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

809

Initiatives

Student-designed test project aims to improve safety and vibrancy downtown

CUIxUrban Residencies | CUIxYYC (Calgary) | Learning and education | Local businesses | Main Street

The City of Calgary, the University of Calgary, the Calgary Downtown Association, Calgary Municipal Land Corporation and Bow Valley College have been working on the 9 Block program, a series of safety initiatives to improve vibrancy and safety in the nine blocks that surround City Hall. The program works collaboratively with neighbours and community partners to improve the area.

The centrepiece of these improvements is the installation of a canopy and lighting at the bus stop in front of the University of Calgary’s School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape (SAPL) downtown campus. Mauricio Soto-Rubio, the research lead, and students from SAPL designed and fabricated the installation to improve the safety and vibrancy issues in their neighbourhood.

University of Alberta Faculty of Native Studies offers a popular and free online course on Canadian Indigenous history

CUIxUrban Residencies | CUIxYEG (Edmonton) | General: Online communities and networks | General: Sector resources | General: Tools for engagement | Indigenous | Learning and education

Indigenous Canada is a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) from the Faculty of Native Studies that explores Indigenous histories and contemporary issues in Canada. From an Indigenous perspective, this course explores key issues facing Indigenous peoples today from a historical and critical perspective highlighting national and local Indigenous-settler relations. Indigenous Canada is for students from faculties outside the Faculty of Native Studies with an interest in acquiring a basic familiarity with Indigenous/non-Indigenous relationships.

The Canadian Sikh COVID-19 Task Force brings together Canadian Sikh medical, religious and community leaders and organizations in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic

General: Tools for engagement

The Canadian Sikh COVID-19 Task Force brings together Canadian Sikh medical, religious and community leaders and organizations in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Through intersectoral collaboration, task force members are working on innovative and timely initiatives that address growing community needs during this unprecedented time. The task force has medical, spiritual, community and advocacy arms that are represented by one or more organizations with a local, regional or national presence. While leading their own initiatives, members share updates, experiences, and resources, seek assistance and help proactively plan for anticipated challenges.  We also collaborate at the international level with similar task forces, including from the United Kingdom and the United States.

EndPovertyEdmonton is a community initiative working towards prosperity for all through advancing reconciliation, the elimination of racism, livable incomes, affordable housing, accessible and affordable transit, affordable and quality child care, and access to mental health services and addiction supports.

CUIxUrban Residencies | CUIxYEG (Edmonton)

Their mission is to convene, coordinate and broker innovative partnerships, advocate for policy changes and build the capacity of Edmontonians to take action to end poverty. EPE is not a referral agency, funder, or service provider. It is a space for agencies, funders, service providers, people with the lived experience of poverty, and other Edmontonians to come together to share their experience and wisdom so that, as a community, the  goal of ending poverty in a generation is met. (30 years.)

Naheyawin is an Edmonton-based consultancy that offers sustainable, practical, Indigenous-based solutions for the improvement of diversity and inclusion in businesses, organizations and institutions through interactive workshop sessions, equity audits, and public engagement design and facilitation.

CUIxUrban Residencies | CUIxYEG (Edmonton) | General: Tools for engagement | Indigenous

They work alongside entrepreneurs, educational institutions, non-profits and government helping them to become stewards of Treaty and realize their capacity to create conditions of abundance in their organizations, and beyond.

Edmonton’s Policy, Location and Access in Community Environments (PLACE) Research Lab looks to systematically investigate relationships between people-policy-place by developing, evaluating and mobilizing evidence about population health interventions and other strategies that promote lifelong health and chronic disease prevention.

CUIxUrban Residencies | CUIxYEG (Edmonton) | Public health

Work in the PLACE lab involves community-based participatory research, qualitative and quantitative methodologies, and geographic information systems (GIS) mapping.

Startup TNT is a community of entrepreneurs, scientists, investors, innovators and startup supporters that gathers every week to have fun, share stories, and improving access to capital for early-stage tech companies.

CUIxUrban Residencies | CUIxYEG (Edmonton) | Local businesses

They achieve this through increasing the pool of professional early-stage investors, educating entrepreneurs on fundraising best practices, and sustaining long-term relationships across all stakeholders.  They raise funds through weekly happy hour events or “beer sponsorship”.

Taproot Edmonton is a collective of journalists and writers based in Edmonton who are trying to change the way that journalism and stories are shared and funded.

CUIxUrban Residencies | CUIxYEG (Edmonton) | General: Online communities and networks

Taproot members believe that the current model of journalism is broken and strive to share stories in a way that is sustainable and responsive to community needs. They have membership supported model to sustain their organization and steer away from an advertising-supported model of revenue generation.

Calgary’s Solutions for Achieving Value and Excellence (SAVE) program is an initiative to improve the efficiency and affordability of service delivery in the face of economic downtown and COVID-19.

CUIxUrban Residencies | CUIxYYC (Calgary) | Policy leadership

The program has three goals: to provide a strategic approach to meeting fiscal challenges while minimizing the need for wide ranging cuts, to save $72 million by the start of 2022, and to find savings without compromising overall customer satisfaction and citizen outcomes. City staff have partnered with Ernst and Young to create and deliver the program.

New Zoning By-Law in Edmonton to be developed with Equity and Gender-based Lens

CUIxUrban Residencies | CUIxYEG (Edmonton) | Policy leadership

The “Philosophy of the New Zoning By-Law” Key Reference Document outlines the new ways in which zoning will be pursued in Edmonton. The development of new zoning by-laws is being pursued through an “Equity Lens” which is described as “a shift from previous ways of thinking about land use regulations. This framework encourages one to consider the “unintended social impacts of our regulations and take thoughtful and decisive action to create Everyone’s Edmonton.” A part of this equity lens is asking the questions:

  • What do Inclusive and Compassionate zoning regulations look like and how can we create options for a more equitable future?
  • How can zoning promote a Community of Communities, so all Edmontonians have access to the goods and services they need regardless of their neighbourhood?
  • What outcomes will we need to prioritize in the Zoning Bylaw to ensure Edmonton is a Rebuildable City, capable of adapting to change and disruptions while ensuring all Edmontonians have access to new opportunities?

Framed as a “Zoning By-Law For Everyone”

Edmonton Parking Lots to be Converted to Parks in the Downtown

CUIxUrban Residencies | CUIxYEG (Edmonton) | Main Street | Parks and public space | Policy leadership | Street activation

Conceptualized in 2019, a parking lot will be converted to a central park in downtown Edmonton. The green space will be the size of two football fields and span nearly two blocks from Jasper Avenue to 102nd Avenue and between 106th and 108th streets. The project is described as an opportunity for businesses such as restaurants, coffee shops, to “open up and integrate into green space”.

In Parkdale, an Art Window project has the work of local artists in businesses to encourage safe visiting of the main street

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

Parkdale Art Window Project. This project will feature artwork by local and Toronto based artists in various storefront windows across Parkdale. The artworks are placed in businesses all along Queen West (between Roncesvalles Ave . and Dufferin St.) and are presented as an art crawl, encouraging people to explore Queen West to see the works. The businesses featuring artwork have a logo featured to signify they are part of the project as well as a link to a map on our website showing all of the businesses involved

A shop local campaign in Edmonton encourages locals to #adoptashopYEG

Local businesses | Main Street

A local Edmonton blogger spearheaded this campaign which is on its third iteration. Struggling businesses are nominated to be adopted and people sign up and commit to spending a certain amount in the shop (i.e., $60). The list of shops represented 50% BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour)-Owned shops. In November 2020, 200 sign up spots were filled for #AdoptAShopYEG: ATB Neighbourhood Hop! At a $60 minimum spend per person, we’ll collectively spend $12,000 at 64 businesses across Edmonton. Patrons are also encouraged to post on social media. 

The City of Vancouver is seeking feedback on potential policy changes that encourage “retail continuity,” by filling vacant ground-level storefronts with new uses.

Arts and Culture | Local businesses | Main Street | Parks and public space | Policy leadership

In the Downtown Eastside, Hastings and Powell streets are lined with vacant storefronts, dogged by the area’s social issues. The City of Vancouver is aiming to create policies that could potentially help reverse this trend.

Winnipeg Chamber provides a guideline on how to support local small businesses virtually.

Local businesses | Main Street

A Mountain ski village is having 20 gondola cabins refurbished and repurposed as dining cabins in response to decreased restaurant capacity due to the pandemic

Local businesses | Main Street

The town also will erect 20-foot yurts and temporary “pavilion” structures. Tables will have QR codes that show menu options from 12 restaurants in the village center. Some of those restaurants will send wait staff to your gondola or yurt, as if you were being served in the restaurant. Some will be offering takeout meals only.

The Ontario government is proposing to give municipalities the flexibility to target property tax relief to small businesses.

Local businesses | Main Street

The province is also considering matching these reductions, which would provide small businesses with as much as $385 million in municipal and provincial property tax relief. This initiative is part of the 2020 Budget, Ontario’s Action Plan: Protect, Support, Recover.

Business associations in Edmonton want the city to help create a new e-commerce portal where customers can buy from local businesses online.

General: Online communities and networks | Local businesses | Main Street | Policy leadership

Two websites currently list local businesses or artisans: Edmonton Made and Things That Are Open, which was created in response to COVID-19 pandemic. BIAs are looking for an online portal that could be a tweaked version of a directory, with listings that link to companies’ online shopping tools.  In addition, they are hoping for a campaign around ‘Shop Edmonton and support Edmonton businesses’

Windows of Creativity will transform the city of Manchester into an outdoor art gallery.

Arts and Culture | Main Street

Well known and emerging artists and makers with a connection to Greater Manchester have curated original displays for venues across the city. From ceramics to fine art and photography to crafts, different artistic pieces will decorate 50 windows and walls across Manchester. You’ll find them in places such as bars, restaurants, museums and shops with a bee identifier symbol. This new public art trail will celebrate culture and the outdoors safely.

Download The “Winter Places” Design Guide to help your community embrace winter outdoors this year with design ideas from around the world.

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

72 pages of how to create safe spaces for socially distanced outdoor gathering and shopping. Download the guide for free here: benchconsulting.co/winter-places/

The City of Montreal is implementing new measures and $6 million in funding to encourage Montrealers to visit main streets & buy local

Local businesses | Main Street | Policy leadership | Recovery | Street activation

Six new actions include:

  • installations in the downtown area for the winter season designed to “add to the shopping experience”
  • financial support for campaigns implemented by merchants’ groups and chambers of commerce
  • adding $1.5 million to the Commercial Activities Consolidation Fund, designed to support small businesses to ensure they can increase the quality of services, including on the digital market and the physical development of their place of business.
  • free on-street parking on weekends
  • businesses can extend opening hours to 10 p.m. on weekdays and 7 p.m. on weekends from Nov. 14 to Dec. 31
  • support and promotion to continue urban delivery for local merchants

The Calgary Library is providing access to free mental health and addictions support, health information, and referral to services.

Mental health | Policy leadership | Public health

Go to the Central Library to meet with a mental health professional and get immediate care for emotional or mental health challenges. This free service is available afternoons and evenings, on a drop-in basis.

In partnership with Wood’s Homes. This initiative is generously supported by the City of Calgary, RBC Foundation and donors of the Calgary Public Library Foundation. 

Centre for an Urban Future presents ideas and insights on how policymakers can help sustain restaurants and other small businesses through the colder months.

General: Sector resources | Local businesses | Main Street

This report features their ideas. It includes creative policy recommendations from more than twenty experts. They received more than 40 concrete ideas grouped into five main areas;

  • Design, build, and install winterized outdoor space for restaurants and retailers
  • Rethink rules, regulations, and permitting around sidewalks, streets, and public space.
  • Enlist New York business, design, and tech talent to help small businesses
  • Provide microgrants and technical assistance to aid the transition to pop-up, online, and outdoor operations
  • Tap vacant storefronts for land swaps, pop-ups, social infrastructure, and more

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS ECONOMIC RECOVERY STRATEGY

Local businesses | Main Street | Policy leadership | Recovery

To generate such an economic recovery strategy, Heartland Forward (HF) has undertaken an extensive and detailed analysis of the NWA region’s strengths, challenges and opportunities. Our team has arrayed and assessed comprehensive data on its economy and industries, its small businesses and startup ecosystem, talent base, changing demographic composition and quality of place that stems from its arts, culture and recreation efforts and initiatives to develop a robust strategy for post-COVID-19 recovery.

By Ross DeVol, Richard Florida, Joel Kotkin and Dave Shideler

Toronto partners with local delivery supplier to reduce fees for local businesses

Food | Local businesses | Policy leadership
The City of Toronto and Ritual have partnered to launch Open for Business — a collaboration to help small businesses across Toronto increase online delivery sales while keeping their customers and staff safe. To encourage customers to order directly from restaurants, all restaurants using Ritual ONE’s delivery platform powered by DoorDash Drive will receive (2) weeks of free delivery from Monday, October 26th – Sunday, November 8th, 2020. With commission-free ordering platform Ritual ONE, businesses can be a part of the City of Toronto endorsed program, Open for Business.

Placemakers’ Pandemic Toolkit is a distillation of an ongoing, crowd-sourced compilation of reality-tested strategies to help local and regional governments respond to challenges imposed by COVID-19

General: Crowdsourced tools and resources | General: Sector resources | Main Street | Policy leadership

The Toolkit is organized by action steps related to regulatory policy, planning, and community design. It prioritizes expedient implementation in short to long-term time frames, for evolving best practices in planning for cities, towns, and suburbs.

Mississauga’s Economic Recovery Framework is one of four pillars guiding the City’s overall recovery efforts.

Local businesses | Policy leadership | Recovery

On May 7, 2020, Council adopted the City’s Recovery Plan Framework. The framework is designed to help Mississauga address all aspects of the recovery from COVID-19 and is divided into four pillars for recovery: CommunityEconomicFinance & Corporate. The framework sets out the principles for the development of five industry-specific economic recovery plans. These principles include a phased approach to recovery; finding every opportunity to help Mississauga businesses build back to better; and adopting an inclusive, whole community approach that leaves no one behind.

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

Local businesses | Policy leadership | Recovery

Economic Recovery Plan for Peterborough & the Kawarthas

Local businesses | Policy leadership | Recovery

This plan was developed in consultation with other business support agencies such as the Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, Peterborough DBIA, Community Futures Peterborough and Innovation Cluster – Peterborough & the Kawarthas, and hundreds of business responses received through direct calls and online surveys. It is an outline of activities that will be undertaken by a joint Economic Task Force led by the Mayor of the City of Peterborough and the Warden of the County of Peterborough to help the local business community adapt and rebuild this regional economy by working together.

Halifax COVID-19 Economic Response and Recovery Plan

Local businesses | Policy leadership | Recovery

The Halifax Partnership and Halifax Regional Municipality are leading economic recovery efforts with private, public and post-secondary partners with the goal of  getting back to long-term growth trend and charting a path forward for a stronger, more resilient city.

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