When Toronto’s reopening came to pass, following a hard year and a half, some were slow to dip their toes back in the water. Others couldn’t wait to re-enter boutiques or sip a beer on a restaurant patio. Throughout the summer and into autumn, Torontonians began boldy wading back into public spaces, restaurants, hair salons, gyms – you name it! And small business owners all over the city couldn’t be more thrilled; after being shuttered for so long, this brought a much needed reprieve – financially and emotionally!
Now, as the colder weather sets in, and the first snowfall settles over Toronto, the city is abuzz with excitement for the holidays, and the prospect of being able to celebrate with loved ones in person this year!!
BIAs all over the city are bustling with new initiatives to bolster business and increase neighbourhood tourism as Torontonians get a head start on shopping and gift-giving! Have you started your search for the perfect presents? Do you plan to reconnect with a friend over hot chocolate, or cook a feast to share with your neighbours?
If you have a preferred pet store, a favourite fishmonger, a boutique of choice, or if a cafe that is your ‘one and only’, now is the time to show them support. Amazon may be easy-peasy, but why not show some support for your community and Shop Local!?
Did you know that most Toronto ‘hoods have active Business Improvement Associations toiling behind the scenes trying to ensure that our communities remain clean, ordered and prosperous? But Bloor West Village was the very first – in history!!
Recently, we asked Urbaneer team member Cynthia to sit down with Angela, the Executive Director of the Bloor West Village BIA, to uncover more of what such an association is responsible for and how community members can get involved in improving their neighbourhoods!
* Photos courtesy of the fab Bloor West Village BIA Instagram account!
Cynthia: Tell us about the role that our Neighborhood BIA plays in the community.
Angela: The Bloor West Village Business Improvement Association’s goal (in partnership with the City of Toronto) is to create thriving, competitive, and safe business main street that attracts shoppers, diners, tourists, and new businesses. By working collectively as a BIA, local businesses have the organizational and funding capacity to be catalysts for civic improvement, enhancing the quality of life in our local neighbourhood and the City as a whole.
* Photos courtesy of the Bloor West Village Ukranian Festival!
What are just some of the initiatives that the Bloor West BIA has created?
The Bloor West Village BIA activities include such activities as:
• Street and sidewalk maintenance and capital improvements (think beautification including benches, flower planters, and garden parkettes
• Promotion of the BIA as a business community, tourist or shopping area (business directories, festivals, advertising)
• Hosting neighbourhood festivals and events like the Inside OUT Sidewalk Sale, Bloor West Street Fest, and the world’s largest Ukrainian Festival (Here’s our recent blog on how Cynthia took part in the Ukrainian Festival!!)
• Safety, security and crime prevention initiatives
• Graffiti and poster removal services respecting building facades visible from the street
• Strategic plans for business recruitment, market studies and capital improvements
• Advocate on behalf of membership as a unified voice
What suggestions would you offer a family relocating to the neighborhood who might not know much about the community or the Business Improvement Association? How might they get involved in supporting the neighbourhood?
• Shop Local! Visit Bloor West Village – you will be amazed at all we have to offer! We are home to over 400 shops, restaurants and service providers. Visit our website www.bloorwestvillagebia.com for more information.
• This is a very friendly community. Connect with your neighbours, introduce yourself and as questions! Don’t hesitate to contact us about how to get involved in local events and activities.
• My own personal experience in relocating our family of four from the West Coast (Vancouver) to Bloor West Village has given me a deep understanding of what’s involved and needed when relocating a family. I am always happy to share my journey, perspectives, information about schools and local family resources. Bloor West Village is a wonderful and welcoming neighbourhood community.
What new initiatives is the BIA introducing now that so much of the population is vaccinated?
Our focus continues to be on supporting our local businesses which are the heartbeat of our communities. They bring great products to our shopping areas, create jobs for our friends and neighbours and they sponsor our kids’ sports teams. Many small businesses are struggling to recover from the pandemic. Now more than ever, small businesses need our support. When you can, please shop local. Many businesses have pivoted their service offerings online and continue to offer curbside pick-up and can help provide delivery options.
When Ontario moved to Step Three in the summer, the additional restrictions put in place to stop the spread of COVID-19 were relaxed. The City updated the COVID-19: Guidelines for Businesses & Community Organizations to help businesses operate safely. Under these guidelines, we are almost in post-pandemic environment, and will be returning soon to a robust event calendar! Stay-tuned for more details.
Our readers are passionate about homes, community amenities, and urban adventures. Do you have any specific message that you would like to share with our readers?
Bloor West Village offers an amazing lifestyle serving local residents with all their shopping needs right in the neighbourhood. The experience is as much about eating as shopping! A virtual smorgasbord of bakeries, delicatessens, cafes, and restaurants. Not only about shopping, Bloor West Village attracts visitors from all over the city for its proximity to High Park, the Lakeshore and beautiful tree-lined streets.
The Bloor West Village BIA will continue to promote and spread the word about the wonderful variety of offerings available through our local businesses. We have a dedicated Social Media Manager who is an expert at highlighting the dynamic variety of shops and services. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for the latest and greatest of Bloor West Village updates.
What does the world’s first BIA have planned for this year’s holiday season in Bloor West Village? Small business contests? Tree lighting and caroling? Holiday GiveAways? Family friendly photo-ops? Perhaps a a jolly old friend might visit? Stay tuned for Bloor West Village’s Yuletide festivities dropping soon!
Here’s just a taste!!
Mark you calendars! Santa and Mrs. Claus are coming to Bloor West Village.
Enjoy traditional carolers who will be strolling the village. Catch some live entertainment on site or in the evening at Shakey’s Sports Pub, sponsored by Bloor West Music Studios.
Our lives extend far beyond our four walls, and into the communities that surround us. It’s important to nurture those connections and take pride in the place you’ve chose to call ‘Home!’
Wouldn’t it be lovely to have the leafy enclave of High Park North as your family’s community, with the awesomeness of Bloor West Village just a 7 minute walk away? It’s particularly sought after for it’s tree-lined streets, beautiful homes, wealth of park access, access to amenities, and the friendly vibe! There’s a lot to love here!
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Now more than ever, it is essential to plan a well-researched, data-driven, tactical strategy if you are in the market for a new home. Especially in changing times, when the pandemic has prompted many to shift their focus and objectives. Have yours changed? Please know The Urbaneer team is here to help!
May we be of assistance to you, or someone you love?
The Urbaneer Team
Steven Fudge, Sales Representative
& The Innovative Urbaneer Team
Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage – (416) 322-8000
– we’re here to earn your trust, then your business –
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