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



Town of Canmore’s Economic Recovery Plan backed by $281,000 in funding that focuses on business retention and survival during and post-pandemic.

Economic Recovery Plans | Local businesses

The Plan is being rolled out and the website specifies the progress being made across each pillar.

Canmore is a small town (14,000 population) located in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains

Downtown Safety: Oxford Properties in Edmonton has shifted from a policing and enforcement model of mall security to a compassion- and trauma-informed approach

CUIxLocal | CUIxYEG (Edmonton) | Main Street | Mental health

Edmonton City Centre is located in Downtown Edmonton and sees a million visitors each year. Some of those guests have experienced or are experiencing significant trauma in their lives. They may be living with the scars of adverse childhood events (ACES) or they may have fallen on hard times, unable to find work or housing; many are living with serious mental illness and its constant and debilitating companions – stigma and discrimination. And, many rely on substances to ease the pain of it all. For these people, the mall can be a sanctuary.

One of the ways Oxford Properties formalized its new approach was to work with its security team at Paladin Security to create and offer training called “Compassion to Action”. This one-day training focuses on moving from “protection to connection” and trauma informed care (TIC), which encourages understanding people through the lens of “What happened to you?”, rather than“What’s wrong with you?”. TIC also emphasizes understanding how what has happened to people shapes who they are today and how they behave. This includes learning about adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), what to look for, how to create an environment of engagement, and how to connect with people who have experienced trauma in their lives. Practical advice about connecting with local agencies is also included. Finally, the training helps participants learn how to keep one’s mind “solid” when responding to traumatic events such as deaths by suicide; how to protect and maintain one’s own mental health; and, how to ask for help when needed.

Tulsa Remote is a recruitment initiative for remote workers aimed at attracting talent to Tulsa

Policy leadership

The program brings remote workers and digital nomads to the community by providing $10,000 grants and community-building opportunities. Those interested go through a competitive application process and provided with $10,000 in installments over the course of a year, plus cheap housing and an upgraded social infrastructure.

The program reflects a new economic development strategy that Tulsa is among the first to pilot. Citylab wrote about it here:

Free shopper tool during COVID-19

Local businesses | Shop Local

Find local businesses OPEN for WALK-IN, PICKUP or DELIVERY. Searchable, mobile-friendly directory and map of Greater Toronto area stores.

Black Owned Toronto is an online platform dedicated to highlighting Black-owned businesses.

General: Online communities and networks | Local businesses | Main Street | Shop Local

Often times it is very difficult to find Black-owned businesses in the city. This is a one stop shop for all shopping/service needs. This is also a great way to buy locally, and support the city’s economy!

‘Not Amazon’ is a website of (mostly) user-submitted small businesses to support across 4 Canadian cities and growing

General: Online communities and networks | Local businesses | Main Street | Shop Local

The site operates like an online mall directory of exclusively independent businesses throughout the cities and online. Currently featuring thousands of shops in Toronto, Halifax, Calgary and Vancouver. It is free to submit a local business. You can search or just browse around by category: handmade, spirits, coffee & tea, stationery, music, home decor, vintage and more. Black and Indigenous-owned businesses and businesses owned by people of colour and people with disabilities are featured.

Next for Not-Amazon is to expand to more cities. People from other cities in Canada have volunteered to collect initial lists of businesses, which the website will then convert into the Not-Amazon website. Hamilton and Ottawa are next.


A group of girls from the Urban Society for Aboriginal Youth (USAY) are creating a gender-based violence mural that uses augmented reality

Arts and Culture | CUIxLocal | CUIxYYC (Calgary) | Children
When you scan the mural, an honour song & images appear

Monthly meetings explore and share compassion, lived experiences, and strengthening of “compassion muscles” through evidence-informed practices from psychology, neuroscience, and contemplative traditions.

CUIxLocal | CUIxYYC (Calgary) | General: Online communities and networks

Calgary’s Glenbow Museum has put out a call for letters, postcards, emails, illustrations and social media posts from Calgarians to get a picture of life during COVID-19.

Arts and Culture | CUIxLocal | CUIxYYC (Calgary)

Dear Glenbow asks participants to answer specific questions, including: What is your life like right now? Is there an object, an activity, a routine or a person that is important to you right now? What do you hope to remember about this experience? What do you think is important for our future selves or our descendants to understand or learn from this time in our lives?

Dear Glenbow is one of a number of COVID-19 initiatives underway by museums in Canada and the U.S. The Royal Alberta Museum in Edmonton, for instance, has begun collecting artifacts that reflect life during the COVID-19 pandemic. The letters and other communication gathered as part of Dear Glenbow will make up an archive that will hopefully spark other projects by artists and historians, both in the near and distant future.

Calgary business network is offering Calgarians a $79 gift card to anyone who cancels their Amazon Prime membership

CUIxLocal | CUIxYYC (Calgary) | Local businesses | Main Street

To motivate Calgarians to buy from locally-owned and operated shops, the 200 member business network will give a $79 gift card to anyone who cancels their Amazon Prime membership. That’s the price of an annual Amazon Prime membership. “We really want to remind Calgarians that even though they may be doing more online shopping this Christmas, that they can still support local,” said Meredith Perich, social business coordinator with Momentum, the organization behind the Be Local YYC network.

RISE UP Calgary is a local initiative created to kick start economic recovery for Calgary’s arts sector. It is an open-source campaign that unites arts, hospitality and tourism partners to develop a comprehensive array of initiatives and plans for relaunch by building the best possible conditions for success for audiences and artists.

Arts and Culture | CUIxLocal | CUIxYYC (Calgary) | Local businesses

As part of programming, a series of relaunch lunches are planned to connect industry professionals and give them an opportunity to network, share ideas, and look for ways to collaborate on COVID recovery planning.

The Calgary Public Library will have a paid Indigenous Artist in Residence in 2021

Arts and Culture | CUIxLocal | CUIxYYC (Calgary) | Indigenous

Additionally, in partnership with Calgary Arts Development, the Indigenous Artist in Residence will also receive the Indigenous Artist Award, sponsored by TD Bank Group, which includes a cash prize. This residency aims to recognize the contribution of Indigenous artists, craftspeople and knowledge keepers to Calgary. In response to the calls of action in The City of Calgary’s White Goose Flying Report, the library seeks to honour Indigenous cultures and to promote intercultural understanding, perspective-taking, and communication between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. The residency aims to create a supportive environment for artists in Calgary to have time and space to create their own work while introducing Library patrons to artists and art forms they may not otherwise experience. Community engagement events, such as lectures and workshops, and regular open studio hours provide the public with opportunities to meet artists, observe the artistic process, and participate in artmaking.

Salvation Army to provide showers for people sheltering in city parks

Frontline services | Housing and homelessness | Policy leadership | Public health

After struggling with the problem of providing showers to people living in city parks, the City of Victoria has found a solution. The city will provide a grant to the Salvation Army for a mobile shower trailer. The non-profit agency will receive $86,500 to establish mobile shower facilities that will operate five days a week. The shower trailer will move between the sites of homeless encampments in city parks. The trailer can be driven around the city so people who are living outside who don’t have access to the most basic need will be able to (shower). With the Salvation Army stepping up and the city funding the project, people will be able to have showers at various encampments.

Park People has prepared this planning guide to assist you in delivering safe and successful face-to-face programs during this challenging period of Covid-19.

General: Sector resources | General: Tools for engagement | Parks and public space

Guidelines for safe, happy and fun park programming during COVID-19. Here is a simple checklist that might be used by park leaders, volunteers and participants before any event:


“Edmonton City as Museum Project” tells the stories of the PEOPLE, PLACES, THINGS, and MOMENTS that make Edmonton

Arts and Culture | CUIxLocal | CUIxYEG (Edmonton)

Launched in 2013, the Edmonton City as Museum Project (ECAMP) is an initiative of the Edmonton Heritage Council that explores the history of our city through story. The stories that connect us, the stories that divide us, and the stories that nurture an appreciation of our differences as Edmontonians. Rather than housing these stories in a physical museum complete with hushed galleries, curated exhibits and tangible objects, ECAMP is a virtual & floating entity that exists throughout Edmonton, offering both online and in-person heritage experiences.

The ECAMP podcast explores Edmonton’s stories in a format that can keep you company during your commute on the LRT, while you shovel the front walk, or during a walk the river valley.

The ECAMP story collection explores the PeoplePlacesThings, & Moments significant to our city’s history as told from the perspectives of Edmontonians. At the moment, ECAMP is prioritizing histories that, in the past, have been excluded from representations of Edmonton’s history. Explore our featured story collections.

Our ECAMP events bring these stories to life, situating the history of this place in our everyday experiences and connecting those stories to where they actually happened. Past ECAMP events include the Curiosities Bus Tours, Float Yer Boat: River Curiosity Tours, Brew-Curious-YEGs Brewing History Tours, online ECAMPing Trips, pop-up museums, and panel talks.

The 9 Block program is a collaboration between City of Calgary, University of Calgary and the Downtown Calgary business improvement area looking at ways to improve the area around Calgary City Hall

CUIxLocal | CUIxYYC (Calgary) | Local businesses | Main Street | Policy leadership

Horizon Housing repurposes and adapts space to create affordable housing in Calgary

CUIxLocal | CUIxYYC (Calgary) | Housing and homelessness

HH provides affordable, integrated, supportive homes to low income families and individuals with special needs,  including those living with mental health or mobility challenges.

The city is putting temporary fire pits and free wood in several parks around Calgary to encourage people to socialize safely as cases of the coronavirus continue to spike.

CUIxLocal | CUIxYYC (Calgary) | Parks and public space

The small, residential-sized fire pits have been set up in community parks across the city. They’re free to use from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. any day of the week. Priority will be given to people who book the pits with a permit; however, that’s not required.

Alberta Health Services (AHS) program offers three months of free Cognitive Behavioural Therapy-based text messages written by mental health therapists. 

CUIxLocal | CUIxYYC (Calgary) | Children | Mental health | Social isolation | Youth

Once subscribed, you’ll receive daily one-way messages that aim to help you develop healthy coping skills and resiliency.  Text4Hope will help  identify and adjust negative thoughts, feelings and behaviours that may be caused by the pandemic.

The service was developed for AHS by Edmonton’s Mental Health Foundation in partnership with Calgary Health Trust, the University Hospital Foundation, the Royal Alexandra Hospital FoundationAlberta Cancer Foundation and the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation.

Edmonton is developing the World’s Largest Carbon-neutral neighbourhood

CUIxLocal | CUIxYEG (Edmonton)

Located 10 minutes from downtown Edmonton on the former municipal airport lands, Blatchford is designed as a carbon-neutral neighbourhood powered entirely by renewable resources and with a projected population of 30,000 living and working in a sustainable way. The first phases of housing development are already under construction and the district energy system has already gone in.

Winnipeg’s goodlocal allows you stay home, stay safe, buy essentials AND support local – all on one platform!

Local businesses | Main Street | Shop Local

Shop All Local Vendors. Buy whatever you need, from local makers & merchants, online in a single cart purchase.

One Low Delivery Fee. Buy from as many vendors as you like. We bring it all to you for just $5.

Local good. When you shop local, your money stays nearby and your community thrives.

Ottawa’s ByWard has created a Holiday Box with curated food items found in a variety of local shops 

Local businesses | Main Street | Shop Local

Each box lets the purchaser support over a dozen local businesses and helping them and their family have a better holiday season as well. There are two options: pick up or local delivery.

Bag of Toronto – lets you order a curated assortment of specialty products from local vendors in 5 Toronto neighbourhoods

Local businesses | Main Street | Shop Local

There are five editions that you can purchase, each from a different neighbourhood. Each version will include between 5-7 products from a random selection of different businesses in the neighbourhood. These products are subject to availability and may change week-to-week. A portion of profits and all tips made at checkout will be allocated to five different charities, one in each neighbourhood. Click on the links below to learn more about each edition of the Bag of Toronto. Every bag is $60, tax included. Each one includes products from local businesses that total $55 in retail value. The remaining $5 is used to cover delivery, web-hosting, and a donation to a local charity in each neighbourhood. Any tips made during purchase will also be donated to each charity. There’s only a limited number of bags available each week

The Downtown Winnipeg Business Improvement Zone (BIZ) is showing the public that downtown is #OpenwithCare by providing businesses with PPE and materials to demonstrate their commitment to safety.

Main Street | Public health | Shop Local

The #OpenwithCare toolkit includes:

  • Disposable masks that can be given to customers free-of-charge
  • Refillable hand sanitizer
  • Door decals outlining provincial health guidelines

Downtown businesses can also take the #OpenwithCare pledge online. Those who take the pledge will be listed on Downtown Winnipeg BIZ’s website and featured on social media. The campaign is designed to show customers that businesses are making health and safety a top priority. The Downtown Winnipeg BIZ hopes #OpenwithCare will encourage Winnipeggers to support local by shopping, eating and exploring downtown safely.

Love Yarmouth – A Nova Scotia Buy Local Campaign

Local businesses | Main Street | Shop Local

Love Yarmouth is about supporting neighbours, celebrating our community, and recognizing the people behind the businesses that make Yarmouth a vibrant place to live. This initiative calls on businesses, organizations, governments and citizens to show our love for Yarmouth and give the gift of local this holiday season.

Residents are encouraged to Take the “Love Yarmouth” Holiday pledge! After doing so, email is sent with exclusive local offers, and ideas on how to show love for Yarmouth. 

The Pledge:

This holiday season, I pledge to “give the gift of local” by shopping locally, and supporting local businesses within the Yarmouth area. I make this pledge since I know that our local economy depends on all of us coming together to support it. I also pledge to encourage others to do the same, so that we can all collectively show that we Love Yarmouth!

Ryerson University National Institute on Ageing (NIA) have created a tool to help people better understand the factors that affect the risk of visiting with others on both getting and dying from COVID-19.

General: Sector resources | Learning and education | Public health | Seniors

Using the best available scientific evidence and the input of leading experts in infectious diseases and epidemiology, this website has been designed to help people of different ages and states of health figure out how to more safely visit with others during the COVID-19 pandemic. By working through the questions of this online decision aid, the NIA’s aim is to prepare you and your loved ones to better discuss the potential risks and benefits of visiting with each other and in the end make a well-informed choice on how to make any necessary visits as safe as possible. After a 10 minute survey, a personalized report will be generated to help you understand the risks associated with your planned visit, as well as give you tips on how to try and make any proposed visits as safe as possible.

The information provided to access and use the COVID-19 Visit Risk Decision Aid (the “Tool”) is collected anonymously for the purpose of providing information about possible levels of risk from COVID-19 and to make improvements to the Tool.

City of Toronto launches ShowLoveTO Winter Activation Grant Program to support Toronto’s main street businesses by promoting events celebrating art, culture and community to encourage business during winter

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

ShowLoveTO Winter Activation Grant. Business Improvement Associations (BIA), community groups, not-for-profits and charitable organizations are eligible to apply. The program will fund 50 per cent of eligible project costs such as winter lighting, additional marketing and advertising, and supplemental sidewalk snow clearing. Applications are now available and the deadline to apply for the ShowLoveTO Winter Activation Grant Program is Monday, November 30 at 4:30 p.m. Applications are available online.

ShowLoveTO Partnership Program
The ShowLoveTO Partnership Program is intended for community activations in Toronto between January 1 and December 31, 2021. Registered not-for-profit organizations, community groups and charities that serve Toronto residents and promote opportunities for the community to give back are eligible to apply. Activations may be online or in person and may include performing arts, dance, drama, comedy, virtual-online events, music, visual arts, literary arts, interdisciplinary arts, photography, craft, design, as well as expressions of history and heritage. All activations must demonstrate the capacity to follow current provincial and municipal public health guidelines. Applicants can apply for one-time support of up to 50 per cent of eligible project costs. Applications are now available and the deadline to apply for the ShowLoveTO Partnership Program is Friday, December 11 at 5 p.m.

City of Toronto launches Welcome T.O. Winter parks plan

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

To help people stay active this winter season, the City is highlighting its offering of new and enhanced exercise-based recreation activities in parks locations across Toronto. The Welcome T.O. Winter plan provides safe ways for people to get outside in Toronto’s parks, including at our 54 artificial ice rinks and five golf courses. This includes:

  • 23 toboggan hills in neighbourhoods across Toronto
  • 8 snow loops for walking and snowshoeing at the City’s five golf courses
  • Free, leisure skating at the City’s 54 outdoor ice rinks
  • Six disc-golf locations
  • New guided outdoor Walk Fit programs, including 45 sessions each week
  • High Park car-free weekends
  • City parks with additional 60 kilometres of paved recreational trails and pathways with snow maintenance
  • 100 parks with winter maintenance, including 60 with enhanced maintenance this year including cleared parking lots and paved pathways
  • Up to 30-plus natural ice rinks – the City is accepting applications until December 31 for community-built and maintained natural ice rinks in City parks
  • The City will more than double its supply of winter park washrooms from 64 to 143 as part of its ongoing response to COVID-19
  • ShowLoveTO Winter Activation Grant. The ShowLoveTO Winter Activation Grant Program will support Toronto’s main street businesses by promoting events celebrating art, culture and community to encourage business during the coldest months of the year. Business Improvement Associations (BIA), community groups, not-for-profits and charitable organizations are eligible to apply. The program will fund 50 per cent of eligible project costs such as winter lighting, additional marketing and advertising, and supplemental sidewalk snow clearing. Applications are now available and the deadline to apply for the ShowLoveTO Winter Activation Grant Program is Monday, November 30 at 4:30 p.m. Applications are available online.

The City of Montreal is rolling out new winter activities for the pandemic for the entirety of the 2020-21 winter season.

Economic Recovery Plans | Local businesses | Main Street | Mobility and transportation | Parks and public space | Policy leadership | Public health | Street activation

This includes:

  • implementation of 25 “winter stations” designed to allow Montrealers to enjoy the city’s outdoor public places — including squares, parks or vacant spaces near commercial hubs — during the winter. The winter stations were designed in collaboration with local architects and designers and are part of the city’s effort to encourage Montrealers to buy local, as the downtown stations will be situated near shops.
  • winter activities in Montreal parks and beyond. This will include winter markets, but also winter sporting activities in almost every major Montreal park beginning in December. Since sports-related activities are prohibited in COVID-19 red zones, the city is allowing for outdoor play by making cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, tobogganing, ice skating and fat biking available. Montrealers can borrow equipment for free.
  • heated areas and restrooms will be available to allow Montrealers to warm up after a day of activities.
  • parks will also offer an outdoor “ocean” expedition presented by the Biosphere, to allow Montrealers to observe the birds, flora and fauna of the area.

Activities can be booked online through the city’s website. More details will be made available in the coming weeks on the city of Montreal’s web portal.

A Toronto Neighbourhood unveiled the NOT FOR LEASE campaign to encourage those to shop local

Local businesses | Main Street | Shop Local

The campaign, created by ad agency The Local Collective, spans three blocks and features more than 50 storefronts along Roncesvalles Avenue papered up with signs that say “For Lease.”

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