This walking tour highlights Riverside’s public art which weaves together stories of changes over space and time, heritage, people, nature, and ways of living. Discover what makes Riverside one of Toronto’s most unique communities.
STOP 1: Riverside Wayfinding Art – 2015
(Queen Street Viaduct – closest address: 1 Davies Ave)
The bright way-finding art that is just to the west of the steel truss bridge was designed and created by artist Rebecca Houston, as part of the Riverside Bridge Lighting Project completed in 2015. The red ribbons appear to swirl like a river, and mark the western entrance to the Riverside BIA (Business Improvement Area). The weather vane sign moves with the wind, shows direction, and provides wayfinding to other Toronto landmarks.
STOP 2: Bridge Art – 1995 (Time and a Clock – Part 1), 2015 (Bridge Lighting)
(Queen Street Viaduct – closest address: 1 Davies Ave)
The Queen Street Viaduct has always been an important passage to Toronto’s east. The bridge became a landmark in 1995 when, as part of the ‘Time and a Clock Series’, artist Eldon Garnet, among others, added iconic art atop the bridge with the phrase ‘This River I Step In Is Not The River I Stand In’. In 2015, during the Pan Am Games, the Riverside BIA launched the Riverside Bridge Lighting Project, which illuminates the bridge and its art in vibrant colours each night.
STOP 3: Tkaranto Past, Tkaranto Future Mural – 2017
(Queen Street East at Carroll Street, 650 Queen Street East)
Created by Indigenous artists Odinamaad, Chief Lady Bird, and Dave Monday Oguorie, this mural tells the story about Tkaranto being a meeting place for all people: first, for Indigenous nations for travel, trade, hunting and fishing, and in present day, for people who come here from around the globe to gather on the traditional territories of those who first occupied the land. The artists portray and share many of their traditional activities and stories, while giving a voice to Indigenous peoples, and a prayer toward the next generation of youth – the enduring strong Indigenous presence here in Tkaranto.
STOP 4: Welcome to Riverside – 2013
(651 Queen St East)
Originally installed on the wall of 742 Queen E in 2013, and moved to 651 Queen E in 2017, this mural was designed by local artist Jessie Durham and painted on wooden panels by artist Melissa Luk. This was the Riverside BIA’s first mural as part of its efforts to re-introduce its modern identity and brand: after many years of branding as ‘Queen-Broadview Village’, the BIA re-branded to come back to its roots as ‘Riverside’ (the area’s namesake since the 1880s).
STOP 5: Echo – 2015
(Carroll Street at Thompson Street – in Joel Weeks Park at 10 Thompson Street)
Three unique sculptures evoking the flora and fauna of the nearby Don Valley, sit in Joel Weeks Park. They are creations of First Nations artists Mary Anne Barkhouse and Michael Belmore – whose design was chosen through a national competition by the City of Toronto. These child-friendly works including the popular squirrels (worshipping a giant acorn), a beaver, and a fox – are all cast in bronze, and sit atop chunks of Ontario granite.
STOP 6: Riverside Sports Heritage & Legacy Mural – 2014, 2015
(Munro Street at Queen Street East – 1 Munro Street)
The Riverside Sports Heritage & Legacy Mural was created by artist Monica Wickeler. The lower portion of the mural illustrates Riverside’s rich history in bicycling and curling associated with the Royal Canadian Curling Club, and also baseball, as Riverside was home to Toronto’s first baseball stadium, Sunlight Park. The upper portion of the mural celebrates modern day sporting and was launched during the 2015 Pan Am Games.
STOP 7: ‘Time and a Clock’ – 1995 – Part 2
(Queen Street East at Broadview Avenue – closest address: 106 Broadview Avenue)
Part 2 of the ‘Time and a Clock’ series consists of phrases that describe Riverside based on the theme of ‘time’. The art is embedded in the sidewalk of the four corners of the Broadview Ave and Queen Street East intersection. The phrases written are: ‘Too soon free from time’; ‘Time is money: money is time’; ‘Better late than never’; and ‘Time=distance x velocity’.
STOP 8: Alquimia Mural – 2019
(Broadview Avenue at Queen Street East – 714 Queen Street East)
‘Alquimia’ (spanish for ‘alchemy’) is a mural in a semi-abstract style by Toronto-based artist and mental health advocate Jacquie Comrie. Paying homage to the Riverside neighbourhood, the mural is an interpretation of the quote “This river I step in is not the river I stand in” that speaks of the inevitable nature of all things: Alchemy and change. Everything moves. Everything transforms into something else. It is a connection to the past while celebrating its future, progress and growth of the community. Through the use of vibrant colour palettes, the aim is to inject light and energy, hoping to make everyone feel welcome and uplifted, while transforming the corner into a space of mental elevation for everyone.
STOP 9: Riverside Pollinator Mural – 2016
(Queen Street East at Saulter Street – 777 Queen Street East)
The Riverside Pollinator Mural was created by artist Nick Sweetman. Completed in 2016, the mural’s references to clocks and time continues in the theme of the ‘Time and a Clock’ series while celebrating Albert Edelstein, a founding member of the Riverside BIA, who was a local jeweller and watchmaker. The mural also highlights the many natural, hidden places in Riverside and the importance of pollinators (e.g. bees, people) in the community.
STOP 10: ‘Time and a Clock’ – 1995 – Part 3
(Queen Street East at Empire Avenue – closest address: 972 Queen Street East)
The final piece of the ‘Time and a Clock’ series by Eldon Garnet are four pennants on poles, near the Jimmie Simpson Recreation Centre. Each pennant has one word and together they form a poem about time: ‘Coursing’, ‘Disappearing’, ‘Trembling’, ‘Returning’. This public art also marks the eastern boundary of the Riverside BIA.