Today, Mayor John Tory highlighted the launch of an online donation platform that allows community members to make direct donations to small businesses to help lessen the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This platform allows customers to continue to support local main street businesses impacted by non-essential closures, such as coffee shops, restaurants and hair salons.
Local businesses can visit https://distantly.ca/ to set up their free account today or contact their local Business Improvement Association for assistance. Toronto residents who are able, can make a secure online donation to their favourite local business. These contributions will help to alleviate expenses, such as rent and payroll.
Distantly.ca was founded by Susan McArthur, a former partner at a venture capital fund, and Daniel Spataro and Moe Katib, co-founders of Buildable Technologies, in response to Mayor Tory’s call at a recent TechTO event that asked Toronto companies to come forward with ideas to help the City respond to this crisis.
The platform was developed in partnership with the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA), a non-profit umbrella organization working with Toronto’s 83 Business Improvement Areas, representing more than 40,000 business and property owners, and Digital Main Street, a City and TABIA initiative to help brick and mortar main street businesses open an online presence. Other partners included David McArthur, Enterprise, Totum Life Science, and Migeotte and Migeotte.
City staff are continuing to develop a range of solutions with partners in the community, to help small businesses while also continuing to advocate for additional support from the provincial and federal governments.
The City’s website is updated daily with the latest health advice and information about City services and social supports. Check https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/ for answers to common questions before contacting the Toronto Public Health COVID-19 Hotline or 311.
“Toronto’s main street businesses are critical to the success of our city. They are the backbones of our residential neighbourhoods, an important contributor to our quality of life, and are a part of what makes Toronto attractive for businesses to invest in. I want to thank Daniel, Susan and Moe for their civic minded work to develop technology solutions to support Toronto’s main streets.”
– Mayor John Tory
“We are working hard with our community partners to develop a range of solutions to support Toronto businesses, their employees and residents, while also advocating for additional support from the provincial and federal governments to ensure our small business community is supported through this pandemic.”
– Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson, Scarborough Centre (Ward 21), Chair of the Economic and Community Development Committee
“Our main streets and mom and pops have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. The outpouring of support has been heartwarming. Ideas and collaborations like distantly.ca will help us come together while keeping apart. This initiative builds on the incredible work already being done by our BIAs and I encourage everyone to get involved any way they can: order locally, donate, or share.”
– Councillor Brad Bradford, Beaches-East York (Ward 19)
“Local businesses are important to the fabric and well-being of every community. I wanted to find a scalable solution so that other Canadians could easily help their local businesses by providing some needed cash flow to help ensure that our vital local businesses survive and continue to serve our communities for years to come.”
– Susan McArthur, former venture capital fund partner
“When non-essential businesses were closed, we felt compelled to use the resources, technology and team at our disposal at Buildable to help fellow business owners. You can’t serve food or give someone a haircut over Zoom, and yet, without these types of businesses, our city, and our country, wouldn’t look and feel the same.”
– Daniel Spataro, Buildable co-founder
Toronto is home to more than 2.9 million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture, and innovation, and consistently places at the top of international rankings due to investments championed by its government, residents and businesses. For more information visit http://www.toronto.ca or follow us on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/CityofToronto, on Instagram at http://www.instagram.com/cityofto or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/cityofto.