Identifying place and building a community

Walking through my neighbourhood in west/downtown Toronto - defined by the BIA as Bloorcourt Village - a new approach to market the area with creativity caught my attention this aft. I knew of the street gallery contest and project well, but I had until today missed one of its great new banners.

This one I saw as I walked to meet an old friend at newish coffee shop Saving Gigi: a traditional-looking image of Santa Claus. Walking closer and thinking it to be a little inappropriate as a year-round thing, I saw in detail, as you can here. "The Sleigh Broke" - okay, I got it. It's the guy who always collects change outside of the LCBO. This banner was placed right by the store, at the corner of Ossington and Bloor. It's wonderful.

The project has a host of banners, reflecting residents' depictions of all sorts of cool spots and eccentricities about the Bloorcourt hood. It's a learning library, perhaps not with the clearest branding, but it's not a neighbourhood that is easy to brand. I in fact got in trouble trying to suggest once that it, that we, could be focusing on the concentration of wonderful Ethiopian/Eritrean restaurants as a selling point for the outside world (Annex and beyond). A banner does reflect the Ethiopian coffee ceremony (which may be featured in a future blog..) along with other on arts, nature and diversity.

But it's Santa that gets me.

A place that recognizes and highlights its less conventional citizens, one that's not afraid to show its true face, whiskers and all. That's a place where I like to be.

Learn more about the Bloorcourt BIA, one of the oldest around, period: www.bloorcourt.com