The 2009 Bicycle Friendly Business Awards presentation, which took place at the Gladstone Hotel, paid tribute to businesses and organizations that demonstrate leadership in encouraging cycling by employees and/or customers. By doing so, these businesses are helping to promote the bicycle as a sustainable form of transportation that contributes to a reduction in traffic congestion and pollution.
The following businesses and organizations were recognized for their bicycle friendliness:
- Best Bike Parking Award: Mountain Equipment Co-op
- Bicycle-Friendliest Suburban Business Award: Smart Commute North Toronto Vaughan
- Bicycle Commute Award: Ontario College of Art & Design
- Best Small Business Award: Bike Train Initiative
- Best Large Business Award: Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center
- Best Skills Development Award: Charlie’s FreeWheels
- Best Overall Award: Bike Train Initiative
Here is some more detailed information about the award recipients and why they were selected.
Bicycle Parking Award
Mountain Equipment Co-op has demonstrated above average bicycle parking for its employees and customers. Out the front of their shop MEC has installed bike parking which is both covered and monitored. For those who have forgotten their locks, MEC even offers a loaner lock program so that bikes can be safely stored. Employees enjoy an indoor bike parking room, which is accessed by key pass, and can store up to 100 bikes. The bike room is equipped with tools, lockers, and more. Beyond their commitment to safe and secure bicycle parking, MEC encourages cycling in a wide range of ways. From offering discounts to employees, to sponsoring and supporting a variety of bike related groups, MEC has shown themselves to be a great example of a bicycle friendly business.
Bicycle-Friendliest Suburban Business Award
Smart Commute North Toronto Vaughan is an organization committed to the advancement and promotion of cycling as a sustainable, cost-effective and healthy mode of commuting. They are instrumental in the York University cycling community, and have hosted a wealth of events and programs such as Bike-to-School day at York, and Tune-up for the York University community. Their encouragement of cycling as a mode of transportation goes further, as they have co-hosted events with Sunnybrook Hospital, and worked at the 3rd Annual Tour de University Heights Bike Race to promote safe cycling to children and the community, and to provide complimentary cycling gear.
Bicycle Commuter Award
The Ontario College of Art & Design has proven themselves to be a leader in encouraging cycling as a means of transportation, not only within their school, but for the Toronto public. OCAD has worked to improve and increase bicycle parking across their campus during 2009. With a fair number of new spaces already in place, OCAD plans to have just over 200 new spots for their students and faculty of around 3500. In addition, OCAD manages several programs and events aimed at cycling (such as Bike to School Day). A combination of social programming and infrastructure has worked to promote and maintain a strong percentage of bicycle commuters at OCAD.
Small Bicycle Business Award
The Bike Train Initiative of Transportation Options has introduced bike racks onboard select passenger rail trains to destinations across Ontario, making cycling holidays easy and accessible. This non-profit organization is aimed at encouraging the use of various modes of sustainable transportation. The Bike Train Initiative has managed to seamlessly partner train travel and cycling, and in so doing has attracted and inspired a wide range of people to ride their bikes.
Large Bicycle Business Award
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center encourages cycling and promotes the use of bicycles across their campus. Many outdoor parking spots can be found across the campus, several which are safe from the elements. Staffs are welcome to use shower and change facilities, and have key-card access to safe and secure bicycle parking. This year bicycle racks have been installed on their shuttle service. Staff at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center also benefit by having information sessions about new bike parking, best routes to take to get to work, and flat tire changing workshops. With a prominent cycling community, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center has worked to create a cycling friendly environment for their staff and member of the public.
Bicycle Skill Development Award
Charlies FreeWheels is a program aimed at taking youth from the Regent Park community and teaching them bicycle mechanic skills, and safety tips. Over a twelve week period the youth learn how to strip down a bike and put it back together. At the end the bicycle is theirs to keep. By encouraging the use of bicycles through education and hands-on experience, Charlies FreeWheels has provided these youth with an amazing experience. This organization works to support creative and environmentally sustainable initiatives to create positive change in the Toronto community.
Best Overall Bicycle Friendly Business
The Bike Train Initiative of Transportation Options has encouraged the use of cycling by creating a fun and efficient way to travel by train and take your bike. In addition to their popular Toronto-Niagara Greenbelt Express, the Bike Train expanded for one pilot weekend to North Bay, and tested daily service between Toronto and Montreal between August and October during 2009. The Bike Train initiative is further working with cycling destinations to install bike racks and signage at train stations across Ontario. The Bike Train Initiative of Transportation Options has demonstrated an opportunity to grow environmentally sustainable, green tourism options throughout Ontario, and has shown themselves to be a deserving recipient of the Overall Bicycle Friendly Business award.
The Bicycle Friendly Business Awards would like to thank the in-kind sponsors Dufflet Pastries and Live Metal Works.
Toronto Cyclists Union
Live Metal Works