At the second annual TABIA (Toronto Association of BIAs) Awards Night, on November 13, the Roncesvalles Village BIA received two awards.
Roncesvalles Village was nominated for a “Round of Applause” award by the Village of Islington BIA for its work with RoncyWorks, a community group dedicated to maintaining a clean and beautiful street. The Village of Islington BIA, in consultation with the Roncesvalles Village BIA and RoncyWorks, was inspired to institute a volunteer program of its own.
Michael Comstock was a long-time advocate for his neighbourhood of St. Lawrence Market and served as president of TABIA until April 2012. Michael passed away in September, and to honour his memory, TABIA established the Michael Comstock Community Builder Award.
It is with great pleasure that we announce that the first recipient of the Michael Comstock Community Builder Award is our own Andrew Chomentowski, long-time chair of our Marketing and Promotions Committee and now Chair Emeritus of the Roncesvalles Village BIA.
The merchants of Roncesvalles Village wish you all the best for the holidays and a safe and happy New Year!
Thank you for all your support this year. We look forward to seeing you in 2012!
On October 26, 2011, TABIA held its first annual BIA Recognition Awards Ceremony. At this event, the Roncesvalles Village BIA was awarded a Perseverance Award, acknowledging the difficult period of construction this neighbourhood has gone through and the efforts of the BIA to minimize the negative effects of construction on our business community. TABIA Executive Director John Kiru, referring to the recent New York Times article on Roncesvalles Village:
While [this article] is certainly a great honour, [it] is small consolation given the trials and tribulations the Roncesvalles Village BIA had to endure during this almost three year long “Roncesvalles Avenue Reconstruction Project” that replaced sewage and water infrastructure, reconstructed streetcar tracks and reconfigured and resurfaced the street. The BIA board and members are being recognized tonight for their patience and creativity that saw them join together with the local community to persevere through their long period of “unprecedented upheaval” to quote the BIA chair, Tony Cauch.
In the photograph (from left to right): Andrew Chomentowski (RVBIA Vice-Chair), Michael Comstock (President, TABIA), Len McAuley (RVBIA Exec), Tony Cauch (RVBIA Chair), John Wakulat (RVBIA Chair Emeritus, TABIA Past President), Councillor Michael Thompson (Chair of Economic Development, City of Toronto), John Bowker (RVBIA Exec), Keith Denning (RVBIA Coordinator, TABIA Director).
RVBIA Chair Tony Cauch was applauded for his long standing volunteerism, not only on the board of the Roncesvalles Village BIA, but also on the board of St. Joseph’s Health Centre.
RVBIA Beautification Committee Chair John Bowker received an award for his stewardship of the committee and Roncesvalles Renewed over the past number of years.
Sara Jameson of Sweetpea’s received an award as a new business that has made a positive impact in Roncesvalles Village. Sweetpea’s hit the ground running in Roncesvalles. Shortly after opening they organized Roncesvalles’ first Hallowe’en Zombie Walk and provided beautiful centrepieces for the BIA’s Annual General Meeting. Recently the BIA awarded the watering and maintenance contract for planting beds and trees to Sweetpea’s, who are now providing four gallons of water to each of our new trees daily.
In the photo at left: Sara Jameson, Tony Cauch, John Bowker and Parkdale-High Park MPP Cheri diNovo. Photo credit: Erin Hatfield of the Villager.
We are sad to report that Michele Di Gregorio, owner of Salon Di Gregorio, passed away on January 16 2011 after a lengthy illness.
Michele was a well-liked and important part of Roncesvalles Village, and served his community on the board of the Roncesvalles Village BIA. He will be sorely missed.
The BIA has sent a letter of condolence and flowers on behalf of the Roncesvalles business community.
He is survived by his mother Maria De Marco, wife Cherry Di Gregorio and five children Vincenzo, Vanessa, Anthony, Michael and Salvatore.
Click here to leave note of condolence to the Di Gregorio family.
On November 16 there was a brief ceremony at City Hall to thank the hard-working volunteers of City of Toronto agencies, boards and commissions. Many hundreds of people volunteer their free time to serve on various boards, including those that govern the 72 BIAs in Toronto.
Outgoing mayor David Miller thanked the assembled people for their freely given time and labour to work to make Toronto a better place, and specifically mentioned BIAs as being a tremendous asset to the City, and one of Toronto’s greatest exports. (As you may know, the world’s first BIA was established in Bloor West Village in 1970.)
Representing the Roncesvalles Village BIA in the photo at left, RVBIA Coordinator Keith Denning, RVBIA Chair Tony Cauch, Mayor David Miller, and RVBIA Chair of Beautification Committee John Bowker.
It is with pride that we announce that the Roncesvalles Village BIA has been awarded the Special Events and Promotions Award at this year’s Ontario BIA Association conference.
RVBIA Vice-chair Andrew Chomentowski accepted the award on behalf of the BIA. In particular, this award acknowledges the extraordinary success of the Roncesvalles Polish Festival, which in five years has become one of the largest neighbourhood festivals in Toronto and the largest festival focussing on Polish culture in Canada. In our press releases we call the festival “Canada’s largest celebration of Polish culture in Toronto’s best neighbourhood.”
In this photo we see TABIA executive director John Kiru, RVBIA Chair Tony Cauch and Vice-chair Andrew Chomentowski, and Patti Brooks, Vice-president of OBIAA.
The following address was read in advance of the award’s presentation: “The Roncesvalles Polish Festival has grown from its humble beginnings of a few thousand people to attracting an estimated 175,000 to 200,000 people in 2009 – the largest Polish Festival in Canada, if not North America.
The success of the Roncesvalles Village BIA Polish Festival is largely due to the innovative approach to the re-branding of the festival some 5 years ago. Formerly known as the Harvest Festival and although effective, was not distinctive and drew small numbers at significant expense.
By taking advantage of its rich Polish heritage, the Roncesvalles Village BIA re-branded its name to the “Polish Festival” and distinguished itself in a crowded market of neighbourhood festivals in Toronto.
Attracting momentum with their new name, significant sponsors for the event leveraged their modest event budget almost 7 times.
The Polish Festival puts the Roncesvalles Village BIA on the map every year; broadcast in Poland, across the GTA and as far away as New York City, major Canadian television networks pick-up on the event. The event attracts people from all over the world and is a major internationally celebrated event.
Please join me in a warm round of applause for Roncesvalles Village BIA.”
The RVBIA congratulates and thanks all past and current members of the Promotions and Marketing Committee. In particular we thank that committee’s chair, Andrew Chomentowski, who has volunteered for the BIA for over two decades on the Promotions and Marketing Committee. This award is a tribute to his ongoing efforts to promote Roncesvalles Village.
This award is the result of an enormous group effort. We thank our Festival patron, the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Toronto, and our Festival sponsors including the Polish Credit Union, Peter Mielczynski Agencies, European Fine Foods, The Knights of Polonia, and all the participating members of the Roncesvalles Village BIA.
Toronto is well-known as being an innovative city. Great artists, businesspeople, thinkers and scientists call Toronto home.
What is less well-known is that the BIA movement started in Toronto. In 1970 the Bloor West Village BIA became the first BIA in the world. Last Saturday we were pleased to attend a celebration of the 40th anniversary of BIAs. Mayor David Miller was in attendance and declared BIAs to be “Toronto’s greatest export.”
MPP Cheri diNovo honoured TABIA president and RVBIA Chair Emeritus John Wakulat for his tireless volunteer efforts to improve business life in Toronto.
RVBIA Chair Tony Cauch, Vice-chair Andrew Chomentowski, John Wakulat and Coordinator Keith Denning attended on behalf of Roncesvalles Village, and we provided a tasty spread of food courtesy of Benna’s Bakery and Deli.
As a number of you probably know, Krys Streich left Copernicus Lodge and therefore our BIA a short while ago.
Krys served on the Board and was an important volunteer in our community, particularly in the Roncesvalles Polish Festival.
This is an excerpt from a very nice letter we received:
Dear Tony and BIA Members:
Thank you so much for the floral arrangement and kind words… I have deep roots in the area as I was born there and worked there for many years. It was a real pleasure for me to serve and perhaps have added some value to the Board. Best wishes to you all and most importantly may you have smooth roads ahead.
With warm regards,
We thank Krys for her service to the BIA and Roncesvalles Village, and wish her all the best for the future.
Stefania (Stenia) Baran has been an integral part of the Roncesvalles community for many years as manager of St. Stanislaus-St. Casimir’s Polish Parishes Credit Union. Her service to the Credit Union is about to come to an end. Stenia is retiring at the end of November and the board of the RVBIA wishes her well in her future endeavours.
Stenia has also served on the board of the Roncesvalles Village BIA for many years and has been a key volunteer in the Promotions and Marketing Committee, helping us with all of our events, particularly the Roncesvalles Polish Festival. RVBIA Vice-chair Andrew Chomentowski calls her “the heart of the festival.” While we’re sad to see her leaving the Credit Union, we are certain that she will continue to play a significant role in our community.