Did you know that TNO – The Neighbourhood Organization was previously known as Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office? Last year TNO – The Neighbourhood Organization supported over thirty-two thousand clients in settlement, housing, skill building, early childhood and youth programs, language, and employment programming to name a few. What started as an afterschool program has expanded to support the surrounding communities in various aspects of social services.
Thorncliffe Park’s population has been increasing faster than the entire City of Toronto, growing +9.8% between 2011 and 2016 to 21,108. There are over 40 languages spoken in the neighbourhood, with 57.8% of residents speaking a language other than English (Statistics Canada, 2016 Census Population, 2018).
Unique Business Challenges in Thorncliffe Park
Thorncliffe Park is geographically isolated as it is bound by Don Valley and the DVP to the south, Millwood Road to the West, Don Mills Road to the east, Canadian Pacific Railway’s Belleville Subdivision to the North (Google, n.d.). At Overlea Boulevard and Thorncliffe Park Drive people may cut through the community meaning that much of the businesses do not attract “walk-ins” from out-of-neighbourhood.
In addition to this, there is no Business Improvement Area (BIA) organizations set up in Thorncliffe Park to help promote and represent these small businesses and Thorncliffe Park as whole. BIA’s can play a large part in working with the City to create funding capacities to create “thriving main streets at the heart of neighbourhoods, supported by the effort the people who live and work there” (Toronto Association of Business Improvement Area, 2019).
Future of Businesses in Thorncliffe Park
For those businesses which have survived the pandemic, inflation pressure has forced increased prices of 20-30% leading to a drop in regular neighbourhood customers. Many of the businesses’ in the area are mom-and-pop small businesses’, which rely on word-of-mouth, or advertising within its own community.
As TNO – The Neighbourhood Organization, continues to build on its Workforce Development initiatives, we re-connected with our roots of Thorncliffe Park. TNO’s Trades Connect Program along with the Leaside Business Park Association applied for the Mainstreet Innovation grant and successfully received funding.
Our proposal aimed to develop an event the “Discover Thorncliffe Park” initiative to draw people into Thorncliffe Park to experience the diversity of foods, products, and cultures of the businesses in the community. Thorncliffe Park is a neighbourhood filled with a great diversity of foods and culture, with everything from Indian, Pakistani, Afghan, Middle Eastern, Hakka, Yemen, Japanese and others, it has the potential to be a “Foodie” destination.
Discover Thorncliffe Park Event
On May the 22nd, the event will launch starting with the “Discover Thorncliffe Park” Scavenger Hunt. The purpose of the scavenger hunt is to have members of the public enter stores with hints found on the website discoverthorncliffepark.ca , exposing them to the many different offerings in the community. Participants will take photos and tag @discoverthorncliffe on Instagram or join us on event day (May 27th!) with their camera role for prizes!
The TNO Trades Connect Program participants will have created creative metal welded art pieces that will help people navigate and discover all that Thorncliffe Park has to offer. The welded art pieces can be used to attract and anchor other events to keep drawing people into the community including art festivals, markets, storytelling festivals etc.
Join us at the HUB (45 Overlea Blvd, 2nd floor) on May 27th 2023 from 11:00am – 4:00pm for Discover Thorncliffe Park!
We welcome those who want to participate or volunteer to fill out https://forms.office.com/r/7BHywZ54jB
For updates please follow us on Instagram @discoverthorncliffe and @tnotc
This project has been funded by the City of Toronto’s Main Street Innovation Fund, as part of Government of Canada support through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.
Google (n.d.). [Google Maps for area of Thorncliffe Park, Toronto, Ontario]. Retrieved from Google Maps at https://tinyurl.com/3urab7fb
Statistics Canada, 2016 Census Population. (2018). 2016 Neighbourhood Profile Thorncliffe Park. https://www.toronto.ca/ext/sdfa/Neighbourhood%20Profiles/pdf/2016/pdf1/cpa55.pdf. Retrieved April 22, 2023, from https://www.toronto.ca/ext/sdfa/Neighbourhood%20Profiles/pdf/2016/pdf1/cpa95.pdf
Toronto Association of Business Improvement Area. (2019, July 16). What is a BIA? Toronto BIA. Retrieved April 22, 2023, from https://www.toronto-bia.com/whats-a-bia/