A Day in Riverside: 10 Things You Can Do in The Neighbourhood

Imagine this: you have an entire day free on a weekend—no work, no errands (lucky you), and the weather forecast seems great. You decide to go out and make a whole day out of it. What about heading over to Toronto’s Riverside neighbourhood and rediscovering this beautiful corner of Toronto? If you’re not quite sure where to go and what to do, check out this itinerary:

Photo credit: Dark Horse Espresso Bar Instagram

8 A.M. | Caffeinate at Dark Horse Espresso Bar

Obviously, the best way to start the day is with a cup of great coffee. Dark Horse, which has several locations across Toronto, is a local favorite.

Dark Horse Espresso Bar: 630 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M 1G3

Photo credit: Christian Jay B. Quilo

8:30 A.M. | Have a photo op at the Riverside Bridge

If you’re new to the neighborhood, it would be a missed opportunity not to take a photo of the iconic “Time and a Clock” art piece. To find it, walk towards River Street, cross the bridge, and turn back facing east. There’s also a great view of the Don River from here. Tip: you can find Parts 2 of the art piece in the four corners of Queen & Broadview and Part 3 near Jimmie Simpson Park.

Riverside Bridge: Time and a Clock, Queen St E, Toronto, ON

Photo credit: Christian Jay B. Quilo

9 A.M. | Take a stroll around Joel Weeks Park

Get some sun and walk around the park (and work up an appetite for a hearty brunch). This space is especially beautiful in the spring and summertime. Here’s a tip: you can find three art sculptures here—a local favorite is the squirrels with the acorn.

Joel Weeks Park: 10 Thompson St, Toronto, ON M4M 1L9

Photo credit: White Lily Diner Instagram

10 A.M. | Brunch at White Lily Diner

Because of its popularity and limited seating, White Lily Diner can get packed real fast. You can make a reservation online so you don’t have to wait long for a table.

White Lily Diner: 678 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M 1G8

Photo credit: Common Sort Instagram

11:30 A.M. | Go thrift shopping at Common Sort

Stop by Common Sort for their selection of stylish secondhand clothing. You know what’s better than scoring a unique fashion find? Helping reduce waste and shopping sustainably!

Common Sort: 760 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M 1H7

Photo credit: UNTITLED by Flaunt Boutique Instagram

12:30 P.M. | Get a new ‘do at UNTITLED by Flaunt Boutique

Whether you just want a trim or a completely new hair color, the stylists at UNTITLED have you covered. While they do take walk-ins, it’s best to book an appointment before coming in.

UNTITLED by Flaunt Boutique: 792 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M 1H4

Photo credit: Bonjour Brioche Instagram

2:30 P.M. | Grab some pastries from Bonjour Brioche

Who can resist fresh croissants from Bonjour Brioche? However, it might be difficult to look through the display and leave with only a croissant or two. Their quiches and tarts are popular as well.

Bonjour Brioche: 812 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M 1H7

Photo credit: Isaan Der – Thai Kitchen & Bar Instagram

5 P.M. | Early dinner at Isaan Der – Thai Kitchen & Bar

Indulge in delicious Thai food at Isaan Der. You can’t go wrong with classics such as the Pad Si Ew and Tom Yum Goong. Don’t skip dessert—the Mango Coconut Sticky Rice is a must-try!

Isaan Der – Thai Kitchen & Bar: 730 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M 1H2

Photo credit: The Opera House Instagram

7:30 P.M. | Watch a show at The Opera House

The Opera House is one of Riverside’s most historic structures and a popular music venue for many artists from different genres. Check this page to see the full list of their upcoming events.

The Opera House: 735 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M 1H1

Photo credit: Prohibition Social House Instagram

10 P.M. | Nightcap at Prohibition Social House

The night is still young! Grab post-show drinks over at Prohibition, just in time for their late night happy hour. The gastropub has a wide selection of cocktails, wines, beers, and ciders.

Prohibition Social House: 696 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M 1G9

Now that seems like a day well spent. Bookmark this post for whenever you want to go explore and feel like a tourist in your own city. If you’re taking the TTC, Riverside is easily accessible by streetcar and bus. Follow @riverside_bia on Instagram for real-time updates on the latest happenings in the neighborhood, from events to promos!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Christian Jay B. Quilo, Riverside BIA Marketing Assistant

Christian is an international student from Cebu, Philippines, currently interning at the Riverside BIA. He has a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and is currently taking post-graduate studies in Lifestyle Media at Centennial College. He has been writing professionally since 2018; his favorite subject matter being food, travel, and fashion. When he’s not busy as a student or marketing assistant, he goes full-on tourist, exploring Toronto one neighborhood at a time—most likely with an iced oat latte or bubble tea in hand.

Opportunities at Riverside BIA Events 2024

The Riverside BIA’s 2024 public events will bring together an exciting and diverse roster of vendors, artists and entertainers and programming. Here’s a rundown of what’s coming for 2024 and check out the opportunities to get involved via our online application forms below:

Riverside C’mon! Join us for community events at Riverside Common Park (657 Queen E) just steps west of Broadview Ave.

Our series of free public events is coming back from May to November 2024 in Riverside Common Park! Each event will feature:

  • Live music by local musicians and entertainers
  • Local vendors market with artisans and food
  • Family-friendly activities such as workshops, demos, games, and crafts

Opportunities 2024

Riverside Common Park events – select dates from May to November, 2024

Volunteer Opportunities – all dates from May to November, 2024

African Drumming at Riverside Common Park Photo credit Jennifer Gomez

Drummers from Afraspektion event at Riverside Common Park in 2023 (Photo credit: Jennifer Gomez)

Food vending by Butchers of Distinction at Riverside Eats & Beats

Riverside Winter Warmup Series!

Get ready to Warm Up…With some great local Riverside spots we will be featuring in collab with @torontofoodblog

We’re featuring great local eateries & cafés every Monday & Friday, presenting different featured items you could warm up with this winter! In these features you’ll get to see either a selection from new winter menus or some local favourites.

Be sure to follow us, like & save these for later as a reminder for your next lunch or dinner plans and keep following for the next feature.

Toronto Food Blog is a local food blogger that features eateries across the GTA, and has collaborated with us on several joint campaigns in the past, helping us highlight our amazing businesses. We are excited to partner up with them again this year. So stay tuned for some awesome features and be sure to tag us on the ones you try!

Follow up on Instagram or Facebook

Celebrating Bonjour Brioche

It was one year ago today that beloved Riverside business Bonjour Brioche re-opened under new ownership, and the business has been going strong for 26 years!

So we’re celebrating with some of the famous croissants from this French bakery serving breakfast and lunch in Toronto’s East End since 1997!

Give them a cheer via @bonjour_brioche

p.s. They’ll be closed Jan 15-24 for some R & R, and back Jan 25th

Photo credit: Riverside BIA

Riverside BIA: Looking Back on 2023, Looking Forward to 2024

A message from Riverside BIA Team: 

Let’s take a moment to reflect on 2023 (check out our fave memories and a 2024 exciting sneak peek in the photos after this message!). This year has marked another incredible chapter in Riverside’s journey of adaptation and growth as we continue to leverage new opportunities while navigating ongoing economic challenges and transit construction impacts in our area. This past year has also brought forth new vibrancy and highlighted the strength of our tight-knit small-town-in-the-big-city.

This past year, we experienced the start of The Ontario Line construction, resulting in road closures and presenting a variety of new challenges and impacts. In response, Riverside BIA has proactively worked with Metrolinx, local businesses, community organizations, our Councillor’s office, and residents to advocate and leverage opportunities. From having regular touch points with Metrolinx and our BIA members, to being on the Construction Liaison Committee (CLC), to undertaking extensive special programming with support from the Transit Expansion Construction Mitigation Program funding from the City of Toronto and FedDev Ontario. Of particular note, our BIA was part of the the committee and jury for the Lakeshore East Joint Corridor Design Competition, making significant contributions to helping shape the design of the future transit station plaza at Queen Street East and Strange Street as a vibrant public space. The design by winning firm O2 was unveiled on July 27th and we will continue to advocate for involvement as this takes shape. A special thanks to the members of the Lakeshore East CAC, local residents who have put countless volunteer hours into this important advocacy work that we will be doing together, for many years to come.

And that’s just how we roll – for over 43 years now, Riverside BIA’s dedicated Board of Management and staff team are always here, year-round, to support our members and collaborate with community partners through various means. We provide information updates, one-on-one support, a robust digital marketing program, streetscape programs and projects, public art installations, public events and campaigns, as well as other programs aimed at promoting foot traffic and boosting local economic development and community collaboration.

I’d like to recognize and thank the hardworking volunteer Board of Directors at Riverside BIA. Comprising local businesses, property owners, and operators right here in Riverside, our board members give freely of their time, great ideas, and resources to bettering their community. A big thank you also goes to our dedicated team of staff, consultants, and volunteers of 2023 who make the magic happen.  A special thanks to Vinita Kalia – Acting Executive Director for 2023 who did outstanding work supporting the Riverside BIA this past year, we will miss you and will always welcome you back!

A huge thanks goes out to our over 100 members who make up this incredible BIA, and also go to our larger network of support 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, federal MP Julie Dabrusin, and our incredible plethora of community partners and collaborators, especially Ralph Thornton Community Centre  Executive Director John Campey who will be greatly missed in his retirement.

As this Year in Review attests, we have accomplished so much in 2023 by working together. From the 10+ mini-festivals we hosted in Riverside Common Park, to our live music series at the Queen Garden Centre, along with programs like Queen East Eats and Window Wonderland, these are just a few examples of what we can achieve by working together. All of these initiatives are thoughtfully curated to enhance the vibrancy of our main street as we navigate the new realities of on-going transit construction.

We have seen a few of our long-time member businesses close or move on, and have welcomed many new businesses and faces to Riverside. This is an ever-changing business community with 40+ years of history, and over 125 years of industrious Riverside business people 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 2023 and look to the new adventures of a new year in 2024 and a return of exciting happenings..check out our fave 2023 memories and a sneak peek of big things to come in 2024 below!!

We are wishing everyone safe, happy, and healthy holidays, and here’s to doing many great things together in 2024!

Read on for more…

CHEERS TO NEW ADVENTURES IN 2024 AND WORKING TOGETHER ON BIG AND LITTLE INITIATIVES IN THE RIVERSIDE BIA – BRING IT ON!!