Since its inception in 2006, the BIA has spearheaded many projects in our neighbourhood. Below is a brief summary of some of our most important projects (wherever possible, the BIA has attempted to obtain municipal and foundation grants to complete special projects in order to preserve our cash reserves for future streetscape improvements.)
In order to better understand and plan for the improvement of our area, the BIA successfully applied for several grants from the Economic Development department of the City of Toronto.
In 2007, the BIA obtained a grant from The City of Toronto Economic Development department to commission a branding strategy for our area. The project was carried out by the local firm and can be viewed online here.
In 2010, the Dundas West BIA received funding from the CIty of Toronto Economic Development department to undertake an Urban Design Study for the area. The study was carried out by local firm and can be seen online here.
In 2006 The BIA obtained a City Clean and Beautiful grant to beautify the parkette at Dundas and St. Clarens in the western end of the BIA. A mural was executed on the eastern wall of the park using a design donated by local artist Jose Ortega. The BIA worked with City of Toronto, Parks and Recreation to improve the plantings and benches in the park. To celebrate the completion of the park, we organized a community party with music provided by Batucada Carioca.
BIA member Cherie Lunau- Jokish (Beadle) lobbied the City and our councillor’s office to improve garbage service for the area. During the city workers’ strike of 2009, BIA board and community members volunteered to gather, bag and dispose of garbage that had accumulated during the strike. With BIA funds, a truck was hired to take the garbage to the dump.
To date the BIA has realized five murals in the community. Art for all five was donated by local artist and business owner (Lula Lounge) and the pieces have garnered international attention from delegates visiting Toronto. (Ortega’s work has also been commissioned by the New York Subway System and U.S. Post Office.) The most recently completed mural is that on the property at 1628 Dundas West. Rather than coming out of BIA levy funds, these public art projects were funded by mural grants from the City of Toronto.
Over the past years the BIA has received extensive coverage for the annual Samba on Dundas event as well as for our fight for parking. Additionally, we have had been the subject of several more general articles about the area, including a piece in The Globe and Mail that described Dundas West as “cooler than New York.” This attention from both local and national publications is helping to build a positive profile for our area as a vibrant, committed and community-oriented neighbourhood. For a list of media coverage about the Dundas West BIA please visit our press summary page.
In an effort to create more green space in the neighbourhood, BIA visioning committee members negotiated with TCHC (Toronto Community Housing Corporation) for permission to remove an unsightly fence and create large flower beds with native plantings in front of the TCHC building at 1525 Dundas West. To pay for this ambitious project, we successfully applied to the Evergreen Foundation and The City of Toronto Clean and Beautiful Secretariat for funding. To cover the remaining expenses, BIA board members Marina and Victor Tavares, Tony Rainho, Carlos Donelas and John Melo worked very hard to organize a community fundraiser at Casa Dos Azores. The first plantings were done in the fall of 2008 and again in the spring of last year, BIA volunteers cleaned and replanted the beds. This pioneering project is first time a Toronto BIA and TCHC site have collaborated on such community improvements. Teresa’s place is dedicated to the memory of Teresa Melo who is greatly missed by the BIA and the community as a whole. Although it took place in sub-zero weather, the opening of this community space was attended many BIA members, local residents, Councillor Giambrone, MP Mario Silva and members of the Melo family. OMNI television filmed this important community event for broadcast.
The Dundas West would like to thank Casa Dos Azores for donated time and space for the fundraiser and many other local businesses who so generously supported our fundraising efforts for Teresa’s Place. We would also like to thank landscape architect Fung Lee and BIA board member Lubo Brezina (who also donated benches to the site) for their countless volunteer hours, often in very inclement weather, to bring this project to fruition.
Thank to everyone to so generously donated to the fundraiser for Teresa’s Place:
Bento’s GoodYear Centre
Casa dos Acores
She Takes the Cake
West Side Stories
Thank you to those who purchased tables and donated the tickets to seniors
in our community:
Mr. Joe Costa (Master Technician)
Samba on Dundas
Mr. Joe Porto (Remax)
Mr. Rick Lopes (Summerset Homes)
Mr. Joe Nunes (Lions Disposal)
Samba On Dundas
In August of 2010, the forth annual Samba on Dundas once again took place on TCHC property. The BIA obtained a sidewalk sale permit for the whole weekend so that merchants could participate by setting up tables on the sidewalk. Sunday activities featured concerts by Samba Squad, Luanda Jones and Aline Morales as well as performances by Capoeira Camara and Afrolusophone. Scotia Bank sponsored children’s crafts and music activities.
The Dundas West BIA would like to thank the Toronto Community Housing Corporation for their generous donation of space, support and electricity. We heard from some merchants that they would like to see this festival expand to be a weekend-long event with Dundas closed to cars on the Saturday and Sunday. While, our budget and resources don’t yet allow for such a closing, with community support there is no reason why our festival can not continue to grow! (photos by Salsa.TO)
Since its inception the BIA has been lobbying for improved parking regulations in our neighbourhood. In September of 2007, we were successful in obtaining off-side rush hour parking. However in the November of 2008, our city Councillor Adam Giambrone brought a motion before Community Council to rescind these parking privileges. The BIA asked the city and the councillor to work with us to seek a creative solution that would allow us to maintain this much needed on-street parking. Regrettably, in September of 2009, a motion to extend the “no-parking hours” and to drastically reduce parking on Dundas around the clock, was passed by Community Council and then City Council at the urging of our councillor at the time. Business in the BIA were very hard hit by this lack of parking.
On January 18, 2011, our new Councillor Ana Bailoa presented a motion at the Toronto and East York Community Council to restore the parking on Dundas West to that which we had enjoyed under the parking pilot project in 2008/09. At council BIA chair Sylvia Fernandez presented a powerful deposition in support of Councillor Bailao’s proposal. The motion to restore the parking carried unanimously. The parking victory received coverage in the Toronto Sun, OMNI News and CITY TV. We look forward to the positive effects that improved parking on Dundas West will have on our businesses in 2011.
Banners and Traffic Light
In order to further brighten up our part of Dundas West, identify the BIA boundaries and reinforce the branding of the Dundas West Business Improvement Area, the BIA had banners designed, manufactured and installed on all available poles between Lansdowne and Rusholme Road. The expense of these banners was shared by the City of Toronto Capital Matching program.
In 2007, the BIA successfully lobbied the city make a previously very dangerous intersection at Sheridan and Dundas safer for pedestrians by replacing the pedestrian cross-walk with a traffic light. We’re still working at getting the TTC to move the TTC shelter closer to the new steet car stop so that TTC riders waiting in the shelter will not have to sprint across right lanes traffic to catch their ride! The councillor’s office has said that they can help us with this.
The BIA supported ACAPO (The Alliance of Portuguese Clubs and Associations of Ontario) by writing letters of support for the Portugal day activities and attending meetings at City Hall to discuss the Alliance’s attempt to transform part of the Portugual day activities into a street festival.
The BIA would like to thank board members Tony Rainho and Domenic Saragosa for donating countless volunteer hours to represent the BIA on the Toronto Community Police Liaison Committee.