hoop dance, we honour all of creation and we give thanks,” says Nimkii.

Nimkii has his own business – DNA Stage – which promotes Indigenous awareness. He does workshops and performances for schools and communities. He also helped open the ceremonies for the recent Indigenous Games held in Toronto.

We are honoured to have Nimkii do hoop dancing at the launch of the mural!


Suzanne Smoke

Suzanne Smoke

Gifted in many areas, Suzanne has been a fashion designer, curator, chef, cultural and arts activist, and a land defender and water protector. She is also a traditional dancer and also sings with a hand drum. She is a member of the Alderville First Nation, Mississaugas of Rice Lake. Her most important role has been as a Life Giver and mother to Cedar, her 18 –year old daughter.

Suzanne played a major role at the Georgina Arts Centre & Gallery in Sutton as the Aboriginal Arts Coordinator. Under Suzanne’s leadership, the Biindigen Gallery grew from carrying the works of 5 to 6 Indigenous artists to housing the work of over 40 First Nations, Inuit and Metis artists. In 2015, she was the Indigenous Cultural Coordinator for the Host Nation, Mississaugas of New Credit for the 2015 Pan Am Games.

We are fortunate to have Suzanne cater the launch. Here’s what’s on the menu:


Cedar Tea 2 oz servings

Strawberry Juice with Maple syrup 2.oz.

Bison/Beef slow roasted with Mashed, layered with rich bison gravy and wild rice casserole    

Candied Salmon with Dill and cranberry compote 

Scone with maple syrup and cinnamon 

Scone with Berries and maple syrup and whipped cream


Come meet all these fantastic artists and artisans and let us know you’re coming!


Thank you to Mural Supporters

This is a Cultural Hotspot SPARK project made possible in part by the Government of Canada,  City of Toronto, StreetARToronto, the Government of Ontario, and Riverside BIA.  Thank you also to Woodgreen Community Services  and Sherwin Williams.

The nominations are in! Riverside shines once again in #NOWReadersChoice 2017!

Now Readers Choice

Voting is now open to decide the best of Toronto! Riverside establishments did not disappoint this year, racking up several nominations. Take a moment to show Riverside some love by voting now:

RUBY WATCHO – Nominated for ‘Best Prix Fixe’

LONE & CO. – Nominated for ‘Best Hair Salon’

THE OPERA HOUSE – Nominated for ‘Best Concert Hall’

PULP KITCHEN –  Nominated for ‘Best Juice Bar’

AFT KITCHEN & BAR – Nominated for ‘Best Late-Night Restaurant’

TABULE – Nominated for ‘Best Falafel’ and ‘Best Middle Eastern Restaurant’

ST. JOHN’S BAKERY – Nominated for ‘Best Bread’

WAXON WAXBAR – Nominated for ‘Best Beauty Spa’

ROB POIZNER (CANNONBALL COFFEE) – Nominated for ‘Best Barista’

ARTS MARKET – Nominated for ‘Best Unique Gift Store’

WHITE LILY DINER – Nominated for ‘Best Diner’

LITTLE PEEPS – Nominated for ‘Best Toy Shop’

PROHIBITION GASTROHOUSE – Nominated for ‘Best Gastropub’

Voting closes at 5pm on September 21st. Vote now and you’ll be entered into a random draw for a $250 gas card from Master Mechanic, professional teeth whitening from Archer Dental and Canada Prize Pack from Orangefish!