Report & Photo by Jandy Sales
AnaBela Taborda, president of Little Portugal Toronto BIA
The merger of the Dundas West and Little Portugal BIASs – that bring together local entrepreneurs – became official in early 2019. Traders were consulted by the city and green light was given in October last year. The Municipal Council was the one who made the final decision, approving the fusion.
According to AnaBela Taborda, who has been at the helm of Little Portugal BIA for the last four years, the main objective of the incorporation of the two Business Improvement Areas was the Dundas West Fest – the festival of art and music of the Portuguese community.
“We started doing everything together with the Dundas West BIA. The only thing we didn’t do was to clean the graffiti. So why keep two board of directors?” she asked.
Dundas West Festival celebrations run from Ossington St. to Lansdowne Ave. But the party has a more comprehensive geography, which remains to be a huge challenge for the Little Portugal Toronto BIA. Taborda explained that if the party covered Shaw St., the streetcars route would have to change, therefore, changing the number of shoppers on Spadina Avenue.
The importance of the Dundas West Fest for both BIAs has always been translated into Little Portugal BIA budget numbers – before they merged.
Taborda said about 60% of the budget of that BIA (CAD$ 130,000) was allocated for the festival.
While she was at the head of Little Portugal BIA, a problem was given priority to Taborda: remove the graffiti from the facades. She noted that 11% of Little Portugal BIA’s budget was spent on cleaning, a number she considers high.
The future of business in the communities is of concern to the managers of the BIAs. “If a builder takes an area and turns it into a monster store, we lose that feeling,” she said. Taborda added that the best way to strengthen Dundas West’s traditional trade is to attract more consumers, which would be possible with improved traffic.
Dundas Virtual Museum
A great new feature launched by the new Little Portugal Toronto BIA is the “Dundas Virtual Museum”, which focus on different cultural aspects of the community. “The paintings on the walls reflect the community’s involvement.”
A credit union at the service of the community
Photo courtesy IC Savings
Fausto Gaudio, President and CEO, IC Savings (far left), is joined by Luis Arruda, Filomena Silveira and Frank Alvarez. The trio sit on the credit union’s Community Advisory Board, which oversees Fundo de Apoio IC Savings.
IC Savings is a community-based credit union scattered throughout the province of Ontario. Anabela Taborda is the manager of the branch located in Little Portugal Toronto – one of the seven branches of the GTA.
When someone opens an account with IC Savings, a $5 membership share is deposited in the new client’s account and they automatically become a shareholding member with right to attend general meetings.
In September 2017 the Fundo de Apoio IC Savings was created to support institutions that are committed to enhancing the Portuguese Canadian footprint in the GTA.
About 10% of Little Portugal Toronto branch’s fiscal year revenue is made available for these social institutions.
“The first donation we made was to the Luso Canadian Charitable Society. The institution created a leisure space for adults with developmental and physical disabilities”, she said.
Organizations interested in applying for funding must submit a request by July 31. These requests will be reviewed by IC Savings Community Advisory Board (photo) and the decision will be available between September and October of the same year.