August 13 Riverside Coffee Culture Walk

Do we really need another Coffee Shop in our neighbourhood?

Whenever a new coffee shop opens up, the common question is, do we really need another one? Here in Riverside neighbourhood, just steps east of downtown Toronto we have a number of excellent independent spots that serve your coffee, in the span of just a few blocks!  But each one is unique based on its Coffee Culture: the philosophy behind the business, practices, flavours and the space.

Join in on August 13th to take an in-depth exploration of three of Riverside’s finest: Merchants of Green Coffee, Darkhorse Espresso and Boxcar Social.  Meet the managers and owners of these unique businesses to highlight the differences and the evolution and esthetics of these spaces, tastes and philosophies – and, of course, you’ll enjoy some of their best brews! This talk will tie into the fascinating and rich growth and history of small business in Riverside dating back to the 1800s.

This walk will explore such topics as coffee purchasing practices, the quality of coffee, and common myths. Don’t miss this fascinating walk!

Merchants of Green Coffee

2 Matilda Street


Merchants of Green Coffee – located at the junction of Davies Ave and Matilda St, just north of Queen St East and the DVP, specializes in trading green coffee beans. Located in a previously industrious jam factory built in the 1800s, this 18,000 sq ft space was renamed the ‘Cafe & Jam Factory’ after being acquired in 1995 and is filled with antique wares and rustic furniture made with recycled materials by their in-house metal-worker/artist. Besides running their incredible cafe Monday to Saturday, they host coffee workshops, events and special projects year-round.

Darkhorse Espresso

630 Queen St East


With a sixth location opening soon in Toronto, this mini-chain coffee empire has its roots in Riverside going back about 10 years.  Originally for many years in their 682 Queen St E location (their original shop), they relocated in 2014 to new spacious digs in Streetcar Developments’ then-new building at 630 Queen E.  The first thing you’ll notice when walking in is their huge wooden communal table, which moved from their old spot to their new one, and encourages ‘talking to strangers in an intimate setting’.  Their claim to fame is to provide the most delicious balanced espresso Toronto has to offer and with their uber cool events from Adult colouring nights to hosting a Motosocial last year, they have certainly racked up a cult following!

Boxcar Social

4 Boulton Ave
Boxcar social

The Riverside location is Boxcar Social’s second shop, established in May 2015 (they have since grown to five locations in Toronto). In the Riverside space they were able to build in a separate slow bar, floor to ceiling wine racks and a full draught beer system. Built in a former library turned furniture store, Boxcar Riverside is described as a ‘newer, more robust version of Boxcar Social’. The concept at Boxcar Social is “Do what we love, do it with our friends, and do it really well’. They strive to create the most unique tasting experience for customers.

About Riverside Walks:

‘Riverside Walks’ is a series of local walking tours throughout the spring, summer, and fall (May-Oct). We invite you to come and explore the vibrant Riverside neighbourhood,  located along Queen Street East from the DVP to Empire Avenue in Toronto. Sponsored by Team Sheppard Re/MAX, our 2016 walks showcase Riverside’s diverse culture, and caters to a wide variety of interests.  Check here for more upcoming walks.