Church-Wellesley Village Launches Toronto's 1st BIA Pop-Up Initiative 

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By Craig Patterson

Toronto’s Church-Wellesley Village Business Improvement Area (BIA) is looking to fill some available spaces with pop-up stores, in an effort to fill area vacancies while adding to a sense of community. Several temporary retail spaces are available and businesses are being sought to market to the local community.  

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The goal is to add more vibrancy, excitement and a sense of community to the diverse area, eliminating empty storefronts that may lead to undesirable results such as vandalism. 

It’s the first time that a Toronto BIA has taken on such a unique initiative in an effort to reduce area vacancies, if even just temporarily. The BIA is specifically looking to fill some of the spaces with affordable, non-permanent entrepreneurial or small business endeavours. 

 Click for interactive Google map

Click for interactive Google map

The BIA conducted a survey with the surrounding community, and 93% of respondents said that they take pride in supporting local businesses, restaurants and services at least twice a week. Respondents from the survey were also asked for ideas on what to fill the empty spaces with and some of the key findings were: bakeries, LGBTQ/women friendly spaces, clothing stores, independent retail and cafes/coffee shops.

In the Church-Wellesley Village, an unprecedented amount of residential development will see thousands of new residents added to the area that spans a few blocks around the intersection of Church Street and Wellesley Street. With all of the new residents, increased density will also lead to increased foot traffic for local businesses. 

 Photo: City of Toronto

Photo: City of Toronto

Pop-ups are a great way for retailers to test concepts, as well as build buzz. Pop-up retail is a significant trend amongst retailers in Canada, with many mainstream retailers now adopting the idea as part of their overall strategy. 

Applications for the Church Street Pop-Up Initiatives are being accepted until June 1st, with the expectation that spaces be filled in the weeks to come. Interested parties are encouraged to act quickly — June is Pride Month in Toronto, with the 2018 Pride Parade taking place on June 24.[Apply here]

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