RiversideTO Preservation and Progress

Whatever you do, don’t call it Leslieville. It’s Riverside.

Spanning 10 blocks along Queen Street East from the Don Valley Parkway to Degrassi Street, this part of town often gets rolled up into the hyped Leslieville neighbourhood. But they’re not one in the same. Formerly known as Queen Broadview Village, Riverside is a small neighbourhood within the larger South Riverdale precinct. But what it may lack in size, it certainly makes up for in terms of culture and history.

Riverside is home to a number of important landmarks, such as the New Broadview House Hotel, the Ralph Thornton Center, the Opera House, which opened in 1909 as a vaudeville stage, and the Jimmy Simpson Recreation Centre. If some of these buildings don’t ring any bells, you may be more familiar with some of the businesses that call (or have called) Riverside home: Dangerous Dan’s Diner, The Real Jerk and of course the infamous strip club, Jilly’s. The Real Jerk held the flagship south east corner of Queen & Broadview for a number of years, but has since been replaced by An Sibin Irish Pub, despite some controversy.


For a number of years now, rumours have been circulating that the New Broadview House Hotel, which houses Jilly’s on the ground floor, was going to be converted into a venue similar to that of the Drake on West Queen West. As gentrification continues to take hold in this east side neighbourhood, it’s likely on a matter of time before something along these lines actually takes place. The building has loads of potential.

As we’ve said many times before, we’re big fans of the east side of downtown. With the Distillery District, Corktown, the under construction West Don Lands Neighbourhood and the revitalization of Regent Park, we really believe that we’re at the beginning of a dramatic push towards the east. It may start with the neighbourhoods closest to downtown, but eventually those areas will stitch in those that happen to fall on the other side of the DVP – like Riverside.

I mean, now that Queen Street West has been conquered all the way to Parkdale, where else is there to go? Look at what happened in New York with the Lower East Side starting in the mid 2000s. Of course, this transformation has already started thanks to condo developers such as Streetcar Development who have been incredibly active in neighbourhoods such as Corktown and Riverside.

Riverside Lofts

Streetcar’s Riverside projects include the Edge Lofts, Sync Lofts and Riverside Lofts (apparently they like lofts). All of these projects are mid-rise in scale and we suspect that we’ll be seeing more of these types of projects. Further east, Streetcar is also developing the Carlaw, which will include a 10,000 square foot performance arts facility and community hub.

100 Broadview

Other condos in the Riverside area include the Broadview Lofts (2004) and the recently completed the Ninety by Harhay Developments, which neatly integrated an existing 84,000 square foot office building (100 Broadview) into the base of the building (shown above). Hullmark recently purchased this office space for $11.3 million, with the goal of repositioning it into a “best-in class office building on the east side.” Because of everything that’s happening, Hullmark also sees tremendous upside potential in this part of town.


However, investment in the Riverside area is happening at all scales. If you take a stroll down Saulter Street you’ll find a clever adaptive reuse of an existing commercial/industrial building into a residence (shown above). Completed by architech Richard Librach, it’s a marvellous example of how older buildings can be reinvigorated with new life. It’s something we love seeing happen.

Riverside, like many of Toronto’s inner city neighbourhoods, is undergoing significant change. Queen Street East is being redeveloped with midrise buildings and new independent businesses are continually opening up shop. At the same time, the history and charm of Riverside has remained untouched. And that’s how it should be. City building is a fine balance between preservation and progress.

Images (in order): FlickrblogTO; Streetcar Developments; Hullmark

Special Thanks to www.thedirt.co a social platform to help consumers find condos for doing an article on Riverside.

Author: Brandon G. Donnelly

Original Blog link: http://blog.thedirt.co/get-to-know-riverside/