Little Jamaica gets a financial boost from the Federal Government 


From Left: Ross Cadasse & Nadine Spencer of the BBPA with Michael Thompson, Minister Mélanie Joly Mayor John Tory and Minister Carolyn Bennett visit a business in Little Jamaica yesterday

In Toronto’s many diverse neighbourhoods are the heart and soul of the city – rich with retail and dining, art, culture and sport experiences.

With more than 27 million visitors each year, Torontonians and tourists alike contribute to the vitality of the urban centres and local economies.

The shift to remote work during the pandemic combined with business closures and travel restrictions, have impacted the businesses and growth of Toronto’s neighbourhoods. That is why today, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister for Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), announced $19 million to support the recovery and revitalization of Toronto’s neighbourhoods. As part of this investment, the City of Toronto will receive $18 million to deliver the Main Street Recovery and Rebuild Initiative (MRRI).

This first-in-Canada approach will help to retain and attract new, locally-owned businesses, as well as restore commercial foot traffic and vibrancy to local neighbourhoods with a focus on marginalized communities within the city. Minister Joly was joined by Mayor John Tory, who spoke to the benefits this targeted support will have for the City of Toronto.

Retail Accelerator Program – accelerator programming for retail businesses in the downtown core and inner suburbs, providing them with training,

Shopping in Little Jamaica

advisory services, mentorship and a contribution of up to $10,000.

And one million dollars towards Revitalization of Little Jamaica – in collaboration with the Black Business and Professional Association, this project will support 40 Black- and Caribbean-owned businesses in Toronto’s Little Jamaica to scale, grow and showcase the neighbourhood’s dining, shopping and cultural experiences.

This will be a non-repayable investment of $1 million, and will be allocated to the ShowLoveTO initiative, which encourages Torontonians to explore, shop and support local stores, restaurants and service providers.

“Toronto’s vibrancy stems from its diversity of neighbourhoods and main streets throughout this global city. Our government is proud to support the City of Toronto to help retail and main street businesses to bounce back, stimulate local tourism and invite foot traffic back

John Tory and Mike Cole

to Toronto’s restaurants, shops and sites, protecting jobs and creating new opportunities for tourism.”

In making the announcement, Minister Mélanie Joly said, “We need to ensure our businesses are set up for recovery post-pandemic, and in the years to come. Today’s support from the federal government will provide much needed help for our hard hit main streets and small businesses.”

Mayor Tory spoke of the importance of togetherness and community and expects The Main Street Recovery and Rebuild Initiative will make a difference in helping to restore Toronto’s vibrancy.

Adam Vaughan, Member of Parliament, Spadina–Fort York, underscored the support that small businesses provide to the community by contributing to the vibrant art, culture and experiences of Toronto. “This investment is just the beginning of what our government is doing to ensure an inclusive recovery plan to support marginalized communities in our city, which have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.”

Ross Cadastre of the BBPA added “We don’t want to go back to normal we want to move forward creating a better future for Little Jamaica”