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The Hastings Crossing Business Improvement Association covers a lot of ground. It includes businesses in parts of Gastown but also the Downtown Eastside, where there are many low-income residents. There’s a lot of change here. So how do you do business in a sensitive neighbourhood? Last year, Wes Raley of sweet shop Wishing Treats told The Tyee that businesses in the area can’t ignore what’s happening outside their doors.

“When you set up here, you can’t not have a social conscience, just because of what you see,” he said. “In a lot of parts of Vancouver, you’re not necessarily confronted with people who are needy all the time. But here, you are. Always. And you can’t forget it.”

The BIA is organizing its Experience Hastings Crossing again this year from Feb. 23 to March 4. It partners local businesses with social enterprises and non-profits to offer events and special promos, from dishes to free classes. The event connects businesses with causes in their community and invites people to come down and see the work that’s being done.