Congrats to our #RiversideTO #WindowWonderland Contest Winner & VOTE NOW for Best of #QueenEast

This year’s #Riverside TO #WindowWonderland was a hot contest with tons of gorgeous windows on display.  The top shot goes to winner blair88 who took a great shot of the winning window at Oma Chiropractic & Wellness Centre

Blair shared about the inspiration behind his photo “Oma Chiropractic has been in our neighbourhood for quite some time and I have used their services on multiple occasions…I found their holiday window to have a bit of a vintage flair which is reflective of the Riverside neighbourhood. I thought it was a great wonderful ‘reflection’ of the people who live here…Thanks!”

OMA’s window is specially designed by local artist Katherine Hartel, who prepares their holiday window every year! You can check out more photos of the process of painting the window and of Katherine’s work at katherinehartel_art 

Blair is being recognized and awarded at the Riverside Antler Breakfast.


THANKS to all the Riverside businesses who dressed up their windows so fabulously – take a look at our blog which shows snaps of many of them. Don’t miss coming by to enjoy them – whilst doing your shops and eats – into the New Year!

THANKS also to all our fabulous Instagrammers who took a moment to snap and share their unique views as part of the contest – take a look at some of the top shots:

BUT THE CONTEST ISN’T OVER YET….NOW WE’RE MOVING ON TO CROWN THE CHAMPIONS OF QUEEN EAST!

The (friendly) rivalry is at a high among the Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) on Toronto’s Queen Street East!

Having crowned champions in their local #WindowWonderland competitions in the Riverside BIA, Leslieville BIA and The Beach Village BIA, the top 3 from each now go up against each other for bragging rights to be ‘Champions of #QueenEast’!

CAST YOUR VOTES BY DECEMBER 16TH to help us decide who will get bragging rights for Top 3 Window Wonderlands on Queen East.

May the most wonderful windows win!

Vote for your top 3 windows on Queen Street East HERE

 

Check out the #WindowWonderlands in #RiversideTO!

Once again, Riverside shops and retailers have created Window Wonderland displays with festive imagery that gets us in the holiday spirit. Everyone was encouraged to snap a photo of their favourite and share it on Instagram using the #RiversideTO and #WindowWonderland hashtags.

While the Riverside contest ended December 11th, with the winner being announced at the Riverside Antler Breakfast, we wanted to showcase all the wonderful windows on display which will be up till the new year to enjoy whilst doing your holiday shops, eats and, of course, self-care dates! Check them out below 🙂

BUT THE CONTEST ISN’T OVER YET….NOW WE’RE MOVING ON TO CROWN THE CHAMPIONS OF QUEEN EAST!

The (friendly) rivalry is at a high among the Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) on Toronto’s Queen Street East!

Having crowned champions in their local #WindowWonderland competitions in the Riverside BIA, Leslieville BIA and The Beach Village BIA, the top 3 from each now go up against each other for bragging rights to be ‘Champions of #QueenEast’!

CAST YOUR VOTES BY DECEMBER 16TH to help us decide who will get bragging rights for Top 3 Window Wonderlands on Queen East.

May the most wonderful windows win!

VOTE FOR YOUR TOP 3 WINDOWS ON QUEEN STREET EAST! (CHOOSE 3) HERE

Common Sort at 760 Queen St E in Toront's Riverside, Gorgeous by Day & Night

Common Sort at 760 Queen St E in Toronto’s Riverside, Gorgeous by Day & Night

Common Sort at 760 Queen St E in Toront's Riverside, Gorgeous by Day & Night

Common Sort at 760 Queen St E in Toronto’s Riverside, Gorgeous by Day & Night

Oma Chiropractic's Winning Window at 1 Munro St by Artist Katherine Hartel, Riverside Toronto

Oma Chiropractic’s Winning Window at 1 Munro St by Artist Katherine Hartel, Riverside Toronto

 

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