New Short Film Shares Life Story of Riverside’s George Iliadis and his Broadview Beauty Parlour

George Iliadis has owned his barbershop in Riverside, Toronto for the last 59 years. He has also been married to his wife for the same amount of time. In this short documentary, George shares with us his life story, how the pandemic affected him and the keys to happiness in business and marriage. Watch this short documentary film by Selina McCallum (https:/ full film (full credits below):


Full Film here:


A short documentary film by Selina McCallum (https:/

Directed by Selina McCallum

Written by Selina McCallum

Director of Photography Wade Hudson 1st Camera Selina McCallum

Edited by Ohemaa Smith

Coloured by Ohemaa Smith Music and Sound Mix by Adrian Edwards

Drone Shots by Ryan Dela Cruz BTS Photographer Sharon Mendonca

Special Thank You to George’s daughter, Helen Konstantinidis and the whole Illadis family!

Riverside BIA: Looking Back on 2022, Looking Ahead to 2023

A message from Riverside BIA Executive Director, Jennifer Lay:

Let’s take a moment to reflect on 2022. It has been an incredible year of re-emergence into the new normal, once again bringing out that vibrancy, constant buzz and small-town-in-the big-city atmosphere that characterizes this business community

We’ve been adjusting together to post-pandemic norms and we will continue to do so in 2023. We’ll also be starting to navigate the major transit construction of the incoming Ontario Line project on which our BIA has spent countless hours over this past year being a liaison and advocate for our members, and will continue to do so in the coming years.

The Riverside BIA Board of Management and staff team are here, to support our members and work with community collaborators, through information updates, one-to-one support, enhanced online presence, streetscape programs like weekly graffiti removal services and public art, community events and campaigns and other programming that supports foot traffic and local economic development, and more.

I want to thank the Riverside BIA’s hard-working volunteer Board of Directors. They are local business/property owners and operators right here in Riverside. This year was an election year and we will be welcoming in some new Board members as well as welcoming back some long-serving members, in 2023. A big thanks also to our hardworking staff team of 2022!

Thanks also goes to our a larger network of supports through the Toronto BIA Association (TABIA), the City of Toronto and all their dedicated services and supportive programs, Councillor Paula Fletcher’s office, our provincial MPP Peter Tabuns, and federal MP Julie Dabrusin, our incredible plethora of community partners and collaborators.

As this Year in Review will attest we have accomplished so much in 2022 by working together – from the 20+ mini-festivals we hosted in the new Riverside Common park, to our Queen East Eats and Window Wonderland programs – these are just a few examples!

We have seen a few of our member businesses close or move on, and have welcomed many new businesses and faces to Riverside. This is an ever-changing business community with 42 years of history of the BIA, and over 125 years of industrious Riverside business people who have done big things right here. 

We can look back with pride on the many collaborative initiatives of the Riverside BIA from the past year to help celebrate the strong spirit here as we say farewell to 2022 and look to the new adventures of a new year. 

Wishing everyone safe, happy and healthy holidays and here’s to working together in 2023!

Read on for more…



Experience ‘You Were Here’ Public Art Installation in Riverside BIA

You Were Here’ is a new interactive light installation in Toronto’s Riverside neighbourhood that uses motion tracking to animate the hundreds of butterflies lit with LED lights by artist Meghan Cheng. This interactive public art can be found by passers-by at Korman & Co in #RiversideTO, 721 Queen E, just steps east of Broadview Ave.

The art is part STEPS Public Art’s I HeART Main Street and the Inspired Art program. Learn more about the art and the supporters below, and we encourage everyone to go check out this incredible installation this fall. STEPS and U of T Inspired Art Team is out gathering thoughts about the value of public art this week – pls share your thoughts via their survey!

About the Art:

‘You Were Here’ is an interactive light installation that uses motion tracking of people walking by to animate the lighted butterflies.

The installation alludes to the beauty found in loving something that is lost and aims to acknowledge a person’s presence, however brief it may be.

The installation is made of hundreds of individually lit butterflies. Each butterfly was 3D printed and individually shaped to create a unique creature. The hundreds of LED lights are controlled using the program, TouchDesigner.

It was made specifically for the site at 721 Queen St E.

More about Artist Meghan Cheng:

Meghan creates artwork in the form of light sculptures, projection mapping or screen-based work for live performances, galleries and public spaces. Her work is interactive and data based, in that she takes real world elements such as audio, motion and web and social media activity and uses that data to drive visual elements. Meghan makes digital content that feels tangible, relatable and natural through the use of hand drawn images, photography, acoustic instrumental music as well as generative forms. Meghan has a master’s in fine arts from York University (Toronto, ON) and a Bachelor of Music from Berklee College of Music (Boston, USA).

About I Heart Mainstreet and the Inspired Art Impact Program:

I HeART Main Street is presented in partnership with RBC Royal Bank, and generously supported by Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, and funding provided by the Government of Ontario; Inspired Art Impact is made possible through a partnership with Toronto Metropolitan University. We would like to acknowledge the generous support of the City of Toronto, MITACS, RBC Royal Bank, the Government of Ontario, Ontario Arts Council and Canada Council for the Arts. The City of Toronto’s Main Street Innovation Fund is funded by the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario); The CreateSpace Residency is supported by the City of Toronto as part of ArtworxTO: Toronto’s Year of PuD Ready Commitment, Canada Council for the Arts, and Ontario Arts Council.

You Were Here art by Meghan Chen in Riverside BIA and photo credit Selina McCallum

Close up of ‘You Were Here’ art by Meghan Cheng in Riverside BIA and photo credit Selina McCallum

Close up of 'You Were Here' art by Meghan Chen in Riverside BIA and photo credit Selina McCallum

Artist installs ‘You Were Here’ – art by Meghan Cheng in Riverside BIA and photo credit Selina McCallum


Meet our #QueenEastEats 2022 Community Supporter: Outline Financial

We’re pleased  to thank Outline Financial, one of our Queen East Eats Community Supporters!

Jason Friesen, Managing Partner and Mortgage Agent at Outline Financial shared: “We’ve been in love with the Riverside and Leslieville neighbourhoods for many years now and have gotten to know many people who live and work here. We like to give back any way we can. Anything that brings more visitors into the area’s bars, pubs, restaurants and breweries benefits the community as a whole. I really like how this area has become a destination. The selection of options for food and drink are amazing.”⠀

Outline Financial have been focused on providing great mortgage and insurance solutions while giving back locally. They are pleased to again be a community supporter of Queen East Eats!

We were happy to take this opportunity to catch up with Jason and the outline team and help share their story

What do you love about Queen Street East’s Riverside and Leslieville areas -what do you feel makes this area unique?

Jason: I love the area because it has a lot of diversity and a great energy about it. The food and drink options are pretty outstanding, all within this tight knit community.

Throwback to 2018 when Jason supported the Riverside Wine & Craft Beer Fest!

Throwback to 2018 when Jason supported the Riverside Wine & Craft Beer Fest!

What’s your favourite thing about the work you do?

Jason: I love coming to work every day and helping my clients realize their dreams of home ownership. It’s a pretty rewarding feeling to be a big part of such an important decision. 

Big thanks to Jason Friesen and the whole team at Outline Financial for all their support in the business community!

What’s #QueenEastEats?⠀

Enjoy giveaways, our map of 50+ patios, TGIF patio features, colourful displays on the street and more to welcome everyone to Queen Street East’s al fresco dining experience this summer and fall. Stay tuned as we bring you something new every week! Learn more about it and check out our Patio Map to plan your experience at Queen East Eats’ many patios in #RiversideTO and #Leslieville

Big thanks to Community Supporters of ‘Queen East Eats’:

Hullmark, Outline Financial, and Wright Group

Thanks to the City of Toronto and our Councillor Paula Fletcher for their huge support of outdoor dining through the CafeTO program again this year.

MEDIA RELEASE: OddSide Arts & Riverside BIA Celebrate with Afraspektion on August 7th, 2022

With Afraspektion on August 7th, 2022, OddSide Arts and Riverside BIA Celebrate & Highlight the Contributions and Creativity of the Afrodiaspora during Emancipation Month, as part of Sundays @ Riverside Common Series

This August 2022 marks the second year of celebrating Emancipation Month in Ontario. OddSide Arts and Riverside Business Improvement Area (BIA) invite everyone to come together this August 7th from 11am-4pm at Riverside Common Park (657 Queen E, just west of Queen/Broadview) in Toronto’s Riverside neighbourhood for an opening ceremony and fun day of entertainment and activities.

Everyone is welcome to enjoy, free to the public:

  • 11am – Opening ceremony featuring Nenookaasi and libations by Rev. Kemba Byam, hosted by the ever-charismatic Levyi-Alexander J. Love, with words by local MP Julie Dabrusin and MPP Peter Tabuns, followed by: 
  • 11am-4pm – Curated Market focusing on local Afrodiaspora vendors including food and hand-made goods
  • 11am-4pm – Live music by amazing local artists: Steel pannist Trenyce Sweeney, singer song-writer Markus Aurelyus, and Afro-Caribbean drummer & dancer Emilie Jabouin. PLUS, fun giveaways, Kids/Family corner with activities like Superhero face-painting & more.

The first 25 visitors to the event will receive a $10 voucher to spend at the Market. This is a great opportunity to support local vendors and shop and eat at the 100+ local businesses in the Riverside area along Queen Street East.

For more information visit or follow on Instagram @riverside_bia and @oddsidearts

More About Afraspektion:

August 1, 2021, was the first time that Canada officially (according to Parliamentary Motion) recognized Emancipation Day, when the Slavery Abolition Act was enacted in 1834 to free enslaved Africans and their descendants in colonies of the Caribbean, Africa, South America and Canada.

Afraspektion ( is a way to celebrate and highlight the contributions and creativity of the Afrodiaspora, and honour the legacy of African Canadians. Afraspektion features family friendly entertainment, art, a curated market, music, and activities.

Afraspektion is curated by Queen Kukoyi and Nico Taylor of OddSide Arts and co-hosted by the Riverside BIA, thanks to support from our generous community supporters: Riverside BIA, Hullmark,Toronto’s Arts Council, Government of Ontario’s Reconnect Ontario programme, Government of Canada’s Supporting Black Canadians Communities Initiative, and The City of Toronto (Mainstreet Innovation Fund), Government of Canada and FedDev Ontario. The event is part of the Sundays @ The Common series hosted by the Riverside BIA.

For more information about Afraspektion, contact:

Nico Taylor – Executive Director of Communications, OddSide Arts –

More About Riverside BIA & 2022 Events @ Riverside Common Park:

The Riverside BIA, established in 1980, is one of Canada’s first BIAs, located along Queen Street East between the Queen Street Viaduct to just past De Grassi Street. Rich in history, green spaces and public art, the BIA includes over 100 unique eateries, retails shops, boutiques and a range of professional services. More at

Riverside Common Park is located at 657 Queen Street East and was officially opened in October 2021. The Riverside BIA and community collaborators are working together to bring in regular activations on Sundays to this new community space in 2022. It’s all part of welcoming everyone to enjoy what our local business district and neighbourhood has to offer! Check out the full schedule of Sundays at The Common this summer and fall

For more information about the Riverside BIA and/or Sundays @ Riverside Common contact:

Jennifer Lay – Executive Director, Riverside BIA –, 416-466-8167