It’s Easy Being Green in Toronto’s Riverside

Earth Day is coming up and it’s a great time to check out the many ways you can be green everyday in Toronto’s Riverside. When you purchase your high quality pre-loved dresses and jeans at Common Sort on Queen Street East or your Ontario-raised and antibiotic-free meat and poultry from Butchers of Distinction, you are doing more than you know for the environment.

Bit by bit, everyday actions do add up. With Earth Day approaching on Sunday, April 22, we wanted to share with you some of our favourite eco-friendly businesses right here in Riverside and how they help us all become better citizens of the planet.

Common Sort

Common Sort - shoes

When you shop at a consignment store like Common Sort you’ll never want new again. Okay, maybe that’s a tiny bit of an exaggeration but this super stylish Riverside clothing boutique has all the best brand name hand-me-downs neatly organized and colour coordinated for your browsing pleasure. Did you know 35.4 billion pounds of clothing and textiles are expected to be thrown away by 2019? Not only are preloved threads super stylish but they don’t end up in the landfill.

Arts Market

Arts Market

It doesn’t get greener than supporting local artists and buying handmade products. At the Arts Market in Riverside, you’ll find soaps, candles, jewelry, and other items that are not only unique and made with love, but they are also environmentally sustainable. Handcrafted products use less energy than a mass production assembly line and usually don’t need to be shipped a very long distance to reach the consumer.

Butchers of Distinction

Butchers of Distinction

There are all kinds of things wrong with factory farming not the least of which is its impact on the environment. Think water pollution, deforestation, and more. As one of Toronto’s first specialty meat shops, Butchers of Distinction in Riverside has a wide selection of Ontario grown, raised or made produce. In fact, everything in the shop is Ontario sourced. What you won’t find are meats full of hormones, antibiotics, or pesticides.

Riverdale Trading Company

Riverdale Trading Co

While vinyl may not have a great track record on the planet since its production uses up a lot of energy and they aren’t easy to recycle, rare vinyl is easy to trade. Riverdale Trading Company in Riverside is all about vintage vinyl. In fact, every album at Riverdale Trading Company on Queen Street East, from Johnny Cash Unchained to Nirvana Unplugged, is preloved music. So rather than toss you tunes why not turn them into cash?

Merchants of Green Coffee

Merchants of Green

The impact of coffee production on the planet can be devastating but Merchants of Green Coffee, just north of Queen St E, in Riverside is changing that. Not only is this cozy coffee house the first licensed importer of fairtrade coffee in North America but they also pour Cafe Solar, an environmentally progressive solar-powered tree-saving coffee. Try it with local, organic milk, fairtrade cane sugar or local honey, and maybe even a vegan gluten free brownie.

Barefoot Beauty

If you’re going to leave a footprint on the planet, at least get an environmentally friendly pedicure first! At Riverside’s new mani-pedi salon on Queen Street East, and one of a few waterless salons in Toronto, you can relax and feel good knowing your pedicure didn’t require up to 18 gallons of water. At Barefoot Beauty, you’ll also find a fab selection of natural and organic polishes and other beauty products for sale.

Elbers Antiques & Refinishing 

A lot of new furniture made today isn’t built to last, unlike the solid antiques you’ll find at Elbers Antiques in Riverside. This vintage furniture store offers a wide selection of dining room tables, chairs, dressers, night tables and more – the best part is Elbers will refinish and give new life to your old treasured pieces.


Karen Lloyd is a writer, photographer and website designer in Toronto’s Riverside neighbourhood. This blog is part of the series giving you the inside scoop on Riverside, Toronto. Read other blogs in the series: Riverside PatiosPlaces to Stay in RiversideBrunch SpotsHealth & Wellness in Riverside,  Kid-Friendly RiversideEvent & Catering SpotsRiverside Chefs and Self-Care in Riverside.