On Tuesday, December 5th, the Bloor-Yorkville Business Improvement Area was presented with a Toronto Area Business Improvement Area (TABIA) Award in the Event category for its efforts for fundraising at Bloor-Yorkville Icefest.
Since its inception, Bloor-Yorkville Icefest has enticed approximately 500,000 visitors to the neighbourhood. Bloor-Yorkville BIA Director of Marketing, Rick Kaczmarek, explains how it all began:
“Icefest started as an ice sculpting contest at Sassafraz, they did it for 5 years and then the Bloor-Yorkville BIA thought it was a wonderful idea, and took it on as larger event which is now heading into its 13th year. In the first year of Icefest, the BIA added an ice castle exhibition to the Village of Yorkville Park, and several area businesses participated by sponsoring ice sculptures. The event was in its infancy with about 3,000 people attending. In 2009, the Icefest had grown to 15,000 people in attendance and it was necessary to add in a road closure of Cumberland Street the following year. Icefest has evolved and now over 45 local businesses participate in the event with corporate sponsorships, ice sculpture sponsorships or by donating items for our draw held on-site at the event. We offer Kiddie Cubes, a Maple Taffy Station and an Icefest Lounge with DJ. The media has really embraced the event, and we now attract over 35,000 people each year.”
Inspired by Heart Month and the Valentine’s Day season, a different theme is selected every year. In 2017, the theme was Celebrate Canada 150 and the BIA transformed the neighbourhood into a magical showcase of 20,000 lbs. of crystal clear ice, sculpted into 54 displays throughout the area. Patrons were dazzled by these ice creations, while enjoying the ‘Maple Syrup Taffy Station’, ‘Ice Kiddie Cubes’ for the children, live entertainment, and the Sassafraz Ice Carving Competition. We had an Icefest Lounge, with DJ’s provided by Bellosound, and the event hours were extended on Saturday until 8 p.m., which was a big success!
Access to Icefest is free to the public, but the Bloor-Yorkville BIA encourages donations to support their fundraising efforts. Participating partners and sponsors also help to support of the Heart & Stroke Foundation.
“All Bloor-Yorkville events support charities and for Icefest, we chose the Heart and Stroke Foundation to coincide with Heart Month in February. Icefest received the Heart & Soul Award from the Heart and Stroke Foundation, as a community based program, for our commitment and loyalty in raising funds and awareness,” said Mr. Kaczmarek.
“Bloor-Yorkville Icefest is a one-of-a-kind event that takes place in the heart of the city. It’s a celebration of winter, where the whole family can come out and see ice carving demonstrations and displays that are themed each year,” said Mr. Kaczmarek. “We are proud that the event has become an anticipated event in the Toronto event calendar and at the same time raised over $70,000 to date for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.”
Congratulations to the Bloor-Yorkville BIA on receiving this fantastic award. Well-deserved!
Planning for the 2018 Icefest is well underway, please contact our office if you are interested in sponsorship opportunities!