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

Meeting the Meal Gap: How Drop-ins Addressed Food Insecurity During the Pandemic

Frontline services

This report documents how drop-ins across Toronto stretched and pivoted to respond to the intensification of the food and water needs for people in the communities they traditionally work with, as well as for people who were new to drop-in spaces. At its core, it seeks to make visible the life-saving work of drop-ins.

Adapting Public Spaces During COVID-19: 3 Examples of Tactical Urbanism Projects

Local businesses | Main Street | Mobility and transportation | Parks and public space | Policy leadership | Street activation

Tampa restaurants and retail businesses can expand their exterior business footprint into privately-owned and public space without having to go through a full application and permitting process or pay a fee.

Local businesses | Main Street | Policy leadership | physical distancing

During this time, the City will suspend certain code and permit requirements to enable greater use of outdoor space for dining and retail patrons. Safety and accessibility requirements still apply. Details of the specific guidance are available in the LiftUp Local Guidebook for Phase 3.

Tactical Urbanist Responses to COVID-19

Main Street | Mobility and transportation

Some communities have turned to tactical urbanism to adapt our infrastructure, accommodate safe physical distancing, and support a new kind of public life. Here’s how:

Urban Interventions to Slow the Spread of COVID-19 and Improve Public Health in the Long Term

Local businesses | Main Street | Mobility and transportation | Parks and public space | Policy leadership | Public health

Tactical urbanism interventions designed to slow the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus also improve air quality, reduce noise levels, encourage physical activity, reduce the risk of traffic accidents, benefit mental health and prevent non-communicable diseases. They also promote social equity—provided that the health of vulnerable populations and essential workers is prioritised—and can reduce the demand for health services.

City of Ottawa extending patio season to December 31

Local businesses | Main Street | Street activation

The city is coming up with a plan for winter that will see snowbanks removed quicker than usual in high-traffic curbside pickup areas, such as Wellington West, Montreal Road, Elgin Street, St. Joseph Boulevard and Bank Street.

Short video showing impact of moving a couple from an encampent to supportive housing

Housing and homelessness

Produced by Mary Wiens, this is a 9 minute video.

Sudbury’s neighbourhoods invited to be more neighbourly

General: Online communities and networks | Social isolation

As we enter the seventh month of the pandemic and days shorten, small tokens of kindness help us connect and support each other, coalition says

Six approaches to improving the look and feel of the city centre of Bradford (UK).

Local businesses | Main Street | Policy leadership | Re-opening | Street activation
  1. Use empty retail spaces and 1st & 2nd floors to encourage independent shops and to incubate a recycle, repair and regenerate artisanal industry to create a healthy mix of well-designed work/live spaces.
  2. Use available micro spaces to set up pocket parks, as in cities such as Tokyo, Barcelona and San Francisco.
  3. Convert more streets to pedestrian use only, widen pavements on shared streets, and create better links to public transport.
  4. Strengthen alliances with other like-minded groups in Bradford to engage with Council to ensure a generous level of consultation well before important planning decisions are made.
  5. Work with community groups in Bradford to create activity spaces that can be enjoyed by all the city’s communities.
  6. Join with other groups to exchange ideas and learn from experiences.

How have UK-based business improvement districts responded to COVID-19?

General: Sector resources | Learning and education | Local businesses | Main Street

This UK-based report aims to give Business Improvement Districts information on how the industry has responded during the COVID-19 epidemic, allow individual BID managers to learn from the experiences of the industry across the country, visualize and then enable planning for the changed business environment in the ‘new normal’, and leverage change with local and national government to allow for further development of BIDs, both within their locations and across the UK.

Design for Distancing installations encourage social distancing in fun, artsy ways in Baltimore’s commercial districts

Local businesses | Main Street | Street activation | physical distancing

Station North is designated as an arts district in Baltimore, known for its restaurants, theaters and art galleries. A patio installation has been created to be used as outdoor dining space for the nearby restaurants. There’s also a bright blue promenade behind the seating area so people can walk around diners, instead of weaving their way through tables set up on the sidewalk.

$1.1M committed for public washrooms in Downtown Eastside Vancouver

Housing and homelessness | Parks and public space | Policy leadership | Public health

Public spaces in downtown Vancouver becoming washrooms during the COVID-19 pandemic, as homeless residents ‘have no other options’

Crowdsourced list of Black Owned Businesses & Restaurants Open in the Toronto area during COVID

General: Crowdsourced tools and resources | Local businesses | Main Street

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

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

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

Local businesses | Main Street | Re-opening | Recovery

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.

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Send us your initiative contributions here.

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