September 18, 2017

New Initiative is Gathering Stories to Celebrate Welcoming Nature of Canada’s Downtowns

About the Project

I Belong Downtown is a new initiative that aims to engage Canadians in a conversation about how our downtowns are vibrant, welcoming places that embrace diversity of all kinds – and how this makes our communities, cities and country thrive.  Those behind the project are gathering stories – through pictures, videos and written submissions, from Canadians of all ages and backgrounds.

Why Downtowns?

Canada’s downtowns are dynamic, exciting places.  They are where people of different cultures mix, become neighbours, friends and partners. Downtowns are places where people generally value and appreciate differences in ethnicity, gender, age, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, education, and religion. They are where people feel accepted to be who they are and have the freedom to express themselves.

This vibrancy, mix of cultures, and openness to difference in Canada’s downtowns is unique and creates sense of belonging unlike any other environment.  As racism, prejudice, discrimination seem to be growing in other parts of the world, it’s an important time to talk about Canada’s diversity and celebrate the welcoming nature of Canada’s downtowns.

Why Stories?

This nation-wide story-telling campaign will help build a sense of appreciation for how important Canada's downtowns are to our country’s past, present and future.  It recognizes that everyone has a story to tell, and gives them a chance to share it.

Through meeting individuals of all sorts of backgrounds who have varying interests and passions, attending events like Toronto Pride and witnessing the tremendous support for the LGBTQ+ community, I finally learned how to love myself. I owe it to the inclusive nature fostered through Downtown Toronto that I can live my life without fear.” – Jack M, Student, Downtown Toronto

“When I’m in downtown Vancouver I feel like I’m in a new country. It is a different place depending on the time or day. During work hours, everywhere you look you will see a sea of professionals. In the evening it is a place where people come to relax and hang out with loved ones to share their diverse cultures, and interests. Everytime I go downtown, I return having learned something new.” – Muna A, Downtown Vancouver

For more information visit:

Media Contact:

Ariana Cancelli

Planner and Project Manager

Tel. (416) 365-0816 x 280

Michel Rathwell.jpg