Check out FREE Virtual Talks & Workshops as part of The Serenity Experience Riverside

Toronto artist Jessica Lin’s The Serenity Experience in Riverside aims to bring calm and spark joy during these challenging times. As part of this immersive public art project, artist Jessica Lin and the Riverside BIA are hosting regular quick Happiness Tips talks on Instagram Live @jessicalinphoto, PLUS we have virtual workshops and artist talks, free to the public! Check them out below and clicks on the links for more info and to register for free:

 Virtual Mini-Retreat – Contact Jessica Lin for resources for your own mini-retreat and REGISTER for the March 28th Closing Circle

Learn to be able to create Serenity in your life, and to increase your sense of well-being and happiness. The theme: “Finding Intent For My Post-Pandemic Self”. All participants are encouraged to explore this in whatever way feels comfortable and appropriate for them.

Contact Jessica to be provided with a flexible outline and schedule suggestions, as well as links to the resources to access for your own personal virtual retreat. Then spend as little as one afternoon, or as much as a few days learning empowering techniques and tools that you can revisit as often as you’d like in the future.

The mini-retreat will close with an opportunity to meet back on March 28th Closing Circle (REGISTER NOW) with the group (via Zoom) to talk through your personal retreat experiences.

This workshop has passed. WATCH NOW to see a video recording here, including closed captioning

Would you like to learn how to create a mini-Serenity Experience in your own home? Artist Jessica Lin’s online workshop explores the elements that make up The Serenity Experience installation (and why), and (EASY) creative ideas for how you can adapt this to your own environment.

This workshop has passed. WATCH NOW, including closed captioning

Established Toronto visual artist and photographer Jessica Lin has brought her original installation The Serenity Experience into the public eye in Riverside with 10 businesses, each hosting a different expression of the experience. Enjoy this interactive artist talk to help immerse yourself in The Serenity Experience.

Commemorating Chef Scott in Toronto’s Riverside

Commemorating a long-time community-builder, mover and shaker

We are commemorating our dear friend Chef Scott. His sudden passing in January 2021 has been a profound loss to us here in Riverside and many, many others that he touched. We want to recognize his incredible work as a community-builder and member of the Riverside BIA family.

Please join us in sharing your memories, photos and mementos of Chef Scott to office@riverside-to.com, as we will be adding to this live blog (at bottom).

Chef Scott – Thank you for being such a big part of the Riverside BIA family. You introduced us to so many collaborators, you brought your passion for education, and big, bold ideas to Riverside and always supported us in pushing the envelope. Thank you for your friendship – you are wonderful, you are irreplaceable, you are loved, and you will always be missed. 

As aptly shared by the condolence motion put forward by our Councillor Paula Fletcher and passed at Toronto City Council on February 2, 2021: “Chef Scott was known for living his life to the fullest. He was always supportive of local charities and local businesses in a volunteer capacity and through his patronage.”

‘Cheffie’ always brought big and bold ideas to Riverside. He envisioned collaborations that would not only be epic but lasting.

In 2010, he brought us weekly Riverside & Leslieville Food Tours through The Culinary Adventure Co. and then later through Toronto Food Tours, which always brought much welcomed support and patronage to local businesses.

Chef Scott founded the Riverside Antler Breakfast in 2011 as an annual fundraiser for local community causes, which remains a strong initiative to this day, having raised over $50,000 for community causes over the years.

His passion for bringing culinary delights into the spotlight led him to work with our BIA to transform Riverside’s annual street festival from the music-focused ‘Sounds Like the Riverside’ in 2013, to bring food in a big way with the now long well-known and loved ‘Riverside Eats & Beats Streetfest’.

In 2015, Chef Scott’s love of wine and connections in Prince Edward County also brought some of The County to Queen Street with the first Riverside Wine Fest in collaboration with wine makers from Three Dog Winery, Broken Stone Winery and many others. In 2020, we would have hosted the 5th annual event which had grown to include local craft brewers.

These are just some of the big things Chef Scott helped build, as a long time volunteer and collaborator on Riverside Marketing Committee.

The Riverside BIA is honoured to be able to recognize and commemorate Chef Scott with the Jack Korman Memorial Award for Outstanding Volunteerism for 2020, and to dedicate the Riverside Antler Breakfast going forward in his memory.

Thanks to Councillor Paula Fletcher for making a Condolence Motion at City Council last week formally recognizing some of Chef Scott’s important achievements and thanks to the Ralph Thornton Community Centre for recognizing Chef Scott in fall 2020 with the “Community Volunteer Award for Community Betterment”.

Chef Scott with Riverside Antler Breakfast organizers 2017

Chef Scott with Riverside Antler Breakfast organizers 2017

Chef Scott, 2017 Riverside Antler Breakfast

Chef Scott, 2017 Riverside Antler Breakfast (Photo credit: Snap’d)

Chef Scott, Riverside Antler Breakfast 2019

Chef Scott, Riverside Antler Breakfast 2019

Chef Scott, Riverside Culinary Walk 2018

Chef Scott, Riverside Culinary Walk 2018

Chef Scott, Riverside VIRTUAL Antler Breakfast 2020

Chef Scott, Riverside VIRTUAL Antler Breakfast 2020

Chef Scott, Riverside Eats & Beats 2018 - Toronto Food Tours Tent

Chef Scott, Riverside Eats & Beats 2018 – Toronto Food Tours Tent

Chef Scott, Riverside Wine & Craft Beer Fest 2018

Chef Scott, Riverside Wine & Craft Beer Fest 2018

Chef Scott, Riverside Wine & Craft Beer Fest 2019 - Food & Wine Demo

Chef Scott, Riverside Wine & Craft Beer Fest 2019 – Food & Wine Demo

Chef Scott, Riverside Wine & Craft Beer Fest 2019 - Food & Wine Demo

Chef Scott, Riverside Wine & Craft Beer Fest 2019 – Food & Wine Demo

Chef Scott, Rivertowne Breakfast Program to present proceeds from Riverside Antler Breakfast 2016

Chef Scott, Rivertowne Breakfast Program to present proceeds from Riverside Antler Breakfast 2016

Riverside Antler Breakfast 2014

Chef Scott- at Riverside Antler Breakfast 2014

Watch Chef Scott in action, doing what he loved, in his last Riverside Antler Breakfast which happened virtually in 2020:

Live Blog –  Messages from the Community:

Shared by Perry Lupyrypa: Chef Scott was one of a kind and I can attest that when I was the Riverside BIA Exec Director from 2012 – 2015, together we established several programs which are still running. Chef Scott was always supportive of local charities AND local businesses. He stepped up with leadership, vision, volunteer and financial support. With Chef Scott’s support, the BIA also began outreach beyond Riverside. He was always dreaming and working to make dreams come true. Chef Scott was larger than life (his spiritual and physical being). He was taken too soon. He lived every moment to the fullest and will be dearly missed.

Shared by Mia Sturup

Chef Scott- host of dinner at Olives&Olives (photo from Mia Sturup)

Chef Scott- host of dinner at Olives&Olives (photo from Mia Sturup)

Chef Scott – at home dinner with Mia Sturup

Shared by Jo-Anne Cameron:

A shot of Cheffie (Chef Scott) and my hubby Ian Cameron at a party at our house on Degrassi St (Source: Jo-Anne Cameron)

A shot of Cheffie (Chef Scott) and my hubby Ian Cameron at a party at our house on Degrassi St (Shared by: Jo-Anne Cameron)

Pic of Chef Scott with guests during his mushroom foraging tours (Shared by: Jo-Anne Cameron)

Pic of Chef Scott with guests during his mushroom foraging tours (Shared by: Jo-Anne Cameron)

Chef Scott and Jason the BBQ Ninja at a bbq class tour (Shared by: Jo-Anne Cameron)

Chef Scott and Jason the BBQ Ninja at a bbq class tour (Shared by: Jo-Anne Cameron)

Shared by Nancy Grenier: I met Chef Scott when he first started his food tours in Riverside. I had an art gallery called Rouge Concept at 732 Queen St. from 2008 to 2013 (now where Dimensions Custom Framing & Gallery is). He would come into my shop to say Hi! He always had a sunny disposition and the most fabulous stories. He will be missed.

Shared by MPP Peter Tabuns (Toronto-Danforth): Chef Scott livened up so many events in Riverside, he loved and cooked great food and he also just loved living in the moment. Another real loss to our community.

Shared by Councillor Paula Fletcher (Toronto-Danforth) and City Council via their Motion of Condolence:

The Mayor and Members of Toronto City Council are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Chef Scott Savoie in early January this year.

Chef Scott was the founder of the Riverside Charity Antler Breakfast, Riverside Draft Beer and Wine Fest and was a member of Slow Food, the Culinary Historians of Canada and the Mycological Society of Toronto. Last year, Chef Scott was a recipient of the Ralph Thornton Community Volunteer Award for Community Betterment. His leadership with the Riverside Craft Beer and Wine Fest as well as the Riverside Charity Antler Breakfast has made significant contributions to the business community and many local residents. In 2013, Chef Scott was a leader on the Planning Committee for the food component of the Sound of Riverside, now known as Riverside Eats & Beats, and continued his work in later years to ensure the annual street festival was a big success.

Chef Scott was known for living his life to the fullest. He was always supportive of local charities and local businesses in a volunteer capacity and through his patronage. He will be missed by his friends and colleagues.

The City Clerk is requested to convey, on behalf of the Members of Toronto City Council, our sincere sympathy to Chef Scott’s community and loved ones. February 2, 2021

Shared by Karen Lloyd: From that time after we were at the wine cellars and then did a photo for the LCBO….

Chef Scott for LCBO Shoot (Credit Karen Lloyd)

Chef Scott for LCBO Shoot (Credit Karen Lloyd)

Chef Scott for LCBO Shoot (Credit Karen Lloyd)

Chef Scott for LCBO Shoot (Credit Karen Lloyd)

Chef Scott for LCBO Shoot (Credit Karen Lloyd)

Chef Scott for LCBO Shoot (Credit Karen Lloyd)

From Dave Watson:  I’ll remember that smiling face at our bar, his quick wit, long stories, old-school charm, and his absolute dedication to our community and the people close to him. You’ll be missed Chef. 🍻

From Anjuli Solanki: He was a larger than life person and had such a big heart and a generous soul. He had such a strong commitment to giving back to community, especially as he grew up in very modest circumstances, which made him care so deeply about the Antler Breakfast and giving back in a way that was full of dignity and celebratory. He will be greatly missed.

From Lynne Patterson: He certainly was so involved in Riverside. I think he was probably the person I bumped into most, just casually, as he was always out and about somewhere leading tours, dropping into his favorite bars/restaurants where he usually had some event or happening planned. I’ll miss him.
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The ‘Riverside BIA 40 Years, 40 Stories’ Series is part of how we’re celebrating the 40th anniversary of this incredible neighbourhood of community-builders.

Month of Love Specials & Happenings in Toronto’s Riverside

There’s always lots of love to go around in Toronto’s Riverside neighbourhood! Check out some of the specials and happening for Valentine’s Day and more broadly in this Month of Love:

RIVERSIDE BIA’S LOVE ON QUEEN 

Join us in loving local businesses on Queen Street every day in February! Check back to enter our daily giveaways -YES, 28 days – of $50 vouchers to local businesses, with a $200 giveaway on Sundays thanks to a collaboration between Riverside BIA (Queen E) with Queen Street West BIA.

TOKEN 

Token is open Saturday, February 6 for curbside for all your v-day needs. ♥️ For questions and orders, send to tokencurbside@gmail.com

ARTS MARKET

This Valentine’s Day, discover locally designed and printed T-shirts from @llamayamadesigns and other Toronto-based artists and artisans, visit Arts Market online. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Contact Arts Market through their website to find the perfect gift!

BOXCAR SOCIAL

PERFECT GIFT: Boxcar Bottles Wine Club subscription = each pack contains your choice of 3, 6 or 12 low-intervention wines focusing on incredible producers and regions 🍇🍷 Right to your door. Every single month. Most releases are entirely limited to wine club members. This is the good stuff! 

IL PONTE CUCINA ITALIANA

Valentine’s menu is available all weekend Feb 12-14 – full menu here – it is amazing!!

IRISH DESIGN HOUSE


“Countdown to Valentine’s” campaign, with daily discounts off particular items. Each day, a new discount code will be announced, giving you 14% off the featured item(s). The code will be active for 24 hours only (from midnight to midnight). Enjoy!

OMA CHIROPRACTIC & WELLNESS

Oma has created #OMALOVEYOURSELF challenge templates for you to share your moments of joy, gratitude and self care (templates can be found in their Instagram story highlights). We challenge you to share your #OMALOVEYOURSELF moments on instagram, facebook and (making sure you tag @omachiropractic)💞 For every share, you will be entered to win weekly prizes which include Oma Gift Cards and lots of Self Care Goodies. Winners will be announced weekly💞

QUINCE FLOWERS

(Beyond the flowers!) This very special Valentine’s Day card is exclusive to Quince Flowers – designed by @pentopapier using one of their gorgeous floral arrangements! Ask for “The Valentine’s Day Card” when you place your order and they will hand write a lovely message from you to your beloved!⁠

BRICKWORKS CIDERHOUSE

Toast to love with their Apple of my Eye Brunch Kit! 🍎 Celebrate the loveliest of days with…A DIY Brunch Menu for 2, including: Batch 1904 Cider & OJ for Mimosas, 2 Brickworks Cider Toques for Canadian Winters, Bouquet of Flowers, A Hand-poured Candle, A Fun Game to play with your significant other/friends! Pre-order at the link until February 10th. Pick up at Ciderhouse from February 12th-13th.

#LoveOnQueen Launches

Effortlessly Love and Support Local from February 1st-28th

Toronto, ON, February 1st – Riverside BIA (Queen St E) and Queen Street West BIA have teamed up to bring you a month-long extravaganza of loving Queen Street businesses with 28 days of giveaways. It’s all in support of over 400 local businesses in these Queen Street BIAs.

The campaign features a daily draw for a $50 voucher from a different local business, with a $200 giveaway on Sunday between both BIAs combining prizes. Every day at 12:00am, that day’s door on the advent-style calendar for each BIA is opened and the prize is revealed. Everyone is invited to earn entries to win in the daily giveaways by performing small acts of support like following local businesses on Instagram or leaving a supportive comment to be entered to win. The door closes at 11:59pm each day and the winner is announced at noon the next day.

Highlights of #LoveOnQueen include:

  • Safely showing support for Queen Street businesses, both in the east and west ends. Queen Street is one of Toronto’s iconic, cultural, and economic drivers for the city.
  • The campaign promotes, highlights and reminds communities and Toronto of the businesses in each BIA
  • Daily entry is FREE to participate. Participants are able to have double the fun and chances to win by entering on both BIA websites: Riverside and Queen Street West
  • Gift vouchers or gift cards were purchased directly from the businesses by the BIAs, financially supporting the business and helping drive further online engagement.
  • Winners are able to decide how they wish to responsibly spend their gift card either by shopping online, arranging for a curbside pick up, or simply holding on to them until lockdown and restrictions have been lifted.

Join us in showing #LoveOnQueen!!

Explore Your Inner Calm This Winter: The Serenity Experience In Riverside As Part of ArtworxTO

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Toronto, January 25, 2021- As part of ArtworxTO, Toronto artist Jessica Lin’s The Serenity Experience in Riverside aims to bring calm and spark joy during these challenging times this winter.

This immersive public art exhibit enables everyone to experience ten illuminated window installations hosted by local businesses within the Riverside Business Improvement Area (BIA) along Queen Street East between Davies Ave and De Grassi Street.

The artwork explores the question of what triggers our brain to feel calmness and happiness, and suggests ideas as to how we can deliberately harness this to increase our sense of personal well being.

Each window installation is unique and together the ten locations form the full Serenity Experience in Riverside. They can be experienced nightly from dusk to midnight until mid-March, as well as through full online audio and visual components accessible anytime, including: soothing sounds, virtual tours, Instagram Live happiness talks, an online scavenger hunt for local prizes, and more.

“Riverside BIA is proud to be a huge supporter of local artists. This project is very timely in bringing light and positivity at a time when our local businesses are in need of much community support and hope. As the Serenity Experience Happiness Tip on my business window says, I highly encourage everyone to ‘ Vote with your dollars and support small businesses – you have the power to shape the future of your neighbourhood!’ ,” says Riverside BIA Chair, Mitch Korman.

“The Serenity Experience” started as an experiment on myself, to see if I could intentionally shift my experience of reality, and consequently, shift my reality itself. What started off as a small 8’x5’ multisensory hut has now grown to about 127 linear feet of window space along a roughly 450m stretch of Queen St East, and almost two months of connected activities and multi-media content – thanks to the passion of the Riverside BIA and the ArtworxTO initiative. I’m very excited to be part of this, and can’t wait to see what magic occurs over the next couple of months!” – Toronto artist Jessica Lin.

“As part of Toronto’s Year of Public Art, the City is pleased to support these stunning art installations in Riverside which include such positive messages. They help showcase a local Toronto artist while supporting our small businesses through these challenging times,” says Councillor Paula Fletcher, Ward 14, Toronto-Danforth.

The virtual Serenity Experience in Riverside is available at: www.riverside-to.com/the-serenity-experience/

 The live experience is viewable in local business windows along Queen Street East until mid-March, 2021. The full map of locations and resources is available here: https://tinyurl.com/SerenityRiverside

 The Scavenger Hunt is accessible by downloading the GooseChase app on any smart phone, looking up The Serenity Experience and entering game code GZK46X. The game includes fun missions to gain points toward prizes for gift cards from local Riverside restaurants and retailers.

 Thanks to the key partners who supported this project: the City of Toronto’s ArtworxTO program, Riverside BIA, and Toronto artist Jessica Lin.  Thank you also to all the local businesses who have lent their window space in support of public art.

List of Participating Businesses and Locations in Riverside

Darkhorse Espresso – 630 Queen Street East

Album Hair – 639 Queen Street East

Oma Chiropractic & Wellness – 4 Munro Street

Eastbound Brewing Co – 700 Queen Street East

Korman & Co – 721 Queen Street East

Dimensions Custom Framing & Gallery – 732 Queen Street East

Dresden Vision – 733 Queen Street East

The Opera House Grill – 737 Queen Street East

Common Sort – 760 Queen Street East

Untitled by Flaunt Boutique – 792 Queen Street East

The Serenity Experience in Riverside at Common Sort

The Serenity Experience in Riverside at Common Sort

The Serenity Experience in Riverside at Korman and Co

The Serenity Experience in Riverside at Korman and Co

The Serenity Experience in Riverside at Korman and Co (close up)

The Serenity Experience in Riverside at Korman and Co (close up)

The Serenity Experience in Riverside at Untitled by Flaunt Boutique (view of projection at background)

The Serenity Experience in Riverside at Untitled by Flaunt Boutique (view of projection at background)

The Serenity Experience in Riverside at The Opera House Grill (view of projection)

The Serenity Experience in Riverside at The Opera House Grill (view of projection at background)

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Media Contacts

Jennifer Lay, Riverside BIA Executive Director, office@riverside-to.com, 416-466-8167

Jessica Lin, Artist, photo@jessicalin.ca

About the Artist – Jessica Lin

www.jessicalin.ca

www.instagram.com/jessicalinphoto

Jessica Lin is a Toronto-based photographer and artist with a love of travel and adventure. Known for her abstract landscape artwork, Jessica pulls elements from her various photographs and recomposes to create a new, unseen world. Throughout these pieces, the cycles of nature and the interconnectedness of everything (and everyone) are strong themes. Jessica’s #TheSerenityExperience is an experimental installation inspired by one of her 2D artworks (entitled “Serenity”), and incorporating other elements to engage the senses. Jessica’s aim is to bring this piece to life for viewers to experience a deeper and more complete sense of calmness and connectedness. By sharing their reactions using #TheSerenityExperience hashtag, viewers become active participants in and contributors to the experience.

About the Riverside BIA

www.riverside-to.com

www.instagram.com/riverside_bia

The Riverside Business Improvement Area (BIA), established in 1980, is one of the first BIAs in Canada.  The Riverside BIA is a community-oriented not-for-profit association of local business people, organizations and property owners who work in partnership with the City of Toronto to enhance the Riverside business district, located along Toronto’s Queen Street East from the DVP to Empire Avenue. The BIA’s mandate is to improve, beautify and promote Riverside district through marketing, public programming and streetscape improvements.