Month: March 2020

Digital Growth Grant


Yonge + St. Clair BIA Digital Growth Grant

BIA member businesses can receive a $500 grant to support and grow their business online.


In response to the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis, the Yonge + St. Clair BIA has created a $15,000 Digital Support Fund to provide grants to member businesses (must be located in the Yonge + St. Clair BIA) in support of their digital transition and/or growth. The grant will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis, allowing up to 30 eligible businesses to receive a grant of $500 each.

Applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis.

This is grant funding that you will NOT need to repay.




Whether this is the first time you’ve thought about going digital, or you already have an online strategy, this grant can be utilized in a unique way by every business to best help them transition or grow their online presence. This might include:

+ Setting up an online store

+ Creating tools to provide your services online (ie video classes)

+ Subscription costs for online tools or services

+ Necessary equipment

+ Staff training for digital technology

+ Digital marketing (ie social media ads)

+ Other digital growth needs

Not sure how you can use this grant? No worries. We’ve partnered with Digital Main Street, a non-profit organization that specializes in digital strategy, to provide you with free tools and guidance.


Grants cannot be used for:

+ Purchasing unnecessary or expensive equipment, or repair of existing equipment

+ Owner’s salaries or salaries of existing employees

+ Repayment of loans or past debts

+ Previous purchases or expenditures




Step 1: BIA member businesses can schedule a chat with Lana Pribic of Digital Main Street (DMS) by booking an appointment here or emailing Lana and the DMS team will discuss your online goals and help plan the best use of your grant.

Step 2: Once you’ve had a chat with the folks at DMS, please complete your application form here: Digital Growth Grant Application Form

Step 3: Successful applications will be contacted by email within 7 business days of submitting their application. Prior to receiving their grant funds, successful applications will be required to sign a simple contract outlining their obligations – including providing receipts of their digital support expenditures – to the BIA.

For any questions related to this grant, please contact

COVID-19: Resources for Businesses

The following is an evolving list of financial resources, measures, policy, and other information put forward by various level of government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This list will be continuously updated to provide the most relevant and up-to-date information for our members.

We encourage everyone who is seeking advice on how to access resources for support to contact the City of Toronto’s Small Business Service Centre at by calling 416-392-6646, emailing, or by visiting their website.

Also a reminder to TRACK YOUR LOSSES. It is not unheard of for the Government to require a complete audit of your sales before, during, and after the outbreak in order to calculate future compensation.


Government of Canada


Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan: March 18, 2020 – The Prime Minister has announced a new set of economic measures to help stabilize the economy during this challenging period. A number of measures for both individuals and businesses were announced including:

Providing eligible small employers a temporary wage subsidy for a period of three months. The subsidy will be equal to 10% of remuneration paid during that period, up to a maximum subsidy of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer

The Canada Revenue Agency will allow all businesses to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020.

The Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) will allow the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC) to provide more than $10 billion of additional support, largely targeted to small and medium-sized businesses.

Additional support for workers including Canada Child Benefit payments, access to EI, mortgage deferral, tax payment deferral, and more.

Learn more about these measures here.
We will continue to monitor the rollout and delivery of these programs, and provide updates as we can.

Federal Wage Subsidy: It is now in place, and businesses can access this subsidy by reducing the amount of federal income tax remitted to the CRA. Details on how it works are here:

Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP); March 16, 2020 – Through the Business Development Bank of Canada, the new BCAP new fund will provide more than $10 Billion in financing for small businesses. Businesses can apply online here:

There are two credit streams available to small businesses through BDC:

  • Less than $100,000:
    • Apply online
    • Only criteria is how long the business has been operating, and personal credit score
    • Application process, will be notified once approved
    • 5 year term
    • interest rate is 3.3%
    • Can defer principal payment for first 6 months
    • Open loan: can repay in full without penalty
  • $100,000 – $2 million:
    • Still an online process, more involved application
    • Requires submitting financial statements from the last 2-3 years
    • Negotiable term
    • Interest rate is 3.3% (might add a variance)
    • Not an open loan – penalty if pay before end of term

Work-Sharing: March 17, 2020 – Work-Sharing (WS) is an adjustment program designed to help employers and employees avoid layoffs when there is a temporary reduction in the normal level of business activity that is beyond the control of the employer. The measure provides income support to employees eligible for Employment Insurance benefits who work a temporarily reduced work week while their employer recovers. The Government of Canada introduced temporary special measures that extend the maximum duration of Work-Sharing agreements from 38 weeks to 76 weeks across Canada for those businesses affected by the downturn in business due to COVID-19. Click here to learn more.


Government of Ontario

Mandatory Closure of All Non-Essential Businesses: March 23, 2020 – The Ontario government will be ordering at-risk workplaces to close-down, while encouraging businesses to explore opportunities to continue operations through work-from-home and innovative business models. At-risk workplaces will be ordered to close by 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24th and where possible, take the necessary measures so staff can work from home allowing operations to continue.

Essential workplaces that may remain open are listed here.


Job Protection for Workers: March 16, 2020 – Premier Ford announced new protection for workers during the pandemic. The  government intends to introduce legislation that, if passed, would immediately provide job-protected leave to employees in isolation or quarantine due to COVID-19, or those who need to be away from work to care for children because of school or day-care closures. Learn more about the legislation here.


City of Toronto


Economic Support & Recovery Task Force: March 17, 2020 – The City of Toronto has developed a task force to support businesses affected by this crisis. Some of the upcoming measures include:

Extend a grace period for tax and other City of Toronto payments for businesses (payment and payment penalties) first for 30 days as of March 16.

Establish a “substantial contingency fund” to support businesses and affected groups

Expand the city’s small business advisory services to help businesses as they plan to recover from impacts


Please fill out their survey so the Taskforce can get a full sense of the various business needs and challenges you all are facing at the moment. Please click HERE to access the form. It should only take you about 3-5 minutes to complete.


Other Resources and Updates for Business

Digital Main Street: FREE one-on-one support to help get your business online 

Canadian Chamber of Commerce: Pandemic Preparedness for Business

Ontario Chamber of Commerce: COVID -19 Preparedness for Business

Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses: Small Business Help Centre

Retail Council of Canada: Resources for Retailers

Big Six Banks: Offering support to affected businesses and individuals

Employment Insurance (EI): New support measures

Facebook: Grants to support small businesses

Shopify: Now offering digital gift cards on all its subscription plans:

Shopify: List of resources for small businesses

Public Works and Government Services Canada: Calling all Suppliers




Various business organizations and associations have developed surveys to help measure the impact of COVID-19. Please take a moment to complete surveys that are relevant to you to help these groups advocate on your behalf.

City of Toronto Economic Support & Recovery Taskforce: Local Business Priorities: Responding to COVID-19

Ontario BIA Association (OBIAA):  Impact to BIA Communities Survey

Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO):  Survey of Impact on Ontario Tourism Operations




Printable Information Cards & Posters


Protect Yourself poster

How to Protect Yourself  Information Card (Also available in: Simplified Chinese  | Traditional Chinese

Wash Your Hands poster

Cover Your Cough poster

Self-Isolate  poster

Social Distancing poster


Health Resources


Toronto Public Health

Ontario Health and Wellness

Health Canada

World Health Organization

6 Ways You Can Still Support Local Businesses

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is impacting our everyday lives, and small and local businesses are facing the effects of reduced foot traffic and a decline in revenue. Here is a list of 5 things you can do right away to support your local businesses.

1. Buy a gift card

In the short term, gift cards are a quick and effective way to show support for the local businesses you care about, and to help provide short-term revenue.

Even if you’ve already purchased something for yourself, you may have someone else you could treat. You can purchase a gift card for someone you know who will use the product or service, or prepare for upcoming special occasions like birthdays or Mother’s Day or Father’s Day.

Remember to add a local gift card to your next shopping list, since shopping sooner will instantly help a businesses in need of support. For a list of local businesses offering gift card purchases at Yonge + St. Clair, visit our shop + dine local blog post.

2. Get delivery

Restaurants are switching over to take-out and delivery options. Consider shortening your at-home meal prep routines by ordering and paying for some of your favourite meals from home. You can check Uber EatsFoodoraSkip the DishesDoor DashRitual, and other digital services for a full list of all local delivery or pickup options. For a local guide of restaurants who are open for delivery, see our shop + dine local blog post.

3. Schedule a service for later

Many professional services in the area including medical, athletic, therapeutic, and aesthetic services are temporarily paused til further notice. Contact your local providers to book a future appointment, and help local businesses endure this difficult time.

Services in the area you can contact directly are listed in our public business directory, including Health + Wellness, Offices + Services, and Arts + Retail (including salons, beauty and specialty stores).

4. Tip well

Remember that an extra tip with your next purchase or order could go a long way.

5. Leave a great, local review

Help others in the community stay informed about local businesses worth discovering, and improve local search results by leaving a great review for places you enjoy. Whether it’s via a Google review, Yelp review, TripAdvisor or more, these are great ways to continue showing your support locally.

6. Spread the word

Let others know that they can play a role in the success of the community. Share this article and the image below on your Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, and let others know that local businesses will be counting on your support during tough times! We’re stronger together.


Head Online to Support Local Shops

As social distancing policies become a reality to help public health efforts, local businesses will see a significant drop in foot traffic and a decline in revenue. Small businesses and independent store owners will feel these impacts most heavily. Let’s come together to support local businesses.

Below are local businesses you can support directly through online purchases, gift card purchases or food delivery orders from Monday March 16, 2020 and onward.

Please contact each storefront directly for more information about their offerings, as well as any modified operating hours. Together we can show our love and support for Yonge + St. Clair and help our whole community make it through this.




The following local merchants offer gift cards that can be ordered electronically or over the phone, and delivered to you digitally or in the mail. Contact the business directly for more information.

+ Ambiyan on Yonge – call 416.792.5656, or email

+ Arthur’s Restaurant – purchase online here

+ David Scott Beauty – purchase online here

+ Dollarama – purchase online here

+ Eden Flower Shop – call 416.925.8188 or email

+ Esthetics by Sally – call 416.648.2778 or email

+ Freshii – purchase online here

+ Ginger Flower Studio – call 416.925.1135 or email

+ Glamour Secrets Beauty Bar – gift cards and product delivery available – visit online or call(416) 923-4526

+ Harvey’s – purchase online here

+ The Health Shoppe – call 416.968.1225 or email

+ The Hive Esports – call 647.348.6344 or email

+ Holy Chuck Burgers – call 416.962.4825 or email

+ Home Hardware – purchase online here

+ I.D. Eyewear – call 416.926.9200, will offer 10% bonus on all gift card purchases

+ Kaltenbock Opticians – email

+ Legs Beautiful – call 416.413.1515

+ Mary Be Kitchen – call 416.792.7596 or email

+ New Balance – purchase online here

+ 9 Bars – email

+ Olsson Optical – email

+ Oxygen Yoga & Fitness – email

+ Robert Dunne Salon – email or call(416) 962-7430

+ Roots – purchase online here

+ Salon LYOL – purchase online here

+ Salon Scavo – call 416.964.1229 or email

+ Spring Wellness – purchase online here

+ Starbucks – purchase online here

+ Subway – purchase online here

+ Swiss Chalet – purchase online here

+ Tim Hortons – purchase online here

+ Zelden’s Deli and Desserts – purchase online here


The following local establishments offer delivery or take-out. Please also continue to check Uber Eats, Foodora, Skip the Dishes, Door Dash, Ritual, and other digital services for a full list of all local delivery or pickup options.

+ 9 Bars Cafe | Cozy local cafe with sandwiches and dessert | Take-out only

+ Ambiyan on Yonge | Click here for flyer| Modern, casual Indian cuisine with no cliches | Delivery or take-out

+ Capocaccia Trattoria | Local neighbourhood trattoria with rustic Italian cuisine | Delivery only

+ Greenhouse Juice | Organic, plant-based beverages | Delivery or take-out

+ Holy Chuck Burgers | A local staple for burgers and milkshakes | Delivery or take-out

+ Kiva’s Bagel Bakery and Restaurant | Your local bagel stop | Delivery or take-out

+ Kwan Dim Sum | Modern dim sum fare | Delivery

+ Loblaws – order groceries online | Local grocery chain | Delivery

+ Mary Be Kitchen | Healthy, fresh, scratch-made food and bakery | Delivery and take-out

+ Midtown Gastro Hub | Pub fare and more casual classics | Delivery and take-out

+ McDonald’s | It’s McDonalds | Delivery 

+ Popeye’s Louisiana Chicken | Delivery

+ Shawarma Q | Great middle eastern food at great prices | Delivery

+ Sunny Morning Breakfast & Lunch | Traditional breakfast and lunch spot | Delivery and take-out

+ Swiss Chalet

+ Tim Horton’s

+ Zelden’s Deli and Desserts | Deli staples and classic desserts | Delivery and take-out



The following local businesses are currently accepting donations.

+ Zelden’s Deli and Desserts | GoFundMe (independently organized)



If you don’t see your business here and would like to, please email

If you don’t currently offer gift cards, e-commerce options, or delivery services, and would like assistance in doing so, please email and we can provide resources to support you going digital.

Craft Beer Days at Yonge + St. Clair

Craft Beer Days | #BeerDaysYSC

UPDATE (March 16, 2020): After careful consideration, Craft Beer Days will be postponed until further notice. We are committed to a fun and safe public event for everyone involved, and feel this is the responsible choice at this time. We will announce a new date in the near future. In the meantime, please continue to support your local businesses!

Ever sip a free beer sample inside a book store, or a yoga studio? Want to go to an after-work pub crawl that has an arts + crafts twist? Or need to try beer + food pairings at local dining hotspots? Craft Beer Days is a 3-day celebration of local food and Toronto craft brews around Yonge + St. Clair. Enjoy unique programming between March 26 – 28 here in the neighbourhood.

Learn More Below


Thursday, March 26 – Beer and Food Pairings | All Day

On Friday March 26, discover beer and food pairings at local dining hotspots. Participating locations include:

Ambiyan on Yonge – 1560 Yonge St. 
Kingfisher Beer + Butter Chicken – $14.99

Arthur’s – 12 St. Clair E
Jutsu Pale Ale, or Bellweiser Pilsner + Bolognese Pot Pie – $35.99

Midtown Gastro Hub – 1535 Yonge St.
1lb. Wings + Molson Canadian or Coors Pint – $12.99

Playa Cabana Taquiera – 21 St. Clair E
Visit in-store for beer and menu item pairing – $14.99



Friday, March 27 | Arts + Crafts Pub Crawl | 6PM – 10PM

Grab a few pints and bring out your competitive + creative side! Join us for a guided pub crawl to three Yonge + St. Clair bars and enjoy a unique arts + crafts competition at each location! Get your tickets here:


– Meet at 6pm at 1499 Yonge Street for your wristband and a FREE beer to kick things off!
– Enjoy complimentary snacks at each location!
– Participate in an arts + crafts competition at each location including plasticine modelling, LEGO building, and more!
– Opportunity to win local prizes at each location!
Our team will be on hand to keep the party moving, offering local craft beer recommendations, to get your Friday night started off right!


Start Location: Presentation Centre – 1499 Yonge Street
Meet the group here to sign-in, and get things started with a complimentary beer!

Midtown Gastro Hub | 1535 Yonge St.

Union Social Eatery | 21 St. Clair W

The Hive Esports | 49 St. Clair W

We encourage all guests to participate responsibly. Guests must be 19 years of age with valid government-issued photo identification. All guests will be required to sign a waiver form upon check-in at 1499 Yonge Street.




Saturday, March 28 | Sip + Shop | 12PM – 4PM

Ever sipped a cold craft beer inside a dry cleaners, or a book store? Come sample FREE Toronto-based, craft beers inside 7+ stores around Yonge + St. Clair, at cool retail locations on Saturday, March 28 any time between 12PM – 4PM. Open to the public, and free to all.
And more!
Visit each of the following locations for free craft beer samples, and special in-store promotions. Just steps from the St. Clair TTC Station on Yonge St.
Dove Cleaners – 1560 Yonge St. #102
Oxygen Yoga and Fitness – 1560 Yonge St. #108
Book City – 1430 Yonge St.
Rucci Clothiers – 1426 Yonge St.
Olsson Optical – 1407 Yonge St.
Pharmasave – 1366 Yonge St. #100
Midtown Tech – 1391 Yonge St.
We encourage all guests to participate responsibly. Guests must be 19+ years of age with valid government-issued photo identification.