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.
The City of Montreal buys building through using its right to preemption to create social housing
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.
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
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
- 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
3 STEPS TO BE PART OF THE BIG SPEND
*the Big Spend List will go live on the site closer to the big day.
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
- 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.
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.
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
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
West End Feast With Friends: Build-Your-Own Dinner Party
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
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
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
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
Port Coquitlam & North Vancouver seems to be going well, while City of Vancouver Parks Board considers it too