Tools to Help Small Business and Artists

All levels of government and organizations are realizing the importance of independent businesses and artists to the vibrancy and wellbeing of our neighbourhoods.

Here are some useful links to help sustain your business and/or establish your presence on-line.

ShopHERE program gets local businesses and artists selling online fast. ShopHERE, free, quick and easy initiative is helping Toronto’s independent businesses and artists build and promote their very own online stores in a matter of days. Sign up:

BACK TO BRICKS & MORTAR – Here is a guidebook to help independent retailers re-enter storefronts safely >

BRING BACK MAIN STREET – Here is a great resource for retail stores and small businesses that will help them recover and emerge from this crisis more resilient >

Supporting Our Local Small Businesses – May 13

The COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying economic fallout have hit small and medium-sized businesses hard. A growing number of small businesses have closed their doors. The current relief programs from our governments have many businesses falling through the cracks putting the continued existence of our local restaurants, shops and cultural spaces at risk.

On Wednesday, May 13th, Bhutila Karpoche, our local MPP, will be hosting a Facebook Live for a focused discussion on supporting small businesses during this crisis and discuss next steps. Bhutila will be joined by John Kiru, Executive Director of TABIA, and representatives from four of our local Business Improvement Associations.

DATE: Wednesday, May 13th, 2020
TIME: 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.
PLACE: Facebook

What is Collective Care? a focus on Parkdale – May 13

Learn about collective strategies of mutual support and grassroots organizing. This online discussion focuses on our Parkdale neighbourhood, and how people are providing collective care to the most vulnerable members of our community. Looking beyond COVID-19, what can we learn from these strategies, and are they here to stay?

This event is organized by Myseum. To find out more about this online event and to register click HERE.

Date: Wednesday, May 13, 2020
Time: 2:00 pm
Place: Online

Certain Businesses Can Open Monday

The Ontario government will allow certain businesses to reopen under the auspices of workplace safety guidelines. If they adhere to health and safety guidelines issued by the province, the following businesses will be allowed to reopen:

  • Garden centres and nurseries, with curbside pick-up and delivery only
  • Lawn care and landscaping
  • Essential construction projects that include: shipping and logistics, broadband, telecommunications and digital infrastructure, projects which support the improved delivery of goods and services, municipal projects, colleges and universities, child care centres, schools, and site preparation for institutional, commercial, industrial, and residential development
  • Automatic and self-serve car washes
  • Auto dealerships, open by appointment only
  • Golf courses may begin to prepare their courses for the upcoming season, but not yet open to the public
  • Marinas may begin preparations for the recreational boating season by servicing boats and other watercraft and placing boats in the water, but not open to the public. Boats and watercraft must be secured to a dock in the marina until public access is allowed.
  • The full announcement can be read HERE.

Virtual Visits to Long-Term Care Facilities

Some long-term care facilities are offering family members virtual visits with loved ones.

Family Councils Ontario has posted some resources on virtual visits that you might find interesting – materials explaining how to use Zoom, Skype and FaceTime – and other resources

Here are some helpful links for navigating technology.
Web-version: Support:


Free Movies, TV shows, eBooks, Audiobooks & Digital Magazines

Stuck at home! With a Toronto Public Library card – you can watch, listen and read a huge selection of movies, music, ebooks, audiobooks, magazines and newspapers on your smartphone, tablet or PC/Mac — all at no charge. Click HERE to register on-line using your library card.

Kanopy (movies & eBooks)
Hoopla (movies)
RBdigital (audiobooks & eMagazines)
BiblioBoard (eBooks from self-published authors)
Flipster eMagazines (current issues of popular magazines)
Safari Tech & Business Books (major technology & business publishers)
PressReader (newspaper & magazine for 100 countries in 60 languages) (New York Times newspaper)
CanTook Station (French-language eBooks) (streaming video of classical music, operas & ballets)
Naxos Music Library (great music spanning medieval to modern)
Naxos Music Library (Jazz)

Other public libraries may offer similar services. If not try these other FREE services.

CRACKLE (TV & movies)
hoopla (movies)
PLEX (movies)
Pluto TV (livestream ViaComCBS)
Vudu (movies & TV shows)
Tubi TV (movies)
TVO (documentaries, etc.)
CBC GEM (livestream TV, movies, docs)
Internet Archives (movies, audio, eBooks, audiobooks)
Project Gutenberg (eBooks)
Authorama (eBooks)
LibriVox (audiobooks)
ManyBooks (eBooks)
BookBub (eBooks)
Goodreads (eBooks)

Celebrating Easter or Passover, & This Long Weekend

Easter and Passover both revolve around stories of sacrifice, redemption and community. It’s an important time for us to reach out and offer support to others.

We are all making a sacrifice right now for the greater good. The actions we are taking are saving lives. Thank you for everything you are all doing to help us all get through this.

Take a virtual tour through Toronto galleries and museums – click on the link HERE.

scupture by Carl Tacon

Seeking Help From Health Professionals and Other Resources on COVID-19

Ontario is looking at accepting help from foreign-trained medical practitioners. “They may or may not, depending on their skill-sets or experience, be able to practice medicine but they will certainly have a place in our health-care system.” If you have a medical background please step forward to fight COVID-19. You can find more information HERE.

If you’re in the research and development community are looking to help your community affected by COVID-19: see a list for researchers, clinicians and scientific community – you can find a curated list of initiatives HERE.

Important COVID-19 Updates and Information – April 1st

There is a great deal that can be learned from the successes and challenges other cities have faced in response to COVID-19. It is clear that we must act now.

We still have a window of opportunity to stop the spread of COVID-19, but that window is closing. We need to flatten the curve and limit community transmission, so that we don’t overwhelm our hospitals and health care system. If we don’t act, increased pressure will result in the tragic outcomes we are seeing around the world.

Today, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health announced new significant measures that are being taken to stop COVID-19 and save lives. Please click HERE to continue reading for more on these important next steps.

These are difficult and uncertain times. Remember, we’re all in this together. Stay home, stay safe, and look out for each other.