Riverside BIA 40 Years, 40 Stories: #1 How it All Began with the Queen-Broadview Village BIA in 1980

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It’s the late 1970s, several local community-minded business owners in the Riverside neighbourhood, along Queen Street East near Broadview Avenue in Toronto, had been sitting and planning around a kitchen table on many a late night. Among them was Albert Edelstein, owner of Edelstein Jewellers and Watch Makers and Jack Korman, owner of Corby’s men’s clothing store, along with a handful of others.

Mitch Korman, Jack Korman’s son and long time owner of Korman and Co. Lawyers, has been Riverside BIA’s Chair since 2005. His father Jack Korman, who passed away in April 2009, was one of the founding members of the BIA, which was the Queen-Broadview Village BIA prior to being renamed the Riverside BIA (in 2004).

Generations of Community-Builders: Mitch Korman - Riverside BIA's Chair since 2005, holds photos in front of his law firm which has the Corby's sign from his late-father Jack Korman who helped found the then Queen-Broadview Village BIA in 1980

Generations of Community-Builders: Mitch Korman – Riverside BIA’s Chair since 2005, holds photos in front of his law firm which has the Corby’s sign from his late-father Jack Korman who helped found the then Queen-Broadview Village BIA in 1980

Mitch often speaks of his father being the motivational force in his own work with the BIA  – “My first experience in the neighbourhood was working in my dad’s clothing store. I started there when I was 10 and every duty possible, I did it.” “I remember late night meetings in my house discussing the BIA. Even after (my dad) retired, he continued with the BIA because he had so much passion for the neighbourhood.”

There the original founders of this Business Improvement Area – the 12th formed in the city of Toronto and one of the first in the world  – created it as a labour of love for the community and out of a real need to collectively improve the marketing, programming and streetscape of the area.

In 1983 Kicker's the nighclub occupied what is now The Broadview Hotel. Photo Creator: Harvey R. Naylor, Date: August 31, 1983, Archival Citation: Fonds 1526, File 71, Item 18, Credit: City of Toronto Archives, www.toronto.ca/archives, Copyright was transferred to the City of Toronto by the copyright owner.

In 1983 Kicker’s the nighclub occupied what is now The Broadview Hotel. Photo Creator: Harvey R. Naylor, Date: August 31, 1983, Archival Citation: Fonds 1526, File 71, Item 18, Credit: City of Toronto Archives, www.toronto.ca/archives, Copyright was transferred to the City of Toronto by the copyright owner.

Forming a BIA in Toronto is not an easy task, it requires at least a full year’s work of advocating, meeting, and convincing every existing business and property owner to buy into the idea and agree to pay a levy on commercial property taxes. Then, the formal City of Toronto process must be followed to create and adopt a bylaw for that new BIA by the City Council. The BIA then becomes a Board of the City. This was indeed done and signed on July 21, 1980 by then Mayor John Sewell. Even today, on the 50th anniversary of BIAs in the world, there are about 90 in Toronto itself which attests to the level of commitment needed to form one.

Those countless nights sitting around the kitchen table in Riverside were out of desire to create an association of business and property owners who, for 40 years now have been working together to “make direct investments to improve business as a group” by putting budget and effort together toward “collective promotion” as well as “joint business-community festivals” and “street improvements, making the area someplace proud to do business and attractive to shop, dine and use services.” (quotes taken directly from the BIA’s early Board of Directors Meeting Minutes)

This was where the Riverside BIA began, as the Queen-Broadview Village BIA in 1980 and before long the rewards would start coming in from these hard-working community builders.

Albert Edelstein, a local jeweller and watchmaker, and one of the original founding members and Chair of the Queen-Broadview Village BIA (officially renamed the Riverside BIA in 2004), showcasing a banner and planter - early streetscape improvement efforts (1993, Photo Credit: Jack Keohane), on Queen Street East, Toronto

Albert Edelstein, a local jeweller and watchmaker, and one of the original founding members and Chair of the Queen-Broadview Village BIA (officially renamed the Riverside BIA in 2004), showcasing a banner and planter – early streetscape improvement efforts (1993, Photo Credit: Jack Keohane), on Queen Street East, Toronto

Queen-Broadview Village received an honourable mention from the Toronto BIA Association (TABIA) in 1987 for streetscape improvements in TABIA's July 1987 Edition of 'The Storefront' newsletter, Toronto.

Queen-Broadview Village received an honourable mention from the Toronto BIA Association (TABIA) in 1987 for streetscape improvements in TABIA’s July 1987 Edition of ‘The Storefront’ newsletter, Toronto.

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

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