Streetcar: Walkability and the Historic Fabric of Cities

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Streetcar is a huge proponent of urban living and the cultural richness, opportunities for interactions, and sustainability factors that living in walkable, community oriented yet cosmopolitan neighbourhood like Riverside has to offer.

Walkability is becoming increasingly recognized as an important livability quotient, and the ease and excitement of exploring urban environments by walking is gaining traction through an incredible variety of walking tours such as culinary tours, sounds walks, river walks, and events like Jane’s Walk (which inspired Riverside WalkFEST)– which promotes walkable neighbourhoods and urban literacy through walking conversations.

Part of the richness of urban walking tours is the abundant history of the buildings and built environment. The stories that old buildings have and their transformation over the years from one use to another, adds to the richness of the urban fabric. We see that a lot in Riverside with the old postal factory G being repurposed as a library and the Ralph Thornton Centre, the Former National Bank, has been a disco and now is home to designer Stephan Caras.

Streetcar recognizes the necessity of maintaining and re-purposing Toronto’s unique buildings and integrating the authentic feel of Riverside and much of Toronto’s east end.  By encompassing both adaptive re-use of existing building stock, and new purpose-built loft condominiums, which reflect the design patterns of the surrounding historical buildings, Streetcar both connects with the surrounding area and brings new life to past buildings, while retaining connection to Toronto’s heritage.  Thus, maintaining that Toronto’s streets continue to be interesting and walkable public spaces.

Being committed to urban living, Streetcar is proud to sponsor the Riverside WalkFEST. Streetcar has a long-standing, positive relationship with Riverside, which is home to three Streetcar loft developments as well as their Corporate Head Office. Streetcar’s commitment to rethink urban living aligns with the Riverside WalkFEST, which they believe is a great way to explore and celebrate a unique and multifaceted part of the city.

Find out more about STREETCAR – Toronto’s urban real estate developer here:

Register for the Riverside WalkFEST Here

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 a social platform to help consumers find condos for doing an article on Riverside.

Author: Brandon G. Donnelly

Original Blog link:

Riverside Historical Walk

Sat August 17th 2013 at 2:00pm take a FREE History Walk in Riverside.

Join us in exploring the Historic part of Queen Street East between the DVP and just past Degrassi. Riverside Toronto has a rich history dating back to the late 1700s. The Queen Street Bridge over the Don River was one of the few crossings, making Queen Street the main East-West artery of Toronto. Get the details on some of the oldest buildings in Toronto to insider info on local anecdotes that make the Riverside a district steeped in stories.

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Riverside Walkers during Jane’s Walk 2013

Led by Riverside Aficionado, Ron Fletcher –   former Riverside BIA Chair, one of the original founders of the Riverdale Historical Society, Heritage Toronto guide, Jane’s Walk walk leader, and ‘Over the Don’ author.

Ron Fletcher

Ron Fletcher by the 2nd largest trophy in the world housed in the Royal Canadian Curling Club, in Riverside.
Photo taken by, Riverdale Historical Society.

Here are the stop destinations:

Start Location: Ralph Thornton Centre
Meet us here, and watch out for the red umbrellas.
Second Stop: Beginning of Degrassi Street
The street that inspired the Cult-Classic Degrassi TV Series.
Third Stop: Maison Caras
Build in 1905, as the Bank of Commerce.
Fourth Stop: The Opera House
Former Vaudeville hot spot, it maintains it’s character as a location for indie music.
Fifth Stop: 717 Queen St. E.
Former Rising Sun Inn.
Sixth Stop: The Royal Canadian Curling Club
World’s second largest Trophy in the world.
Seventh Stop: New Broadview Hotel/Jilly’s
Inspired by Romanesque Architecture, has had colourful history, and it’s currently home to exotic entertainment Jilly’s.
Ninth Stop: Former Location of Sunlight Baseball Park
Home of Toronto’s First Baseball Park.
Tenth Stop: Riverside Bridge
Overlooking the original site of The Scadding Cabin.

For more info and registration, visit:

Here & Now!

Great Quality products and great bargains, what else can you ask for?


After 13 years of retail experience, and a 10 year trip around the world, combined with a vacant family owned building in Riverside from his father whom had a business at Queen East for about 50 years Harold Seligman, of Here & Now, saw the opportunity to open an off-price retail store as a one year experiment. That turned out into a thriving business that has led to11 years of success!

At that time, the neighbourhood was not very well known and the  business was slow. As the years went by  Riverside started to revitalize, growing up to be an emerging, eclectic and valued neighborhood that became a destination to a lot of people, bringing new customers all the time.

Here & Now offers a wide range of high-quality products and  year round sales; that combined with exceptional service keep customers coming back for more. Proud to support Canadian made products, he currently features the locally made Yoga Jeans; a trendy amazing product that is a hybrid of the comfortable leggings, with the shape and look of a jeans. They have been flying off his shelves and are a desire product for women of all ages.

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Going into the store you can also find a variety of accessories such as purses, scarves, hats and beautiful Turkish jewelry by Seraglio, together with a home-wear section that includes high quality sheets and towels with affordable prices that you won’t find anywhere else.Here & Now also carries a wide variety of high-quality men’s wear with brands such as Quick Reflex, Point Zero, and Haight and Ashbury.

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This Riverside gem is located on 770 Queen Street East, open Monday to Saturday from 10:30am – 6:00pm, and Sunday from 12:00pm – 4:00pm Come and get yourself a deal!!


Bergström Originals as part of Riverside for 10 years!!

Locally made and Toronto based Bergström Originals has been in the Riverside community for almost 10 years. Colours and prints are spread out throughout the store, combined with retro-modern design and quality tailoring.

Bergstrom Originals

Bergström Originals has established a loyal clientèle who keeps coming back for trendy, wearable clothes with affordable price that is also produced in Toronto. This successful retail venture, in the heart of Riverside Neighbourhood of Toronto, has been growing over the years. Packed with inspiration from the 50’s-60’s, but with Scandinavian and Contemporary Nordic flair, Bergström clientèle mostly consists of professional women who are looking to add Bergstrom’s signature bold and colourful pieces to their wardrobes.

Owner Christina Bergström has always been very passionate about fashion. Born in Sweden and raised in Canada, she put her childhood dreams of fashion design aside when she chose to study civil engineering at Queen’s University. Upon her graduation Christina decided to pursue formal fashion design training at a tailoring school in Copenhagen Denmark, followed by a couture apprenticeship for one of Denmark’s top designers. In 2003, after 5 years of custom dress designing for events and weddings, Christina decided to set her creativity free by designing and retailing a fun and colourful collection of women’s wear called, Bergström Originals.


Each year Bergström Originals, produces five Collections. The normal Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter collections followed by the smaller Resort, Holiday and Summer Collections. Aside from in-store experience, Bergström is also available online and includes accessories and shoes from Spain and Portugal.

Christina has her workroom in the back of the store. It is here that fabrics imported from Montreal, and the mills from Sweden decorated Bergström’s workroom, waiting to be turned into fabulous apparel pieces that focuses on the quality rather than quantity.

With Christina’s Scandinavian roots, an area already famous for its architecture and furniture design, it’s fashion’s turn to take center stage. Scandinavian fashion is all the rage right now, and it’s about time. It is clear that the Northern European region is one of the latest style capital and you can get that bold contemporary look here in Toronto at Bergström’s.

For more info visit their website at: