City of Toronto Launches Retail Main Streets Study, and Seeks Input

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The City of Toronto has partnered with consultancy THREE SIXTY COLLECTIVE to launch a study about main street retail in Toronto. The first phase of the study consists of an online Resident Survey and Business Survey to understand both resident shopping habits and the challenges facing main street businesses.

Economic Development and Culture, through the Toronto BIA Office, launched the study to determine the current state of Toronto’s retail main streets, and are inviting the Toronto business community and residents to share their views on the issues and challenges facing independent street-level businesses in the city. This will give the City a deeper insight into future potential policies and programs that will best support these businesses.

The survey links above will be live until May 20th. The results of the study will be presented to the Economic and Community Development Committee in early 2020. More information about the City’s Retail Main Streets study is available at:

The Retail Main Streets project will:

  • Document the role played by small independent businesses in the City’s main streets

  • Identify and analyze the key factors that are critical to their successful operation and survival

  • Identify and analyze recent trends impacting those key factors and offer informed opinions about what the future may hold

  • Identify public policy responses being taken in other jurisdictions around the world to
    address similar challenges

  • Develop recommended policies, programs and advocacy positions the City should consider to ensure the economic viability of its retail main streets and small independent main street businesses in the future owners.

The first phase of the study will be research driven and will identify the major challenges affecting Toronto’s main street business owners.

The goal is to gain an understanding of the current economic, policy and regulatory environment in which they operate, the key issues they face, and the types of supports that would be most helpful to them and identifying factors, trends, opportunities and threats.

Stakeholder engagement will include interviews with retail business owners, an online survey for business owners, an online survey for City of Toronto residents and a public meeting.

In addition the team will be defining, mapping and profiling Main Street Retail Areas and Small, Independent Main Street Businesses.

The second phase of the study will involve The City of Toronto reporting on practical policy, program and advocacy recommendations that the City could implement to better ensure the sustainability of small and independent main street businesses in the future.

For more information and to participate, click the links below: 

Resident Survey 

Business Survey 

Article Author

Craig Patterson
Located in Toronto, Craig is the Editor-in-Chief of Retail Insider and President/CEO of Retail Insider Media Ltd. He is also a retail analyst and consultant, Director of Applied Research at the University of Alberta School of Retailing in Edmonton, and consultant to the Retail Council of Canada. He has studied the Canadian retail landscape for over 25 years and he holds Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws Degrees.

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