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 Toronto restaurant has put fridges out front that are full of free food and accessible 24 hours a day to address issues of food insecurity in the local community.

Food | Local businesses | Main Street

So far, the fridges out in front of Ten are filled with neatly organized healthy produce as well as dried goods, bread and milk. Guidelines posted in the Instagram story of an official account connected to the fridge project instruct donors on how to neatly place their donations, and not to donate anything they wouldn’t buy at the store themselves.


Ideas for cities to prepare for COVID winter

Main Street | Parks and public space | Policy leadership

Among the lessons we take from COVID-19 should be the importance of preventing disconnection and improving health outcomes in our cities through more thoughtful investment in our civic commons. We are more aware than ever of the importance of spending time outside for both physical and mental well-being. Beyond providing better access to warm clothing and adequate housing in the winter, this post describes ways that we can make winter more liveable by making our outdoor spaces more inviting, so that we can create community and vibrancy post-pandemic and year-round.

Ville d’Hiver is a tool for decision-makers, professionals and citizens who wish to contribute to better adapting communities to the winter reality through the development of public spaces, universal accessibility and street furniture.

Local businesses | Main Street | Street activation

Active design in a winter context aims to take into account the characteristics and constraints imposed by the cold season on the experience lived in public spaces. The objective is to develop local living environments that promote the practice of physical activity, break through isolation and reveal the identity and inclusive nature of winter.

The guide is available in French for download free of charge.


#SmallBusinessEveryDay is an initiative to encourage supporting local small businesses

Local businesses | Main Street | Shop Local

Parks activation tactical toolkit for outdoor dining

Local businesses | Main Street | Parks and public space | Street activation

Bars and restaurants will take their operations to the streets this summer, under a multi-million dollar package designed to prop up Melbourne’s ailing hospitality sector.

Local businesses | Main Street | Policy leadership | Street activation

Another $30 million will go towards running events and cultural activities safely over coming months, offering a much-needed salve to Melbourne’s arts community.

Urban Canvas Project beautifies Regina alleys

Arts and Culture | Local businesses | Main Street | Street activation

The Regina Downtown Business Improvement District unveiled the 2020 edition of the Urban Canvas project.

13 artists were selected to produce a unique design for doors in the back alley between Hamilton and Scarth Streets in Regina’s downtown.

Calgary Dollars enable you to Earn, Buy, Sell, and Exchange

Local businesses | Main Street

Post ads, earn rewards, and be local!

Local Dollars, an app based platform, helps people to purchase from local businesses and recirculate funds in community.

Local businesses | Main Street | Shop Local

Based in Manitoba

The City of Chicago Winter Dining Challenge

General: Crowdsourced tools and resources | Local businesses | Main Street | Policy leadership | Re-opening

To date, Chicago has received more than 640 submissions with winter outdoor dining solutions aiming to help restaurants as safety concerns restrict indoor dining during the pandemic. In August, the city announced a contest as fall approached with winter’s chill lurking. Restaurants — in lieu of a governmental industry-specific bailout — are searching for creative ways to continue outdoor dining season and keep their businesses afloat.

The Boston Society for Architecture (BSA) and the Boston Society of Landscape Architects (BSLA) are organizing members to volunteer conceptual design assistance that can help local restaurants design or redesign outdoor seating and also help think about how to redesign interior spaces to respond to evolving COVID-related standards.

Fundraising and volunteering | General: Crowdsourced tools and resources | Local businesses | Main Street | Re-opening

Volunteers needed to provide design assistance to help local restaurants and small businesses re-imagine their open spaces.

Winter Activation Ideas for Main Streets & Neighborhoods During COVID19

General: Crowdsourced tools and resources | General: Sector resources | Local businesses | Main Street | Parks and public space | Policy leadership | Street activation

As COVID19 restrictions and public safety concerns limit indoor activities, restaurants, entertainment, public events, social gatherings and more have turned to the outdoors. This has been a great lifeline during the spring and summer but will become challenging during the colder, darker winter months. This program seeks ideas and designs for quickly implementable, low cost interventions to drive visitors back to Main Street that will encourage them to stay longer and patronize area restaurants and businesses. Final designs will then be published in an open-source “Winter Places” activation guide book with full credit given to the respective designers.

Black Foodie Week aims to ‘bring joy’ to Toronto while also highlighting how Black food culture is tied to social justice

Food | Local businesses | Main Street

Running until Sept. 27, the inaugural Black Foodie Week is a free virtual event promoting Afro-Caribbean cooking in the city with the goal of getting people to eat good food, and support Black-owned businesses during COVID-19

Torontonians are encouraged to safely explore ShowLoveTO and follow COVID-19 safety measures to help reduce the virus spread. Learn about what to expect and what is required as you begin to visit establishments and take part in ShowLoveTO activities.

Local businesses | Main Street | Policy leadership

Toronto is ready to welcome us back. From hitting the patio to supporting local art, restaurants and shops, it’s time to get out and do the things we love. Experience ActiveTO’s newly expanded cycling network, BigArtTO’s digital art projections. Dine out on countless CafeTO pop-up patios and find hidden gems all over the city with StrollTO’s new exploration guides. Because when we shine, our city shines. And when we do the things we love, we #ShowLoveTO.

Supporting main streets in Quebec City through “Solidarity Dollars” to alleviate the precariousness of businesses during COVID19.

Fundraising and volunteering | Local businesses | Main Street

This group has created a local currency so that the contributors’ investment can be returned directly to participating businesses. This currency will be available in paper or digital form through the Wyse Wallet app. 
The project will consolidate the achievements of the commercial arteries and allow citizens to participate concretely in the recovery by investing in hyperlocal entrepreneurship. Let us be # solidairespournosartères!

Downtown Edmonton launches Annual Report focused on how it can continue to recover, adapt and grow through COVID-19 and beyond

Economic Recovery Plans | Local businesses | Main Street | Re-opening

Research and interviews conducted with Downtown stakeholders between May and August revealed four key drivers of community resiliency, select issues that impact those drivers, proven strategies to
overcome those issues and business examples showcasing those strategies in action.
ʃ Fostering Innovation
ʃ Enhancing Inclusivity
ʃ Strengthening Cultural Vitality
ʃ Developing Interconnectivity

Downtown Live, an initiative headed by Edmonton’s Downtown Business Association, was created to give Edmontonians an option to be outside and enjoy themselves during the COVID-19 pandemic days.

Arts and Culture | Local businesses | Main Street | Street activation | physical distancing

It is also a chance for downtown business owners to draw an audience.

The City of Melbourne & the State launch $100 million city recovery fund that would offer practical support to small and medium-sized business, and the arts and cultural communities.

Arts and Culture | Economic Recovery Plans | Local businesses | Main Street | Policy leadership | Re-opening | Street activation | physical distancing

The city recovery package focuses on outdoor trading, increased marketing, events and entertainment to attract workers and visitors back to the city. Town Hall will also waive permit fees, and the funding will pay for vacant shopfronts to be used for art installations and pop-ups.

Every One Every day provides space, platform & resources to share project or business ideas to make their neighbourhood better.

Arts and Culture | General: Online communities and networks | General: Sector resources | General: Tools for engagement | Main Street | Street activation

Every One Every Day builds on the ‘hands on’ projects that people have been creating over the last few years in their own neighbourhoods. These types of projects welcome people from all walks of life.

• Sharing skills, spaces and resources.• Families working and playing more together. • Batch cooking and community meals. • Food growing and tree planting. • Trading, making and repairing.

The team will make things very simple – including:

  • Find you useful spaces for the projects (kitchens, workshops storage spaces etc.)

  • Supplying materials and equipment for practical activities – no form filling for grants.

  • By arranging insurances and health and safety.

  • Holding festivals, workshops and business programmes.

A project designed to help artists and small businesses sell their wares online is coming to Calgary with the help of Google Canada’s ShopHERE program.

Arts and Culture | Income support | Local businesses | Main Street | Policy leadership | Street activation

The City of Calgary announced Thursday it will work with Google Canada to help 90 artists and small businesses set up an online marketplace with the help of MBA students. Applications are open to small, independent businesses that are registered, have a commercial or home-based location, have fewer than 10 employees — or fewer than 25 if a restaurant or bar — and is not a corporate chain or franchise. All artists are also welcome to apply.

The City of Montreal buys building through using its right to preemption to create social housing

Housing and homelessness | Policy leadership

A large vacant building in the Parc-Extension district will be converted to forty social housing units. The City acquired the building by canceling a real estate transaction that did not fit with its vision for the development of the area. Thus, the Plaza Hutchison, located a stone’s throw from the Parc metro station, now belongs to the City of Montreal, which acquired it for $ 6.5 million. The sale of the five-story building, which has long housed community groups, was authorized by the executive committee on Wednesday morning behind closed doors.

The POST Promise is a training & education platform which results in a voluntary declaration from a business to its customers and employees. It’s a simple and easy way to show that a business is taking steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Economic Recovery Plans | General: Sector resources | Local businesses | Main Street | Public health | Re-opening | physical distancing

The POST Promise signifies a commitment to implement and practice the five key steps to workplace safety, helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It’s supported by many of the largest associations in Canada, which represent thousands of businesses. The objective is to have businesses across the country take part in a collective solution to help Canadians confidently and safely take the first steps back into public spaces and the workplace.

Winterlab is a Quebec-based initiative to create winter city conditions

General: Sector resources | Local businesses | Main Street | Mobility and transportation | Parks and public space | Public health | Re-opening | Street activation

This winter will be special and the solution to isolation will be through the design of a multitude of small places that we will want to frequent despite the cold. From now on, let’s buy good boots and a suitable coat in our local shops, because let’s hope that the next winter can be one of the places where we can create human warmth.

The City of Chicago is seeking solutions to stimulate and encourage safe outdoor dining, for both customers and restaurant/bar staff, during cold weather months

Economic Recovery Plans | General: Crowdsourced tools and resources | General: Sector resources | Local businesses | Main Street | Re-opening
  • Solutions must be centered around facilitating in-person outdoor dining experiences, rather than delivery or take out
  • Solutions may relate to physical space as well as operations/service
  • Winning solutions are eligible to receive a $5,000 cash prize.  A total of three winners will be chosen.
  • Selected ideas are eligible to access potential piloting opportunities that will be funded by corporate sponsors. Building on the success of the outdoor dining program, the City of Chicago will be piloting this in many areas, including those in the INVEST South/West program for prototyping.

Property tax relief offered for 45 live music venues impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic

Arts and Culture | Income support | Local businesses | Main Street | Policy leadership

Toronto’s live music venues contribute greatly to the city’s cultural, social and economic fabric. These venues require critical support in the face of ongoing pressures that have been intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic. City Council expanded the Creative Co-Location Facilities Property Tax Subclass to provide property tax relief for live music venues. As a result of this decision, properties that meet specific criteria are eligible to receive property tax relief of up to 50 per cent for the qualifying areas of the building. Immediately following this expansion in May, the City began accepting applications from live music venue operators. The deadline for applications was June 19. This relief measure will be implemented through the final supplementary property tax notices that will be issued in the fall. City staff will analyze the impact of this cost-saving measure for live music venues and report to Council in 2021. This measure is intended to remain in place beyond this year to support the long-term viability of Toronto’s live music sector.

City of Brampton provides rent relief to tenants and non-profit organizations in City-owned facilities in response to COVID-19

Housing and homelessness | Policy leadership

The City of Brampton will defer rent payments for its not-for-profit and small for-profit tenants for a period of three months, and waive payments for its non-profit tenants who are unable to access new Federal programs, for a period of 3 months. This relief will support more than half of the City’s 81 tenants.

In Winnipeg, the conversion of a parking lot offers a European style open air dining and drinking experience in the heart of the Exchange District

Local businesses | Main Street | Parks and public space | Re-opening | Street activation | physical distancing

A restaurant owner coordinated the smart phone food ordering system, which has Patio “runners” deployed to pick up orders and deliver them right to the table.

A non-profit launched a public toilet project, tasking well-known architects to renovate public toilets in Tokyo’s public parks

Parks and public space | Public health

The mission was to apply innovative design to make public bathrooms accessible for everyone regardless of gender, age or disability, so that people feel comfortable using public toilets and to foster a spirit of hospitality

DineOut Tool Kit is a downloadable dining module for street patios developed in NYC

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

Launched at the iconic Melba’s Restaurant in Harlem, the prototype can accommodate a range of restaurants and street conditions. DineOut NYC is being deployed at restaurants and bars in diverse neighborhoods across the five boroughs, using parking spaces and sidewalks.

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.

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