Best of CityPlace

Good times in store for CityPlace and Fort York, care of the BIA

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CityPlace: Accessibility, community, fun, and convenience.

Location: Hunters Landing – CityPlace Trick or Treat Spooktacular, 2016

Those are the words that define the neighbourhood, according to Jesse Topliffe, Chair of the CityPlace Fort York Business Improvement Association (BIA).

Surprisingly, the BIA was initially an idea that would have placed both King West and CityPlace together.

“We felt the business communities weren’t aligned,” Topliffe, who’s a director of the Landing Group, which owns Hunters Landing, explained. “We wanted to keep CityPlace and Fort York together and our community supporting local.”

Topliffe spent seven years living at CityPlace and was the owner of Hunters Landing.

“I’d see 40,000 people leave the Rogers Centre and only a few hundred walks west to our businesses.”

The BIA is aiming to change that, with the objective of the association being to generate sales and support for the local businesses.

Three restaurants have opened since Topliffe opened Hunters Landing and he says at least three more spaces will have food and beverage options in the future.

Fun is a top priority, and the BIA’s plans are aimed to make that word come alive.

“The ice rink was exciting,” Topliffe says.

CityPlace skating rink, 2017

Even so, it wasn’t easy getting the rink in place. The AstroTurf wasn’t level, for example. Neither were the temperatures.

“I would never complain about a mild winter until we built a natural ice rink. The response has however been fantastic, and there’s been a lot of autonomous buzz,” Topliffe says. “Everyone was talking about it and happy to have it.”

The BIA is aiming to get a cooling system in the future to keep the rink open throughout the winter.

There are larger projects like streetscaping and movie nights in the park, Topliffe says.

“Everything we do in the end is to draw attention to this little strip of land.”

Movie Night at Canoe Landing Park, CityPlace 2016

It seems the BIA is in line to do that. Topliffe says the best part of being part of the association is that all the members are aligned.

“We have the same vision about building community, awareness, and hosting exciting events,” he says. “Driving business is our mandate, and we plan on achieving our goals”.

“We have full-time jobs, so we do it for the betterment of the community, both businesses and residents. It takes a lot of effort and commitment.”

Topliffe emphasizes that it’s the work of all the board members;

Jesse Topliffe, Hunters Landing – Chair
Regis Jay, Roywoods – Vice Chair
Mosen Ghlechkhani, MAO Broker – Treasurer
Adam Brown, Fox and Fiddle – Director
Andrea McKittrick, CityPlace Development – Director

In the end, Topliffe says it comes down to opportunity. 
“We are all fortunate to be part of such a vibrant and evolving neighbourhood. I can’t think of another in the downtown core with the same degree of promise.”

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Diana Pereira

Diana Pereira is a journalist, a university journalism teacher, a world traveller, a fair-weather kayaker, and a frequent bruncher. She's working on her mermaid status, travelling to as many countries as she can that include a body of water and when she's home in Toronto, you can find her in a kayak on Lake Ontario.