Change is in the Air in Riverside – Nov 2018

Change is in the air and this fall has been an exciting one for Riverside. Check out all of the new changes that have been happening in the neighbourhood and new spots to be checking out this holiday season! 

  • Empire by Bullet & Keep me posted (724 Queen St E): We said farewell to them as they moved to another neighbourhood this summer.
  • Sugar Loaf Bakery (729 Queen St E): It’s a sad goodbye, but Sugar Loaf closed its doors this weekend, Dec 2nd. We’re going to miss all those delicious goodies!
  • Dresden (733 Queen St E): After a couple of months of renovations and getting the space ready, we are happy to welcome Dresden Vision to the Riverside neighbourhood. Dresden Vision opened October 13th, 2018 at 733 Queen St E and joined in on the neighbourhood fun by participating in this years Halloween Fest Kiddie Costume Parade. Dresden Vision is an Australian founded, German-inspired optical store that manufactures their own sustainable frames that are playful, durable and affordable.

Dresden Riverside


  • Tiny Record Shop/Token (777 Queen St E): The beloved record shop and gift shop have moved across the street to where Elber’s Antique was. We can’t wait to see what they have done with their new space. Tiny Record Shop and Token worked very hard and were re-opened on the last weekend of October! Have you visited the new shop? It’s looking even better!
Riverside Token - Tiny Record Shop (2) Riverside Token - Tiny Record Shop (1)


  • St Mary Pharmacy (796 Queen St E): Don’t panic! The pharmacy is not moving… they are just under renovations! Soon, they will be looking good again! But don’t get me wrong, they are still open for business!
Riverside St Mary Pharmacy


  • Dirty Pawz (804 Queen St E): Dirty Pawz is a self-serve dog washing space that opened up this November! Located where Token & Tiny Record Shop previously were, Dirty Pawz provides self-serve dog washes which cost $12, this includes all of the veterinary approved shampoo and conditioner you need. Dirty Pawz has been doing giveaways on their Instagram and Facebook (@dirtypawzto) for free washes, so be sure to check them out.


  • Viaduct Between DeGrassi and Jimmie Simpson Rec Centre is under renovations! They don’t know how long it will last, but it’s a very welcome fix!
Riverside Viaduct

#WindowWonderland Contest is ON – Snap & Share!

We kicked off the holiday season last weekend with our annual Light Up Riverside, and Window Wonderland Contest is open once again! Quite a few shops and retailers already have their windows dressed up!!

This holiday season, as you walk and shop along Queen St East, snap a photo of your favourite window and share it on Instagram using the #RiversideTO and #WindowWonderland hashtags! Don’t forget to follow the @Riverside_bia profile as well!!

The Instagram photo with the most “LIKES” will win a $100 gift card to the Riverside establishment in the picture!

The contest runs until December 12th. So, what are you waiting for? Come to enjoy #RiversideTO shopping and strolling and choose your favourite window!

Check out a few of the decorated windows we found on our last stroll!

Riverside #WindowWonderland 2018

Switchback Cyclery

Riverside #WindowWonderland 2018

Riverdale Trading Company

Riverside #WindowWonderland 2018

Quince Flowers

Riverside #WindowWonderland 2018

Oma Chiropractic & Wellness Centre

Riverside #WindowWonderland 2018

Dimensions Custom Framing

Riverside #WindowWonderland 2018

The Broadview Hotel

Riverside #WindowWonderland 2018

Brickworks Ciderhouse

Riverside #WindowWonderland 2018

Urban House

Riverside WindowWonderland

Sash & Bustle

Riverside WindowWonderland


Riverside WindowWonderland

Dirty Pawz Dog Wash

Riverside WindowWonderland

Wine Rack

THANK YOU + Photos: Light Up Riverside 2018

Despite the light rain that fell all day, Light Up Riverside was a success!

It was a great event full of great moments at our annual tree lighting. It was inspiring to once again see the Mustard Seed Courtyard packed with kids, smiling faces, and lovely meeting and catching up with so many of our neighbours and friends.

BIG THANKS to our 2018 Light Up Riverside co-sponsors: BIA members Baird MacGregor who served up hot drinks and warm smiles and Gillis & Kennedy RE/MAX for the amazing gift basket prize!

Riverside Light Up 2018

THANK YOU to our hosts at Fontbonne Ministries for welcoming us again to their courtyard and cozy indoor area. We lit up the beautiful 15-foot real tree and decked out the courtyard with hundreds of lights and decorations, which will grace Riverside and Mustard Seed until January.

We were happy to have this opportunity to recognize our fabulous Riverside volunteer Ron Fletcher with the Jack Memorial Korman Award for 2018, presented by our BIA Chair Mitch and his young daughter (3rd generation of Riverside BIA!). Ron, a former Riverside BIA Chair, he’s been a continuous helping hand throughout the years with his knowledge and historical background! In 2018, specifically, he put together our Film Walk for the Doors Open Toronto!

Our always supportive local politicians, Councillor Paula Fletcher, MPP Peter Tabuns and MP Julie Dabrusin, brave the rain and came out to meet & greet the community.

We had a photobooth, a Reindeer and lots of crafts for kids, the Toronto Beach Chorale warmed us up with Christmas songs and their beautiful voices. Thanks to The Opera House Grill for donating hot chicken noodle soup, already a staple in the event and always a success.

Thank you Drew Dopwell, for fixing the electrical glitches during the rain and making sure we had an amazing light up moment!

Last but not least, none of this would have happened without the support of our many volunteers from George Brown School of ESL, as well as our BIA Marketing Committee, BIA office staff, and interns Aurora Micha and Chelsea Jorge from the York University.

Thanks to everyone in the community who came out to take part, and provide donations to Mustard Seed and enjoy the memories! All photos from Giancarlo Pawelec | Pawelec Photos.

Light Up Riverside 2018

Toronto Beach Chorale

Light Up Riverside 2018

Light Up Co-sponsors, Gillis & Kennedy RE/MAX (Patrick Gillis and Dianna Kennedy)

Light Up Riverside 2018

Light Up Co-sponsor, Baird MacGregor Insurance LP

Light Up Riverside 2018

Chicken Noodle Soup from The Opera House Grill, thank you!

Light Up Riverside 2018

Thanks to our Volunteers from George Brown School of ESL

Light Up Riverside 2018


Light Up Riverside 2018
Light Up Riverside 2018

Mitch, Riverside BIA Chair, and family

Light Up Riverside 2018

Julie Dabrusin, MP

Light Up Riverside 2018

Aurora and volunteers from George Brown School of ESL

Light Up Riverside 2018

Kids Crafts

Light Up Riverside 2018

Handmade Christmas cards and garlands for selling inside Mustard Seed.

Light Up Riverside 2018
Light Up Riverside 2018

Ben Vozzolo, Executive Director of Mustard Seed

Light Up Riverside 2018

Ron Fletcher, former BIA chair, historian and active volunteer in the community!

Light Up Riverside 2018

Lucky winner of the basket from Gillis & Kennedy!

Light Up Riverside 2018

Drew, responsible for our light up and saving us from all the electrical glitches! You were amazing, thank you!!

Light Up Riverside 2018 Light Up Riverside 2018 Light Up Riverside 2018 Light Up Riverside 2018 Light Up Riverside 2018 Light Up Riverside 2018

WHAT’S ON for Shop The Neighbourhood, Nov 24th!

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 24th! A number of fun and festive events will take place throughout the day along Queen Street east from the DVP to Empire Ave, culminating in Light Up Riverside tree lighting and cheer event (5-7pm, 791 Queen E).

Riverside Light Up 2018

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!

Saturday is also the first day of the Riverside Window Wonderland Contest! Start snapping & sharing your pics for a bigger chance to win!

SWITCHBACK CYCLERY – 651 Queen St E: Get rolling on your holiday shopping! 20% off safety and security items for the cycle enthusiast in your life – including bells, helmets, lights and locks. Bikes from 10-25%. Join us for light refreshments while you browse!

QUINCE FLOWERS – 660 Queen St E: Flower Day! Purchase a $100 Floral Gift Card for just $80

CRY IF I WANT TO –  696 Queen St E: Come by to buy packaging for gift wrapping, cards, custom stationery (on order) as well as offering gift wrapping services.

EASTBOUND BREWING CO – 700 Queen St E: Enjoy a “Crafts & Crafts” Fair inside!

DIMENSIONS CUSTOM FRAMING & GALLERY – 732 Queen St E: Light refreshments and a draw to win $100 toward custom framing. No purchase necessary, just pop by and fill out a ballot!

DRESDEN VISION – 733 Queen St E: Mulled wine and Traditional German cookies… do I need to say anything else for you to pop up there?

OPERA HOUSE GRILL – 735 Queen St E – from 12pm-6pm, purchase any entree and receive a free mini-soup! (Plus come out to Light Up Riverside from 5-7pm and get a comp taste of Chris’ famous chicken noodle – great for kids of all ages!)

BUTCHERS OF DISTINCTION – 738 Queen St E: enjoy a bowl of house-made beef chilli and rice for $5 between 12pm-5pm.

RIVERDALE TRADING CO – 760 Queen St E: Take 30% of vinyl purchase (all vinyl under $80 sticker price) and 20% purchase of pipes (excluding bongs) all weekend long beginning Friday, Nov 23rd and rolling through Sunday, Nov 25th!

SAULTER STREET BREWERY – 31 Saulter St, #1: New to the world of beer? Too many different styles and have no idea which one to get? Check them out to try on different beer samples for free!

ARTS MARKET – 790 Queen St E: 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!

Lighting Up Riverside With the Help of Baird MacGregor Insurance Brokers LP

Riverside BIA is pleased to announce that Baird MacGregor Insurance Brokers LP will be partnering alongside co-sponsor Gillis & Kennedy RE/MAX again this year to present our annual Light Up Riverside event. The event will take place November 24th from 5-7pm at the Mustard Seed Courtyard where the annual tree lighting will take place, along with live music, crafts and treats.

The Baird MacGregor team celebrates at their ribbon cutting event for extensive building facade improvements, Oct 19/17.

Baird MacGregor Insurance Brokers LP has been a part of the Riverside community for quite some time and last year played a huge role in organizing the annual Light Up. Baird MacGregor Insurance Brokers LP opened up shop at 825 Queen Street East in 1988 and has been an active member of the community ever since. CEO and President of Baird MacGregor Insurance Brokers LP Philomena Comerford is a driven woman and outstanding leader that shows compassion towards everything she does. The brokerage is proud to have many longtime employees who have had the opportunity to have their children work alongside them; in fact, Philomena Comerford now works alongside with her son Dylan Luft.

Light Up Riverside is all about family, fun and warmth, values that Baird MacGregor Insurance Brokers deeply believe in. With strong family ties, caring for its clients, and being people persons, they are thrilled to meet all of the Riverside Community at this end of the year event!

We sat down with Philomena Comerford to learn more about her firm partnering up with Riverside BIA for Light Up Riverside.

What are you most looking forward to for this year’s Light Up Riverside event?

Philomena explained that she is really looking forward to the Christmas Tree lighting, listening to the carols, and mingling with the community to kick-start the spirit of the season. Light Up Riverside is a great opportunity to meet all of your neighbours and celebrate the holidays through fun shared activities. 

What does this event mean to you and your business?

This event is a great opportunity to engage with and get to know our neighbours a bit better, in a festive atmosphere. This event is all about family, fun and warmth: virtues that our business values very deeply.

What is your favourite part of the holiday season?

Our favourite part of the holiday season is our staff luncheon when we serve a traditional turkey dinner and sing carols together.  Also, last year Community 55 was thrilled to receive donated children’s gifts for their family Christmas baskets.  Our elves also prepare gift bags to hand out at the Christmas dinner for the Out of the Cold program in the Beach. 

What are some of your favourite things to do in Riverside?

We like to eat!  There are some awesome restaurants in Riverside and love trying them all. 


THANK YOU to our 2018 Light Up Riverside co-sponsors, Baird MacGregor Insurance Brokers LP & Gillis & Kennedy RE/MAX, and to Fontbonne Ministries for hosting again in the Mustard Seed Courtyard. 

For more information check out Light Up Riverside event page.

Riverside LIGHT UP 2018