How does Main Street “Brick & Mortar” survive and THRIVE?

January 23, 2017
The Beginning of Digital Mainstreet at the Drake

The Beginning of Digital Mainstreet at the Drake

How does Main Street “Brick & Mortar” survive and THRIVE?

The West Queen West (WQW) is the Art & Design District, the Creative Heart of Toronto, and one of Toronto’s amazing 82 BIAs. The WQW Board and its 400 members share the same philosophy; every day is a day to celebrate “Art & Culture”, all the while bringing commercial success to everyone in the neighbourhood.

So far, so good!

  1. October 26th, 2011- “Neighbourhood of the Year” at the inaugural TABIA Awards
  2. September 5th, 2014- Vogue International declares WQW the 2nd Coolest Neighbourhood in the World!

Global Street Style Report: Mapping Out the 15 Coolest Neighborhoods in the World

  1. June 23rd, 2016- Cushman & Wakefield “Cool Streets Report” places WQW in the top 15 coolest retail streets in North America

“Cool Streets Report”

  1. August 3rd, 2016 – Huffington Post readers declare WQW is number one in the Country!

“Canadians Have Named The Coolest Communities In The Country”

BUT times are changing; so how does WQW, its SMB, its “Brick & Mortar” continue to not only survive, but THRIVE? What does Main Street “Brick & Mortar” need to do?

Small Business must start acting like BIG Business; and thanks to digital technologies they can do that. 

WQW has started down this path successfully.

WQW e-Gift-Card

WQW e-Gift-Card window sticker

WQW e-Gift-Card window sticker

A Toronto Mall sold $100,000 of gift Cards EVERY DAY in December 2016

Why not in WQW and our Brick & Mortar?

A NEW revenue tool for WQW & its Members

  • Almost $10,000 has been spent on the WQW e-Gift-Card
  • Money which must be spent at our participating members
  • Great for contests, giveaways & keeping it local

Easy & convenient to use for Customer

  • The customer simply shows the e-gift card on their mobile device in-store and the merchant logins to the AnyCard portal, enters the 9-digit authentication code and amount being redeemed.
  • The whole process takes seconds and the customer is on their way.

 The following WQW businesses have already redeemed their first WQW E-Gift Card: 

  • Dufflet Pastries, H Bar, Lisa Marie’s, Entice, Brika, The County General, Iceman Video Games, Greek Co, Niche Tea & Coffee Company, Canon Blanc, Original Penguin, Mini Mioche, Rickshaw Bar, Good Hearts, Jacob & Sebastian, Natrel, R Squared Café, & Ella + Elliot

Digital Gift Card Trends

  • Digital Gift card sales are estimated to reach $15 Billion by 2017.
  • 56% of consumers surveyed would like to keep gift cards stored on their phones
  • Easily accessible and decreases chances at being lost or stolen
  • 74% of 18 to 24-year-old consumers are interested in keeping gift cards on their phones (Almost 80% of people living in WQW area are millennials)
e-Gift Card Powered by Anycard

WQW e-Gift Card Powered by Anycard


The First FREE Neighbourhood Wi-Fi

FREE WQW- Wi-Fi Main Street

FREE WQW- Wi-Fiechno

WQW has partnered with Besify to offer Toronto’s First Neighbourhood Free Wi-Fi (WQW Free Wi-Fi).

WQW – Free Wi-Fi will cover the entire 2 kilometer WQW stretch on Queen Street West from Bathurst to Gladstone.

  • Visitors to WQW will be able to use the WQW Free Wi-Fi during their entire visit to WQW.



  • FREE Wi-Fi
  • WQW now is able to market our events and members in a hyper local way
  • Visitors can shop, dine, watch a show, listen to great bands live, and share their experiences in WQW on their social media outlets, all the while logged on to Free WQW Wi-Fi.


  • A new revenue stream
  • Hyper Local advertising opportunities for members


  • WQW will now be able to get valuable analytics to help us spend our limited budget wisely and successfully.
  • No more anecdotal stats; now its actual stats

Thanks to digital technologies Shopping local has never been easier, convenient or fun.

Now’s the time for Main Street “Brick & Mortar” to start acting BIG!

Valentines Day is almost here!

Get your Sweet Heart a WQW e-Gift-Card