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The Broadway Business Improvement District (BBID), formally established on August 25, 1986, is an organization born from the collective conscience of the Nutana merchants in Saskatoon. The purpose of the association is to support and advance the interests of all businesses situated within the boundaries of the Broadway district. The BBID also strives to encourage and promote good community relations within the district and surrounding area. A variety of activities are undertaken yearly to ensure that these goals are met: facilitating business advertising, planning promotional events, maintaining frequent communications and strong relations amongst merchants, affecting physical improvements to public land and voicing the concerns of the collective merchant group to municipal government.

The logo of the cat on a roof, playfully batting at the Broadway name, is a familiar sight on Broadway. So where did that cat come from and why is it allowed to mess with Broadway?

The logo was developed in August of 1997 by Christian Jensen Communications Design. They were approached by the board of the Broadway Business Improvement District (BBID), who felt their previous logo was perhaps too limited as a representation of what the BBID had become since its revival after the 1970s and 1980s.

Christian Jensen lived and worked on Broadway, and so was very attuned to the street. He remembers they worked with Heather Larson, then Executive Director of the BBID (who liked cats). Christian thought they needed a logo that spoke of “a fun place, but a cool place; also, a place where you could dare to be yourself” — playful or aloof, as the mood took you.

They considered many possibilities to represent this spirit, “but none captured it more than the personality of a cat,” Christian says. “The image of the cat ‘playing’ with the type in the word Broadway represents our area’s willingness to be inclusive, accepting, accommodating, and a place where you can come and feel at ease.

“The cat also represents the many different types of people who live and work here. Cats can be elusive one moment and playful the next, elegant in the morning and rolling in the dirt in the noon sunshine — it’s all good!”

“It’s very satisfying to see that it has lasted so long and become so much a part of the history of Broadway.”

Sarah Marchildon, current BBID Executive Director, adds that she likes the associations that cats call to mind, as great representation of our district: “the independent demeanor, cool-cats with a laid-back, jazz feel, the playfulness of paw batting, the local meandering of a cat...” But her favourite irony about the Broadway cat logo is “the fact that so many business owners bring their dogs to work! Although I have in the past, it’s been a while since I’ve met a business-cat on Broadway! I guess it's all us cool-cats that make the collective community great." And so, the BBID continues to allow the cat to mess with our favourite word.

Written by Victoria Neufeldt, NCA Newsletter Editor, April 2014

The History of the BBID

One of the first major projects for the BBID was to lobby City Hall for money to cover half of the approximately $1,100,000 price tag of refurbishing Broadway as a street. The merchants’ idea stemmed from a desire to transform a high traffic area into one that was busy, colorful and economically viable for small neighbourhood businesses. As Saskatoon’s original commercial district, Broadway used to be the commercial centre of activity in Saskatoon. With the establishment of the Downtown and Riversdale areas, commerce slowly drifted away from Broadway and left in its wake a neighborhood that was losing its identity as well as its customers. The BBID was determined to turn that around.

The merchants approached City Council with a plan to levy a special business tax on approximately 140 Nutana businesses to raise the merchants’ part of the renewal expense. The City would contribute the balance of the expenses incurred. The plan included cobblestone medians, park benches, median signs, new paint on the lampposts, antique style lighting and advertisement posts all coordinated in the same theme. The style of the street furniture and other amenities were designed to give Broadway its own sense of community and character that set it apart from other areas of the City.

This theme still runs throughout the many aesthetic improvements on Broadway Avenue. Ongoing monies from the City’s Urban Design Committee ensure regular maintenance and upgrades to the existing accessories as well as funding new streetscape enhancement projects. Heritage grants also exist for merchants who wish to renovate their buildings or restore their original facades. Local visitors to the area also contribute to the growth and maintenance of Broadway in the way of meter revenues; funds collected in the meters are divvied up between the BID’s as well as the City’s Streetscape Reserve Fund.

 

BBID Office: 813 Broadway Avenue   Saskatoon, SK S7N 1B5    Ph: (306)-664-6463