When the weather outside is construction, take shelter in shops along Eglinton.
Thanks to Cassi Kaplan, that will be the resounding message in the areas affected by Crosstown LRT construction on Eglinton Avenue West. The 23-year-old advertising and design student won a poster design contest aimed at keeping businesses thriving as drills dig and lanes close over the next several years.
The poster was unveiled at a Feb. 27 “Thank You Neighbours” event put on by Metrolinx, the provincial transit body building the Eglinton Crosstown, and by the Upper Village BIA and Ward 21 councillor Joe Mihevc to salute residents of the Eglinton Avenue West and Old Park Road area for their patience during construction. It will start appearing in the spring in shop windows and on lawn signs to encourage shoppers to continue to patronize Eglinton stores.
Mihevc, who devised a similar public outreach to assist St. Clair Avenue West businesses impacted by the 2005-10 streetcar right-of-way construction, came up with the idea for the contest.
It launched in December.
“We need to do everything we can to help our businesses,” he said at the event. “They are suffering, I acknowledge it, and we need to find a way to bring business to the community.”
Jamie Robinson, communications director for Metrolinx, said this is just one of many similar projects they’re planning for the next few years along Eglinton.
“We wanted to do something to work with the BIA,” he said. “Despite the fact there is significant construction along Eglinton, it is still a very vibrant business community.”
The 19-km LRT line, running along Eglinton Avenue from Black Creek Drive in the west to Kennedy subway station, is scheduled to open in 2020.
Kaplan says the winning design was one that came to her in just minutes.
“The first idea, the freshest idea in your mind, is the best one,” she said, adding that she developed several other designs before going back to the winner. “I went with my gut, and I did it and I won, and I’m so happy.”
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