In early 2004, a group of neighbours began to meet informally to discuss the possibility of forming a residents’ association in the Bloor West Village area. The group felt an association could address concerns about development along the Bloor Street West, neighbourhood safety, environmental preservation and relationships with our locally-elected public officials. The residents’ association could strengthen the voice of the community on important issues. This group, which acted as an initial steering committee, consisted of Greg Hamara, Christopher Holcroft, John Leeson, Elizabeth Lines, Jill Marzetti and Steve McNally.
The group agreed to form an association to help provide:
- a forum for local residents to voice and debate issues of common concern
- good local government consistent with the needs of Bloor West Village
- collaboration and involvement in key issues of concern for residents from all levels of government representatives for the area, and
- sound planning practices to protect the unique character of Bloor West Village in areas of environmental protection, public safety, recreational facilities, traffic safety and property development.
Founding the Bloor West Village Residents’ Association
An initial public meeting of about 150 neighbours on November 16, 2004 to gauge interest. The founding meeting of the BWVRA was held on March 1, 2005. Several important motions were adopted by the more than 100 residents in attendance, including a Mission Statement and membership criteria.
An executive of five table officers and 12 officers-at-large was elected. More than 70 residents paid $10 each to become voting members. The boundaries of the association were defined — Bloor Street West along the south, Jane Street on the West, Annette Street on the norht and Quebec Avenue on the east.
The organization has continued to grow over the years under the leadership of Greg Hamara, Steve McNally, Dianne Bradley and our current President, Jamie Isbister. Currently, about 275 residents are members of the association and over 700 people have signed up for our email list.
Since the founding mandate, the scope of the BWVRA’s work has expanded to include
- increasing and protecting the local tree canopy
- heritage issues
- cycling routes
- partnerships with other local Resident Associations, and
- relations with the Bloor West and Baby Point BIAs.
In January 2013, the BWVRA was incorporated as an Ontario not-for-profit organization. This change was made to allow our organization to represent residents’ concerns to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).
Today’s BWVRA is led by the following directors: Tamara Balan, Dianne Bradley, Michael Davidson, Steven Dewdney, Shirley Fairley, Jamie Isbister, Robyn Kalda, Branka Komparic, Daniel Osmokrovic, Susan Rowley, Brian Rutherford, Christopher Secord, Michael Younder and Jay Zimmerman. All are volunteers who give of their time to identify issues, organize meetings, educate association members and area residents, and lobby, where applicable, to get things changed or completed. The executive meet on a monthly basis and meetings are attended by the local councillor or their representative. We are always looking for more volunteers who are interested in joining and participating on our executive.
Our mission and objectives.
The mission of the BWVRA is to foster a well-balanced and livable community and to support and encourage participation of all residents in setting and meeting these goals.
Our objectives are to:
- engage residents, businesses and others in issues specific to Bloor West Village, affecting neighbouring areas or important to all of Toronto
- provide a liaison with and seek support from all levels of government (municipal, provincial and federal) on issues that concern our community
- promote a safe and healthy neighbourhood environment
- promote the quality of life that reflects the unique character of the local community
- participate, through the most effective means, in the planning of new development as well as redevelopment opportunities that reflect the values of the local community
- share information with residents, businesses and other interested members of the community.