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News & Updates

Welcome to the Downtown Kitcheners News & Updates page. Here you will find all sorts of cool things we are working on, press releases, information on COVID- 19 and lots more.

DTK BIA Receives My Main Street Funding

My Main Street announces $15.8 million of successful projects to support local businesses in southern Ontario

January 12, 2022 | NEWS

My Main Street is supporting 106 Community Activator placemaking projects and 65 Main Street communities through the Business Accelerator program

Today the Honourable Helena Jaczek, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) announced the successful applicants for My Main Street - a $23.25 million investment by the Government of Canada and delivered in partnership by the Canadian Urban Institute (CUI) and the Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO) to support the revitalization of 200 neighbourhoods across southern Ontario.

My Main Street is being delivered through two program streams:

The My Main Street Local Business Accelerator program is supporting the revitalization of 65 main street communities, and 650 businesses across southern Ontario. The Local Business Accelerator program provides support through a $57,500 contribution to hire a dedicated Main Street Ambassador, customized marketing research and data analysis, and non-repayable funding contributions for small businesses. Overall, about $3.7 million dollars will be provided directly to municipalities, business improvement areas and other My Main Street host organizations across southern Ontario and an additional $6.5 million will be received by 650 small local businesses. EDCO expects to send close to $1 million to our My Main Street communities as they recruit their Main Street Ambassadors to engage with local businesses and entrepreneurs. My Main Street Community Activator is funding 106 placemaking projects in the first round, totaling $5.6 million in 106 communities across southern Ontario (excluding Toronto). All of these projects aim to reanimate neighbourhoods through installations, events and activities to drive foot traffic back to main streets and provide local communities with safe, outdoor experiences to enjoy. In total, the program received 149 applications worth nearly $9 million in the first round.

A list of all of the successful Community Activator Projects and Local Busines Accelerator communities can be found at here.

My Main Street is built on the principle of supporting community economic development and creating vibrant and diverse neighbourhoods where residents from all backgrounds can benefit, enjoy and feel safe in their communities and on their main streets throughout the pandemic. The program takes an inclusive approach, supporting areas that have commercial and community importance, and provides targeted support to racialized neighborhoods and measures to reduce the barriers faced by underrepresented groups.

“The projects supported by this first round of My Main Street demonstrate how communities are creatively working to bring people together—safely, following all the protocols, with local businesses,” said Mary W. Rowe, President and CEO, Canadian Urban Institute. “They are reminding us of how remarkable our local places and spaces can be accessible to everyone, especially now."

“Main streets that combine placemaking and diverse business balance, result in successful local economies,” said Heather Lalonde, CEO, Economic Developers Council of Ontario. “This project enables communities to ensure that both are possible. Thanks to the support of the FedDev Ontario, communities in southern Ontario will have the resources to establish a strong foundation for moving forward.

Applications for Year Two for the My Main Street Community Activator program are currently being accepted until February 1, 2022. Interested municipalities, business improvement areas and community organizations located within southern Ontario (except for Toronto), are encouraged to learn more and apply at

About My Main Street

My Main Street is a $23.25-million investment by Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario to support the recovery and revitalization of main streets and local businesses in southern Ontario. The Canadian Urban Institute and the Economic Developers Council of Ontario have partnered to deliver My Main Street through two program streams. Learn more at

DTK BIA & KWAG win big at Arts Awards Waterloo Region

Arts Awards Waterloo Region: Congratulations to our 2021 Winners!

Arts Awards Waterloo Region hosted its awards night on Friday, November 26, 2021. The arts community – artists, supporters, and fans –gathered at a live online event for the 2021 Arts Awards Waterloo Region Awards Event.

Arts Awards Waterloo Region Chair Pam Patel shared: “Our Board is speaking to you live and online tonight. At the same time, we will be travelling around and presenting the awards ‘live’ at each winner’s home during the duration of this exciting live event!”

The evening saw 10 awards presented: seven awards presented in the broad category of “the arts”; in addition, there were one Emerging Artist award, an Arts Philanthropist award, and a Lifetime Achievement award. The evening culminated when Chair Pam Patel arrived at the final winner’s home to present the Lifetime Achievement award.

Arts Awards Waterloo Region 2021 winners are as follows:

Neruda Arts, General Taylor Graham, Emerging Artist MT SPACE, General CAFKA (Contemporary Art Forum Kitchener + Area), General Luke Swinson, General Green Light Arts, General Downtown Kitchener Business Improvement Association and Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, General Suzanne Luke, General Musagetes Fund, Arts Philanthropist Glen Carruthers, Lifetime Achievement


Last, many thanks to our 2021 sponsors as well. In 2021, there are many new challenges facing our community, including artists, arts nonprofits, local businesses, retail establishments and sponsors.

Our many thanks to the 90+ members of the Arts Awards Waterloo Region Academy, who freely nominate and vote upon art, artists, arts organizations and others in the arts community. Members of the Academy play a vital role in helping us to honour the best in art in our region. Without them, this awards process and awards night would not have been possible.

Arts Awards Waterloo Region is a non-profit arts organization that recognizes, honours and celebrates the arts sector in the Region of Waterloo.

Many thanks to our sponsors: the Cities of Kitchener and Waterloo, Explore Waterloo Region, HIP Developments and HFK McRae & Wilson LLP, who have helped to make this event possible! Additional thanks to Imagine It Gift Baskets in Waterloo Region, who prepared our winner gifts this year.

Government/Financial Assistance

Government of Ontario

"The government is announcing the new Ontario Small Business Support Grant, which will provide a minimum of $10,000 and up to $20,000 to help small business owners during this challenging period.

Small businesses required to close or restrict services under the Provincewide Shutdown will be able to apply for this one-time grant. Each small business will be able to use the support in whatever way makes the most sense for their individual business."

Find more information and eligibility, please visit:


COVID-19 Return to the Workplace Guide

April 21, 2020: Important Update on CEWS

COVID-19 Government Initiatives Update

TaxNews Flash Canada - Canada's 75% Wage Subsidy Now Enacted

City of Kitchener

Ecomonic support and recovery

Information and resources for local businesses

Business Development Bank (BDB) of Canada

Support for entrepreneurs impacted by COVID-19

Businesses continuity plan and templates for enrepreneurs

Government of Canada

Employment & Social Development - employment, insurance, work-sharing and labour programs

Resouces for Canadian businesses

Emergency Wage Subsidy

Business Resources

Waterloo Region Small Business Centre

WRSBC is hosting a number of other webinars and free training sessions at the link attached here.

Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber of Commerce

The Chamber of Commerce is hosting a series of webinars as a chance to learn from industry experts on important topics. From technology and marketing, to professional and teamp development sessions. Click here for upcoming webinars.

LIVE: Ask the Expert - Accessing Government COVID-19 Support Programs for Business

The Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce and the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce are pleased to announce today’s launch of “Live: Ask the Expert - Accessing Government COVID Support Programs for Business.”

Held online every Tuesday and Thursday from 2-3 p.m., Ask the Expert provides business operators the opportunity to receive FREE general advice and guidance on federal and provincial support programs from a variety of professionals surrounding issues you may be trying to steer your way through. Including:

  • Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS)
  • Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)
  • Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)
  • Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF)
  • Ontario Small Business Support Grant
  • Property Tax and Energy Cost Rebate Grant
  • COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business
  • Ontario’s Main Street Relief Grant: PPE Support

Click below for more information, to ask questions in advance and to reserve your free seat:

Ask an expert registration:

Canadian Chamber of Commerce

Pandemic preparedness for businesses

International Economic Development Council

Preparedness survey

Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction

Small business support guide(s) and downloadable documents

Ontario Ministry of Health

Stats and self assessment tool

Health alert sign

Region of Waterloo Public Health

January 13, 2021 - Enhanced Public Health and Workplace Measures []

Public Health Ontario

Cleaning and disinfection for public settings

Help for my Restaurant

Phase-1 COVID-19 Survival Kit

Safety & Security

Waterloo Region Police Service

Statement from WRPS - April, 2020:

The Waterloo Regional Police Service continues to provide essential service in the Kitchener Downtown. Increased presence by our Community Engagement Officers, Central CORE Team, Community Resource Officers and Zone Officers is ongoing and we are responding to concerns throughout the downtown. I would encourage business to include messages about closures to be temporary and check your business regularly. It is important to report any activity, property damage or other issues promptly so we can respond.

Please reach out to us via Slack, email or by phone if you have any questions or comments.

Statement from WRPS - March, 2020:

"The Waterloo Regional Police Service continues to offer essential service to the community.

We understand business owners may be feeling anxious at this time of uncertainty. We want to reassure you that it is business as usual for us and officers will remain on patrol throughout Waterloo Region responding to calls for service.

This is a time when our community needs to come together, to help each other, and to watch out for one another. We remind business owners and residents of this community to report any suspicious activity or individuals to police."

Business self security audit

Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre

As COVID-19 continues to spread globally, watch out for associated scams. Fraudsters want to profit from consumers' fears, uncertainties and misinformation. Fraudsters are exploiting the crisis to facilitate fraud and cyber crime. Here are ways to protect your business.

Keeping Downtown Clean

January 2021: Clean Team 1, 2 and the Downtwon Discovery Team will remain on hold until further notice.

July 2020: Clean Team 1 and 2, in addition to the Downtown Discovery Team have returned to service with modified hours. The Downtown Organic Waste Diversion Pilot will remain on hold until further notice.

March 2020: Due to Public Health concerns, Clean Team 1, 2 and the Downtown Organic Waste Diversion Pilot Program have been placed on a temporary hold. If you have any questions please reach out.

Online/Social Media Opportunities

Waterloo Region Eats, powered by Sociavore

During COVID-19, food delivery has become increasingly popular, and is often a large percentage of your profits. Together in a joint initiative we are pleased to offer member businesses the opportunity to participate in a pilot project. In the document attached, you will find information about the exciting Waterloo Region Eats platform, powered by Sociavore.

The Waterloo Region Eats platform costs significantly less to participate, offers features to lower your delivery costs, acquires your guest data, and takes no commission.

Hey Local

HeyLocal is a Canadian marketplace that helps small and medium-sized businesses by allowing consumers to shop consciously and locally on one single online platform with the same ease and convenience as notable retail giants.

Established in May 2020 by Waterloo Region business leaders as a direct response to the challenges faced by small businesses brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, HeyLocal is bringing commerce back to local cities, neighbourhoods, and people.

Media Kit News Release

While You're at Home Video Series

The DTKBIA Team launched a video series highlighting businesses in our core. Click the link below to watch:

Google & Website Optimization

Our community can help support your business online by leaving reviews and providing a star rating. Keeping up with these reviews and relevant information on your accounts is important.

Follow the link attached to learn a few tips on how to keep your online presence relevant.

DTK Social Media Guide

Looking for a few more ways to engage with your audience? Click the link attached to view our social media guide.

E-commerce is an excellent way to ensure your business continues to bring in profits during COVID-19. Below are two platforms that can help with your restaurant and online storefront.


Sociavore is an online platform that allows businesses the opportunity to sell digital gift cards, accept curb-side & takeout orders, and also sell merchandise with shipping or pickup options.

Click the link attached for more information.


Shopify is offering a 90-day trial for businesses during COVID-19. Build your online platform and storefronts, provide customers with a way to support you now through gift cards, and local pickup & delivery options.

Click the link attached to learn more.



Region of Waterloo

Open spaces and public washrooms

Community Services

Government of Canada

Outbreak updates

Support the local business community!

Click here for a list of open neighbouring businesses.

Looking for our Downtown shopping & dining guide? Click here.

COVID-19 Energy Assistance Programs

The Government of Ontario has made funding available to support residential, small business and charitable organization customers who have overdue amounts on their energy bills as a result of the COVID-19 emergency.

Residential Customers: learn how to apply for the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) Electricity and natural gas utilities and unit sub-meter providers began accepting applications for CEAP on July 13, 2020. Small Business and Registered Charity Customers: learn how to apply for the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program – Small Business (CEAP-SB) Electricity and natural gas utilities and unit sub-meter providers began accepting applications for CEAP-SB on August 31, 2020.

Paid Sick Days - Worker Income Protection Benefit

The Province of Ontario has legislated three paid sick days for full-time & part-time Ontario workers. The Provincial government will reimburse employees up to $200 per day. This measure was introduced to halt the spread of COVID-19 in workplaces and is a temporary measure set to end September 25th, 2021.

This legislation aims to provide Ontario workers with the ability to stay home when ill. Workers are entitled to their normal pay rate. Employers are now eligible to recoup costs of up to $200 per day under this new WSIB credit. Should a worker need additional sick days beyond these three days, they are still eligible for the federal credit, which has been upped to $1,000 (increased from $500).