BIG: Bloor Improvement Group is a non-profit coalition of community groups, Business Improvement Areas (BIAs), politicians, artists, schools, service providers, institutions, gardeners, small businesses, residents and neighbours coming together to advance the economic, physical, cultural and social life of the targeted local Bloor Street by creating opportunities and events that improve the atmosphere and celebrate the area.
BIG is a registered not-for-profit organization founded in 2006.
The BIG on Bloor Festival of Arts & Culture is an exceptional community and city-building event presenting hundreds of culturally significant activities, displays, and exhibitions. Organized by BIG (Bloor Improvement Group), the Festival is a summer event presented along a car-free stretch of Bloor Street West between Dufferin and Lansdowne to celebrate local arts, culture, and community. It has drawn up to 100,000 people.
The Festival both encourages and sustains participation by providing a positive common goal (
Historically, the neighbourhood was bounded by rail lines, factories and areas that remained “dry” until the year 2000. In addition, there had been a racetrack where the Dufferin Mall is now located. The effect of all these things was drawing disruptive elements to this working-class neighbourhood. The situation was further exacerbated by the building of Dufferin Mall, which diverted pedestrian traffic away from Bloor Street.
The BIG: Bloor Improvement Group was formed as a coalition organization, which included an alliance of 26 different local organizations, three levels of government, social service agencies, residents groups, cultural producers/artists and small business owners. These organizations and individuals came together to coordinate a concerted effort and find ways to celebrate Bloordale’s rich diversity–rather than address its social ills–by bringing focus to the culture of this area, with the aim of strengthening the community and create better connections between the people (a contemporary mix of Portuguese, Caribbean Italian, Bangladeshi, Latin American, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, Burmese, Chinese, and Vietnamese populations) and their
Much has changed in the years since the events, which provided the impetus to form BIG and by extension, the BIG on Bloor Festival. Bloordale has emerged as a community of note. The festival has succeeded in bringing new business owners and residents to elect Bloordale as a neighbourhood to live/work in because its public community spirit now defines it.
The festival has raised the profile of Bloordale in a way that indicates who we are within the city: a vibrant and thriving, engaged community. It reaches well beyond Bloordale, to become a microcosm representing the magnificent diversity of the GTA.