As a result of the situation our city faces with COVID-19, many local organizations and businesses have inspired us by taking action to support our community in new and creative ways. From retooling their manufacturing process to create personal protective equipment, to donating food or supplies to our local hospital, to finding new ways to connect with vulnerable residents and get them the essentials they need, our city has risen to this unique and unprecedented challenge. I have received emails and notifications from many residents, letting me know of the good work that is being done throughout this crisis. I want to take a moment to recognize them here and thank them for inspiring us all with their generosity and innovation. I invite the community to continue to reach out and alert me of additional stories of inspiration via firstname.lastname@example.org.
BURLINGTON COVID-19 WALL OF INSPIRATION STORIES
Learning With Me
Learning with me (LWM) is an initiative started by Adere Soyinka – a grade 9 student at Burlington Central High School. It began at the onset of the COVID-19 situation with the intention to help keep youths productive and contributing to society during their time at home. The basic premise behind LWM is simple: youths (aka Mentors) with strong STEM backgrounds teach other youths (aka Learners) online for about an hour on Saturdays. The curriculum is rigorous (and fun), follows industry standards, and is developed by the youth Mentors for their fellow youth audience. Upon successful completion, Learners are then encouraged to go on to become Mentors to other youth coming behind them. The current focus/emphasis is on computer programming (coding). The program is now in its 23rd week, with its very first set of cohorts having graduated from the HTML/CSS and Python camps on the 22nd of August, 2020. Amazing to see youth helping youth grow and succeed in our community!
Mask Donations for the Public
Local businesses like Canadian Tire and N8 Identity came through and donated thousands of disposable and reusable masks for distribution to the public via City Hall and our local public libraries this summer. We were blow away by the response we got from the community and how fast we went through the supply. Our businesses always demonstrate generosity to our community and this initiative was no exception.
The Chalk Walk of Inspiring Quotes
A creative local student named Chris who lives in the Millcroft area was recently inspired by how people were laying down colourful rocks along his neighbourhood in show of solidarity. He decided he’d like to write some positive messages on one of the walkways near his house as another method to lift people’s spirits and spread words of much needed encouragement in this challenging time. He reached out to his local councillor, the Mayor, and others to get their words of wisdom and shared them with everyone walking the path. Amazing idea Chris!
Burlington Towers’ Hope Garden
It’s always great to see our residents come together to find creative ways to spread cheer, especially when it involves a beautiful outdoor garden. This garden out in front of Burlington Towers apartments on Ontario Street shares messages of peace and hope thanks to their gardeners, Joe, Paul and Cam.
Thanks to resident Liz for sharing this gorgeous photo!
Denise Brolly Fundraising Face Masks
Local resident Denise Brolly has been making and selling hundreds of $5 face masks using her own (and some donated) cotton fabrics and elastics and trusty sewing machine at home, dedicating all the funds raised to our local food bank. So far she has amassed over $1000 in just a matter of weeks – an amazing accomplishment and wonderful contribution to our community. Thanks Denise!
The Frontline Burger
In early May, Burlington burger fans were treated to a brand-new option at The Works on Brant Street: the Burlington Frontline Burger! Loaded with Cheddar Cheese, Bacon, Fresh Tomatoes, Red Onion, Lettuce, & W Sauce, it’s both a delicious and charitable gesture to enjoy as they will donate $2 from every one purchased to the Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation.
Lochside Bar & Lounge Meal Donations
Since the lockdown started, local restaurant Lochside Bar & Lounge on Lakeshore Boulevard has been hard at work to contribute to our community. They have given away over 700 meals as part of their seniors & healthcare workers program – an amazing and tasty way to give back to those who need it most despite the many hardships being faced by our local restaurant industry during this pandemic. Our business community always steps up no matter what. Thanks Lochside!
Windows of Burlington
If you’re looking for a more literal wall of inspiration, look no further than these windows painted along the construction wall across from City Hall. As we continue through our own long marathon of physical distancing and isolation, the good folks of the Burlington Terry Fox Committee initiated a special project in honour of Terry’s determination and perseverance when he ran his famous Marathon of Hope. Check out the artwork and inspiring messages reminding us that we will get through this together the next time you’re downtown.
Local Notre Dame secondary school grade 12 student Sophia Divita, who shadowed me for a day last summer, worked hard with her classmates and cohorts around the country to make sure #PromIsOn2020 no matter what! Raising funds for Kids Help Phone in the process, they created a new way to celebrate together virtually in these challenging times and still get dressed up and dance the night away! I wish Sophia and all this year’s graduates a wonderful graduation and sincere congratulations. I know the grads of 2020 will forever be a wonderfully unique bunch with extraordinary shared memories and a very special bond.
Burlington Gymnastics Club Food Drive
The Burlington Gymnastics Club hosted a successful contactless food drive for the Gift of Giving Back on Sunday May 3, 2020. This socially distanced drive took place in Burlington on the driveway of 15-year-old Lauren Kuyper—one of BGC’s provincial athletes—with the help of her mother Rae-Anne Kuyper – Gift of Giving Back Volunteer Coordinator. Members from across the Burlington Gymnastics Club—including over forty families, coaches, athletes, Board Members, and the Executive Director— donated approximately 100 bags of food. 650 pounds of food in total were picked up the next morning by the Burlington Food Bank. Great job!
Burlington Public Library
Responding to Joseph Brant Hospital’s ongoing need for personal protective equipment, Burlington Public Library (BPL) delivered their two MakerBot 3D printers, computers, and 3D filament to the Biomedical Engineering team at JBH. To make sure the printers were right for the job, BPL’s former maker-in-residence, Harrison King-McBain, fabricated a prototype based on a design approved by JBH physicians. The hospital received the printers on April 8, along with the Library’s heartfelt thanks to all JBH staff for their tremendous work around the clock to help those in their care.
Support from our Residents, Young and Old
Through many long days and tough decisions, the emails and words of thanks and support have kept us all going. The empathy and kindness from the community is appreciated more than you can imagine. One of the sweetest notes of support brought to my attention through this crisis was from a young boy in Ward 2 who was assigned to write a prayer to any person or group and present it to his class. He said he prayed for “Mayors, Councillors and City Staff…that they have the strength to lead our city through coronavirus and recovery of services…to keep our most vulnerable safe…and work for the best outcome for all community members.” I don’t think we could have asked for a better letter of encouragement at this challenging time and I know it put a smile on all our faces when we needed it most.
During the first month of the pandemic, it was decided amongst CUPE 44 executive to buy food for the local food bank – Food for Life. The group looked on their website and decided they would buy 20 of each item from the “Top 10 needed items” list which was then dropped off to the food bank in Burlington where one of their members volunteers often with their family. Well done!
Replacing the Legion Flag
The Canadian Flag that waved 24-hours a day in front of Branch 60 of the Royal Canadian Legion in Burlington was recently stolen and the rope that held it cut apart. A terrible event at such an already challenging time for many of the Legion’s aging and at-risk veterans, not to mention an additional financial hardship for the self-funding Legion who cannot run the events that sustain them right now. Fortunately, our community immediately rallied with offers to replace the flag and rope, and the kind folks at Davey Tree brought their bucket truck at no charge to hang a new flag high up on the pole. Our veterans deserve every measure of respect we can give them for their service and sacrifice.
Talented Young Musicians
Residents in north Burlington reached out recently to let us know that every Friday night at 7pm two young men (16 & 13) have been playing the bagpipes and the snare drum on their porch to honour the great work by our health care workers. Neighbours attest to their great talent – and to see our youth step up this way makes it even better. Well done!
Rotary Burlington Lakeshore
Rotary Burlington Lakeshore knows the true meaning of Service Above Self, as their efforts to support the community at this time have only accelerated. The club has helped financially to assist initiatives such as community meals with Wellington Square United Church, Parkview Street Mission, and Willow’s Place; internet costs for students through Halton Learning Foundation; food programs through Burlington Food Bank, Food4Kids and Halton Women’s Place; educational supplies for programs with Community Living Burlington and Wesley Urban Ministries; and members have delivered food and supplies to vulnerable community members in support of The Burlington Food Bank.
The Gift of Giving Back
The Gift of Giving Back donated $85,000 to their beneficiaries as soon as this crisis began: the Burlington Food Bank, the Salvation Army, Food for Life, the Compassion Society, Halton Women’s Shelter, and the Carpenter Hospice to help them purchase food for the vulnerable folks they serve. On June 13th they held a drive-thru food drive that saw 280 cars drop off thousands of pounds of non-perishable food donations and $1800+ in monetary donations. These efforts for our community wouldn’t be possible without the incredibly generous hearts and willing hands of our youth.
The BOWSER Babes
Speaking of donations to the food bank, 29 years ago, six hockey wives formed BOWSER (Burlington Oldtimers’ Women Supplying Emergency Relief) with a mandate to help the less fortunate citizens of Burlington with a monthly collection of food and cash, all of which was donated to the Burlington Food Bank. On the 3rd Sunday of each month during the hockey season the “BOWSER BABES” would be at the arenas to collect non-perishable food items and household necessities. Some members preferred to donate cash in the bucket at the BOWSER table. All donations were appreciated and distributed to Burlington residents through the Food Bank. The grand total collected was $684,526. Simply amazing! On behalf of our whole community, I want to THANK the retiring BOWSER Babes for what they accomplished for the BOHC and for our Burlington community. We will miss you greatly after the hockey season can restart after COVID-19.
Danyliw & Mann
A shout out to the staff of Danyliw & Mann! The partners of Danyliw & Mann offered to match staff donations to the United Way Halton & Hamilton Covid-19 Emergency Fund as part of a workplace campaign. Within 24 hours, every staff member agreed to donate a portion of their paycheques for the entire month of April – a 100% staff participation rate with the firm matching their donations dollar for dollar.
Gator Ted’s Tap & Grill
Gator Ted’s and Barra Fion owner Ted Kindos and the Kindos clan donated and fed 90 of our local Burlington firefighters turked dinners over the Easter weekend. They gave 150 nurses $20 vouchers for the restaurant, and offered the same to the local police. All in, their amazing donation totalled over $6000 for our very deserving frontline workers.
Islamic Relief Canada
Earlier this month Islamic Relief Canada, located here in Burlington, launched a COVID-19 campaign to support frontline medical workers. Through generous community support they were able to acquire medical masks and sanitizer for hospitals, clinics and long-term care facilities. Staff members carefully delivered around 3000 masks to Joseph Brant Hospital along with 1000 masks and boxes of sanitizer to long-term care facilities in Burlington and Halton Hills.
Dr.Eid & Ochemo Corp.
Dr. Khoseeh Eid is CEO and Founder of Ochemo Corp. here in Burlington on Harvester Road. In addition to delivering 2000 3-ply masks as support to our health system in the fight against COVID-19 and offering hospitals and health providers discounts on personal protective equipment (PPE) he is also donating the masks and gloves that Halton Women’s Place requires to stay safe and operational and masks with valves to some of our at-risk elderly population who suffer with breathing issues when using regular masks.
@ThankYouBurlington on Instagram
Started out of a simple desire to share the good news & good people of Burlington in the midst of a lot of the “hard to read” and “less than cheery” information he was seeing on social media, Damien Sur spent many hours driving around town and approaching (from at least a 6-ft distance of course) those supporting our community through their service, acts of kindness, and words of encouragement. He shares their efforts on his instagram page @thankyouburlington and you can find lots of local good news stories there!
Walkers Chocolate Works
The Easter bunny did not miss out on delivering to Joseph Brant Hospital this year, with local business Walkers Chocolate Works stepping in to deliver thousands of treats to our front-line workers and patients. More importantly, they secured a shipment of 15,000 masks and dropped off the first 4000 that weekend. A sweet and inspiring story of our local business community stepping up with everything they can offer to help us through this crisis – this time with safety as well as treats!
Stitch It Clothing Alterations & Dry Cleaning
Thanks to owner Alan Baird and his staff, Burlington-based business Stitch It Clothing Alterations & Dry Cleaning is making face masks with surgical grade fabric and selling for $4 each. While not N95 grade, they are washable and water-and-droplet repellent and will help with the supply being sought by the public and offer more peace of mind.
With 55 locations across Canada, they are able to make tens of thousands. This innovation from their usual work has helped enable many of his roughly 400 staff to stay employed during this challenging time and he is also paying them 10% more during the pandemic.
Just down the QEW in nearby Beamsville, Dillon’s Distillery quickly retooled and made special batches of hand sanitizer which they promptly donated to support frontline workers in Burlington and surrounding areas as soon as this crisis began. With supplies of hand sanitizer in extraordinarily tight supply, this was a timely and welcomed surprise that helps keep our essential workers safe and healthy. As just one example, Dillon’s has supplied Burlington Fire Department with 192 bottles of his sanitizer which is 140 litres worth (thousands of dollars in retail value) at no cost. They are continuing to provide bottles of sanitizer at no cost for first response agencies.
This local fashion designer quickly responded to a known need in the community by retooling to make non-surgical-grade masks for the public. After receiving requests from clients to create a non-medical grade face covering that can add to a personal sense of security, he began quickly selling them online. In addition, $5 from each purchase goes to Joseph Brant Hospital while also keeping manufacturing labour employed right here in Canada. That’s a win-win!
IKEA Burlington generously donated all the bed tray tables for Joseph Brant Hospital’s new temporary Pandemic Response Unit that has been built as part of their emergency response. This timely donation will directly help the approximately 90 patients this facility can accommodate if and when COVID-19 cases surge locally.
Burlington Teen Tour Band
Our global musical ambassadors found a way to come together virtually and share a timely and inspirational song (by video) about unity in these challenging times, all while encouraging donations to our local hospital. Everyone who has watched it has told me it brought tears to their eyes, and I think it is a wonderful example of how the amazing youth of our community can contribute a great deal of hope and creativity.
This group of over 4000 local dads in Burlington quickly mobilized to reach out to local grocers and raised thousands of dollars in funds as well as gift cards (over $8000 so far) so families have food on their table. They helped clean up the very poorly timed flood from a faulty sprinkler head at the Carpenter Hospice, and their recent bottle drive for the Burlington Food Bank and Halton Women’s Place collected over 42,000 bottles worth over $6000! They’ve been recognized by our local MPP in the legislature, shouted out as a hometown hero by a local radio station, and continue to work to support their members and our community through this crisis, including funds for the Reach Out Centre for Kids.
MOVID Fundraiser for JBHF
In support of Joseph Brant Hospital and with the Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation, Angelo Paletta began growing a “MOVID” beard in the spirit of Movember while working from home like most of us. He committed to growing the beard with no cutting until he reached his public fundraising goal of $50,000. He and his wife Darlene are personally matching every donation along the way for a grand total of $100,000 for the hospital at this essential time!
Glad Tidings Church
After proactively reaching out to the Engagement and Volunteer Co-ordinator for the City of Burlington and hearing of the need for grocery delivery to those who are in mandatory isolation, Glad Tidings Church organized a free online grocery delivery service for those who are in mandatory isolation or for those who need to isolate based on underlying health issues. Their team of volunteers will shop & deliver groceries (using public health’s guidelines for safety) and have an online ordering process including a cashless, contact-free method of payment.
St. Matthew’s Church
Located in Aldershot, St. Matthew’s Church quickly mobilized to provide touch-free methods of donating to our local food bank in this era of self-isolation. This is a collaborative initiative organized by the Aldershot Food Collection Committee. They host drive-thru drop-offs on Mondays and Wednesdays from 12-3pm where residents can simply pull in to the church parking lot, drop off their donations onto skids and drive away! At 3pm, they have driver volunteers load the donated items into their cars and take them to the Food Bank and the Compassion Society. They are also adding a thank-you for the donors when they drop off food: there will be a container of, individually bagged, cloth face masks for the donors to take for themselves and their families’ use.
Community Living’s Virtual Walk N’ Roll
Community Living Burlington is transitioning their 40th Anniversary Walk’n Roll to a virtual event this year, inviting people to join them for a walk around your own neighbourhood on May 30th while following social distancing practices (at least 2 metres apart) at all times. All funds raised will help alleviate the pressures of COVID-19 for their organization. The CLB COVID-19 Pandemic Fund will be directed to virtual programming, supplies, equipment, technology and other immediate needs that will help to enrich the quality of life of the people they support during this pandemic.
Burlington Rifle and Revolver Club
The 2,700 members of the Burlington Range were able to donate 16 cases of critical PPE supplies to Joseph Brant Hospital including disposable gloves, Tyvek clothing and N95 masks sourced by their members. Their donations on the foundation website are over $10,000 and they donated $2,500 to the Salvation Army food bank. They also challenged all of the sport shooting clubs across Canada to “Beat Burlington” by donating cash, time and equipment within their respective villages, towns and cities, 6 of which have already started to do so.
Mrs. B’s Gifthouse
This popular local business known for its sweets and treats (and also for it’s owners, Ward 6 Councillor Angelo Bentivegna and his amazing wife Diane) has already donated 5000 gloves to the City of Burlington and partnered with Acclaim Health in their distribution of 500 care packages to their personal support workers. This couple never stops raising funds for Joseph Brant Hospital and partnering with organizations like the Gift of Giving Back. I know we’ll have more to add to their story of giving here in the weeks and months to come.
This talented local songstress, who is also Community Development Manager for Halton Food for Thought, was inspired by the videos of singing and music happening from balconies throughout the world as COVID-19 began to spread. She took it upon herself to start singing from her own balcony each night at 8pm to bring some of that magic to her own Burlington neighborhood as we began self-isolating here too. From Amazing Grace to Unchained Melody, to show tunes, jazz, pop and beyond, her neighbors are loving the nightly entertainment and feeling of togetherness she has created at this challenging time.
Halton Chemical here in Burlington retooled their production to quickly produce 1000 gallons of much-needed hand sanitizer to support the COVID-19 response and reached out to local organizations first to let them know. They produced the WHO (World Health Organization) formulation 2 based on 75% (v/v) Isopropyl Alcohol, filling 1-gallon jugs packaged four to a box.
Friday Night Porch Clap
Residents from all over the city have been stepping out on their front porches and balconies at 7pm each Friday night to make some noise for our healthcare professionals and frontline workers. Families are clapping as loud as they can, using pots and pans and whatever they can find to help them hear our gratitude for their hard work, bravery and commitment to our community. I’ve been lucky to join the live procession of emergency vehicles from the police, paramedics and fire department parade in front of Joseph Brant Hospital with lights ablaze to make sure they see how much we appreciate them. Be sure to join the celebration as we continue each week!
This local father and son business, based right here in Burlington, normally makes beautiful iron railings. They quickly retooled to be able to make 1 million face masks to help protect frontline workers.
See the whole story recently featured on CityNews.
Community Food Drive
On Sunday April 19th, a community food drive was organized by local residents, spearheaded by Chania Allen, in support of the Burlington Food Bank.
Multiple homes throughout the city signed up to receive no-contact porch drop-off from 10am to 2pm, and also encourage online donations.
Nuvo Network, Fortino’s and Avondale Equipment
With Nuvo Network‘s Taste Kitchen and local Fortino’s stores supporting Food for Life in launching the Good Soup Project, thousands of litres of soup are being made with fresh, rescued food will be delivered to friends in need. For about $1.33 per meal, the Good soup is made with wholesome ingredients like turkey, fresh potatoes, carrots and herbs. Avondale Equipment of nearby Hamilton recently donated a new freezer to support this initiative. So many great businesses working together!
Burlington Oldtimers Hockey Club
The Carpenter Hospice, led by Karen Candy (shown here), are getting close to opening their doors again and they couldn’t do this without the help of our community! The Burlington Oldtimers Hockey Club raised $12,900 as a result of players opting to donate their personal winter season refunds to the Hospice to help them out during the Crisis. This hockey club has built a strong tradition of volunteering in our community and is known for its commitment to helping out The Carpenter Hospice. In addition to the refunds there were several BOHC teams that donated their remaining winter team kitty funds to the Hospice.
Wellington Square United Church
Rather than sharing their usual Friday community meal, they are now providing Take Home Meal Bags that are available for pick up on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 12-4:00 pm. They are partnering with our community to find the food and resources needed to prepare this large number of meals. They have a small group of volunteers who come together to cook and package the food while following strict safety guidelines, and have others peeling, cutting and chopping perishable food. They’ve created a ‘Community Connections’ telephone buddy group where volunteers are reaching out to regularly check in with friends in our community in order to support them and determine if there are any imminent needs.
The Yarn Bomb Tree for Frontline Workers
Captured in all its glory by local photographer Stacey Newman, this gorgeous work of art was created by Burlington resident Miranda Goode, who is also a registered psychotherapist and master knitter.
A truly beautiful way to honour the people working hard for our health and safety, and bring some colour and creativity to her neighborhood!
PLEASE NOTE: To stay updated on what the City of Burlington is doing regarding COVID-19, please visit the dedicated pages burlington.ca/coronavirus (and subscribe) and bit.ly/mayormeedwardCOVID19updates, and our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page — bit.ly/COVID19BurlingtonFAQ that are updated as new information becomes available.
A Burlington COVID-19 Task Force has been created to help support our community through this unprecedented emergency — updates will be provided at burlington.ca/COVID19taskforce.
To report an incident of non-compliance with provincial emergency orders, please contact the Halton Regional Police Service COVID-19 Hotline: 905-825-4722.
HELPFUL RESOURCES & RELATED LINKS:
- Community questions and requests regarding City of Burlington services can be directed to Service Burlington by phone at 903-335-7777, by email at email@example.com or online.
- For further COVID-19 information, including where to get tested, please visit Halton Region Public Health halton.ca/coronavirus
- Residents can stay informed at burlington.ca/coronavirus as well as on our social media channels: @cityburlington on Twitter and facebook.com/cityburlington
- Questions about the cancellation of Recreation programs can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or 905-335-7738
- City of Burlington: www.burlington.ca/coronavirus
- Halton Region: www.halton.ca/coronavirus
- Government of Ontario: www.ontario.ca/coronavirus
- Government of Canada: www.canada.ca/coronavirus
- World Health Organization: www.who.int
- Joseph Brant Hospital: josephbranthospital.ca/covid-19
- Team Burlington Business Supports: burlingtonchamber.com/team-burl-supporting-burl-business-during-covid-19/