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



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:

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. 

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


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

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 | Main Street | Policy leadership | Shop Local
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.

Economic Recovery Plans | Local businesses | Policy leadership

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.

Economic Recovery Plans | Local businesses | Policy leadership

Economic Recovery Plan for Peterborough & the Kawarthas

Economic Recovery Plans | Local businesses | Policy leadership

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

Economic Recovery Plans | Local businesses | Policy leadership

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.

Kitchener proposes $110M plan to stimulate economic recovery

Economic Recovery Plans | Local businesses | Policy leadership

The $110-million fund would help with job growth, business recovery and affordable housing because of cancellations, closures and job losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. A staff report shows they plan to get the money by taking $10 million from the Economic Development Reserve, borrowing $20 million and selling surplus city-owned to get around $80 million. The fund is expected to last about a decade, until 2030. The money will be used for various projects to help residents and businesses get back on their feet. The city said its number one priority is affordable housing.

The City of Kitchener has extended its patio program to support local bar and restaurant operators to at least January 1, 2021.

Local businesses | Main Street | Policy leadership

Should the Province permit temporary patios beyond January 1, the City will also permit the continuation of patios. The now extended patio program allows bar and restaurant operators the opportunity to offer food services on temporary outdoor patios city-wide and expanded sidewalks patios downtown Kitchener.  Since the launch of the patio program over 60 local operators have extended or added temporary outdoor patios to their establishments.

How She Hustles has partnered with Shopify (#startupandslay) to help more diverse women & non-binary entrepreneurs build & grow businesses across Canada. Nov 5 online marketing webinar includes a 90-day free trial!

General: Online communities and networks | General: Sector resources | Local businesses | Main Street

A Toronto restaurant is hiring cosplay delivery drivers

Local businesses

All drivers will be required to take the same strict COVID precautions, and will be masked while doing deliveries.

Toronto’s outdoor dining guidelines

Local businesses | Main Street | Policy leadership | Re-opening | physical distancing

The CaféTO program aims to provide more outdoor dining areas to help some restaurants and bars create physical distancing for patrons on patios during the summer months. A CaféTO Placement Guidebook has been created to better understand program requirements and other details necessary. Link provides details on requirements for curb lane patios, patios on private property, use of portable heaters & tents/enclosures.

Social Enterprise UK: Choose Communities, Buy Social campaign

Fundraising and volunteering | Local businesses | Main Street

Social enterprises are so important – reducing inequalities, keeping wealth in their communities and empowering the people they support. Polling has shown that people want to support a different and better way of doing business – 76% said they’d prefer to buy products from businesses which have a positive impact on the wider community and 77% stated that they’d like to see more businesses set up which use their profits and businesses operations to have a positive impact on the community. With the social investment market having grown and developed extensively since its creation, there’s now more opportunity for newly set up social enterprises to find investment that is relevant to them, be that start-up capital, blended finance or working capital so that they can grow their products and services enabling more consumers to #buysocial

Twenty Black female chefs from across Toronto have teamed up to cook thousands of Thanksgiving meals this weekend for local shelters.

Food | Fundraising and volunteering

The inaugural Thanksgiving campaign dubbed “The Feast” is organized by the community organization BLACQ (Black Leading African Canadian Queens), a group of African Canadian business women who have raised money for scholarships and business grants in the past.

Canadian Federation of Canadian Business Small Business Recovery Dashboard

Economic Recovery Plans | Local businesses | Main Street

CFIB is undertaking monthly surveys and collating results showing the recovery of Canadian small businesses by province, recovery timelines by sector & why they are experiencing difficulty

Métro Media offers free advertising space to restaurateurs in Quebec and Montreal, who have recently moved into Red zone.

General: Sector resources | Local businesses | Main Street

Establishments whose dining rooms will remain closed during the 28 days of efforts to counter the second wave of the pandemic will benefit from assistance in promoting their take-out meals and deliveries. On the side of the management of Métro Média, the hope is that the initiative will help support several local players in the restaurant sector through this difficult period.

Artists paint 25 murals to demonstrate their ‘Neighbourhood Love’ in support of resident whose garage garnered hate mail

Arts and Culture | Fundraising and volunteering

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, 20 artists took part in what they called a “street-level demonstration of love” by painting 25 murals on garage doors, utility boxes, front doors, garden walls and mailboxes of homes in Toronto’s west end.

Winter city design: 3 ways to save our small businesses this COVID-19 winter

Local businesses | Main Street | Policy leadership

There’s a lot to consider when designing for winter, but the philosophy is basic: Create places where people want to be, give them a way to get there, and create ‘sticky’ events—events that draw attendees in and give them reasons to stick around—to help people discover new places.

Edmonton’s Downtown Recovery Task Force launches a Downtown Clean-up Event.

Local businesses | Main Street | Re-opening

Join the Downtown Business Association, Downtown Edmonton Community League, and partners on the Downtown Recovery Task Force for a huge Downtown Clean-up Event.

On October 23rd between 3-5 pm, Edmontonians will take to the streets to help keep our city clean to the Core. Once complete, help us celebrate the kick-off of winter patio season Downtown! The first 200 registrants will receive a $5 voucher from the DBA redeemable at select Downtown patios that evening. All registrants will receive an e-notice within two days of the event noting their street clean-up assignment and where to pick-up their appropriate clean-up gear courtesy of the City of Edmonton Capital City Clean Up team.

Vancouver-based survey to solicit ideas to help make streets for people during COVID-19 recovery.

Local businesses | Main Street | Mobility and transportation | Policy leadership

We are making temporary changes to our streets to help residents physically distance and mitigate the risk of COVID-19 to our communities by:

  • Room to Move. Repurposing street space for more walking, rolling, and cycling along Beach Ave.
  • Pop-up Plazas. Creating pop-up plazas so people can gather outside
  • Temporary Patios. Approving temporary patios so people can dine out and businesses can continue to serve customers
  • Sidewalk Widening. Making more room for walking and queuing along busy streets
  • Room to Queue. Making more room to line up and board buses at some key bus stops
  • Slow Streets. Calming traffic to make ‘slow streets’ more comfortable for people walking, rolling, and cycling

These measures also support our ongoing effort to create safer streets, limit the effects of climate change, and increase social connection between residents. We are monitoring the impacts of these initiatives and getting feedback from the public to understand what could become longer term.

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