Downtown wins $10,000 award for community spirit

What I love about downtown? Waterfront!
What I love about downtown? Waterfront!

The Burlington Downtown Business Association has won the Community Spirit Award from Yellow Pages Group for its recent participation in the Shop the Neighbourhood Campaign. As the council representative on the board of the BDBA, I couldn’t be more proud of the entire team that pulled this together and the community members who made it happen. Below is a report from Brian Dean, general manager of the BDBA, with more details on the program.

The award and what it means for downtown

Yellow Pages Group launched the Community Spirit Award program in the GTA this past November in an effort to put a focus on shopping locally and supporting local businesses – all in time for the holidays.

Yellow Pages offered three prizes of $10,000 each to the three BIAs demonstrating the highest participation and most spririted campaigns. The funds are to be used by the respective BIAs towards beautification projects.

Burlington Downtown was not only awarded one of the three $10,000 prizes but was commended on embodying the true spirit of the campaign as it was conceived of by Yellow Pages. We are considered by the organizers as a “best practise” moving into 2014!

The Burlington Downtown Campaign leveraged the platform of Shop the Neighbourhood provided by Yellow Pages Group but took a slightly more “neighbourhood-focused” approach. Our campaign “♥ OUR HOOD” asked of members of our community to share what they “love” about Downtown Burlington.

This was a social media campaign augmented by a chalkboard that was passed around the downtown throughout November. On Nov. 30, businesses offered one-day “promotions” and “deals”, parking was offered for free and people were invited to wear yellow to win prizes. Many businesses not only offered special deals but also decorated their windows, inside displays and staff in yellow, to align to the yellow pages theme.

Yellow Pages incorporated pictures from our campaign into their marketing of the event and has asked to work with the BDBA in 2014 to develop the program further. The intent is not to focus only on one day of shopping locally – but to make it a year-round initiative.

This event would not have been possible without the efforts of many people – business owners, residents, visitors. Many thanks to Brian Dean,
General Manager of the BDBA for getting behind this initiative; Leila Hurley, who conceived and executed the campaign; Joelle Cooling, Janet Sachade, Mirella Marsillio and Jen Walker who led the steering committee for the event; Sue Abell (owner of Tread Powerfully) who contributed a group video expressing their “love of our hood”; Insite Design who helped conceive and design the local campaign; and Sara Rams Wallace (co-owner of Burlington Taxi) who helped us develop the whole Chalkboard concept… and who engaged taxi drivers and students at Central Public School to participate.

Special thanks also to Jennifer Rayworth who donated her Saturday to hand out prizes to shoppers downtown on Nov. 30.

The BDBA will be continuing to use the “Love our Hood” theme in our marketing efforts throughout 2014.

My Take: This is an amazing achievement by a passionate group of downtown advocates, many of whom both live and work downtown. It was a blast to participate. Kudos to all!

Your Take: What do you love about downtown? Leave a comment below.

Written by Marianne Meed Ward

I was inspired to seek public office because I believe, like so many of you, “I can do something about that” on the issues we face. As councilor, my role is to take a stand on what’s best for residents and go to bat for it. Pushback is inevitable from those who don’t have the community’s interests at heart. I will stand with you and for you, to achieve the best interests of our city, without caving to unacceptable compromise in the name of consensus.

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