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 6th, 2023.

OddSide Arts & Riverside BIA Celebrate with Afraspektion, a Family-Friendly Festival in the east end of Toronto on August 6th, 2023.

Discover the vibrant essence of Afraspektion, a celebration that honours and showcases the diverse contributions and creativity of the Afrodiaspora during Emancipation Month, as part of Riverside C’MON Sundays.

This August 2023 marks the third year of celebrating Emancipation Month in Ontario. Oddside Arts and the Riverside Business Improvement Area (BIA) invite everyone to continue the carnival weekend festivities at our family-friendly festival, Afraspektion. Mark your calendars for August 6th, 2pm – 7pm at Riverside Common Park (657 Queen E, just west of Queen/Broadview) in Toronto’s Riverside neighbourhood. Join us for a memorable opening ceremony, followed by a day filled with festival fun and entertainment for all ages. With the multitude of festivals happening in Toronto, Afraspektion stands out as a truly unique and family-friendly event that offers a great opportunity to relax and enjoy good food and entertainment.

Afraspektion is free to the public, we invite everyone to visit us for the following events:

  • 2 PM – The event kicks off with a warm welcome from Queen and Nico from Oddside Arts, the curators of Afraspektion.
  • 2:05 PM – Attendees are invited to a special Opening Ceremony led by Nenookaasi, followed by a Libations ceremony by Kemba Byam.
  • 2:35 PM – Everyone can enjoy the rhythmic tunes of Drumming with Emilie Jabouin.
  • 3:25 PM – Families are welcome to bring the kids and enjoy the mesmerizing Moko Jumbie Stilt Walkers.
  • 3:50 PM – Attendees can join in a friendly competition of Superhero Trivia with cosplayers TrinidadianSuga, WonderWoman905, and CosplayQ.
  • 5:00 PM – Those interested can participate in a Live Cooking Demonstration with Chef Nicholas and get their chef apron on.
  • 5:50 PM – Enjoy a lively House of Imperium Ballroom Performance.

Get ready for an eventful Sunday at Afraspektion with loads of free entertainment, giveaways and activities for everyone! Don’t miss out on this incredible experience—come join the fun and see it for yourself. More: 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, Ontario Arts Council, Government of Ontario’s Reconnect Ontario programme, Government of Canada’s Supporting Black Canadians Communities Initiative, and City of Toronto’s Main Street Innovation Fund

More About Riverside BIA & 2023 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 2023. 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

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

Vinita Kalia – Acting Executive Director, Riverside BIA –, 416-466-8167

Meet our #QueenEastEats Community Supporter: Hullmark

We’re excited to thank Hullmark , one of our Queen East Eats Community Supporters!

Hullmark is a real estate and investment development team which is heavily involved in supporting community. Owner Jeff Hull has carried on Hullmark as the family business that started with his grandfather, investing in the same neighbourhoods the family first lived in.⠀

“We are pleased to be part of Queen Eats Eats again in 2022! The programme is helping shine a spotlight in support of so many incredible food and hospitality businesses through this summer and fall, including White Lily Diner and other beloved Hullmark tenants. Our Queen Street Eats eateries and bars have so many unique local flavours and so much personality that makes up the character of their neighbourhoods – we’re glad to see everyone getting out on the patios in support of local businesses.”~Jamie Zeldin, Director of Asset Management at Hullmark.

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 at our Links in Bio and check out our Patio Map to plan your experience at Queen East Eats’ many patios in #RiversideTO and #Leslieville! ⠀

Jamie Zeldin of Hullmark enjoying food and drink on White Lily diner patio

Jamie Zeldin of Hullmark, and 2022 Queen East Eats community supporter, enjoying food and drink on White Lily diner patio

Hullmark has been a strong community member within Riverside for many years, as a supporter of the Riverside Gateway Bridge Project and past events such as Wine & Craft Beer Fest, and the Eats & Beats Streetfest.

Beyond being just a real estate investment and development team, Hullmark is a city builder committed to shaping a vibrant urban Toronto, with their involvement in Queen East Eats certainly being no exception to this!

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

Hullmark, Outline Financial, and The Wright Group

Join us June 19th for Kemetic Yoga & Stay Tuned for Videos & Journaling Resources

Join us for a morning of Kemetic Yoga in Riverside Common Park on Juneteenth (June 19) with Vonnette Forde from Higher Love Yoga.

Participants will be introduced to the significance of Juneteenth and what it means for many Afrodiasporic communities, and how it relates to us in Canada. This special in-person yoga flow will be based on the Water session from the Earthseeds: Space of the Living – Kemetic Yoga Series. It will elaborate on the significance of water–the role water played in the middle passage, the role it plays in reconciliation with the hurts of the past, and in our healing journeys.

The session will include:

  • Opening with libations
  • Introduction and poetry performance to speak about water and its connection
  • 30min Yoga session
  • 5-minute meditation to settle the mind
  • Affirmation journaling

Register for this complimentary session to reserve your spot

This yoga session is limited to the first 30 registrants.

This Kemetic Yoga Session in Recognition of Juneteenth is facilitated by Vonnette Forde from Higher Love Yoga, hosted in Riverside Common Park by Riverside BIA with support from the City of Toronto.

This event is based on the Kemetic Yoga Series from the Earthseeds: Space of the Living project created by Nico Taylor & Queen Kukoyi and supported by Waterfront Toronto and Waterfront BIA through the Waterfont Toronto Artist Residency (2020-2021).

What is Kemetic Yoga:

Kemetic Yoga is found on the writing of the temple walls in Ancient Egypt. This writing commonly known as hieroglyphs, is referred to as “MDR NTR” (Me-du Ne-ter) which translates to the words of God. These instructions and postures are a fundamental aspect of ancient Egyptian spiritual science, which is identical across Africa, and serves to connect with the spirits of our ancestors through meditation, prayer and ritual.

Kemetic Yoga Videos and Journaling

The following videos and journaling resources will be released leading up to June 19th and will be available here until June 27th to help facilitate your Kemetic Yoga journey:

    • Description: The Kemetic Yoga Fire Session will teach you rapid breathing, a way to help center and ground yourself. Fire is considered to be the first element that was born when the universe was created. It is both warmth to enable life, and a destructive force that can burn and destroy. Among other things, fire symbolizes energy, activity, creativity, passion and freedom.
    • Link to Fire Journal: Coming Soon
  • Spirit: Coming Soon
    • Description: Spirit is the holding place for character, your emotions and elements that make you who you are. Your spirit is your essence, and it is important that it is cared for on a daily basis and uplifted through times of strife. The Kemetic Yoga Spirit Session features a full body experience, aligning you to Spirit to unlock your full potential. 
    • Link to Spirit Journal: Coming Soon
  • Earth: Coming Soon
    • Description: Earth is one of the four key elements of creation. The element of Earth is representative of solid matter and the structure of the universe. In the Kemetic Yoga Earth Session, you’ll learn techniques to ready you for the grounding yoga flow sequence such as building energy with trees and Earthing.
    • Link to Journal: Coming Soon

Do you know the language of Flowers? Quince’s florist does – come closer!

Blogs by Bisi

“Not just a pretty thing, flowers have storied in history…” is a notable quote by Rosie Jeffares-Levitt, a quintessential personality in the floral world and owner of Quince Flowers at 660 Queen Street East in Toronto’s Riverside neighborhood.

Quince Flowers Riverside Toronto

Flower arrangement called ‘Purple Haze Colour combo’ by Quince Flowers (Photo credit: Quince Flowers)

Just as food is so significant to human existence, flowers have also become important to human life in a variety of ways. Among these are; the beautification of houses, street landscaping, garden making, and beautifying occasions, among other significance. 

Usage of flowers is multi-dimensional. People use flowers to express love, gratitude, happiness, or to release tension, and mourn a departed soul.

Quince Flowers shares this analogy, viewing the floral business as a calling, and not just ordinary work. This makes them do what they know how to do best in their area of specialization and expertise when it comes to floral aesthetics. Be it flower facts,  potted plants, big blooms, little blooms, among myriads of other beautifications they transform flowers into, creating special effects of nature that suit each occasion.

Quince Flowers pride themselves in floral arrangements for any occasion, be it  weddings, birthday celebrations, Mother’s Day, or just to say “thank you” or “I love you”.

Speaking of just saying “I love you”, Quince has their Wonderblooms Monthly floral subscription, so you never forget to show your love to another, or just to yourself!  Sign up

Quince has done arrangements for celebrated events such as Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and has a wcide range of clients and expertise.

Situated in the heart of Toronto Riverside neighborhood, Quince is also part of  a community of businesses that have been mutually supportive for decades, and owner Rosie is an active volunteer member and Co-Chair of the Riverside BIA Board of Directors. 

So stop by Quince Flowers and show them your love and follow @quinceflowers on Instagram. Each month they give away a bouquet in their Wonderblooms Monthly Subscription contest. Just Like the giveaway post, then tag at least three of your friends under the comments section.

An array of fresh flowers is the beginning of a radiating world of love, and Quince Flowers is tops as a local go-to spot.

About the Author:

Bisi has been a community content and script writer since 2006, working internationally as a journalist and now locally in Toronto.