Riverside BIA is looking for 40 Stories to Celebrate 40th Anniversary in 2020

The Riverside BIA is celebrating 40 Years in 2020!  First formed in 1980 by a group of local business and property owners, the Queen Broadview Village Business Improvement Area is one of the first dozen BIAs in Toronto and the world. The BIA spans Queen Street East from the Bridge (Queen Street Viaduct) to just past De Grassi Street.

In 2004, the name change to the ‘Riverside’ BIA reflected the neighbourhood’s name since the 1880s.  The BIA and business community it serves have seen many other changes over the decades – some very big news and others perhaps hidden gems.

This year to celebrate and commemorate these first 40 years, we’d like to capture and share 40 short stories of the BIA.

Riverside BIA map, Toronto

Riverside BIA is located along Queen Street east from the Bridge (at west) to Empire Ave (just past De Grassi Street)

If you are a current or past: local business or property owner, employee of a local business or organization, resident or visitor – we’d love to hear your story!

These stories will become a blog series, virtual time capsule, and self-guided Scavenger Hunt that will help locally-based folks and tourists alike get to know the Riverside BIA in 2020 and for years to come.

If you have a short story, pls share it (ideally up to 500 words plus photos) with us via this link:


If you prefer to call us or email us your story, please do so via: 416-466-8167 (we can help record your story) or office@riverside-to.com

You can submit your story with your name or anonymously.

We look forward to hearing about and sharing your story of Riverside!

Tips and resources to Get You Through this pandemic

Local businesses are taking extra precautions to ensure your health: call ahead and ask, order online, buy a gift certificate to redeem when things settle down, or maybe ask a friend to pick up items. Let’s not forget this is a strong resilient community that can rely on each other.

Let’s all encourage each other to wash hands, clean surfaces regularly & check up on the most vulnerable around you.

Find local service providers, variety & discount stores, and activities near you on our online directory for your Go-to Local List: www.riverside-to.com/business-directory/

Below are articles you may find helpful:

1) The Ontario Curriculum: Elementary: Want to ensure your kids don’t fall too behind while away from School for 3 weeks; here’s a link for The Ontario Curriculum: Elementary as well as a list of Policy and Resource Documents for the Ontario Curriculum: Elementary is available,

2) The family lockdown guide: how to emotionally prepare for coronavirus quarantine,

3) Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Awareness resources from Public Health Ontario; Infographics & fact sheets,

4) Planning a Local Event? Risk-informed decision-making for mass gatherings during COVID-19 global outbreak.

New Park + New Name = Riverside Common

Riverside Common, Riverside neighbourhood , Toronto

A message from Councillor Paula Fletcher – Ward 14,Toronto-Danforth:

Welcome to Riverside Common!

The new park coming to Riverside Square at 667 Queen St. East was officially named at Toronto & East York Community Council.

While Riverside Common fulfills the parkland requirement for the Riverside Square Development it will function more as a plaza and public space for the neighbourhood with opportunities for many kinds of community uses.

This name recognizes our special east end neighbourhood. Thank you to everyone who signed the petition last year.

Current Timeline: Construction is expected to start this Summer.

Congrats to Nellie’s Coldest Night of the Year Walk in Toronto’s Riverside on $52.7K Raised!!

It’s cold out there and some of the most vulnerable among us experience that more than others.

On Saturday, February 22, 2020, Riverside neighbourhood took part in the Coldest Night of the Year (CNOY), a nation-wide family-friendly walk to raise money for charities serving hungry, homeless and hurting people in our community.

In Toronto’s Riverside neighborhood, the walk was hosted by Nellie’s Shelter to raise much needed funds.

The event was a huge success with:

*20 Team Captains
*94 Walkers
*43 Volunteers
*7 Sponsors
*9 Goods & Services Sponsors
*$52,000 raised for Nellie’s

We surpassed our goal of $25,000 by 211%. WHOOO HOOOO!

Check out this amazing video of the experience:

Big thanks to local husband and wife real estate team, Jon and Cheryl of J & C Toronto Real Estate Team, for donating their time and skills to produce this incredibly moving video. www.jandcrealty.com

Featuring Toronto’s Riverside Business: Bergström Originals

Christina Bergström has built a loyal following since she opened her retro-modern clothing boutique, Bergström Originals, in Toronto’s Riverside neighborhood over 15 years ago.

Since 2003, their shop at 781 Queen Street East shop has carried what Christina describes as happy clothing with vibrant colors, bold prints, and sophisticated cuts inspired by her Scandinavian background and love of mid-century design.

“Our customers come to us for our clothing that carries them from work to weekend in stand-out style, all in easy-care and travel-friendly fabrics,” says Christina, who designs and makes all her products in Toronto.

When it came time to open a retail store for her burgeoning Bergström Originals brand, Riverside was an easy choice.

“We felt our aesthetic fit in with all the groovy retro shops that were present at the time,” said Christina noting Riverside also showed a glimmer of hope to become what it is today – a hip, urban environment with an eclectic mix of unique independent businesses.

“The landscape has changed, with many new condos and building projects, yet the beautiful architecture of the area has been preserved,” she said.

There’s a lot that Christina loves about running a business in Riverside but what she enjoys most is her customers.

“We have met so many people over the years and, love to keep seeing them,” she said. “Many are like friends now.”

In addition to one-of-a-kind fashions, including the popular Mrs. Robinson Wrap Dress, now in its 10th year, Bergström Originals also carries a variety of unique accessories and footwear perfect for modern-day women.

Karen Lloyd from Riverside

Karen Lloyd is a writer, photographer and website designer in Toronto’s Riverside neighborhood. This blog is part of the series Riverside Business Profile. Read other blogs from her: 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.