In 2019 the Vanier BIA faced new challenges like we have never seen before. With these hurdles came the opportunity to meet adversity with creative solutions that will further arts and culture in our community and allow us to strive for the success and safety of our member businesses.
The “What’s Good in the Hood” campaign was the standout success of 2019. We took a budget that used to run one large event on Montreal Road – Mozaik – and divided it among “pop-in” events at some of our businesses. We also created a micro-grant program to encourage our members to host more events in their venues. We also created a micro-grant program to encourage our members to host more events in their venues. These grants were also made available to city wide promoters and artistic drivers to encourage them to host events in our BIA.
Meanwhile, our biggest event of the year continues to get better, more efficient and more inclusive. The 2019 edition of Beechfest hit bigger milestones than just the number of attendees. We secured more event sponsorship than ever before – not only doubling sponsorship dollars, but also doubling the number of sponsors supporting this event.
Safety and security: A return to the roots
We promised in 2019 to do more work on safety and security. After much research and a lot of work, we prepared a couple of really good strategies that will be implemented in 2020, including policies on what to do when and if there is a security issue inside your business, as well as who to call – it’s not always 911 or the police. We’re also putting together a series of lunch-and-learns in which we will be working more closely with the recently relaunched community policing team.
The BIA’s WeVolution project created governing principles to guide strategic visioning for the area, including more consultation relating to new arts and culture initiatives. This led to a host of new partnerships with key players in the city of Ottawa. We are now working with Synapcity, the NAC, the Megaphono music festival, Ottawa Tourism, Ottawa Festivals Network and the City of Ottawa’s cultural programming department. These organizations will be vital in achieving our long-term vision for Vanier.
Strengthening merchant relationships
The Vanier BIA has also been working as part of the new Ottawa Coalition of BIAs, with our own BIA chair, Mark Kaluski, also chairing the board of the new organization. Through this new group, we can lobby the city with one strong voice to further the interests of small businesses.
We unfortunately had to move the BIA office twice in the last year, but have now settled into a ground-floor space on Montreal Road that should be our home for some time to come.
As the BIA began looking ahead to 2020, we narrowed our focus down to six priority areas that will continue to make Vanier a vibrant, safe and colourful community.
Those six priority areas will be revealed and discussed at the BIA’s annual general meeting, which is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 30 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the new Jacobsons location (103 Beechwood Ave.).
Join us to learn more about what 2020 has in store for Vanier and how you can be a part of the community’s success.