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Home / Toronto / News / COVID-19 / Distantly.ca helps locals support ‘main street’ businesses: Order, donate, or share support

Distantly.ca helps locals support ‘main street’ businesses: Order, donate, or share support


TORONTO, APRIL 15, 2020 – 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 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. 

Kensington Market, photo by TO Times

“Our main streets and mom and pops have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic,” said Brad Bradford, Councillor for Beaches-East York (Ward 19). “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.”

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. 

A sample of some of the local businesses already registered on distantly.ca.

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. 

“Toronto’s main street businesses are critical to the success of our city,” said Mayor John Tory. “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.”

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. 

SOURCE City of Toronto

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