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

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Initiatives

Change for Climate is a call to all Edmontonians to take action and work together to reduce our city’s greenhouse gas emissions by 35% (below 2005 levels) by 2035.

CUIxLocal | CUIxYEG (Edmonton) | General: Tools for engagement | Policy leadership

The City of Edmonton has embarked on an ambitious plan to reduce GHGs which includes setting targets, making plans and integrating actions across the organization. The Change for Climate website is a friendly, easy to navigate site for residents to engage, communicate actions, choose new actions to try and share commitments along with stories.

The City of Edmonton is using social innovation to improve Edmonton’s Urban Wellness

CUIxLocal | CUIxYEG (Edmonton) | General: Tools for engagement | Indigenous | Mental health

The City has been working with residents, businesses, agencies and government to develop a ‘Recover’ approach to improve urban wellness. Urban wellness includes economy vitality, social capacity, physical and mental health, built and natural environments. Bringing all kinds of people together, from businesses to residents to talk about their lived experiences, is not easy;If we can ensure the right systems are in place, we can promote and sustain conditions for people and neighbourhoods to thrive.

We use a social innovation framework which allows for constant learning, testing and adapting ideas, while considering their cumulative impact.  This isn’t about replacing existing strategies, programs or services. It’s about testing small solutions to improve urban wellness and finding ways to align and collaborate across different orders of government, agencies, local businesses and the community.

Indigenous names recommended for Edmonton’s 12 new wards effective 2021 election

CUIxLocal | CUIxYEG (Edmonton) | Indigenous | Policy leadership

Local Indigenous writer and researcher Rob Houle, who served as a co-chairman overseeing the committee, said the group made sure all of the Indigenous languages within Treaty 6 are represented in the new ward names. Many of the names were chosen to directly suit the area of Edmonton which they represent after a committee retreat to important sites within all of the wards.

Edmonton’s first Black-owned market opens

Arts and Culture | CUIxLocal | CUIxYEG (Edmonton) | Local businesses

The market will feature nearly 20 Black-owned vendors offering a variety of products and services including beauty, jewellery, art, children items and mental-health services. Black-owned businesses face numerous challenges to reach the broader public such as not having access to generational wealth and not being able to access additional funds such as loans because of systemic racism.

Sociavore, a tech venture based in Kitchener, Ont., is trying to make it a little easier for the thousands of small businesses navigating COVID times

General: Sector resources | Local businesses | Main Street

Founded by Amina Gilani and her husband Thusenth Dhavaloganathan, Sociavore is an all in one e-commerce platform for food and beverage businesses with such features as online ordering, gift card sales, menu managers and reservations.

WinterCity Edmonton, a City of Edmonton initiative aims to draw Edmontonians together to make winter more vibrant and exciting, and to fully embrace the winter spirit.

Arts and Culture | CUIxLocal | CUIxYEG (Edmonton) | Local businesses | Policy leadership

In 2012, the City enlisted a diverse group of volunteers to help create the WinterCity Strategy, “For The Love of Winter.”  Working in the four areas of Winter LifeWinter DesignWinter Economy and Our Winter Story, this award-winning initiative has inspired a change in the way Edmontonians see our climate, our city and ourselves

COMIC: A Kids’ Guide To Coping With The Pandemic (And A Printable Zine)

Children | Learning and education | Mental health | Youth

You’ve been living through this pandemic for months, and you might be feeling sad, frustrated or upset. But there are lots of different ways to deal with your worries – and make yourself feel better. Here are some tips and advice to help you through. Print and fold a zine version of this comic here. Here are directions on how to fold it. This comic is based on interviews conducted by NPR’s Cory Turner with Tara Powell at the University of Illinois School of Social Work, Joy Osofsky at the LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, Krystal Lewis at the National Institute of Mental Health, Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of Brown’s School of Public Health, and Rosemarie Truglio, senior vice president of curriculum and content at Sesame Workshop.

The West End BIZ has put together locally sourced holiday gift boxes that include goods from 14 different West End businesses.

Food | Local businesses | Main Street

The gift boxes are a great way to support our local businesses and discover new businesses in Winnipeg’s West End neighbourhood.

OECD-gathered international examples of measures taken by cities to respond to COVID-19 and recover from the economic and social crisis

Economic Recovery Plans | General: Online communities and networks | General: Sector resources | Local businesses | Policy leadership

The document provides analysis on issues related to the economic, social and environmental impacts, lessons learned in terms of digitalisation, mobility, density, urban design and collaborative governance, and action-oriented guidance to build back better cities, building on previous work on urban resilience. Short and medium term responses provided by cities are clustered around six categories: i) social distancing; ii) workplace and commuting; iii) vulnerable groups; iv) local service delivery; v) support to business; and vi) communication, awareness raising and digital tools. The note also includes:

  • updated information on how cities are progressively exiting the lockdown.
  • detailed information on long-term city recovery strategies.
  • more detailed information on the inventoried city initiatives during lockdown and exiting.
  • maps efforts from selected organisations and city networks to collect city responses and foster knowledge and experience sharing

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

CUIxLocal | 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

CUIxLocal | 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.

CUIxLocal | 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.

CUIxLocal | 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.

CUIxLocal | 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.

CUIxLocal | 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.

CUIxLocal | 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.

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

CUIxLocal | 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

CUIxLocal | 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 | Shop Local | 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 | Shop Local

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 | Shop Local

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

Economic Recovery Plans | Local businesses | Main Street | Policy leadership | Shop Local | 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. 

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