Welcome to Riverside: Blackbird Baking Company

We had the pleasure of being one of the first visitors to Blackbird Baking Co‘s new space in Toronto’s Riverside neighbourhood on its opening day on November 27, 2019 at 635 Queen E. It’s beautiful, with a warm and welcoming retail portion (thanks Sasha and Imogen!) and a big view to all the important baking operations.

We love their locally branded space and cool swag (shopping bags, bread bags and more!). Kudos to owner Simon and his team!

The Story of Blackbird Baking

Handcrafted breads and pastries available locally in Toronto since 2011. When chef Simon Blackwell decided to make bread, he looked close to home for inspiration. The opening of Blackbird marked the fourth generation of bakers in his family beginning in Staffordshire, England in 1894.

This tradition of small scale, hand-crafted production using local ingredients remains at the heart of Blackbird’s work to bring fresh bread and pastry to the neighbourhood, and retailers restaurants across Toronto.

They are award-winning and recently were named Best Bakery/Bread in NOW Reader’s Choice of 2019.

Drop by for amazing bread, sandwiches and baked goods, and help give them a warm welcome.

NOV 30th: WHAT’S ON FOR RIVERSIDE’S SHOP THE NEIGHBOURHOOD

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 30th!

Fun and festive happenings will take place throughout the day along Riverside’s Queen Street east from the DVP to Empire Ave, culminating in the Light Up Riverside tree lighting and cheer event (5-7pm, 791 Queen E).

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!

This year you can take part in our Riverside Shop the Neighbourhood Scavenger Hunt – pick up a flyer at any participating location and visit them – then come get your free Riverside shopping tote at 791 Queen St East!

Saturday is also the first day of the Riverside Window Wonderland Contest! Start snapping & sharing your pics on Instagram with #riversideto #windowwonderland for a chance to win some holiday shopping $$.

SWITCHBACK CYCLERY, 651 Queen St E, 12-6pm: Pop by Switchback Cyclery for some holiday treats and shopping, including
* 40% off all helmets
* 25% off pannier bags
* 20% + off all 2019 bikes (plus free winter storage valued at $75)
* 25% off Holiday Greeting Cards

QUINCE FLOWERS, 660 Queen St E, 12-6pm: Purchase a $100 Floral gift card for just $80 (offer on until December 6).

CRY IF I WANT TO,  696 Queen St E (2nd Fl Suite C), 12-6966pm: Shop Cry If I Want To’s greeting card and gift packaging clearance sale while enjoying complimentary warm drinks and treats – find them on the 2nd floor at 696 Queen St E!

EASTBOUND BREWING CO, 700 Queen St E, 12pm-6pm: Check out the seasonal things on offer at Eastbound:

  • Ever had an espresso in your IPA? Eastbound will be partnering with local roasters, Stereo Coffee, to make fresh brewed ‘Espresso Cloud IPAs’.
  • Eastbound x Sawdust City Christmas beer collaboration will also be released this weekend – limited pre-packaged gift baskets for Shop The Neighbourhood!

BRICKWORKS CIDERHOUSE, 709 Queen St E, 10:30am-1am: Purchase a $100 gift card and receive a $50 gift card for yourself! Offer ends Dec 15.

TERTULIA, 711 Queen Streat E, 12-6pm: T777ry samples from Tertulia’s Limited Release Liquor infused coffee beans carefully selected and aged in Oak Barrels.

RUBY WATCHCO, 730 Queen St E, 12-5pm: Ruby Watchco is having a special open house including jewelry showcase with local artisan Leslie Paul Designs. They will also have cookbooks signed by Chef Lynne Crawford and gift certificates available for sale along with some mulled wine for the sippin’. Join them 12-5pm!

DIMENSIONS CUSTOM FRAMING & GALLERY, 732 Queen St E, 12-6pm: Enjoy holiday treats and a draw to win one of three $100 gift cards toward custom framing. No purchase necessary, just pop by and fill out a ballot!

JOHN HOOD STUDIO, 756 Queen Street East, 2-8PM: Meet local artist John Hood at his Annual Holiday Open House and get a tour of his studio which offers oil painting classes. Enjoy complimentary holiday cheer/ refreshments!

COMMON SORT, 760 Queen E, 11am-7pm: Sip on hot mulled apple cider while you shop the best in second-hand vintage fashion (p.s. Check out their free styling service here.)

TOKEN, 777 Queen Street E, 11am-7pm: Enjoy complimentary treats while you shop unique local gifts!

ARTS MARKET, 790 Queen Street East, 12-6pm: 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! Join our mailing list for a chance to win a gift basket that’s chock-full of goodies from local vendors!

TABULE MIDDLE EASTERN CUISINE, 810 Queen St E: Purchase a $50 Tabule gift card for only $40! Offer available until December 6th.

SAULTER STREET BREWERY, 1-31 Saulter Street, GIFT BASKETS are available $25 and $50. Each basket also includes a taproom gift certificate for two 12 oz beers of your choice on us! A little token of appreciation.

Join us to Light Up Riverside from 5pm-7pm in the Mustard Seed Courtyard, Fontbonne Ministries!

Come for a FUN evening – everyone is welcome! From 5 – 7pm, there will be warm refreshments from local businesses including apple pies from Brickworks Ciderhouse, chicken noodle soup from Opera House Grill served with bread from Blackbird Baking Co, Irish tea from Saulter Street Brewery, special liquor-infused coffee samples from Tertulia for the adults and more!

For the KIDS: holiday crafts and the opportunity to meet and get treats from SANTA and our co-sponsors Baird MacGregor Insurance Brokers LP and Dianna Kennedy of RE/MAX Hallmark. Not to mention our magical light display

The evening will also feature performances by the Toronto Beaches Children’s & Youth Chorus (TBCYC)! The TBCYC “aims to promote the love of singing and the joy of drama in children and youth, committed to pursuing the highest standards both chorally and dramatically in an inclusive, supportive, and welcoming community.” Learn more about them and then come see them live at Light Up Riverside!

The event is free to the public, however, donations are being welcomed in support of Mustard Seed, Fontbonne Ministries – and our co-sponsor Dianna Kennedy will be holding a prize draw to help spread the good cheer!

It’s all happening in Fontbonne Ministries’ Mustard Seed Courtyard conveniently located at 791 Queen St E.

A BIG thank you to our 2019 Light Up Riverside co-sponsors, Baird MacGregor Insurance Brokers LP and Dianna Kennedy RE/MAX Hallmark Realty Ltd, and to Fontbonne Ministries for hosting again in the Mustard Seed Courtyard.

After your Light Up Riverside experience, also check out:

SAULTER STREET BREWERY, 1-31 Saulter Street, 7pm – 9pm: Check out the Light Up Riverside After Party at Saulter Street Brewery for complimentary samples and cheer!

EAST END HOLIDAY MARKET at Ralph Thornton Community Centre, 765 Queen St E, 5-9pm: Shopping for your dear ones? Join us for some local shopping, vegan food, music and good vibes. Pick up a handmade gift, enjoy some holiday treats and hot chocolate and meet your local artist.

Don’t forget, our Window Wonderland Contest starts Nov 30th! Snap & Share your fave decorated windows using #RiversideTO

Get to Know Light Up Riverside 2019 Co-Sponsors: Baird MacGregor Insurance Brokers LP

Riverside BIA is excited to once again be partnering with Baird MacGregor Insurance Brokers LP alongside co-sponsor Dianna Kennedy RE/MAX Hallmark  to present Light Up Riverside! The event will take place November 30th from 5-7pm at the Mustard Seed Courtyard, Fontbonne Ministries, including live music, warm treats, meet and greet with Santa, crafts and of course magical lights!

Baird MacGregor Insurance Brokers LP has been a part of the Riverside community for quite some time and has sponsored the annual Light Up Riverside event since 2016, we are proud once again to welcome them on board as 2019 co-sponsor!

Philomena Comerford, CEO & President of Baird MacGregor Insurance Brokers LP, with son Dylan Luft of Baird MacGregor

Philomena Comerford, CEO & President of Baird MacGregor Insurance Brokers LP, with son Dylan Luft of Baird MacGregor

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 Philomena Comerford is a driven woman and outstanding leader who shows compassion toward everything she does. The brokerage is proud to have many longtime employees who have had the opportunity to have their children work alongside them, including Philomena Comerford who 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 always thrilled to enjoy the warmth of the season with the Riverside community at this annual event.

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

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

Philomena shared that she is really looking forward to the 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. 

Dylan Luft of Baird MacGregor (at left) Serving up Hot Chocolate with volunteers at Light Up Riverside

Dylan Luft of Baird MacGregor (at left) Serving up Hot Chocolate with volunteers at Light Up Riverside

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 are some of your favourite things to do in Riverside?

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

Meet Baird McGregor Insurance Brokers LP at Light Up Riverside! Get all the details and let us know you’re coming!

A BIG thank you to our 2019 Light Up Riverside co-sponsors, Baird MacGregor Insurance Brokers LP and Dianna Kennedy RE/MAX Hallmark Realty Ltd, and to Fontbonne Ministries for hosting again in the Mustard Seed Courtyard.

Giving Back with Light Up Riverside: Meet our Charitable Partner & Host Fontbonne Ministries

Light Up Riverside, the Riverside BIA’s annual holiday event, will once again enliven the community with festive lights, live choir music, warm refreshments, and lots of cheer! The fun festivities are happening on Saturday, November 30th, from 5pm to 7pm in the Mustard Seed Courtyard of Fontbonne Ministries.

A long-time host of Light Up Riverside, Fontbonne Ministries’ Mustard Seed courtyard has always been a fitting place for the festivities as it’s all about caring and community. Their mission is “to be a welcoming space — where your life skills can grow, where your creative energies can be unleashed, where imagination, playfulness, and beauty can be celebrated, where your self-worth, dignity, healing, wholeness and spirituality can flourish, and above all, where community is nourished”.

The charity was founded in 2000 by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto. Fontbonne Ministries’ Mustard Seed location in Riverside offers diverse programs that are welcoming and inclusive.  Some of their programs include:

  • The Good Food Market: affordable, fresh and local produce – Thursdays year round from 2pm-5:30pm
  • Community Kitchen: Delicious, nutritious, affordable meals prepared and shared in community.
  • Nifty Knitters: Learn to knit and crochet or work on your own project.
  • Crafts and Sewing: Opportunities for creativity; supplies provided.
  • Spiritual Spas, Special Events and Workshops
  • Community Garden Plots

This year we are welcoming donations toward our host and, as an extra incentive to give generously, there’s a chance to win a gift basket donated by our Light Up Riverside co-sponsor Dianna Kennedy of RE/MAX Hallmark Realty!

Meet our hosts at Light Up Riverside! Get all the details and let us know you’re coming!

A BIG thank you to our 2019 Light Up Riverside co-sponsors, Baird MacGregor Insurance Brokers LP and Dianna Kennedy RE/MAX Hallmark Realty Ltd, and to Fontbonne Ministries for hosting in the Mustard Seed Courtyard.

Get to Know Light Up 2019 Co-Sponsor: Dianna Kennedy RE/MAX Hallmark Realty

On November 30th, Riverside BIA and our co-sponsors, Dianna Kennedy RE/MAX Hallmark Realty & Baird MacGregor Insurance Brokers LP, will be hosting the annual Light Up Riverside holiday event. Light Up Riverside is a free community event that encourages everyone to come out and celebrate the holiday season with live music, photos with Santa, treats and lots of beautiful lights!

This year’s Light Up Riverside event will again take place from 5-7pm at the Mustard Seed Courtyard of Fontbonne Ministries (791 Queen Street E).

Dianna Kennedy has been an active co-sponsor of this annual event since 2017, and we are so excited to have her lend her energy and support again this year! Light Up Riverside takes place beside Dianna’s RE/MAX Hallmark Realty office.

Dianna has been a part of the Riverside community for quite some time, with 20+ years of experience in the area’s real estate,  Dianna has strong ties to the community, and especially with the Riverside BIA since becoming a member of the BIA Board of Directors in 2019. We sat down to catch up with Dianna and chat about this year’s Light Up Riverside and her involvement in the Riverside community.

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

This year I’m very excited to be doing a gift basket giveaway with a value of up to $200! Entry to the draw will be free, however, I’m encouraging donations for our amazing event hosts Mustard Seed, Fontbonne Ministries. I love Light Up Riverside because it’s a fun event for people to enjoy, meet others in the community, and it is a great way to kick off the holiday season.

What does this event mean to you and your business?

This event is really important to me because it gives me an opportunity to get outside and spend a fun time with the people of this amazing community!

What is your favourite part of the holiday season?

The holidays are great because it gives people the opportunity to get together with people we don’t see as often as we would like and to spend time with friends and family.

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

The list is endless. There are so many fun things to do in Riverside, one thing I enjoy doing is going for dinner at The Broadview Hotel and hanging out at their rooftop patio. Riverside is great because there are always so many festivals and events that take place. I really enjoy the Riverside Eats & Beats Streetfest and the diversity of the neighbourhood.

Meet Dianna at Light Up Riverside! Get all the details and let us know you’re coming!

A BIG thank you to our 2019 Light Up Riverside co-sponsors, Baird MacGregor Insurance Brokers LP and Dianna Kennedy RE/MAX Hallmark Realty Ltd, and to Fontbonne Ministries for hosting again in the Mustard Seed Courtyard.