This is a time when Canada must harness its community-driven resilience. We’re asking you to share examples of how Canadian communities are responding to the crisis with creativity and imagination. Collective problem-solving and collaboration will be instrumental in how Canada mitigates the local impacts of COVID-19 and creates on-the-ground solutions.

Highlighted Initiatives

797

Initiatives

A group of small businesses get together to finances to create and manage a new community patio, beer garden and food hub for physical distancing in a parking lot

Food | Local businesses | Main Street | Re-opening | Street activation | physical distancing

Called Gerrard East Market, it comes with two decks, picnic tables, umbrellas, an outdoor screen showing sports, lighting and 22 tonnes of sand.

We Are Santa Fe Safe is helping local businesses to be COVID-safe through an easy to use program toolkit, step-by-step infographic, COVID-safe cheat sheet (and additional resources list), employee survey, marketing and PR tips, and social media assets

General: Sector resources | Local businesses | Main Street | Re-opening

It’s a program any business can benefit from no matter where the are in their COVID-reopening journey. The strategy focuses on employees as advocacy champions because when employees feel able to come back to work safely, their positive attitude will inspire customers to return. Business owners and managers must make good on that promise and commit to an appropriate action plan that keeps their workplace safe. Employees are given an option to play a big role in our initiative, too. Through simple how-to’s Employees are invited to record a 10-20 second video about the steps their workplace has taken to protect them, which the program will share on social media channels to help promote the business.

Floral production reduced at Vancouver Park Board nursery and instead growing low-maintenance vegetables for non-profit organizations that provide food for families in need.

Food | Parks and public space | Policy leadership

The food is distributed to hundreds of families through the Fresh Roots and Grandview Woodland Food Connection programs. The park board is also growing vegetables at the city’s golf courses and at Van Dusen Gardens, although the nursery is the biggest supplier.

The High Streets Adaptive Strategies guide is part of the Mayor of London’s Good Growth by Design programme and emphasises the public value of high streets and town centres, while showcasing the innovative work taking place to adapt them in the face of significant change and why we should continue to invest in them.

General: Sector resources | Local businesses | Main Street | Policy leadership | Street activation

Rather than focusing on just return on investment from the uplift in spending, productivity and land values, London’s “High Streets for All” is about investment based on the social value of high streets & capacity to address inequality

In Edmonton, outdoor library services set up for homeless

Housing and homelessness | Parks and public space | Policy leadership | Public health

The Edmonton Public Library is taking some of its operations outside to give the city’s homeless a place to read books and magazines, use a laptop computer or participate in adult classes. Called EPL on the Square, the pilot project has three designated areas in Sir Winston Churchill Square for outdoor library services. The initiative is a collaboration between EPL and the City of Edmonton, was launched five days after the Edmonton EXPO Centre closed as a temporary drop-in day shelter. The city, social agencies and the province have been working on a plan to find hundreds of physically distanced spaces during the COVID-19 pandemic since the EXPO closed.

Halifax Public Libraries encouraging people to get outside

Policy leadership

The Halifax Public Libraries have made changes so working outside is more attractive. This includes pushing the public WiFi out into the fresh air and providing seating to reduce the likelihood of congestion; allowing borrowed electronic devices like Chromebooks and iPads to leave the building. “When they sign that iPad out, they can actually go take that outside now, and they can sit outside and use the free WiFi and use the library’s iPad to access information, or to watch a film or read an ebook,” says Kachen.

Halifax Public Libraries and Museums offer free reusable cloth masks to those without access

Policy leadership | Public health

Each person can request up to two masks per immediate family member. They’re adjustable and come in both adult and youth sizes.

Free Internet Connectivity Kits from the Library provide vital connection for some of Toronto’s most vulnerable residents

Policy leadership

Toronto Public Library (TPL), in partnership with Renewed Computer Technology and with support from the Toronto Public Library Foundation, recently launched its Internet Connectivity Kit program. The initiative provides vital connections for some of our city’s most vulnerable residents by equipping them with a free laptop and WiFi hotspot with four months of unlimited data. Participants will keep the laptop and Wi-Fi hotspot at the end of the program.

Toronto Public Library to offer free WiFi in two parks The city is teaming with the library to give residents free internet access in neighbourhoods hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic

Parks and public space | Policy leadership

The week-long pilot project Wi-Fi on Wheels begins on August 4. The Toronto Public Library’s bookmobile will travel to two parks in areas hit hard by the pandemic and provide free internet during the afternoon. Anyone can bring their own device to the park to connect or temporarily use a city device. City devices will be sanitized between use and staff will assess users to ensure they do not have COVID-19 symptoms. Toronto Public Health data shows that the northwest parts of the city are being most affected during the coronavirus pandemic. As of the weekend, the Jane and Finch and Rexdale areas had 511 and 496 cases, respectively.

All the things the library has done for Halifax residents since shutting its doors for COVID-19: the city’s unofficial social worker.

Policy leadership

Here’s a list of what Halifax Public Libraries has been able to do so far:

  • Reorganized website to prioritize virtual services and brought whole programs online through the Virtual Library.
  • Upgraded the E-Library to make in-branch services like PressReader and Ancestry available at home; introduced new online resources like Kanopy, RomanceBookCloud, Public Library Online and TumbleBooksMath.
  • Set up an Ask the Library phone line to connect with and provide assistance to our community.
  • Provided snack packs for families
  • Loaned community organizations some technology items, including wifi hotspots and Chromebooks to a couple of shelters, and books and games to a children’s service provider.
  • Set up portable toilets at Halifax Central Library
  • Worked with Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP) to offer virtual tax clinics
  • Shifted staff to lead content for the Human Library Videos (storytime, how-to’s), social media and website blogs.

The Grande Prairie Public Library has 31 mobile hotspots for borrowing

Learning and education | Policy leadership

Each device can be borrowed for about 3 weeks. The GPPL is partnering with the Government of Canada’s Emergency Support Fund, Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta, and Telus to make the wifi units available. The coalition is designed to allow all residents in Grande Prairie to have access to online resources.

The Big Spend is a one day activity (July 25) to encourage purchases at local businesses to revive the local economy with a goal of getting 1M Cdns involved

General: Online communities and networks | Local businesses | Main Street | Recovery

3 STEPS TO BE PART OF THE BIG SPEND

1. BUY LOCAL

On July 25, make an intentional purchase at a local small business of your choice.

2. REPORT YOUR SPEND

Add your name to our Big Spend list*, so we can map spending across Canada and track the economic impact we’re making together.

*the Big Spend List will go live on the site closer to the big day.

3. SHARE THE NEWS

Share a story or photo about where you made your Big Spend on Facebook or Instagram! Use hashtag #TheBigSpend 

This initiative encourages local business recovery and support. In addition, it has set aside August 28-30 for a national buy local weekend and will provide grants of up to $5K for businesses

Fundraising and volunteering | General: Sector resources | Local businesses
The Canada United Small Business Relief Fund was established by RBC in collaboration with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the support of other chambers and partners to help small Canadian businesses with their recovery efforts as a result of COVID-19. Local businesses can also apply for grants of up to $5K that can be used for
  • Purchasing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as masks, face shields, and latex gloves
  • Renovating physical space to adhere to local, Provincial or Federal reopening guidelines
  • Developing or improving e-commerce capabilities for your business

 

Best Before is an initiative focused on the prevention of food waste.

Food | General: Online communities and networks | Local businesses

Restaurants around the city are asked to keep a bin in their freezer with good food they can feed to people.

City of Brampton is making masks mandatory for most indoor gatherings and has launched a campaign to distribute a million masks in Brampton to support the community.

Policy leadership | Public health

The City will initiate this process by sending three masks to every household in Brampton in the coming weeks.

Ground Floor Pop-Up Toolkit ​ A resource for landlords & storefront activators to create win-win dynamics on the path to recovery from COVID-19

General: Sector resources | Local businesses | Re-opening

Are you interested in creating (or hosting) a pop-up but are not sure where to start?

In the wake of COVID-19 Wallplay has created a toolkit on how vacant spaces can be repurposed for public good. Wallplay has been facilitating pop-ups since 2013, we helped pioneer the “vacant space as pop-up venue” model and we are excited to share what we’ve learned.

Winnipeg’s West End Business Improvement Area helps organize physically distanced dinner parties while supporting local businesses

Local businesses | Re-opening | physical distancing

Support local businesses and enjoy a unique, personalized experience with the people you care about, all from the privacy of your home. When you book a party, you will customize your event by choosing the number of participants, type of cuisine, and tour theme.

Each meal includes an appetizer, entrée and side dish, which you and your guests will savour as your tour guide takes you on a virtual adventure to learn about local art, architecture, history and more.  Celebrate your graduation, create a fun first date story, or just get together with your friends after a long spring apart!

#RestartSmartVancouver includes additional pop-up plaza and temporary patio applications

Local businesses | Main Street | Mobility and transportation | Parks and public space | Policy leadership | Re-opening | Street activation

This week, Vancouver unveiled their latest pop-up plazas, approved additional patio permits, and rolled out temporary changes to Granville Street.

Bartenders Benevolent COVID-19 Support Fund has been established for those who have lost employment or reduced income

Fundraising and volunteering | Local businesses

The Bartenders Benevolent Fund is actively working with community members, industy organizations and our Board of Directors to create inclusive and empowering organizational policies, funding criteria and code of conduct. Considering the current impact of the novel COVID-19 on the hospitality industry, these processes are unfolding quickly and we continue to reevaluate on an ongoing basis.

Edmonton-based tech company creates digital registration system for office reopening

General: Sector resources | Local businesses | Re-opening

VisitorBay is a digital visitor management tool that allows for an automated sign-in process that is more secure than traditional paper methods. Before COVID-19, the company launched a digital registration system for clients that would see the end of paper sign-in sheets left out in the open for all to see. A few weeks into COVID-19, company founders Brett Carrier and Ricardo Casanova knew there was an opportunity to adapt their product to help companies.

Municipalities in Vancouver area pilot public drinking in parks

Parks and public space | Policy leadership

Port Coquitlam & North Vancouver seems to be going well, while City of Vancouver Parks Board considers it too

City of Mississauga COVID-19 Response Continues: Recovery Framework Guiding Document to Support Reopening & Recovery

General: Sector resources | Local businesses | Policy leadership | Re-opening | Recovery

The City worked closely with Peel Public Health to develop the framework. The recovery framework was developed based on best practices in other jurisdictions and identifies four pillars of recovery:

  • Community
  • Economic
  • Finance
  • Corporate

Mississauga’s Buy Local Campaign

General: Sector resources | Local businesses | Policy leadership | Re-opening | Recovery

Mississauga Made is an online initiative inspired to support and promote local businesses across the City. During these difficult times, we encourage our residents to stand together and support locally-based businesses, services
and talents in our community.

The City of Kitchener, with the Waterloo Region Small Business Centre & area municipalities,have launched a Business Recovery Outreach Program

General: Sector resources | Local businesses | Policy leadership | Recovery

This free program, which was geared to supporting small business of all kinds, including restaurants, retail, personal services and hospitality businesses, provided tailored resources to local entrepreneurs and small business owners. Through the program, City of Kitchener staff conducted interviews with a cross-section of local small businesses as they began to plan for reopening and recovery. Based on their unique circumstances, each participating business owner was provided with suggestions on programs and services available to assist them in their recovery efforts. The City will publish a Business Recovery Toolkit available to all business, free of charge.

The Town of Canmore’s Economic Recovery Plan focuses on business retention and survival during and post-pandemic to help our local economy bounce back with resilience.

Local businesses | Policy leadership | Re-opening | Recovery

On June 2, Council approved capital funding from the Tax Stabilization Reserve for Economic Development recovery support to those businesses most impacted by the pandemic for a total of $281,000 and moved to establish a Business Recovery Taskforce that includes members of our business community, Town Council, and the Canmore Business Association (CBA) and appoints one or two members of Council to the Taskforce.

The Town of Newmarket Mentorship Access Program (MAP) provides businesses access to a directory of fellow business leaders who are open to providing mentorship on items such as business planning, marketing, employee engagement and more.

General: Online communities and networks | Local businesses | Policy leadership | Recovery

This program seeks to augment the business owners’ expertise with an objective partner in brainstorming and business planning.  Business owners wishing to connect with a mentor should do so by filling out the form at www.newmarket.ca/bac

Peterborough & the Kawartha’s Economic Recovery Plan

Local businesses | Policy leadership | Re-opening | Recovery

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and the Urban Project developed a street rebalancing guide to help communities re-open safely.

Mobility and transportation | Parks and public space | Policy leadership | Re-opening

The COVID-19 Street Rebalancing Guide is for decision-makers and practitioners alike. Drawing on case studies from around the world, it offers strategies and practical guidance on rebalancing streets through three phases of COVID-19 response—from immediate to longer-term—including pedestrian and bike lanes, curbside queuing areas, and temporary patios and parklets. This is a unique opportunity to spark projects with transformative value. Temporary measures can be deployed quickly to address long-standing gaps—demonstrating value, building support for permanent installations, and providing a foundation for more walkable, livable cities across Canada.

City of Ottawa’s Innovation Pilot Program (IPP) provides companies the opportunity to test and quickly deploy their technology innovations in real-life testing environments with the City or one of its economic development partners

Local businesses | Policy leadership | Recovery

The City of Ottawa’s Innovation Pilot Program (IPP), managed by Economic Development Services (EDS), is shifting its focus towards COVID-19 economic recovery efforts. This new focus, the Recovery Stream, provides companies the opportunity to test and quickly deploy their technology innovations in real-life testing environments with the City or one of its economic development partners. The program provides companies with valuable feedback on their innovations, prior to scaling and production.

Buy Local Ottawa: Links to support Ottawa’s small and locally owned businesses as the local economy reopens 

Food | General: Online communities and networks | General: Sector resources | Policy leadership | Re-opening

Ottawa’s small and locally owned businesses are woven into the fabric of the city. To help support as the local economy reopens, useful links and resources are assembled on this page.

  1. #MyOttawa Pass is Ottawa’s very own local savings passport, complete with an impressive collection of discounts and offers from businesses across the city.
  2. Shop Ottawa is an online directory of local businesses, products and services.
  3. Local Eats Ottawa offers a compiled list of Ottawa restaurants offering food delivery or pickup.
  4. SavourOttawa.ca is a one-stop site on how to buy locally produced food and beverages in the Ottawa region.
  5. Together-Apart.ca is a resource for the residents of this city to find local spots to order from and support.
  6. Edible Ottawa to ensure that local food communities remain strong.
  7. Love Local Delivery to order from Ottawa’s best independent, locally owned and operated food businesses! Easy Scheduled & On-Demand delivery provided by dedicated, carefully vetted and smart-serve trained drivers.
  8. And links to local BIAs that offer detailed information on local business offerings

 

Be a CityShare contributor

We want to hear from you on what’s working, what’s not and what’s next in your community.

Send us your initiative contributions here.

THE CANADIAN URBAN INSTITUTE
Nous connectons les personnes, les lieux et le potentiel

Branchez-vous à nous ici :Contact usFacebookTwitter

Pin It on Pinterest