Bringing Vancouver?s most historic district to life

The Gastown Business Improvement Association, a nonprofit organization representing businesses, residents and members of Vancouver?s most historic district, was on a mission to give Gastown a face and a voice.

THE CHALLENGE

The Gastown Business Improvement Association, a nonprofit organization representing businesses, residents and members of Vancouver?s most historic district, was on a mission to give Gastown a face and a voice, promoting this eclectic, dynamic community to people from Vancouver and beyond. This special community is made up of entrepreneurs, artists, galleries, studios, boutique stores and one of a kind bars and eateries, and the Gastown BIA wanted to engage its members to bring the neighbourhood to life and drive traffic to the area.

THE STRATEGY

Yulu was engaged to achieve two key objectives ? community engagement and community promotion. The first step in building the profile of Gastown would be to engage the members of the community as ambassadors for the area. With over 250 members, the BIA had a task on its hands to build real engagement and enthusiasm, to get businesses to know their neighbours, and to see people coming together for the betterment of the whole community. Right before COVID-19 started, Yulu built an in person event series to gather insights, feedback and ideas from business members, enabling them to feel involved in what the BIA was doing and have a vested interest in the success of various initiatives. Once members were reengaged, Yulu turned its hand to promotion, leveraging the feedback and insights from members to identify and build on stories that would put Gastown back on the map across Canada. 

RESULTS & IMPACT

Yulu?s community engagement saw the highest number of members at a BIA gathering with over 70 attendees coming together to share ideas and feedback on community plans. Concepts that came from these events which are in motion include a shopping incentive for Gastowners, a member-only website to keep up to date with news and to communicate with fellow members, as well as a list of public activations and initiatives. COVID-19 impacted plans for exciting initiatives but with a quick pivot, and keeping community promotion objectives top of mind, Yulu helped bring the Murals of Gratitude initiative to life on a national and international media stage. Artists had created murals on boarded up storefronts in the community during lockdown to thank healthcare heroes, and once lockdown lifted, these were turned into a public art exhibition in Gastown, gaining media coverage in over 37 outlets including Conde Nast Traveller, Business Insider, The Globe & Mail and The Times Colonist.