If you're at all curious about business improvement districts (BIDs), have a look at this document from New York City. I'm not saying that Old Town is exactly like Tribeca, but surely, there are some lessons to be learned here:
Yellowknife is the capital of Canada's Northwest Territories (NWT). It is located on the north shore of Great Slave Lake, approximately 400 km (250 mi) south of the Arctic Circle, on the west side of Yellowknife Bay near the outlet of the Yellowknife River. Yellowknife and its surrounding water bodies were named after the local Yellowknives Dene First Nation, who made tools from regional copper deposits. The current population is ethnically mixed. Of the eleven official languages of the Northwest Territories, five are spoken in significant numbers in Yellowknife: Dene Suline, Dogrib, South and North Slavey, English, and French. In the Dogrib language, the city is known as Somba K'e ("where the money is"). 
This website brings together a whole bunch of useful stats about Yellowknife, and other Canadian cities. Categories include demographics, households and income, education, employment, etc. It is about a trillion times easier to navigate than Statscan. Thanks to Allison for forwarding this link.
Have a look at this report from the Center for Innovative and Entrepreneurial Leadership (CIEL). The authors combined Smart Growth ideas with a bunch of other urban planning strategies to create a Community Vitality Index. It's a self-assessment tool for communities and it provides a different perspective on Yellowknife's (or any city's) strengths and weaknesses.
The City of Yellowknife can join this group for the low, low price of $265 plus GST. It looks to me like a valuable resource. It is a relatively new group (2008) with only a hundred member-cities, but the price is right. On top of that, their youth might be an advantage - they may have a lot of fresh ideas. By the way, notice the reference to a cultural office in the blurb. Interesting concept. Granted, London is a big city, but these offices may exist in smaller places too.
"The CCNC is happy to announce that the 2011 Creative City Summit will take place this May in London, Ontario. Congrats to the City of London Culture Office on their successful bid! We look forward to working with them as they engage in this exciting opportunity to showcase their culture and their commitment to local cultural development to CCNC members, the local community, and the larger community of practice from across Canada."
Details: The strategy some have embraced to save their town from becoming a ghost town is called 'branding'. Usually associated with a big corporation or running shoe, branding is more than simply labeling a product. It's about providing or creating an identity thereby making something more interesting or attractive compared to its competitors. In this film, we'll journey to small town Alberta and Saskatchewan and meet two towns whose experiences unfold very differently when faced with the notion of branding.
Yesterday I was contacted by someone from the National Trust for Historic Preservation in Washington, DC to bring to my attention a special issue of the Forum Journal (Winter 2010) that focused on Heritage-Based Rural Development.