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!
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 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.
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.
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!!
Many thanks to Riverside BIA current and past Executive Directors, Jennifer Lay, Anjuli Solanki, and Perry Lupyrpka for contributing to this article.