University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario: 16mm.
"The film begins with old photographs of downtown areas—traditionally the centres of community life. Today, some downtowns are still the vibrant hearts of their communities, but others have become ailing cores, threatening the health and unity of the entire community. In the last 30 years, populations have been spreading out into suburbs. Large shopping centres are following, creating fierce competition for downtown areas. The film describes how several Ontario towns have preserved the importance of their downtown streets. Elmira responded to the threat of nearby Conestoga Mall by developing the unique Brox's Olde Town Village, which has renewed interest in the area. Trenton took advantage of government construction to beautify its downtown area, and got merchants together to contribute to the Business Improvement Area. The town of St Thomas also raises funds within the business community by collecting an extra tax. This tax is turned over to the Business Improvement Committee. For further encouragement, the Ontario Ministry of Housing set up its Main Street Revitalization Plan, which helps communities of under 30,000 people to redevelop their downtown areas. Larger funds can be obtained for major redevelopments. But redevelopment is not the only solution—the restoration of Cobourg's Victoria Hall, for example, shows how preservation and restoration can renew interest in the heart of the community. Today, more and more towns are preserving their important social, commercial and cultural centres."