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



A Better Tent City provides tiny homes and a community of support to about 50 people in Waterloo region

Fundraising and volunteering | Housing and homelessness

A Better Tent City gives its residents a roof over their heads, access to showers, washrooms, kitchen and laundry facilities, but also gives them the chance to live in a community that supports them. It recently won an award from Canada’s Top 100 Recovery Projects by the Future of Good in 2020.

Stone Soup Network is a Toronto-based, technology driven gift matching platform, enabling local businesses to provide gifts of much needed products and services to families and individuals in need

Food | Fundraising and volunteering | General: Online communities and networks | Local businesses

In support of the Stone Soup initiative is “Get your Soup on”

Chef Bashir Munye, named by Globe and Mail as one of Canada’s Next Star chefs is offering a virtual soup making lesson, on Wednesday September 22nd, from 6:30-8:30 pm [EDT]. The Toronto-based chef will teach people how to make Moroccan Harira, a zesty tomato based soup with chickpeas, lentils and fragrant spices.  Bashir believes that food is a vessel for understanding each other and coming together for social change, and is pleased to lend his support to the Stone Soup Network.

CBC documentaries & local films featuring Windsor’s independent producers, directors and student filmmakers

Arts and Culture | CUI x Windsor | CUIxLocal | Indigenous

Links include:

Leslie McCurdy Story: On the Money

Award-winning actress and playwright Leslie McCurdy has dedicated her life to staging the stories of heroic Black women who stood up against racial injustice. For two decades, McCurdy has been bringing the stories of her heroines to life on stage. Like her, they inspire others to follow their dreams and to stand up for what they believe and not be treated as second class. They include Harriet Tubman and Viola Desmond, both known as firmly established heroines of civil rights in North America. McCurdy comes from seven generations of civil rights activists, the most recent being her father, the late Dr. Howard McCurdy, Jr.

You can watch it now on CBC Gem. 

Graffiti: The art that changes a city 

Watch as Windsor gets transformed by graffiti artists and discover how their art brings life back into the city’s neighbourhoods. This project is a collaboration with CBC Arts, CBC Windsor and local independent producer/director Sasha Jordan-Appler.

CBC ARTS | Meet Derkz, one of the artists behind the murals transforming Windsor neighbourhoods

Featured artists: Eugenio Mendoza (DREVMZ), Daniel Bombardier (Denial), David Derkatz (Derkz) and Briana Benore (Athena)

You can watch it now on CBC Gem.


A drama, documentary and musical all in one? Directors Trista Suke and Ellis Poleyko follow Trista’s experience struggling with alopecia, a hair loss condition. An eccentric memoir intertwined with interview segments of people living with the condition, Foxy shines a light on mental health and society’s unachievable beauty standards.

You can watch it now on CBC Gem.

Q&A | FOXY director Trista Suke on why alopecia doesn’t define her

Windsor Shorts

A compilation of short, scripted films and documentaries from independent producers and student filmmakers from the University of Windsor and finalists from the Windsor Youth Short Film Showcase. This year’s compilation brings together stories about performance and the creative process, identity and learning to love who you are, plus some fun with time travel, dogs and fireworks. You’ll have to watch to find out more!

Short films include: Band Together, Starving Artist, Led By Her, Time Record, Season of Seven Loves, Love Me and Fire Work.

You can watch it now on CBC Gem.

Stories from the Land: Corn Soup and The Last Fishermen

Stories from the Land, a podcast dedicated to Indigenous storytelling, has been adapted into a documentary series by Wanderer Entertainment Inc. for CBC Short Docs. Watch a sneak peek of the series on Absolutely Canadian with this special Ontario broadcast featuring the short films Corn Soup, from Fort Erie, and The Last Fishermen, from Rainy Lake in Fort Frances.

You can watch it now on CBC Gem.

The Windsor pizza club encourages participants to dine with 8 partnering pizzeria – and if you eat at all of them you will be rewarded with a commemorative t-shirt.

CUI x Windsor | CUIxLocal | Downtown | Main Street | Shop Local

Did you know that Windsor boasts its own style of pizza that it claims is the best in the world? The library has posted a page on the history of it here.

The Windsor Public Library is offering their bookmobile service via a new fully electric cargo bike.

CUI x Windsor | CUIxLocal | Parks and public space | Policy leadership

Named BETTY, or Bringing Entertainment and Technology to You, the bike moves will move around the city offering Windsorites the Windsor Public Library offering, wherever they live in the community.

WIFF — the Windsor International Film Festival — is Canada’s largest volunteer-run film festival, selling over 43,000 paid tickets in 2019.

Arts and Culture | CUI x Windsor | CUIxLocal

In 2020, due to the pandemic, WIFF cancelled its traditional festival and organized a drive-in event called WIFF Under The Stars. Selling out, the event attracted 7,000+ guests to safely enjoy films for adults and families alike.

Cradle to Career is a vision by ProsperUs supporting local youth and children in Windsor-Essex with the opportunities they need to succeed and unlock their potential from pre-natal health for moms all the way through to landing their first job as a young adult

CUI x Winnipeg | CUIxLocal | Learning and education | Youth

A bike path connecting Canada and the US will be found on the new Gordie Howe International Bridge connecting Windsor and Detroit

CUI x Windsor | CUIxLocal | Mobility and transportation

The multi-use path will work for pedestrians and cyclists. Community, including Bike Windsor Essex, advocated for the appeal and usefulness of the route to support active transportation and a healthy lifestyle while also contributing to cycle tourism across the border. Pedestrians and cyclists will need to bring passports/documentation to cross the border when the bridge opens in 2024 — but Canada will waive the bridge tolls.

‘World’s largest Indigenous restaurant’ part of Caldwell First Nation big plans

CUI x Windsor | CUIxLocal | Food | Indigenous | Local businesses | Placemaking

Located in Leamington, near Windsor, Caldwell is poised to execute a series of monumental plans including housing developments, a medical cannabis operation, a rebranded marina, a winery and the world’s “largest Indigenous restaurant.” Three Fires restaurant is at the heart of the economic development efforts as a job creator, tourism destination and cultural centrepiece. It could open as early as July 2021 with room for up to 600 people.

Toronto will be getting its longest dinner table yet this summer as part of a project from the person behind street food markets that have gotten us through restrictions that kept us dining outdoors this year.

Food | Local businesses | Placemaking | Shop Local | Street activation

Ontario-wide series of more than 100 outdoor dining events called The Longest Dinner Table that will launch in Toronto. Cuisines will vary by venue, but you can tentatively expect concepts like the longest kamayan dinner table from Tinuno, or a KBBQ table. Prix fixe tasting menus should range from about three to six courses. Ticket prices will also vary from venue to venue, about $30 to $120, with tickets available starting July 1. Participating restaurants will be officially announced in late June. Ultimately, Longest Dinner Table is giving the concepts to the BIAs and restaurants to execute, and will only take a small portion of ticket sales themselves. In Toronto, tables will be set up in streets blocked off by BIAs or in parks. The more bookings a restaurant gets, the more tables they’ll add, with no set upward limit.

Friendly calls from Hamilton Public Library staff create special connection with seniors during COVID-19

Seniors | Social isolation

The calls began as a way to help older cardholders access the Hamilton Public Library’s (HPL) online offerings, but for many it became something more — a friendly voice and link to the rest of the world as everything around them seemed to be shutting down. The callers contacted those with electronic devices as well as those without. Conversations happened weekly or monthly, depending on the interest level of the person picking up. Follow up calls revealed how excited they were to discover the digital options and the joy they felt at mastering the website.

Toronto Public Library staff have been calling seniors to let them know they are thinking about them.

Seniors | Social isolation

About 20 TPL staff began by calling 9,000 customers ages 80 and over, as well as all 1,000 Home Library Service customers. These calls provide a friendly check-in, and our staff can also share information about our services and offer assistance. Next on their list is to call customers ages 70 to 79, approximately 13,000 more people!

Happy Homes: A toolkit for building sociability through multi-family housing design

General: Sector resources | General: Tools for engagement | Social isolation

Vancouver-based Happy City has gathered evidence from psychology, neuroscience, public health and other fields to identify how design influences sociability in multi-family housing to produce a visual toolkit to identify principles, strategies and actions to boost social wellbeing in multi-family housing.

Mayor and Council in North Vancouver voted unanimously to make alcohol consumption in certain City locations permanent

Local businesses | Parks and public space | Policy leadership

Alcohol may be consumed in designated areas from noon – dusk, seven days a week. A map is provided, proper signage and information about on site washrooms. An initial pilot project ran from June 22 – October 15, 2020, and received overwhelming support from both residents and businesses.

Foleyet, Ontario, population 200 — meet the “vaccine hunter”

COVID testing/vaccination initiatives | Seniors

Northern Ontario partners get very creative and really think outside the box in order to have their clients vaccinated. Brenda Vandal works at the Foleyet Nursing Station, in northeastern Ontario. She posts vaccine info on the nursing station’s Facebook page, hangs signs around town advertising the station’s social-media channels and calls people and helps them make appointments, particularly for older people who are not tech savvy. It can take upwards of an hour to book over the phone and estimates she’s set up appointments for at least 50 people.

Toronto school principal organizes to get 1400 people in neighbourhood vaccinated in school

COVID testing/vaccination initiatives

Building on a vaccine clinic being set up in his school, the principal organized for teachers/staff, parents & community members to be vaccinated. He sent an e-mail blast, and a follow-up reminder, in the days leading up to the one-day clinic. Parent council members organized to drop flyers at the apartment buildings that flank the school. The principal also worked with Michael Garron Hospital to make sure his staff were vaccinated early.

LavaMaeˣ Connect is a free global community of 650+ homeless service providers bringing mobile showers and other care services to the street.

General: Sector resources | Housing and homelessness | Public health

LavaMaeˣ is a nonprofit that teaches people around the world to bring mobile showers and other services that promote well-being to people experiencing homelessness. Members have access curated events, do-it-yourself toolkits, community discussions, and troubleshooting support from LavaMaeˣ and other service providers worldwide.

LavaMae also delivers services on the streets of San Francisco, Oakland and Los Angeles, with a Radical Hospitality® approach—meeting people wherever they are with extraordinary care—helps restore dignity, rekindle optimism and fuel a sense of opportunity. houses resources to safely help neighbours.

Food | Fundraising and volunteering | General: Online communities and networks | Seniors | Social isolation

From Edmonton’s Interfaith Housing Initiative, this platform offers resources in 12 languages to:

  • Help Safely
  • Guide to share food safely
  • Ideas for safe connection and celebration
  • Introduce yourself to your neighbours and offer help

The value of investing in ‘social infrastructure’ – the amenities and spaces that bring people together to build meaningful relationships, such as cafes, libraries and lidos – may be as important for rebalancing the prospects of the UK’s cities and towns as building new roads or rolling out faster broadband

Learning and education

New report for the Bennett Institute for Public Policy.

The city of Montreal is investing $500,000 in the creation of a food a delivery platform that would be more affordable than the services provided by companies such as Uber Eats, SkipTheDishes and DoorDash.

Downtown | Local businesses | Main Street | Policy leadership | Shop Local

The city is issuing a call for tenders for groups who wish to develop the app. The funding would help establish a local non-profit or co-operative that can compete with large food delivery services. The city, which has launched a request for proposals, hopes to work with existing local startups. In March, Bill 87 was passed into law at the National Assembly. The law enables the province to cap delivery fees companies at a maximum of 20 per cent of an order’s total for the duration of the pandemic.

London Drugs is offering shelf space to local restaurants in their communities across  Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba & Saskatchewan.

Food | Shop Local

100% of all sales will go back to the local restaurant.

Rules and Regulations

  • Packaged & shelf stable goods ONLY(ex. Sauces, jams, rub, spices, etc)
  • Must be Health Canada approved with nutritional facts outlined
  • Bilingual packaging may be required
  • Apparel and novelty items with restaurant branding are acceptable (does not require bilingual packaging)
  • Ability to deliver and replenish to stores, if needed
  • Products with a UPC are recommended and will be prioritized
  • Products sold on consignment
  • No gift cards or certificates at this time
  • Must have a valid Canadian business license or permit
  • Business must be based in the province of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan or Manitoba
  • In store only, product will not be available on
  • No alcohol, cannabis or tobacco products

Spring 2021 Resource Guide with info on shelters, safe spaces, drop-ins, bagged meals and washrooms here in Winnipeg

Housing and homelessness

For information on community resources and services available to individuals experiencing homelessness in Winnipeg during the COVID-19 pandemic

Vaccinating Black Toronto: pop-up clinic of the Black Health Vaccine Initiative, a collaboration between the Black Physicians Association of Ontario (BPAO) and a number of local organizations servicing the GTA’s Black community

COVID testing/vaccination initiatives

The outsized impact of COVID-19, married with lower rates of vaccination in the Black community, mean that it has been much more difficult to manage the spread of the disease within a population that is already marginalized. Saturday’s event was an amalgamation of information session and vaccination clinic, and by the end of the weekend, the group had administered 2,231 doses. While planning for more pop-up clinics, the BPAO is continuing to run a standing vaccination clinic in partnership with Taibu Community Health Centre in Scarborough and other community allies. BPAO physicians have successfully vaccinated about 250 people per day at that location, coming up to a total of about 2,350 vaccinations before last weekend’s event at the JCA.

South Africans plant vegetable gardens that are free to use for those in need

Food | Street activation

Called “sidewalk gardens” residents set up edible plants in their sidewalk garden, tend to them and watch them flourish. The reward will be when the fruits and vegetables are harvested by others. The concept works on the basis of anonymity, meaning the planter and the harvester don’t have to meet as a means to protect the dignity of those needing the food. To start your own public garden, simply prepare a space on your property that is accessible to the public and make a clear sign saying the produce is free for the taking. Make sure to plant seasonal fruits and vegetables, as well as water wise plants for those living in areas with water restrictions.

There is even a Facebook group to get and give advice:

San Francisco’s Chinatown was re-created in Minecraft video game by a group of students and recent grads to preserve the neighborhood’s rich history.

Arts and Culture | Main Street

Members of the Chinatown Community Development Center youth groups, spent months faithfully re-creating the San Francisco neighborhood in the world-building video game.  A lot of the re-creations were built from images found on Google Images and Google Maps, where crowded streets of Chinatown often obscure certain details these kids are trying to render; in a way, they’re rebuilding the Chinatown of the recent past to keep its tourist aesthetic in the present.

COVID Summer Placemaking in Montreal’s terraces

Arts and Culture | Parks and public space | Policy leadership | Street activation

Featuring seven public terrasses that have been set up around the city to offer people safe and lovely places to hang out and each one has something special to offer. This includes the ethereal 320-foot-long yellow table that winds around trees in a #Montreal public terrasse called Prenez Place. Created by local artists and designers and decorated with flags and festive lights


Innovative Shifts to Halifax’s Public Spaces Due to COVID-19

Arts and Culture | COVID testing/vaccination initiatives | General: Tools for engagement | Mobility and transportation | Parks and public space | Street activation

A round-up of some of the clever ways the Halifax community took the challenges of COVID-19 and flipped them to create opportunities for all.

COVID-19 RESOURCE TOOLKIT November, 2020 A Guide for Canadian Planners and Urbanists

General: Sector resources | Mobility and transportation | Parks and public space | Street activation

This document contains over 800 curated resources collected from March to October 2020, and includes academic articles, best-practices documents, news reports, podcasts, panel discussions and more relating to the impacts of COVID-19 on the discipline of city-building

26 “winter stations” have been set up in 18 Montreal boroughs along Montréal’s shopping streets to attract customers, enliven the shopping experience, and encourage local merchants

Arts and Culture | Downtown | Local businesses | Main Street | Policy leadership | Street activation

Each station has been designed according to a concept conducive to physical distancing, which has been approved by the regional public health authorities and the Ville de Montréal’s emergency response coordinating committee. The health guidelines as well as the maximum capacity are posted in each station and must be complied with.


Rapid Placemaking to Bring Back Main Streets

General: Tools for engagement | Local businesses | Main Street | Mobility and transportation | Parks and public space | Street activation

The Pandemic Recovery Toolkit for Local Communities provides examples of programming and interventions, as well provides advice on how to use inclusive process for rapid placemaking. It is can be used by residents, community groups, BIAs/BIDs, and city staff working to revive main streets and core spaces in big cities, suburbs and small towns. The Toolkit was created by Happy City as part of Bring Back Main Street.

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