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What We Can Learn from our Canadian Neighbors about Place Management

By Kerry Morrison

June 12, 2014

This is the second in a three-part series written by HPOA executive director, Kerry Morrison, following two conferences in two different cities, on urban districts and place management.  This first part is here.

I loved walking through Victoria and was struck by the beauty of the city tucked along the edges of its historic harbor.  I walked down Governor Street the first night in search of a place to eat dinner my first night, and wrote a blog about the importance of restaurants opening their windows to invite in customers.

On the first morning of the conference, I signed up for a walking tour of their BID area with representatives of their law enforcement agency, BID and tourism officials (see photo above).   Here are a couple of ideas I brought home.

Downtown Victoria experiences problems similar to ours with public urination, especially as it relates to male behavior at night in association with nightclubs and bars.  They have one permanent public toilet installed which is quite tasteful.    The city also provides five portable urinals.  The BID (Downtown Victoria Business Alliance) has hired a service that puts them out every Friday and Saturday at dusk and picks them up in the morning.   The service takes care of cleaning them.   It has reduced incidence of odor considerably.

permanent toilet in Victoria BID

A permanent toilet installed in the Victoria BIA (Business Improvement Area).











On the walking tour we has an opportunity to see what the portable urinals look like.   We learned that there was evidence that the five urinals had been used 694 times in 10 weeks.  (Don’t ask how they figure that out.)  But you can call me.

portable urinal Victoria BC

Portable urinals for Friday and Saturday nites in pub zone in downtown Victoria.






After the walking tour, I attended a session on placemaking.  Great ideas were shared by our Canadian partners, particularly those with the downtown Calgary BID, which are shared here.

Downtown Calgary has a piano sitting out all year round on Stephen Avenue.    When one wears out, another one is typically donated.  It creates a gathering place for people and also a photo opp.   Another idea shared by the Calgary folks involved a pop-up picnic that happens during lunch every second Wednesday from July to August.  Finally, an opera is presented in the alleys of Calgary once a year.  This is featured on You Tube

I was struck by how similar are our problems and opportunities in city centres in Canada and Los Angeles.  I will have more to share about their innovative work in British Columbia in helping move their homeless population off the streets.

Kerry Morrison serves as the executive director of the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance, a position she has held since the inception of the Hollywood Entertainment District BID in 1996.  She has a MPA in Public Administration from USC and is a graduate of Santa Clara University.  She has a passion for ending homelessness, and serves as Mayoral appointee to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), serves on the United Way Home for Good Business Leaders Task Force, and on the board for The Center at Blessed Sacrament.  She loves to knit, collects fountain pens and eschews loud music in restaurants.

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