TORONTO — The City of Toronto has partnered with The Department of Management at the University of Toronto Scarborough, specifically The BRIDGE, and the School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts at Centennial College, to create FIND DINING — a program that celebrates independent restaurants in Scarborough and the diversity of the community, through its rich culinary offerings.
This student-supported initiative, championed by Scarborough City Councillor, Jennifer McKelvie (Ward 25 Scarborough – Rouge Park), aims to share the stories of Scarborough food, promote the diversity of local cuisine and assist restaurants in their economic recovery.
“Everyone has felt the impacts of COVID-19. FIND DINING provides post-secondary students with real-world learning experiences and shows Scarborough restaurants that the community is here to support them through challenging times,” says McKelvie. “Every small restaurant owner has a story about how their food came to be. By sharing those stories, FIND DINING will help energize the Scarborough food scene and get customers excited about exploring their local food community.”
Together, the City of Toronto, U of T Scarborough and Centennial College will engage with Scarborough restaurants to strengthen the local food community through the creation of a centralized website celebrating the food scene, the facilitation of restaurant-support workshops and the launch of promotional campaigns to drive business.
“Our school is committed to supporting the Scarborough restaurant community through the challenges faced in the current environment and beyond, while enhancing the understanding of entrepreneurship for our students contributing to this project,” says Damian Goulbourne, dean, School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts, Centennial College. “By participating in this meaningful initiative, we will elevate the connection our students have with the Scarborough food community and look forward to highlighting the business operators that make this one of the most vibrant, diverse food cities in Canada.”
“Such collaborative initiatives enable U of T Scarborough to drive the facilitation of partnerships,” says Andrew I. Arifuzzaman, Chief Administrative Officer, University of Toronto Scarborough. “Through campus-led innovations such as this, we can embed scholarly expertise into the local business community, thus enabling mutually beneficial outcomes. There’s not only a plethora of diverse food, but also diverse priorities of small-restaurant owners in the community and, now more than ever, place-based and solutions-based outcomes will go a long way in assisting them as they navigate the challenges posed by the pandemic.”
Restaurant-support workshops will address topics, including COVID-19-related tax information, social-media tips for establishing an online presence and the CaféTO program.