The Downtown Yonge Business Improvement Area was founded. We focused on the basics: safety, cleanliness and streetscaping were the priorities our first year, with the implementation of core maintenance and capital imperovement projects.
A continued focus on maintenance was sustained and the Clean Street Team was founded. Partnership with police resulted in the Pay Duty Police Foot Patrols. BIA members reported seeing cleanliness and safety improvements and suggested expanding engagement with members and the public (i.e. newsletter, events).
Top priorities for the BIA now included cleanliness and safety, marketing, special events and streetscape improvements. Publications that highlighted events and visitor information were developed and efforts to brand and beautify the area included installation of the first branded traffic poles.
Member concerns about homelessness and panhandling in the area resulted in engaging with social service sector. Looking at best practices in other cities led to a street outreach pilot project. The Discovery team was also launched this year, promotinh Downtown Yonge to visitors.
After years of advocacy for safety, Downtown Yonge finally received a dedicated police foot patrol service, funded by the city. With safety and cleanliness initiatives well entrenched, the BIA focused on plans to expand marketing and streetscaping with further developed branding and signage projects.
The BIA supported the police in rolling out the first CCTV cameras in our area. The first phase of the multi-year sidewalk and lighting reconstruction project on Yonge St. began. Finally, the BIA was excited to produce, for the first time, our own events (Window Wonderland and Kidzfest) and bi-weekly email newsletter (Yonge Buzz).
Our signature events were rebranded this year under the title Winter Magic and saw the addition of a new event, Illuminite. A strong advocacy role with police, the City of Toronto and the community to develop solutions for homelessness and poverty resulted in the Streets to Homes Outreach Program being expanded.
The addition of two more events, Ice, Wine & Dine and Buskertainment, completed the current Winter Magic line-up. We rolled out our polit project pedestrian and vehicle counters at the corner of Yonge/Dundas. As well, the clean streets initiative expanded to include graffiti removal on private property (in addition to public space).
This year saw the development of a new focus for the BIA based on five key strategic areas. Advocacy was a common theme in the projects developed. The retail recruitment program was launched, bringing new retailers to the area. Subway revitalization advocacy was another core focus and was augmented with regular audits of transit stations in Downtown Yonge.
Proudly celebrating 10 years in Downtown Yonge, the BIA put into place a variety of stategic objectives related to the public realm, events, revenue projects, real estate and member engagement. This year we celebrated the completion of the Yonge St. Streetscape Project and expansion of the pedestrian/vehicle counter initiative.
This year, Downtown Yonge created its most ambitious public realm and event project to date, the four week long Celebrate Yonge festival. Our first major summer event saw the creation of new, temporary public spaces featuring patios, public seating areas and programmed zones. The event was a unique and innovative project within the city Toronto and received unprecedented public and media attention.