The Riverside BIA is welcoming home the Riverside District fine art exhibit with a special contest! Snap a pic of your favourite photograph from the collection and share it on Instagram or Twitter with #RiversideTO and the url www.mai.agency for a chance to win a limited edition FACES t-shirt (valued at $70).
Riverside District’ is a fine art photography exhibit shot by internationally renowned artist Robert Young. The collection of metal prints were originally featured in spring through summer 2016 at Riverside Winefest, Eats & Beats Streetfest, Doors Open Toronto and Harbourfront Centre.
After an eventful showing throughout the city, Robert has generously donated 12 pieces from the collection back to the Riverside. The goal is to celebrate the Riverside community of business as well as bring awareness to MAI Life-skills Learning Centre. #mailslc.
Riverside BIA has partnered with Robert in this fantastic endeavour. In early September, 2016, Robert worked with Jennifer from the Riverside BIA office and met with business owners and managers at il ponte, GUFF, The Underground, Korman & Company, and The Peasant Table, to place the art.
This new take on the ‘Riverside District’ exhibit invites residents and visitors into local spaces to get an intimate view of the unique characteristics of Riverside, not only as captured on the metal prints but as told in the stories of the businesses and the community that they represent. Some of the works can be seen from the street as you walk by and catch a glimpse of the metallic images gleaming in the light.
Each location has been carefully selected to bring out the beauty of the art and subject while finding each piece a home that fits into and accentuates its surroundings. See all the original images of the exhibit pieces on Robert’s website and read on to learn about the art pieces and the featured businesses:
About the Art and Businesses
il ponte Italian Cucina (625 Queen St E)
When il ponte opened in Riverside in early 2015, host Giancarlo Catalano aimed to make it a “dependable local establishment that services and grows with the community”. They have done just that, after great success in serving excellent Italian food and being a strong community player and sponsor of the Riverside Gateway Bridge project, a $500K capital improvement project completed in 2015, which stylishly lights up the bridge and its art, each night. il ponte, whose name directly translate to ‘the bridge’, has a special connection to the Riverside gateway bridge based on their location right at its easterly edge. From their opening, their back dining space has featured a full wall photo of the bridge. Now, they are featuring two dramatic ‘Riverside District’ pieces inside that same space, including the bridge art ‘Time and a Clock’ and the Don River. So drop by, enjoy palatial pleasure while getting inspired at Riverside’s il ponte!
GUFF (1 Davies Ave)
GUFF, which stands for Good Used Furniture Finds, is Riverside’s vintage furniture and home decor retailer, proudly located at Riverside’s westerly edge at Queen East and the DVP. The ‘Riverside District’ piece chosen to be featured in GUFF is the way-finding art of the bridge that was added in 2015 as part of the Riverside Gateway Bridge project. You can catch the light glinting off of this metal print in GUFF’s front window and continue walking west across the bridge to see the way-finding art in person! Thanks to GUFF manager John and all the fabulous staff for always being such a great Riverside neighbour.
The Underground Comedy & Social Club (670 Queen E)
The Underground just celebrated its 10th year of bringing laughs to Riverside. What a fitting time to commemorate this milestone with a beautiful metal print featuring Lennon’s famous whimsical phrase ‘Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans’. Catch the print in The Underground’s front window, go in and meet business owner Joanne, and add some laughter into your plans by catching a show at The Underground!
Korman & Company (721 Queen E)
Mitch Korman, Chair of the Riverside BIA, is a big part of the heart of Riverside, and so the heart of the ‘Riverside District’ exhibit is at Korman & Company with three signature pieces featured in the front window display. Korman’s father Jack, who passed away in 2009, was one of the founding members of the Riverside BIA in 1980. Jack Korman owned and operated Corby’s Custom Clothiers – one of several men’s clothiers in the former working-class community – from 1953 until 1998. His son, Mitch, began chairing the BIA about 10 years ago, shortly after he moved his law business from Bay Street and into the same storefront that once housed his father’s clothing store at 721 Queen East. “My business improved dramatically because of being here,” said Korman, who in homage to his parents’ lifelong commitment to the neighbourhood decided to retain the old Corby’s sign on the building. ‘Riverside District’ pieces help cement the Korman business’ prominence in Riverside as a key community organizer and highlight its commitment to growing with the BIA.
Sugar Loaf Bakery (729 Queen E)
Since opening in the dead of winter in early 2016, this “Non-Traditional Artisanal” bakery has been a great community player in Riverside as part of Winefest, Eats & Beats Streetfest, and now the ‘Riverside District’ exhibit! They specialize in presenting a fresh take on traditional-style baked goods, made from scratch and baked in small batches throughout the day using only products free of chemical additives and preservatives. Most importantly, everything is made with love… and butter 🙂 Go inside the shop and the first thing you’ll see is their super duper espresso machine – then look to your left to see it captured beautifully in metal print!
The Peasant Table (782 Queen E)
One of Riverside’s newest restaurants, opened in late 2015, The Peasant Table offers modernized, home-style Italian fare with German and Eastern European influences. It’s mirrored and silver-motif dining interior with sparkling crystal chandeliers and ample natural light was an inspiration for fine art photography as well as a perfect environment for metal print art. Two ‘Riverside District’ pieces have found a home here, thanks to owners Boris and Kasia, who have a keen eye for art. Stop by for bite or one of their wine deals and see if you can spot the special piece upstairs in their private dining area and a second piece in their main dining room.
Riverside BIA Office (761 Queen E)
The anchor of the Riverside BIA is the office at 761 Queen E which provides the home for our staff, resources for many community events throughout the year and information and artifacts about this historic yet modern neighbourhood. Placed in the BIA office windows are two ‘Riverside District’ pieces that showcase the neighbourhood’s history and modern spaces – come by and see if you can recognize where their subjects live in reality!
Don’t forget, everyone is invited to find and share the ‘Riverside District’ art on social media by using the hashtags #RiversideTO and #mailslc for a chance to win a limited edition T-shirt by Robert Young!
About the MAI Life Skills Learning Centre – ‘What’s MAI is Yours’
“To make clear or evident to the eye or the understanding, the inner personality that is turned toward the unconscious of the individual, through the acquisition and application of knowledge.” MAI LSLC is an international learning centre created to teach human beings critical life-skills in two major categories: Life and Death. MAI LSLC is a multifaceted initiative currently experienced through public speaking engagements, fine art installations, and one on one consultations.
About the Riverside BIA
The Riverside Business Improvement Area (BIA), established in 1980, is one of the first BIA’s in Canada. The BIA’s mandate is to improve, beautify and promote Riverside as a business and shopping district through marketing, public programming and streetscape improvements. Riverside BIA is a community-oriented not-for-profit association of local business people and property owners who work in partnership with the City of Toronto to enhance the Riverside business district, located along Queen Street East from the DVP to Empire Avenue.