Last September, after months of engagement and brand strategy development, we launched our new commercial district placebrand for Strathcona. Our brand celebrates all the people and businesses that make Strathcona different and exceptional. Despite the challenges of COVID-19 to bring people together, over this past year we’ve managed to bring our new placebrand to life in the streets and across digital channels. Through storytelling and activations we showcase what our members do to make Strathcona a vibrant and resilient community. Here’s how we’ve been bringing Strathcona to the hearts and minds of people across the Lower Mainland, welcoming everyone to come as they are, whoever they are.
New Website and Directory
We launched a new website that showcases the distinct character of our commercial district and draws people in to discover something different in Strathcona. A comprehensive member directory features all the businesses in Strathcona across our varied sectors. Members can now easily access our program services and information about what we do on behalf of the district. Since launching the website it’s been visited 19,880 times by 6504 unique users.
We continue to maintain 400 street pole banners across the district. The current wordmap design of place names on our banners leans into the diversity of the district of Strathcona. The refreshed design and colours bring vibrancy and pride of place to our streets.
#DoDifferent and Member Features
The inspiration behind our #DoDifferent hashtag are the stories of people and businesses in Strathcona doing things in their own unique and unexpected ways. Working with professional photographers and videographers, we’re capturing more original member portraits, behind the scenes photos, and video footage than ever before. We also amplify the content that our business members and community visitors share. We have featured a total of 72 unique Strathcona businesses across our social media channels in the last year. In that time we’ve seen a 56% growth in followers on our Instagram channel. As part of our focus to increase engaging video content, we’ve published two district promotional videos, three business feature videos, and 20 Instagram Reels. Our video content alone has reached 38,733 cumulative views across our social platforms.
In October 2020 we held our first ever Halloween Hop in partnership with the Strathcona Community Policing Centre, Strathcona Residents Association, and Raycam Centre. Eleven businesses and organizations in and around the 800 Block of East Hastings took part in this family-friendly trick-or-treat event. Local employees dressed up in fabulous Halloween costumes to safely hand out candy outside their businesses, and event-goers of all ages enjoyed some Halloween family fun.
Our November Dine Strathcona campaign brought together 17 businesses in Strathcona’s hospitality community to showcase the neighbourhood’s vibrant culinary scene while raising funds to provide support for vulnerable individuals in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Participating dining establishments offered a feature dish throughout the two-week event period, with proceeds from each dish ordered donated to the WISH Drop-In Centre. In addition to dining in, Dine Strathcona encouraged people to order take-out and delivery options to accommodate the challenging health order restrictions on restaurants at that time. The campaign was covered by 32 media articles, and earned 9.4 million impressions from traditional media. By working with local food influencers, the social media related posts of the campaign earned 1.21 million impressions. Despite the timing of the health order restrictions, over 640 feature dishes were sold in the two-week time frame, which amounted to approximately $10,000 in cumulative sales.
Gift Big Shop Small
In December, to support our retail sector, we ran a Gift Big Shop Small campaign to support shopping locally for the holiday season. Customers were encouraged to spend $25 or more at three participating locations in order to win a $25 Visa card to support shopping local. Nine Strathcona businesses took part, and many happy customers enjoyed discovering all of Strathcona’s unique offerings for the holidays.
Love Your City
In February, Strathcona joined 15 other neighbourhoods across Vancouver to run the Love Your City Contest, a call to get out, explore our city, and find LOVE in our neighbourhoods. Event-goers could enter the city-wide contest by finding love related murals and installations in each neighbourhood and posting them to their Instagram profile. Plus, in the week leading up to Valentine’s Day we did a daily prize giveaway on our Instagram channel to local businesses and received over 2000 contest entries!
Automotive Sector Promotion
We have over 25 businesses in our community that assist with all types of motor vehicle needs. Our Automotive sector campaign in April highlighted five participating auto-sector businesses and supported them to run in-store and online contests to help engage existing and new customers. The campaign received 364 cumulative contest entries across the five businesses, featured original photography and quotes from sector employees on our social media, and helped solidify why Strathcona is one of the best areas in Vancouver for auto services.
In an effort to support our restaurant sector when Provincial health restrictions started up again in April and May of 2020, we ran a Takeout Strathcona campaign to encourage people to keep on supporting their favourite Strathcona dining establishments by ordering take-out and delivery. By raffling off gift cards to local restaurants through weekly Instagram contests, we encouraged new customers to discover the amazing dining options we have here. We showcased our favourite takeout items with fun weekly Reels on Instagram that earned over 15,000 impressions across our platforms.
Art Walk Strathcona
Strathcona is home to some of the most notable contemporary art galleries in Vancouver and across the country. In May and June we ran our inaugural Art Walk Strathcona campaign to celebrate our gallery sector. Strathcona’s galleries came together to bring a diverse selection of contemporary art from Indigenous and Canadian artists to the streets on billboards along East Hastings. Art Walk Strathcona invited people to take a self-guided walk to discover the billboard images, and explore the associated exhibitions taking place throughout May and June in Strathcona’s gallery district. In addition to the billboard campaign, we featured participating galleries on our social media channels, and created a transit ad for Art Walk Strathcona that reached communities across the Lower Mainland. Art Walk Strathcona reached over 20,000 users across digital channels.
The Temporary Expedited Patio Permit program meant it was a patio season in Vancouver like no other. To amplify the patio dining experience and to encourage customers to dine on patios all summer long, Strathcona BIA joined 15 other districts for the promotional PATIO campaign, which included a city-wide contest to crown the best patios in the city. An online patio map featuring all the patios across Vancouver, including those in Strathcona, was distributed widely by several campaign media partners. People were encouraged to follow along @patiovancouver to enter daily contest opportunities. Over on our own Instagram channel we shared a steady stream of patio pics and videos to highlight the excellent patio options in Strathcona this year.
To learn more about the Temporary Expedited Patio Permit program visit our advocacy report.
Bike to Shop
Strathcona was a community sponsor of HUB Cycling’s Bike to Shop event in August, along with 20 other participating districts across Metro Vancouver. Nine local businesses in our neighbourhood signed up to offer sweet deals and delicious freebies to customers who biked to their shop during the event. To celebrate Bike to Shop in Strathcona we sponsored a Knowledge HUB outside of the Landyachtz Factory store where people could enjoy free basic bike maintenance, complimentary snacks, and giveaways from Strathcona businesses. 2245 people registered for the event, and many of those participants discovered businesses in Strathcona as a result.
Fostering a sustainable and flourishing cultural community is important to us. We continue to provide community sponsorships year over year so that other local organizations serving the economic resilience of the district are supported. For the 2020/2021 fiscal year those included, The Powell Street Festival, Eastside Culture Crawl, Coldest Night of Year, WISH Drop-In Centre, and nəćamat Urban Indigenous Women’s Village of Wellness, a community wellness event for Indigenous women in Strathcona.
A self-guided tour.
Best times to adventure: Tuesday to Saturday (note: Mónica Reyes Gallery is closed Wed-Fri and Sun)
By Skytrain: Stop at Stadium-Chinatown station, walk 20 min East along W Pender St to Heatley Ave.
By Bus: Stop at Hastings and Princess.
12pm: Begin your Art Walk Strathcona tour at Fazakas Gallery (688 Hastings St.) and take in some solo and group exhibitions presented by Tanúyap Project Space. Named in consultation with a Squamish elder, Tanúyap is a Squamish word meaning ‘welcome everyone.’ This name is a gesture of friendship and exchange, and an acknowledgement of the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations on which we are located.
1pm: Steps away, stop by Coastal Eden Cafe (643 Hastings) for a delicious sandwich and a coffee and get ready for a short walk to your next gallery.
1:30pm: Step into Mónica Reyes Gallery (602 Hastings St.) and get ready to experience In the Garden with works by Mina Totino and up and coming artist Maggee Day. Vibrant colours and strong brush strokes bring the feeling of the garden and nature indoors. Be transported to artist Maggee Day’s “Doorstep View”, which inspired bold and abstract views of the garden.
2:00pm: Walking East four blocks down Hastings Street will bring you to Wil Aballe Art Projects (1129 E Hastings St.). Here, Randy Lee Cutler’s exhibition OTOH (On the Other Hand) uses collage that evokes hieroglyphic forms as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. You’ll also find a selection of works by under-recognized master of 1960’s black and white photography, Dave Heath. Both exhibits are part of this year’s Catpure Photography Festival program.
Both exhibits run until May 29. If visiting in June, you’ll experience The Cinematic: Group Exhibition.
Galleries are observing COVID-19 protocols and request that you maintain physical distancing and wear a mask while visiting.
Fazakas Gallery – To help implement social distancing, visitors are encouraged to make an appointment to view current exhibitions. Call ahead at 604-876-2729 during opening hours, Tuesday to Saturday 11am-5pm.
Mónica Reyes Gallery – To ensure a COVID-19 safe visit book your gallery viewing appointment ahead through their website. Opening hours are Monday, Tuesday 11am-2pm, and Saturday 12pm-4pm.
Wil Aballe Art Projects – Walk-ins are welcome but the number of guests permitted in the gallery at one time will be limited. Opening hours are Tuesday to Saturday 12 to 5pm.
A self-guided tour.
Best times to adventure: Tuesday to Saturday
By Skytrain: Hop off at Waterfront Station and walk East towards Railtown.
By Bus: Stop at Hastings and Dunlevy and walk North towards Railway Street.
12pm: Make your way into Railtown to fuel up before your Art Walk Strathcona adventure. You can enjoy the walk down Railway Street and make your first stop at Railtown Cafe (397 Railway St.) for a smoothie and a twice-baked almond croissant.
12:15pm: Begin your art exploration less than a block away at Howard495 (495 Railway St, 2nd Floor) and get ready to take in Brobdingnagian, a photo collage exhibition by Toronto-based artist Aaron Jones. The exhibit, which is part of the Capture Photography Festival, mixes mediums like magazines, advertisements, newspapers, books, and personal photos and is inspired by the forests and rural landscapes of Southern Ontario.
Brobdingnagian runs until June 26.
1:15pm: Hop over two blocks and treat yourself to a pour-over coffee to-go at Pallet Coffee Roasters (395 Alexander St) and turn the corner to Dunlevy St.
1:30pm: At Monte Clark’s incredible new gallery space (53 Dunlevy Ave) you’ll experience the work of Vilhelm Sundin, who explores the intersection between photography and cinema. The exhibition titled Soon, uses sound, computer graphics, and traditional lens-based media to offer reflections on being alive in a time of constant technological acceleration.
Soon runs until May 29. If visiting in June, you’ll experience an exhibition by Jonathan Syme, Adult Contemporary.
2:30pm: Finish your afternoon by heading next door to Belgard Kitchen and picking up one of their take-home picnic boxes with some Belgard Greens and local craft beers or wine. A short walk away, CRAB Park makes for a perfect picnic spot nearby.
Galleries are observing COVID-19 protocols and request that you maintain physical distancing and wear a mask while visiting.
Howard495 – Currently all visits to the space are by appointment only to help implement social distancing. Call ahead at 604-251-1379 during opening hours, Tuesday to Saturday 11am-4pm.
Monte Clark – Walk-ins are welcome but the number of guests permitted in the gallery at one time will be limited. To avoid waiting, you may request an appointment during their open hours, Tuesday to Saturday 10am-5:30pm, by emailing email@example.com.
Art Walk Strathcona brings striking contemporary art to East Hastings and invites you to discover Strathcona’s extraordinary gallery district.
May 21 to June 14 find the public art billboards for a chance to win an exclusive Art Walk Strathcona experience, including your very own art piece.
Strathcona’s galleries are coming together to bring a diverse selection of contemporary art from Indigenous and Canadian artists to the streets through five billboards along East Hastings. Art Walk Strathcona is a self-guided experience that invites people to take a walk, discover the public billboard images, and enjoy a change of perspective. Follow what intrigues you and explore the associated exhibitions taking place throughout May and June in Strathcona’s gallery district.
“After a year of being stuck at home, we’re all starved for fresh ideas and inspiration. We can’t think of a better antidote to the bleak mundanity of pandemic life than the Art Walk Strathcona experience,” says Mónica Reyes, Gallery owner and arts supporter. “Art has the power to bring joy, provoke questions, and spark conversations. By bringing art to billboards we can extend the public’s access to the power of art while sharing local artist’s work with audiences who might not normally engage with it”.
When you discover the featured artworks on billboards along East Hastings, snap a picture, share to your Instagram account, use #ArtWalkStrathcona and tag @madeinstrathcona to be entered to win an exclusive Art Walk Strathcona experience prize. The winner will have the opportunity to choose an art piece from a selection from Mónica Reyes Gallery to kick-off your own art collection, experience a private tour for you and friend with the gallery owner at Fazakas Gallery and Howard495, as well as win $200 in gift cards to local cafes, restaurants, and breweries to start and cap off a day of exploring art in Strathcona. Each billboard can be used as a photo entry, up to five entries per person. The contest starts May 21st and runs until June 14th.
It’s no secret that Strathcona is home to a flourishing arts community. Strathcona has also become a hub for some of the most notable contemporary art galleries in Vancouver and across the country. We invite you to discover our extraordinary gallery district. You’ll find galleries focused on lifting up local emerging artists, Indigenous artists, and artists who are renowned nationally and internationally. The diversity of art disciplines, exhibition approaches, and unique spaces offer something for everyone.
Featured Galleries and Artists
Art Walk Strathcona features the following participating galleries and artists:
495 Railway St, 2nd Floor
Howard495 exhibits a rotating, secondary market inventory of contemporary work by international and national artists at all junctures of their careers. They are dedicated to offering diverse art, across all disciplines, as a compliment to Vancouver’s world class local artists.
Featured Artist: Aaron Jones
Aaron Jones is a multi-disciplinary, visual artist based in Toronto. He works with different forms of collage to build characters and space that reflect upon the nuances of his own upbringing, current life, and the environment. For Jones, the act of collage-making is part of a journey of self-discovery; to see one’s self separate from the stereotypical constructions of people and places in media.
688 E Hastings St
Fazakas Gallery promotes a diverse selection of contemporary art with a special emphasis on works by established and up-and-coming Indigenous artists. They offer a vibrant program that features an array of art aimed to enhance, enrich, and broaden visibility and understanding of Indigenous art.
Featured Artist: Beau Dick (1955 – 2017)
Chief Beau Dick, Walas Gwa’yam was a Kwakwaka’wakw (Musgamakw Dzawada’enuxw First Nation) artist and activist who was acclaimed as one of the Northwest Coast’s most versatile and talented carvers. He began carving at an early age, studying under his father, Benjamin Dick, his grandfather, James Dick, and other renowned artists such as Henry Hunt and Doug Cranmer. He also worked alongside master carvers Robert Davidson, Tony Hunt, and Bill Reid. Dick created several important public works, including a transformation mask for the Canadian Pavilion at Expo 86 in Vancouver and the Ga’akstalas Totem Pole for Stanley Park, carved with Wayne Alfred and raised in 1991.
Mónica Reyes Gallery
602 E Hastings St
Mónica Reyes Gallery is dedicated to young emerging and mid-career artists with a focus in contemporary art. Located in the heart of Strathcona the gallery is uniquely positioned to create dialogues with the artists and cultural engineers who call the neighbourhood home
Featured Artist: Annie Briard
Annie Briard is a Canadian visual art and media artist whose work challenges how we make sense of the world through visual perception. Creating lens-based and light-focused works, she explores the intersections between perception paradigms in psychology, neuroscience, and existentialism.
53 Dunlevy Ave
Established in 1992 in Vancouver, Monte Clark exhibits and promotes the work of contemporary Canadian artists alongside a selection of international artists, situating the gallery platform in a global and historical context.
Featured Artist: Jonathan Syme
Jonathan Syme received his BFA from the Alberta College of Art and Design. His art practice includes painting, sculpture and installation works. Syme currently lives and works in Vancouver, BC.
Wil Aballe Art Projects
1129 E Hastings St
Wil Aballe Art Projects (WAAP) exhibits local and international artists, notably the innovative younger generation of artists in Vancouver. The program focuses on interdisciplinary, concept-oriented and space-based exhibitions in a variety of media including sculpture, video, sound, painting, printmaking, photography, and performance.
Featured Artist: Nico Williams
Nico Williams is an Anishinaabe multidisciplinary artist from Aamjiwnaang First Nation. Nico uses beadwork to create experimental forms and create a dialogue with his own experiences of being NDN. His studio practice is based in Tiohtiá:ke| Mooniyang| Montréal.
Participating galleries have implemented extensive safety measures to keep their visitors safe. In some cases you are required to book a time slot in advance to help maintain social distancing measures. For a map of our district galleries and to learn more about their opening hours and current exhibitions visit artwalkstrathcona.ca.
ABOUT THE STRATHCONA BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT ASSOCIATION (SBIA)
The Strathcona Business Improvement Association (SBIA) operates on the unceded territories of the xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), sḵwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. It extends from Clark Drive in the east, Gore Avenue in the west, Venables Street in the south and Railway Street in the north. The SBIA employs staff and is governed by an elected Board of Directors made up of business members from across the community. Our vision is for Strathcona members to thrive in a mixed-use, inclusive, resilient and prosperous local economy. 1220 East Hastings Street, Vancouver BC V6A 1S6 | 604-258-2727
Strathcona Business Improvement Association
Johanna Lauyanto | 604-258-2727 | firstname.lastname@example.org