Jare’s Place B&B and the Riverside BIA – store frontage facilitating community

The other day on the way home I noticed Riverside BIA signage in the storefront next to MAC Fab.  I had walked by half a dozen times before but on this particular afternoon my curiosity took wind and I stopped in to say hello.

Riverside BIA Storefront

Riverside BIA Storefront


  I could not have received a warmer welcome.  This should not have been a surprise to me as months prior I had a similar experience when another business owner in the Riverside community stopped by my bed and breakfast to offer us some bags from an event to give away to our guests.  In this world of hustle and bustle, it is so easy to get lost in the mix.  Jare’s Place B&B has been searching for ways to connect with other business owners and our community at hand. 

Jares place 1

Riverside’s Local B&B – Jare’s Place

In autumn 2012, we opened our doors to local entrepreneurs and business owners offering them a workshop and meeting space.  At Jare’s Place, it is our goal to make our guests feel at home whether it is in our home or in our community.  To my delight, after leaving the BIA office, I noticed atop our street sign “Riverside” and I realized that we are home. 

A sneak peak into Jare's Place

A sneak peak into Jare’s Place

Jare’s Place Bed and Breakfast looks forward to being a part of this vibrant community and offering our hand of support as we grow together.

Guest Blog by:

Jeremy Greer
Host & Owner
Jare’s Place Bed & Breakfast

Killing Toronto Small Businesses!


“Significant increases in property taxes are one of the biggest issues facing small business within the GTA “ claims John Kiru, Executive Director of Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA).

John Kiru, Executive Director  - TABIA

John Kiru, Executive Director – TABIA

Riverside, Business Improvement (BIA), along historic Queen St E between the DVP bridge and just past Degrassi,  has the highest percentage increase in property values compared to all other BIAs, with an increase in assessed property values of 118% from 2008, to 2012.

Commercial Properties are assessed at the value estimated to be highest and best use of the property.  For example, if there is a parking lot right beside a brand new 4 story condominium with retail on the street level, these two properties would be subject to the same assessed property value.  Pity the property owner who has had his business running as a sole proprietorship for the past 20 years, and would like to continue  to service his loyal customers but is a neighbour to a new development.

Dale Sonier, President/Owner macFAB

Dale Sonier, President/Owner macFAB

Dale Sonier, President/Owner of macFAB Fabrics and macFAB Home is concerned that tax increases will drive out small independent businesses that help create neighbourhoods in Toronto.   Dale fears that tax increases are “Killing  Toronto’s small businesses!”   Dale has seen this happen along Queen St West, when 3 years ago, he saw rents tripling because of increase in property taxes, fueled by increases in property value assessments.   Dale was not prepared to pass these increases along to his customers, so, he moved across to the East End and is now a considerable presence on Queen St East, operating macFAB with 5 store-fronts in Riverside.


Rosemary  Litttle Jeffares, Owner/Operator Quince FlowersThe Riverside BIA is the second oldest BIA in Toronto, and Rosemary Little Jeffares (Rosie), Chair of the Riverside BIA Marketing Committee and Owner/Operator of Quince Flowers has seen the ups and downs of Riverside.  For the past several years, Rosie has been at the forefront of a “Riverside Revival”, where the Queen  &

Broadview hub has transformed from a rough area to an up and coming neighbourhood.  Through leadership from the BIA, Riverside has benefited from hundreds of thousands of dollars of investment in

Quince Flower Shop in Riverside Toronto

Quince Flower Shop in Riverside Toronto

the BIA’s infrastructure including public art installations, façade improvements to a substantial number of businesses, capital investments in lighting, tree pits, public parks and more.  Rosie exclaims “it’s ironic that a large part of this investment in Riverside has been through Government programs and grants, and, now, with increases in assessed property values the Government is shooting our Community in the foot. Riverside has worked hard to develop a safe, attractive desirable neighbourhood. Those businesses who invested in this, are now finding themselves penalized by an increase property tax assessments“

Riverside DVP & Queen St E Bridge - Public Art by Eldon Garnet

Riverside DVP & Queen St E Bridge – Public Art by Eldon Garnet

To help small business owners, Riverside BIA has encouraged all their property owners to go on to the MPAC website and file an appeal.  TABIA has offered their help, and will work with MPAC to identify a single contact for Riverside.  But, that is not enough, there are two major changes that MPAC must address if they want to support small businesses.  The first is their notion of assessing property at “highest and best use”.  Small Businesses advocate a system where a more reasonable assessment is taken when it is actually realized and that is “current use at time of sale”.

The other area of inequality in taxes is the rate which GTA Businesses pay the Business Education Tax (BET).   According to John Kiru from TABIA, businesses within the GTA pay a higher rate for the BET those businesses outside of the GTA. There is no reason for this inequity.  Why is the BET tax rate not the same everywhere?  TABIA is leading this issue for GTA Businesses, and Riverside is looking forward to their successes.

Ultimately the government will have to decide if they want to have Toronto continue to be a city of neighbourhoods, or of they are looking for development and chains to be on every street corner.



Get Hungry For Love


Boutique chocolate boxes from Ambiance Chocolat

Riverside has something for all folks this frosty Valentine’s. Whether you’re single and want a reprieve from all the couples, have a romantic date with your special someone, or if you simply desire some good eats and forget that it’s Feb 14th.

If you’re single and ready to mingle, celebrate St. Valentine’s Day the Russian way at Rasputin Vodka Bar.  Whether you’re single, curious or taken, Rasputin Vodka Bar is the perfect place to chill and meet a special someone over a drink with $6.50 vodka infused martinis and $4.00 highballs, tasty vodka pared morsels to sweeten any bite, and a live DJ to get you in the move.

Riverside lovers have a couple of delicious options.

You can dine on four-courses of heaven at Table 17 on Valentine’s Day, for a set price of $60/person. With an ever-changing seasonal menu, inspired by local ingredients and European preparation techniques, Table 17 is a great option for those who live in the neighborhood or for those from outside the Riverside area that are looking for an inspired meal in a warm, welcoming and romantic setting. What is more, you can also make reservations online, so if you just remembered now that you need to make a reservation for you and your honey, just pop online at  www.table17.ca

If you are wanting to get amorous at one of Toronto’s top date restaurants, then you need to make reservations at PicNic Wine Bar, for special Valentine’s menu at a set price of $45/person. The evening will begin with Amuse Bouche;  leading you into your first course you will have the choice of: Potato & Leek Soup, Caesar  Salad, Crevettes L’amour, or PicNic Pork & Brandy Pate. The mouth-watering second course includes a choice between: Three Cheese Tortillini with Butternut Squash sauce, Roasted Chicken & Cassoulet, Beef Wellington with Roasted Potatoes and French Beans or Lobster Thermadore. Top off this delectable meal with either a Mixed Berry Crème Caramel or a Sourdough Bread Pudding for dessert. For reservations please call 647-435-5298 or email at info@picnicwinebar.com

If dinner is not really your thing, or you want to add an extra panache to your evening, treat yourself, or your special someone to a stunningly unique bouquet from one of Riverside’s designer florists:  Quince Flowers at 660 Queen Street East- 416-594-1414 or Lancaster Flowers at 790 Queen Street East- 416-466-6446.


Give your date or get yourself an extra treat with an absolutely stunning array of hand crafted chocolates made in-house at Ambiance Chocolat at 753 Queen Street East- 416-406-2462

East End Toronto Small Business Forum-Featuring Businesses from #RiversideTO, #Leslieville, #DanforthVillage, #Danforth, #GerrardIndia

Please plan to attend the Small Business Forum on Tuesday, February 19th, from 7 – 9pm at the Estonian House, 958 Broadview Avenue.

The event is free, open to everyone in the community, non-partisan and presented by The Toronto Danforth Liberals.

Speakers will be addressing the following topics:

  • marketing on a shoe-string budget,
  • working with fellow small businesses and BIAs,
  • accessing and leveraging city services and forming partnerships with community organizations and how that can benefit small businesses and the community as a whole.

The speakers are from various parts of the Toronto Danforth community and include:

  • Adam Meery and Rachel Conduit, from the Riverside BIA.
    Rachel Conduit The Avro from Riverside BIA

    Rachel Conduit The Avro from Riverside BIA


    Adam Meery OXagancy from Riverside BIA

  • There will also be representatives from the Pape Village BIA, the Gerrard India Bazaar BIA, the Danforth Village BIA, the Danforth BIA and DECA, the Danforth East Community Association. See below for a full list of speakers.

It is hoped that the forum will help to establish some best practices for small businesses and provide an opportunity for small businesses to network and meet other small businesses and community members.

The discussion will be moderated by Hugh Johnston and refreshments will be provided by Alterna Savings. Everyone is welcome.



Forum:                                              Succeeding as a Small Business

Date:                                                   Tuesday, February 19th, 2013, 7 – 9 pm

Location:                                         Estonian House, 958 Broadview Avenue

Moderator:                                     Hugh Johnston, SVP, Finance and Corporate Development, Bento Sushi

Refreshment Sponsor:              Alterna Savings

Presented by:                                Toronto Danforth Federal Liberal Riding Association


Succeeding as a Small Business Forum – Topics and Speakers:

1.      Marketing on a shoe-string budget

Riverside BIA

Adam Meery, Oxagency

Danforth Village BIA

Lorie Fairburn, Neighbourhood Link Support Services

2.      Working with fellow small businesses and BIAs

Upcoming Leslieville BIA      

Andrew Sherbin, Edward Jones

the Danforth BIA

Scott Torrance, Scott Torrance Landscape Architect Inc.

3.      Accessing and leveraging city services

Gerrard India Bazaar BIA                 

Polina Privis, Method Consulting and Public Mobile

4.      Forming partnerships with community organizations

Riverside BIA

Rachel Conduit, The Avro

Pape Village BIA

Rev. Jim Parker, Bethany Baptist Church

Danforth East Community Association (DECA)

Gay Stephenson

Question and Answer Session


Written By Karen Somerville from Toronto Danforth Liberals

questions?  contacct – tdpolicy@gmail.com


BIA Business Listing 001 download (1) logo download (2) images




Get Healthy in Toronto’s Riverside

Looking for healthier options? Toronto’s Riverside District has a fantastic array of healthy lifestyle choices from boutique olive oil, healthy and locally sourced food options, nutrition and supplement stores, local community markets to fitness and wellbeing businesses.

Olive & Olives

Discover the healthier (and delicious) world of olive oil at Olive & Olives. All of the olive oils are extra virgin, produced and bottled by artisanal producers and cooperatives that employ strict cold extraction methods, provide recommended best before dates. Olive & Olive also provides tasty extras such as olives, tapenades, artisanal vinegars, high-quality spices and chocolate made with extra virgin olive oils, and a host of other delicacies to stock your pantry with.  Looking to have a more in depth introduction to cooking with olive oil? Olive & Olives has a fantastic roster of workshops and cooking classes to induct you to the wonders of olive oil. For more information on this tasty store visit their website, or like them on facebook! www.oliveolives.com/en/

the healthy whey

Improve your immune system and general health through The Healthy Whey. One of Toronto’s best supplement stores, they offer a huge variety of vitamins, health supplements, natural and organic foods, natural household and personal care products as well as herbal supplements. Not only will their one-one advice to help you find the right choice for you, they also stock hard to find vegan treats, such as marshmallows. Yumm!


pulp kitchen

Get Juiced up at Pulp Kitchen! Offering a selection of fresh made to order juices, smoothies and take-out vegan lunch fare. With almost 30 refreshing juice and smoothie options, you are sure to find a healthy elixir that is right for you! The take out menu has a mouth-watering selection of fresh soups, sandwiches, grilled paninis, and fresh salads. The PK Sandwich is a favorite breaded tofu slices, topped w/ avocado, roasted tomatoes, organic greens & hummus and served on toasted flax bread. Try a fresh juice today, trust us you will not regret it! www.pulpkitchen.ca/





Riverside marketLiving near Queen Street East and need a local convenience market? Look no further, the Riverside Market is likely to have many of the quick grab-and-go items you may need. They stock the typical convenience store fare of TTC tickets, lotto tickets, and sweet and salty snacks, but they also surprise with selling fresh fruits and veggies, as well as natural and organic foods and cleaning products. One stop shop!




Take a holistic approach to a healthy, mind, body, and soul at Riverside’s energyXchange. Their mission is to educate, incite passion and inspire the journey of becoming healthier. Leaders in the industry, they take the approach of providing integrated, whole health services that focus on a variety of areas in order to achieve overall health and wellness.  In addition to the incredible array of fitness options, they also carry a tantalizing selection of natural personal care products, David’s Tea, and nutritional workshops which adds to the comfortable ‘un-gym’ experience of energyXchange. Get a holistic start to your day and visit them at their website at: www.myenergyxchange.com



omaInspire hope and build health with Oma Chiropractic. Oma Chiropractic’s philosophy is to build health by releasing tension, improving function and increasing resilience through hands-on personalized care.  Their range of services also includes Naturopathic Care, which uses natural therapies to stimulate the body’s own ability to heal. Based on ancient techniques and modern scientific study, patients are treated with a holistic approach in order to prevent and treat disease. Therapies such as acupuncture, botanical medicine, clinical nutrition and homeopathy can be used in conjunction with ongoing thorough evaluation in order to address the root cause of illness and to create balance and overall well-being. Learn more by visiting their website at: www.omachiro.com


Riverside’s businesses in general, have a strong sustainability ethos. Eateries like Ruby Eats and Ruby WatchCo, Bonjour Brioche, Table 17, Picnic Wine bar, and the soon to open Appetite are committed to local and seasonal fare. Designers such as Bergström Originals are committed to sustainable fashion methods; and furniture design businesses like Kalamkaar furniture sources their wood from renewable forests, while being dedicated to training and mentoring South Asian craftspeople in support of a vibrant and self-sustaining local economy. Riverside is proud of that so businesses are committed to supporting sustainability and healthy lifestyles in all its forms.