Government of Canada partners with City of Toronto to revitalize and rebuild main streets and neighbourhoods in Toronto

News release

FedDev Ontario invests $19 million to bring people back to main streets across Toronto supporting recovery of over 3,300 local businesses and protecting more than 5,760 jobs

July 13, 2021 – Toronto, Ontario

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, has 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.

This non-repayable contribution over three years will leverage over $7.2 million in private investments and includes the following sub projects:

  • Retail Accelerator Program - accelerator programming for retail businesses in the downtown core and inner suburbs, providing them with training, advisory services, mentorship and a contribution of up to $10,000.
  • 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.
  • CaféTO - Funding support from FedDev Ontario for Café TO can be used to support cost-share improvements to patio space to meet accessibility and public safety requirements while restaurants and bars are still recovering from the impacts of the pandemic.
  • Main Street Innovation Fund – for Toronto Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) and community business organizations to develop innovative and creative solutions to re-animate neighbourhoods through cultural events, installations and attractions.
  • plazaPOPS program - to transform 15 strip mall parking lots in Scarborough, Etobicoke and the inner suburbs of Toronto into safe and green community gathering spaces, to encourage outdoor gatherings and increased foot traffic to local businesses.

To support the businesses that call Toronto home, an additional non-repayable investment of $1 million will be allocated to the ShowLoveTO initiative, which encourages Torontonians to explore, shop and support local stores, restaurants and service providers.

Together, these investments will support more than 3,300 Toronto businesses and protect over 5,760 jobs, further demonstrating the Government of Canada’s commitment to helping communities, families and businesses build forward from the pandemic in a strong and inclusive economic recovery. 


“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 to Toronto’s restaurants, shops and sites, protecting jobs and creating new opportunities for tourism.”
- The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible FedDev Ontario

“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. Thank you to our federal partners for this funding that will be vital to the survival of our small businesses and in the success of our city.”
- His Worship John Tory, Mayor, City of Toronto

“Restoring our main streets and neighbourhood businesses is essential for Toronto to emerge from this pandemic as the truly great city that it is. Today’s announcement is a positive step in that direction. This initiative supports the recovery and revitalization of Toronto’s neighbourhoods, from Etobicoke to Scarborough. The Main Street Innovation Fund and CaféTO are examples of ways to move forward quickly. And with programs like plazaPOPS, our inner suburbs of Toronto will be able to transform parking lots into safe and green community gathering spaces.”
- James Maloney, Member of Parliament for Etobicoke–Lakeshore

“Above all, the COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the importance of togetherness and community. The Main Street Recovery and Rebuild Initiative projects will make a difference in helping to restore Toronto’s vibrancy and to get us back to the bustling pace that Toronto is known for.”
- Adam Vaughan, Member of Parliament, Spadina–Fort York

"Small businesses have supported our communities, and contributed to the vibrant art, culture and experiences of Toronto, and it is important that we support them now more than ever. 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.”
- Marci Ien, Member of Parliament, Toronto Centre

Quick facts

  • Incorporated in 1834, the City of Toronto is the fourth largest city in North America, with a population of 2.9 million people. Toronto competes on an international stage in areas such as finance, technology, entertainment and tourism.

  • Through the recently announced Canada Community Revitalization Fund, Major Festivals and Events Support Initiative and the Tourism Relief Fund, Canada’s regional development agencies continue to be trusted partners delivering targeted support for economic recovery in the region. Application intake for these programs is now open in southern Ontario through FedDev Ontario.

  • FedDev Ontario moved quickly to deliver relief funding to help businesses and organizations keep staff employed and prepare for a more stable future. The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund provided critical support to more than 40,000 businesses in southern Ontario, protecting approximately 71,000 jobs during a critical period of time during the pandemic.

  • Through FedDev Ontario investments in the Digital Main Street platform, more than 30,000 businesses were supported in transitioning to e-commerce or enhancing their online presence at a critical period of time.

  • Since 2015, FedDev Ontario has provided over $310 million to support nearly 420 projects, maintaining over 21,600 jobs and creating over 13,000 jobs in the City of Toronto.

Associated links


Floriane Bonneville
Office of the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages

Media Relations
Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

Media Relations
City of Toronto

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