Riverside 40 Years, 40 Stories: Lynne Patterson

This is a story from Lynne Patterson, resident in Riverside since 1991 and one of the Riverside BIA’s original and longstanding volunteers. Lynne is moving away from the area after 29 years and we are pleased to include a story from her as part of this ‘Riverside 40 Years, 40 Stories ‘series!

When asked about what Riverside was like when she first moved here, Lynne shared:

“I bought my little row house here in 1991, when I told people I was moving to Queen and Broadview, most people said ‘Where’s that?!'” at the time the only notable thing there was Jilly’s ‘exotic dancers club’ and anyone who said “Oh ya, I know that” would quickly say “But I’ve never been there”.

“The Real Jerk was really the only restaurant besides a few diners and to go out for a nice meal you’d go to another area, but look at it now!”

“The hardware store at the time was great because you could buy a single nail rather than 100.”

She recalled having gone to the Ralph Thornton Centre and the Queen-Saulter Library at the time: “the library branch was going to be closed because it was considered too small. We had a whole community uprising around that, getting Councillors involved, petitions, and in the end they took it off the list of closures and had it refurbished, and it was incredibly well used even at that time. It shows that community voices can work.”

Lynne also remembers when a film studio did up the neighbourhood for “Cinderella Man” in 2004. At the time she was a Russell Crowe fan and spent hours hanging out on Queen but she never saw him filming. She says”They filmed it in the summer and it was supposed to be in the winter so they had fake snow, and the whole street was lined with classic cars  -it was great.”

Lynne doesn’t remember anything of the BIA when she first came to the neigbourhood, but she first got involved with the Riverdale Artwalk when it was just Ron Fletcher and Stan Jones and a couple of other people doing studio tours. There were several spots in Riverside on the tour which were working studios in people’s homes. Then, the Riverdale Artwalk kept growing and growing and Lynne became a part of the more formal organization, helping put together a Board of Directors and other formal policies. She recalls “It became the second biggest art show in the city, I believe, grown from two people to hundreds and also formed the Artists’ Network”.

Lynne volunteering with the Riverside BIA at Riverside Wine Fest held in the Ralph Thornton Community Centre (2015)

Lynne volunteering with the Riverside BIA at Riverside Wine Fest held in the Ralph Thornton Community Centre (2015)

It was then that Lynne became aware of the Riverside BIA as the BIA was running their street festival in conjunction with the Riverdale Artwalk. She went onto the BIA website and sent an email to the office inquiring if she could volunteer as a resident or was if it was just business people. She never got a reply.

Then she met Perry Lupyrypa, the BIA’s Executive Director at the time, at an event and said she’d never heard back about her offer to volunteer. Perry said “That’s ridiculous! Of course you can, anyone can volunteer” They met for coffee at Bonjour Brioche on the patio and within half an hour Lynne was on three different committees/ working groups of the BIA. That was probably around 2010 or 11, Lynne started getting involved in the Marketing Committee and BIA events. She says “I walked away a bit dazed from that meeting, but stayed involved and it’s been fun ever since”.

Lynne shared: “After Perry, there was Anjuli Solanki and now Jennifer Lay – it has been a spectacular group of women running the BIA office – the events and festivals this BIA has been able to pull off with limited resources and budget is astounding.”

Jennifer Lay, current Executive Director shared “It’s really about all the partnerships and just being open to people who want to help – like Lynne – that help make things happen.”

Lynne was the BIA’s first recipient of the Jack Korman Memorial Award for Outstanding Volunteerism in 2013. When she was awarded this honour she had no idea this volunteer award existed, she ended up at the end of a BIA walking tour led by Ron Fletcher and Lynne herself, ending up in Cannonball Coffee (formerly F’Coffee). She had a friend staying with her from England and was going to meet the friends at Tabule for lunch and everyone was trying to get her to stay at the coffee place. She was getting quite irritated and didn’t know why she was being asked to wait. Mitch Korman, the BIA Chair, showed up with his brother and a plaque – and it finally dawned on Lynne that it was an award, for her!

Lynne Patterson is awarded in 2013 with the Jack Korman Memorial Award by Mitch Korman, Riverside BIA Chair, and son of Jack Korman

Lynne Patterson is awarded in 2013 with the Jack Korman Memorial Award by Mitch Korman, Riverside BIA Chair, and son of Jack Korman (Photo taken at F’Coffee, now Cannonball Coffee & Bar)

Jack Korman Memorial Award for Outstanding Volunteerism - Awarded in 2013 to Lynne Patterson - Riverside BIA, Toronto

Jack Korman Memorial Award for Outstanding Volunteerism – Awarded in 2013 to Lynne Patterson – Riverside BIA, Toronto

Whether it was pulling late nights with editing articles for the Riverside Magazine, connecting businesses with art for the Riverside/Riverdale ArtWalk Tour, pouring Ontario wine at Riverside Wine & Craft Beer Fest, or being a regular contributor to the incredible ideas and efforts of the Riverside Marketing Committee – Lynne has been a dedicated and stalwart volunteer through it all.

When we asked about the changes Lynne has seen in Riverside, she said:

“When I first came to De Grassi/Wardell a lot of single women with careers bought homes here.  It was a time when the area was affordable and could be managed on a single income. Over the years many have moved and the last of us – now in our early 70s – are now moving out. I still love Riverside but the responsibility for an 1888 home is a lot now. There’s been a real gradual transition, there were hardly any children when I moved here, and now there’s many young couples with babies so the whole neighbourhood is changing, it’s been very interesting.

Custom art by ca

Thanks to Bianca of casabianca-art.com for creating this beautiful sketch to help the Riverside BIA thank and bid farewell to Lynne, our longtime volunteer and community member in Riverside. Lynne was overjoyed to receive this piece and shared that it made her feel special and appreciated as she moves on to a new neighbourhood and home, while keeping a special place in her heart and on the wall for her first home and community of 29 years.

How do you feel about the transformation of Riverside?

“I think it’s good. You don’t want things to stay the same.”

Riverside BIA co-Chair Mitch Korman shared: “Lynne will always be part of the heart of Riverside, and as she moves on to a new home and new activities, the Riverside BIA wishes her the very best and thank her sincerely for all her efforts over the years!”

Saying thank you and farewell to Lynne Patterson at Riverside's Eastbound Brewing Co in August 2020

Saying thank you and farewell to Lynne at Riverside’s Eastbound Brewing Co in August 2020

 

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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.

FIND THE SERIES HERE AS WE SHARE NEW STORIES EACH WEEK IN 2020

DO YOU HAVE A STORY OF THE RIVERSIDE BIA? SUBMIT YOUR STORY

THANK YOU: Riverside Eats Virtually!

‘Riverside Eats’ marked a milestone as the Riverside BIA’s first virtual event! ​ ​The event did double duty of showcasing some of the incredible restaurants and ​chefs right here in Riverside​,​ while raising money for an amazing local caus​e!​ We had an ​fantastic team of ​volunteer ​professionals giving time to make this an event a success​,​ along with our amazing technician who pulled it all together seamlessly. We had a wonderful and very ​enthusiastic audience​,​ and loved every minute​ of the experience!​ Thank you to everyone for helping raise a​round $1,000 for Mustard Seed, Fontbonne Ministries local food program here in Riverside!!​ Please see our website for for THANK YOU credits to all those who supported this event.​

Please find the links below to ​the full recording of the Riverside ​Eats event to watch at your l​leisure and all the incredible short restaurant videos​ with summer recipes so you can follow along, as well as the heart-warming video showcasing the incredible work of our charitable partner!

ENJOY:

​*Riverside Eats (Full Event Recording – Video)
*Riverside Eats: Eastbound Brewing Co (Video)
*Riverside Eats: Est Restaurant (Video)
*Riverside Eats: Tabule (Video)
*Riverside Eats: Punjabi By Nature (Video)
*Riverside Eats: Food Program at  Mustard Seed, Fontbonne Ministries Food Program (Video)

RIVERSIDE EATS CREDITS – THANK YOU!!!

Riverside Businesses: 
Est Restaurant – Chef Sean and  Chef Reece
Tabule Middle Eastern Cuisine – Diana and Chef Rony
Eastbound Brewing Co – Dave and Chef Tara
Punjabi By Nature  – Lucky and Chef Manmeet
Irish Design House – Sinead
La Carnita Riverside – Jay

Our Charitable Partner

Fontbonne Ministries, Mustard Seed – Elizabeth and AnnMarie

 Our Event Partners and Hosts

Jon and Cheryl from J & C Toronto Real Estate
Lars from Laughing Vikings

 Riverside BIA & Marketing Committee Members

Jennifer, Mona, and Ria from the BIA virtual office
Dave from Eastbound Brewing Co
Kris from the Jam Factory TO
Dan from Chiasson Homes

Video Production

J & C Toronto Media

Graphic Design

Geo Conidis

 Technical Support

Guillermo Subauste

*Thank you to the City of Toronto BIA Innovation Fund for helping make this project possible.*

Girls Mural Camp 2020 in Riverside

Girls Mural Camp 2020 officially got underway in mid-August 2020 and wrapped up on August 28! Coordinated by East End Arts and led by professional street artists Bareket Kezwer and Monica Wickeler, Girls Mural Camp (GMC) is an opportunity for youth who identify as girls, young women, female or non-binary to explore the history and practice of street art, and to co-create a large street mural together. Campers went through an incredible ‘in-class’ learning experience, and then took their ideas and skills to the streets to work on a real mural creation.

Big thank you to  lead artists, @bkez & @monicaonthemoon, for leading the youth campers through this exciting mural program and to the 10 participants who created such a unique and inspiring piece of mural art together.

Riverside BIA is so inspired by all the creativity as and attention to detail that went into the collaborative co-creation process. Kudos to all the artists who worked together to bring this vibrant and meaningful collective work of art to Riverside neighbourhood. It was a pleasure to support Girls Mural Camp 2020, thx to @cityofto @eastendartsto @omachiropractic.  Riverside BIA was proud to support this program, thanks to a grant from the City of Toronto Outdoor Mural Program.

Stay tuned for the artists statement, some final polished photos of the completed mural at 4 Munro Street (back wall), and an exciting video from @cassrudolph that captures the participants’ full mural journey!

Girls Mural Camp 2020 getting underway at East End Arts home St. Matthew’s Clubhouse!

Mural painting underway on the north-facing wall at 4 Munro

Girls Mural Camp 2020 in Riverside: Co-created mural process by an amazing team at 4 Munro

Girls Mural Camp 2020 in Riverside: Co-created mural process by an amazing team at 4 Munro

The result: "Girls Mural Camp - 2020 Mural in Riverside" on the north facing wall of 4 Munro (in the laneway)

The result: “Girls Mural Camp – 2020 Mural in Riverside” on the north facing wall of 4 Munro (in the laneway)

Extra mural work on a portion of the east facing wall of 4 Munro Street as part of "Girls Mural Camp - 2020 Mural in Riverside"

Extra mural work on a portion of the east facing wall of 4 Munro Street as part of “Girls Mural Camp – 2020 Mural in Riverside”

The girls even left a little extra for the neighbours, so lovely!!

Humans of Riverside: OMAR’s Story

“I was raised by a single mom who showed us how to be together despite our differences. And, as with my family in Afghanistan, I believe we can be strong and successful when we put aside our differences and work together.” 

Omar Barakzay

Business Owner, Pizzaiolo in Riverside

His Story:

My story begins in Kabul, Afghanistan. As a child, I grew up in a country that was peaceful. Like many other children around the world, I went to school, played soccer with my friends after school and visited family members. It was as normal a life as anyone could ask for.

But all this changed in 1991 when the Mujahideen took over the Afghanistan government and the tribal war began. Many families lost their loved ones and I lost close friends who I had gone to school with, played soccer with and whose families were friends with mine.

My family and I were stuck in our basement for six months during the war. We barely had enough to eat but invited many of our neighbors to stay with us because our basement was safer from rocket attacks and thieves at nights. For six months we helped each other to survive and we got to know the true meaning of family as we huddled together, helping each  other to survive the evil we faced.

Finally, we managed to escape into the darkness one night. It was 1 a.m., the sky was moonless and there were dead bodies everywhere. We all ran together and stayed together, leaving no one behind. We survived by staying together and believing in each other.

Today, we face many challenges due to COVID-19 and some of us have lost our jobs, businesses and loved ones. It’s sad, but we believe that after every darkness there is light.

In Canada, we are of different colours, we come from different cultures, have different religious practices and political views, but it is time to put our differences behind and to become one family.

We have a saying in Afghanistan: “You have five fingers and all of them are brothers, but they are different.”

If you make a fist with your five fingers, they become one and strong. The moral of this is that we need to become one and support our communities, our cities, and our country.

Now is the time to care for one another to survive for the future.

Making Space: Art by Bareket Kezwer and Yshmael Cabana accompanying Omar's story on the Queen St window at 1 Munro Street

Making Space: Art by Bareket Kezwer and Yshmael Cabana accompanying Omar’s story on the Queen St window at 1 Munro Street

About the Humans of Riverside: Giving Voice and Making Space for BIPOC” Storytelling Series:

The Riverside BIA – located along Toronto’s Queen Street East from the iconic bridge over the Don River to just past De Grassi St – is proud to celebrate diversity and inclusiveness with this story-telling series.

The project launched in summer 2020 as part of the Main Street Art Challenge and collaborated with writer and editor Grace Cameron, artists Bareket Kezwer ( @bkez ) and Yshmael Cabana (@_yshyshysh) to bring public art and launch this story-telling series in partnership with local businesses in the Riverside BIA. This project is supported by @STEPSInitiative as part of their Main Street Art Challenge. The story-telling project gives physical space in storefront windows for BIPOC artists, and gives voice to stories from local BIPOC community members in Riverside. Each piece of art and each story shared has a bigger meaning that connects to the local business/window and to the BIPOC community member by sharing a link/QR code to their full story online. The Main Street Art Challenge brings this new and ongoing storytelling series to life, and the art produced for the challenge will continue to live virtually beyond the Main Street Art Challenge as part of the ongoing ‘Humans of Riverside‘ storytelling initiative.

Humans of Riverside: GRACE’s Story

“My grandmother was fearless, or so it seemed, when she had a lot to be fearful of. She always found a way. Born left-handed, she learned to write beautifully with her right hand when she was punished at school for being a leftie.”

Grace Cameron

Locally-based Writer and Editor & part-time employee of RTCC in Riverside

Her Story:

I think about her often.

There’s not a day that goes by that my grandmother, Melitta Elizabeth Johnson, isn’t on my mind. Gran, as we called her, was fearless, or so it seemed, when she had a lot to be fearful of. She always found a way. Born left-handed, she learned to write beautifully with her right hand when she was punished at school for being a leftie. I used to marvel at her meticulous handwriting. The perfect, slanted penmanship was a far cry from my own sloppy scribbling which I developed as a result of taking notes while interviewing others for stories.

Born an only child in the Jamaican countryside and raised in the capital city of Kingston, her father was a butcher and her mother a housewife. She took on the role of mother to me and my younger brother when our parents migrated to the UK to make a better life for us all. We received the occasional parcels and packages from England, but the plane tickets to join our parents never materialized.

Her daughter’s (my mother) betrayal broke her heart, I later learned. But back then I only knew that no matter what, Gran hustled to ensure that we ate three meals a day, our school uniforms were clean and intact and at the end of every August, she took us to the bookstore in downtown Kingston to buy textbooks and school supplies. At 12, when I passed the national exam to attend a prestigious high school, she cleaned houses during the week and sold lottery tickets in smoky bars on weekends to ensure the school fees were paid and that come the first day of school I was decked out in new shoes, proper uniform, new school bag and all the textbooks that were on the lengthy booklist. She was determined that I should hold my own amongst the rich kids and the smart kids.

She endured many indignities but maintained her dignity and integrity. I was about 10 when I overheard her telling her best friend that she took a short cut on the way home from work after buying two loaves of bread with her earnings. She ran into a man who raped her and stole the rest of her money. But, she noted, he never got to take the bread because she used them as a sort of pillow so that he would not notice and steal those as well. The bread was the only food she had for me and my brother.

She didn’t realize that I overheard, and I’ll never forget that day. My heart ached.

It’s funny, I never asked about her dreams, but I don’t think migrating to Canada was on her bucket list. She made the move to give me and my brother a better life. I can only imagine how daunting that must have been. But even in the ‘strange’ new world of Toronto, Gran spoke up, spoke out and represented herself well. When I tried to retreat into my bookish world, she challenged me to get out and make friends. ‘You go to that (school) party,’ she would say, ‘and don’t be a wallflower. I don’t want to hear that you hid against the wall and didn’t speak to anyone.’

She supported my dreams, even when she couldn’t imagine where they might lead. And when the going got tough, Gran would always remind me: ‘It may be long, but it ain’t forever.

Keep going.’

Making Space: Art by Bareket Kezwer and Yshmael Cabana accompanying Grace's story on the window at 700 Queen Street East

Making Space: Art by Bareket Kezwer and Yshmael Cabana accompanying Grace’s story on the window at 700 Queen Street East

About the Humans of Riverside: Giving Voice and Making Space for BIPOC” Storytelling Series:

The Riverside BIA – located along Toronto’s Queen Street East from the iconic bridge over the Don River to just past De Grassi St – is proud to celebrate diversity and inclusiveness with this story-telling series.

The project launched in summer 2020 as part of the Main Street Art Challenge and collaborated with writer and editor Grace Cameron, artists Bareket Kezwer ( @bkez ) and Yshmael Cabana (@_yshyshysh) to bring public art and launch this story-telling series in partnership with local businesses in the Riverside BIA. This project is supported by @STEPSInitiative as part of their Main Street Art Challenge. The story-telling project gives physical space in storefront windows for BIPOC artists, and gives voice to stories from local BIPOC community members in Riverside. Each piece of art and each story shared has a bigger meaning that connects to the local business/window and to the BIPOC community member by sharing a link/QR code to their full story online. The Main Street Art Challenge brings this new and ongoing storytelling series to life, and the art produced for the challenge will continue to live virtually beyond the Main Street Art Challenge as part of the ongoing ‘Humans of Riverside‘ storytelling initiative.