The Riverside BIA has undertaken a number of streetscape beautification projects over the years which highlight the area’s heritage, add public art, create a neat and tidy appearance, and literally brighten up the area! Here are just some of the unique projects the BIA has implemented in partnership with the City of Toronto, local artists and many other partners:
A 3-year $500K capital project (2012-2015) that stylishly lights up the Queen Street Viaduct Bridge each night and includes wayfinding art where King and Queen Street East meet (completed 2015). Read all about it…
Riverside Tree Pit Pilot Project
The Riverside BIA was the selected to be the pilot project with the Department of Parks and Forestry to install sustainable and safe tree pits in our neighbourhood (completed 2013. The City of Toronto and Riverside District Business Improvement Area (BIA) installed artificial turf around trees in sidewalk cut-outs not only to prolong tree life and overall health but also to create consistency in tree pit treatment. The pilot project was implemented along Toronto’s Queen Street East to see if the trees would survive extreme weather and road salt during the winter. Tree cut-outs were enlarged to create a wider area for the absorption of air and water, and were surrounded by a raised rubber edge to deter pedestrians from walking in them. This reduces soil compaction, which would otherwise prevent roots from absorbing nutrients. It also lowers maintenance costs for the city.
The Riverside Tree Pit project helped create a tidy appearance of the sidewalk, and decreased the sidewalk maintenance and the need for annual tree-mulching, Previously, the pits were covered in mulch and continuously blowing onto the sidewalk and road. Now, the mulch is concealed under the cover, so the tree still benefits and the sidewalk is tidy. The Project was expanded to include all 71 Riverside Tree Pits in 2013.
Public Art Installation – Time: and a Clock (1994)
Capital artwork installations include Eldon Garnet’s 1990s three-part public art installation ‘Time: and a Clock’. Part one can be seen on the DVP bridge on Queen Street East and reads “This River I Step in is Not the River I Stand In”.
Part two are meditations on time which can be found on each corner of Broadview Avenue and Queen Street East, and read “Distance = Velocity X Time”, “Time is Money, Money is Time”, “Too Soon Free From Time”, “Better Late Than Never”.
Part three is cleverly placed atop each banner pole at Jimmy Simpson Park and spells out the word TIME. It is one of the city’s most subtly grounded pieces of public art.
These are just a few of the many artistic and way finding pieces that can be found throughout the Riverside BIA along Queen Street East from the bridge to Empire Avenue:
Riverside BIA installed the Welcome to Riverside Mural at the Corner of Queen & Grant (2013). This was made possible with a grant from the City of Toronto Economic Development & Tourism Department. The mural (created on panels) was moved to the wall of 651 Queen Street East (2017) and featured on the Feb 2018 TTC Metropass.
In 2016, the BIA partnered with Ron Elbers (building owner of Elbers Antiques) and mural artist Nick Sweetman to complete the Riverside Pollinator Mural on the west-facing wall of 777 Queen St East, thanks to support from the City of Toronto.
In 2017, the BIA commissioned the ‘Tkaranto Past, Tkaranto Future’ mural on 650 Queen St East (Woodgreen Services). 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. This was a Cultural Hotspot SPARK project made possible in part by the Government of Canada, City of Toronto, StreetARToronto, the Government of Ontario, and Riverside BIA.