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Public Engagement Innovation Lab: Bloor St. Culture Corridor (Toronto, Ontario)

Created in 2014, the Bloor St. Culture Corridor (BCC), situated in Toronto’s most diverse arts and culture district, is a partnership comprised of 19 of Toronto’s most vibrant arts and culture organizations. It is a one-of-a-kind project in Canada, encompasses three major neighbourhoods of Toronto; the Annex, University of Toronto, and Yorkville, and includes 5 major Toronto Transit (TTC) subway stations.

The Innovation Lab will shape the BCC’s first formal and collective community engagement mandate and program. It will focus on developing relationships between neighbourhood residents, local students, local artists, people working at local businesses, and the arts and culture organizations in our local neighbourhood - with culture at the heart of interactions and community pride.

The objective of this Lab is to go beyond traditional notions of what makes a neighbourhood and to reshape both thinking and interaction; it will be focused on developing connection, collaboration and community between the Bloor St. Culture Corridor cultural organizations and the neighbourhood ecosystem of people. The BCC Lab will gather the local community and culture workers to galvanize the Bloor St. West neighbourhood around culture, and to increase people’s engagement with the diverse cultural resources on the Bloor St. Culture Corridor while more consciously fostering the ecosystem of culture and people in the area.

The programs and activities will be designed by the engaged target groups themselves. A series of events will be held to facilitate collaborative, inclusive, initiative design-planning and informal, positive, social interaction among the various groups in the neighbourhood.

There is currently no forum for positive relationship-building among all constituents, and no community gathering and development that positions arts and culture at the heart and core of the neighbourhood.

Success for this distinctive urban Lab would mean that the people that live and work in the BCC neighbourhood have strong inter-relationships, personal community involvement, and meaningful engagement with the cultural organizations in the neighbourhood. People will feel part of, and involved in, an awesome community: cohesive, involved, happy, engaged.  

Targeted Audience: Neighbourhood residents, business owners and employees

Lab Leader: Heather Kelly, Founder/Director, Bloor St. Culture Corridor

Partners: Alliance Française de Toronto; Bata Shoe Museum; Bloor Hot Docs Cinema; Gardiner Museum; Istituto Italiano di Cultura; The Japan Foundation, Toronto; Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre; Native Canadian Centre of Toronto; Royal Ontario Museum (ROM); The Royal Conservatory / Koerner Hall; Soundstreams; Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra & Chamber Choir; Talisker Players; The Toronto Consort; University of Toronto Faculty of Music; the 918 Bathurst Centre; the Museum of Estonians Abroad; the Randolph Centre for the Arts; and the Toronto Reference Library.