Check out the following update from our local Riverside BIA!

Farewells and Changes in the Riverside BIA Office

Jennifer Lay and Anjuli Solanki at the Riverside BIA office
Message from Anjuli: 
Dear Riverside BIA Businesses
After five fantastic years of working for the Riverside BIA, it is now time to pass on the torch. I’m so thrilled to be handing over  to Riverside Marketing Director, Jennifer Lay.
Over the last five years I have been so fortunate to be a part of a team that has envisioned  some high impact and authentic programming, including: Riverside Walks, Eats & Beats, Wine Fest; supporting marketing initiatives from developing our website blog to building our social and integrated media outreach; creating a trend of installing high impact public art; and fostering strong strategic community partnerships that have put Riverside on the map. The support, commitment, and passion of Riverside Businesses made all of these initiatives possible.
Over the last two years  in her role as the Marketing Director,  Jennifer Lay has taken so much of these initiatives to the next level. I feel so grateful in knowing that as she assumes the role of Executive Director with the Riverside BIA  she will continue to bring her positive energy and enthusiasm to this position .
I will be transitioning out and completing a few projects over the next several weeks, but as of  May 15th, Jennifer has moved into the role of Executive Director as well as continuing with her marketing and programming responsibilities.  On matters outside of the Riverside 2017 mural (which I will be managing) you can contact her directly through or
It has been a true pleasure working with you, and I hope you all continued successes in making Riverside a great  neighborhood.
Anjuli Solanki —-

Message from Jennifer:
Hello everyone!I’ve been working in the BIA office three years now and am thrilled to be continuing to work with you on marketing and programming, as well as in my new capacity as Executive Director. This neighbourhood has grown so much and is such a great place to be, thanks to all the attention and care you all put into making it so and working together as a strong team.  I am just so fortunate to call this my home and place of work.

As always, feel free to get in touch with me if you have any questions, concerns or ideas for Riverside. Here’s how to find me:

See you around the neighbourhood!

Jennifer Lay
Riverside BIA Executive Director and
Director of Marketing & Programs

Key Information – Riverside Eats & Beats Streetfest

Riverside’s Annual Eats & Beats Streetfest is back – this year on Saturday, June 3rd and Sunday, June 4th alongside the Riverdale ArtWalk – as the festival helps Ontario and Canada ‘Celebrate 150’. Spanning Riverside’s 10 vibrant blocks along Queen Street East from the DVP to Empire Avenue.

As we approach the big weekend, make sure you’re ready:

Key Information:
  • Using Your Sidewalk Space: The Riverside BIA has applied for a Sidewalk Sale permit to enable businesses and other vendors to animate the sidewalk space along Queen Street East, from the DVP to Empire Avenue. You must maintain a minimum clearance of 2.13 m from the face of the curb for the unimpeded passage of pedestrian traffic, or to a greater distance as may be directed by staff from Transportation Services. The core festival hours are June 3rd from 1pm-6pm and June 4th from 1pm-4pm, however, the Sidewalk Sale permit covers the hours of 9am-8pm should you wish to extend your sidewalk activity longer.
  • Outdoor Food Tasters: If providing food/drink outdoors you must complete and abide by Toronto Public Health Form pg 2-5 (pls email completed form to by MAY 23rd). 
  • Hosting Live or DJ Music: The BIA has applied for a Noise Exemption permit for the hours of 1pm to 6pm on June 3rd and 1pm-4pm on June 4th. You can host your own live music (or DJ’d music) from your storefront or on your sidewalk space (abiding by the 2.13 m Sidewalk Permit rule above and being mindful to neighbours who may be having their own music.
  • Street Closures: The BIA has applied for partial street closure permits for: JUNE 3rd (9am-7pm): Munro (north of Queen), Broadview (South of Queen to the laneway), Saulter (south of Queen to the laneway), and McGee (south of Queen to the laneway); JUNE 4th (9am-5pm): Saulter (south of Queen to the laneway), and McGee (south of Queen to the laneway). NOTE:  Queen Street East will remain open to vehicle traffic through the festival.
  • Set Up and Take Down: For Vendors/Groups at Street Closures the Load in/Set Up Time each day is 10:30AM – 12PM (festival starts at 1PM); and Tear Down/Load Out is 6PM – 7PM (festival ends at 6PM) on June 3rd, and 4PM-5PM (festival ends at 4PM) on June 4th

Official Opening May 20th: Queen Garden Centre
Message from Tyler, Manager at the Queen Garden Centre:
This weekend, Queen Garden Centre is having its grand opening, and while the city is full of Garden centres, ours has a unique focus on promoting environmental gardening practices that protects our dwindling bee population. Located right below the massive bee mural painted by Toronto Artist Nick Sweetman on Queen and Saulter, the new Queen Garden Centre will of course provide lots of structural plants, colourful perennials and go-to annuals everyone loves, but we will also feature a selection of Certified Organic herbs that are also Food Safety Certified. As long-time residents of the neighbourhood, we know Riverside has a unique bee-keeping culture and a number of local hives. We wanted our business to embrace and reflect the neighbourhood we love and continue to contribute to its character. Our goal is to make it a permanent fixture in the neighbourhood.

For some background on us, Queen Garden centre is inspired by the work we’ve been doing with our landscape design and construction company which is led by Mairtin Walsh, who went to university in Ireland for horticulture and landscape construction. 

We have been working on this idea for the past four years. It has taken us a long time to work with landlords and find a suitable site. This business represents a huge step for our family, and we’re excited to be a part of the Toronto and Riverside community. We aim to be fully open by May 20th.

Updates can be found on our Facebook page at


Digital Main Street is Coming to Riverside!

We are excited to announce the Digital Main Street and the Digital Service Squad will be working in Riverside for the duration of the summer. You can have the Digital Service Squad into your business to help you take your business digital, and help you with various tools and technologies. The best part is, there is absolutely no cost to you as a business. DMS will be coming around the neighborhood and introducing the Digital Service Squad member when they start, so keep an eye out for them!

Benefits of DMS to business members:

  • Free online support tool: Through, businesses receive a free Digital Assessment and To-Do list which connects the business to content and vendors who can provide guidanceon adopting digital tools/tech.
  • One-on-One Help: Through the Digital Service Squad business receive targeted support to get started, grow their digital toolbox and grow their business.
  • Workshops/Training: Through the DMS Academy businesses can attend workshops on topics such as digital marketing and e-commerce, etc.
About the Digital Service Squad (DSS)
What is the DSS?
The primary role of the DSS is to help main street business owners on-board to the Digital Main Street online platform and assess their digital needs. The DSS can also help the business owner gain a basic web presence, or enhance their existing web presence by helping them activate easy-to-use tools such as Google My Business, social media, or set-up a free trial of an e-commerce shop (through Shopify). The DSS can also provide some guidance, resources and recommendations on how businesses can progress digitally. The DSS is focused on assisting businesses with their digital goals.

Take Part in Cultural Hotspot’s
HOT Eats Program!

HOT Eats is part of the Cultural Hotspot, a City of Toronto and partner-produced program that celebrates arts, culture and creativity in local communities and highlights restaurants, cafés and bakeries in Hotspot neighbourhoods through May to October 2017. This year the program is putting a focus on Toronto’s east side -that means you!The 2017 Cultural Hotspot – East York/East End has begun!
Look forward to an amazing six month celebration of arts, culture and community in the vibrant East York/East End area. With 26 new innovative partner projects, a wealth of galleries, theatres, parks, museums and restaurants, and hundreds of exciting community event listings – with more added each week – this spot is going to be HOT!

  • Help spread the word by sharing the project on social media
  • Visit for a full listing of projects, partners and events to explore – some starting this week!
  • Save the Date for the Signature Celebration – June 17 from 1 – 4 p.m. – a free community fair on the new East York Civic Centre grounds featuring live music, dance performances, interactive art activities and community tables, with refreshments and fun for the whole family.

 And join  East York/East End for another amazing Cultural Hotspot year!
Be on the lookout for the Program guides, and ads in print, radio, transit and social media.   Many thanks to you all for your support and participation and help in getting us to this day!
Please don’t hesitate to contact Sabra (416- 392-6371) , Nadira (416 -392-6833) or Hyesoo Kim, Arts Program Officer, Arts & Culture Services at or 416-392-1210, if you have any additional questions.


Riverdale ArtWalk Promotional Opportunity

Now in it’s 19th year, this art event comes alive June 3rd & 4th in Jimmie Simpson Park and Community Center, when the work of over 165 visual artists is showcased in Toronto’s hottest, growing artistic neighbourhood. 
Get involved in two ways!


May 25 – June 4
An extension of the Riverdale ArtWalk in the Shop, the Art in the Shop Preview provides a unique opportunity for local merchants to participate and connect with their community.
This program plays an important role in the festival by showcasing visual artists, promoting community involvement and increases traffic to local businesses like yours! 
On Sunday June 4th, Lynne Patterson will guide the Riverdale ArtWalk Tour of Riverside, where she will showcase art pieces in the windows of local business from established and emerging artists participating in the Riverdale ArtWalk, and share information about this vibrant neighbourhood.

How it works:

  • The Artists’ Network will connect interested businesses with participating artists. 
  • The artist and the business will then work directly together to discuss options for displaying art in the window and/or available wall space.
  • Businesses would be required – but not limited to – display one piece of art.
  • Displaying several works, hosting a small opening or artist appearance can be arranged, should both business and artist agree. 
  • Artwork would need to be on display for a minimum of 11 days (May 25th – June 4th). Additional time is at the discretion of both parties.
  • Artists are directly responsible for delivering, hanging and picking up art, and will make arrangements with the business.

Coming on board? Next steps:

  • Contact Angela Lane at The Artist’s Network by Friday May 12th – – or – call 416-465-0302, expressing your interest in the ART IN THE SHOP program. 
  • We will arrange a time to see your space and discuss various options to maximize the opportunity if preferred, or simply connect you with the artist immediately
  • Once signed up, every effort will be made to match an artist/work with the appropriate space
  • An artist will be assigned and both business and artist will subsequently be sent each other’s coordinates. If you are looking for a specific type of artwork or theme, please let us know.
  • The artist and the business will then arrange a meeting at the business and work directly together to finalize ‘display’ details.
  1. EVENT GUIDE PROMOTIONAL OPPORTUNITY – Check out the 2016 guide here.

We expect to draw over 15,000 enthusiastic visitors to the Riverdale ArtWalk, guided by its colourful, multi page, glossy guide distributed onsite and in advance of the show in the GTA.
A limited amount of advertising is available this year. Put your business front and centre of art lovers and active consumers.
It’s easy, all ads are business card size – 3.5” wide x 2” tall at a rate of $200.00.
Please email Angela to reserve your space on a first come, first served basis at  Or contact the Artists’ Network office at 416-465-0302.

Sounds of Leslieville and Riverside is Coming Soon! 

Riverside Businesses 
Upcoming Events/ Offers  


Complimentary Fitness Class at Framewrk Studio

Need a little spring time fitness revamp? 
Did you know there’s a fitness studio in 9 Davies with classes at lunch, after work and in the early mornings?  A variety of classes like Essentrics, Pilates, Strength/Conditioning and Yoga are offered. The community is fun and easy going. If you are part of the Riverside BIA please come and check out a complimentary class at Framewrk.

Just mention you saw this ad in the Riverside BIA Newsletter and you’re in!

Framewrk – 9 Davies Unit 206, Toronto ON M4M2A6

Queen/Saulter Library 



Dundas Public School Fun Fair

The following message is from Tracy Ho Lung, a parent at Dundas Public School:
Every year the school holds their annual Fun Fair to raise money for the school and its students.This year we are holding it on Saturday, May 27, 2017, from 11am to 3pm at Dundas Public School, 935 Dundas St.East (East of Broadview Ave). 

For families looking for something to do with the kids, this is a great event that’ll have them enjoying bouncy castles, games, face painting and lots of prizes. We’ll also be offering a Taste of Dundas–a wide variety of international food that best represent the kids and families that go to Dundas School.

Stroller-a-Thon & Bake Sale

East End Accountability Group: Join in the Conversation

As part of our community involvement as volunteers in Regent Park, Cabbagetown, and Riverside, we are excited to invite you to join this peer-to-peer group.

What is the Accountability Group?For the past 2 years, Accountability Groups have helped us meet our goals.  At the beginning, people’s goals were primarily work-related (finding employment /contracts/new business etc) but individuals quickly found that personal goals like time management, work-life balance, and health were actually at the core of our productivity.  This is a no-fee community group, run by volunteers.  Read on to see if this could help you too!

What is the purpose of this group?

The Accountability Group helps entrepreneurs, individuals and job-seekers to reach their goals. We do this by creating a space for people to hold their own feet to the fire, connecting into the energy of group collaboration. Freelancing, independent consulting, entrepreneurship, job-hunting and the like can be isolating activities. We have used a private virtual community on, and the brainstorming and support comes to life at frequent in-person meetings in Toronto IRL.  This is a no-fee community group, run by volunteers.

If you would like to be part of this life-changing event – not kidding ;)  – please send an email to accgrouptoronto (at) gmail (dot) com.  

We will reply with news of the meeting logistics and answer any questions you may have.  For background on the group, click here.

We wish you all the best for reaching your dreams!

Michelle Ransom & Christine Martin



Opening Reception: Space & Time – The Landscape by Brian Naimer

Image may contain: cloud, sky, ocean, outdoor, water and nature

As part of the Scotiabank CONTACT festival, this exhibit will run until May 26th with gallery hours of 1-5:30pm, Monday to Friday.Check out the event on Facebook here

Ralph Thornton Centre
ESCAPE Sundays


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Leslieville/Riverside News: #RiversideTO BIA Weekly Update

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Ben Ferguson
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