Riverside, which is a neighbourhood east of the Don Valley along Queen Street East, is hosting it’s annual Eats & Beats Fest on Saturday June 6th from 1pm to 6pm. Riverside is just minutes from the downtown core and is easily accessible by streetcar and contains many artist’s lofts, some galleries, and a wide variety of restaurants and shops including numerous unique destinations.
During Eats & Beats in Riverside, area restaurants will be serving special tasting plates (the Eats part) and presenting live music (the Beats part). At many different destinations there will be live music and entertainment. There will be arts events including a live painting, outdoor spin classes, cooking demonstrations, craft sales and lots of kid friendly events.
Live music will get you moving and shaking and will range from Jazz to Samba to Celtic. The atmosphere will be electrifying and festive. Click through to riverside-to.com for a list of what to expect… BBQ and blues bands and flowers and coffee and knitting and burgers and fine arts and heritage buildings.
The Riverside area is a prime example of neighbourhood regeneration without gentrification or pretension. Look for the trademark quotes embedded in the sidewalk on the four corners of the intersection of Broadview and Queen which are part two of a public art installation “Time and a Clock” by Eldon Garnet. The four quotes read “Distance = velocity x time”, “Too soon free from time”, “Time is money, money is time” and “Better late than never”. Part one is placed on the Queen Street bridge across the Don Valley and reads “This river I step in is not the river I stand in”. Part three can be found in Jimmie Simpson Park further east on Queen Street atop banner poles and spells out TIME. – one of the touches that make the neighbourhood vibrant and unique.
As the weather warms up we get outside more and have a chance to appreciate our city. There are hidden gems everywhere, you just have to keep your eyes open and look around. This space isn’t so much hidden as difficult to find but if you drive down the Bayview Extension and continue around and back up River Street toward Eastern Avenue you will see it as you go under the Gardiner Expressway.
Conceived as the first ever underpass playground in Canada, Underpass Park uses the unique location as a positive feature in the landscape design. Incorporating the pillars into the design and using the overpass as a weather shield designers Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg have created a welcoming community asset.
Right in the middle of what used to be a wasteland of concrete and industrial leftovers Underpass Park is part of the rejuvenation of the West Donlands and the waterfront.
The plaque reads:
“Welcome to Underpass Park. The first park built under an overpass in Toronto, Underpass Park opened in 2012 and transformed previously underused and derelict space into an urban neighbourhood amenity. The park features a number of spaces designed to encourage both active and passive recreation. The public artwork “Mirage” was created for the unique space and is comprised of mirrored octagonal stainless steel panels attached to the underside of the overpass to reflect light and movement.”
More information can be found at waterfronttoronto.ca
There are a lot of frustrations to living in Toronto so every once in a while you have to seek out what makes city life fun and fresh. Graffiti alley is just the thing to re-energize you and is the number one “gallery space” in Toronto for street art. The appeal is the colour, the grittiness and let’s face it… a hint of badness and graffiti has become a bona fide art form that is always on the cutting edge.
Just south of the intersection of Queen and Spadina you have to look for the alleyway that runs west over to Portland. Once you turn the corner there is no mistaking it, you’ll find a kaleidoscope of colours and figures that continues for the next kilometre.
Fans of the Rick Mercer Report on CBC will recognize this alley as the settings for the RMR Rants.
By it’s very nature graffiti and street art are ephemeral so, in theory, you could visit every day and have a different experience each time.
Toronto is a great city to explore, there’s always something new to see or do. If you’re searching for something free and off the beaten path to do this is a great option.