The Beach Village BIA represents more than 300 businesses and service professionals. 2015 saw progress with its initiatives including community events, streetscaping and member promotion, all in the spirit of “bringing more feet to Queen Street.”
Streetscaping is a significant component of a pedestrian-friendly, accessible, vibrant neighbourhood. The BIA street audit helped prioritize 2016 initiatives to declutter, repair and revitalize pedestrian walkways in identified areas.
The collaborative effort of several city departments and BIA funds has allowed for the opportunity for residents to meet in a redesigned, accessible Kew Gardens. The park, with its natural draw as a gathering place, will benefit from structural improvements, additional tree and floral planting, and new pedestrian-friendly areas.
The volunteer BIA board, made up of business owners, landlords and service professionals, share in the responsibility of advocacy, revitalization and community development. The board of the BIA has advocated when necessary to appropriate Toronto city departments, corporate entities and Ward 32 Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon. Issues of concern were garnered from member feedback and information generated at two 2015 Beach Revival community meetings hosted and coordinated by the BIA and Councillor McMahon’s office. The intent of pursuing these concerns is to support and enhance the Beach Village community.
Some questions arose regarding store vacancies, high rents, deteriorating hydro poles and sidewalk accessibility, but these are issues outside of the jurisdiction of the BIA.
The direction of the BIA for 2016 will bring continued events, marketing opportunities and revitalization to Queen Street.
Last year’s Family Day Sunday drew children and adults by trolley to Queen Street East to enjoy ice sculptures, warm treats and winter fun. This year’s celebration is scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 14, along with the Winter Stations launch on the beach along the boardwalk. Come take a walk along Queen Street and participate in the ‘Fire and Ice’-themed activities.
Beachers gave rave reviews for the Movies in the Park series this past summer. Polls on our website were a great way to generate suggestions for favourite classics and new-release movies. Check the site in late spring and cast your vote to choose the 2016 movie features.
Heading into fall, look for a better-than-ever Spooktacular Halloween event. Children, adults and pets are sure to have some fun with face painting, pumpkin carving and costume contests. Did you get to see the 2015 costume parade down Queen? Beachers of all ages enjoyed the stroll with trick-or-treating along the way.
Annual event programming also included collaboration with the Beaches International Jazz Festival and a Christmas Window Wonderland.
Ongoing graffiti removal, seasonal planter décor, and animating public spaces are some of the ways the BIA promotes vibrancy and supports the community.
Your ongoing support and patronage of local business is very much appreciated. Beach Village BIA members look forward to serving you in 2016.
Suzanne Beard works on Queen Street East and is the chair of the Beach Village BIA