What is a BIA?
A business improvement area is an association of business owners and tenants in a specific area that work in partnership with the City of Toronto to represent their specialized community needs. Through this partnership, BIA’s can effectively attract new, competitive, and thriving business. By working collectively as a BIA, local businesses have the organizational and funding capacity to be catalysts for civic improvement, enhancing the quality of life in their local neighborhood and the city as a whole. The first BIA was established in Bloor West Village in 1970, and since then Toronto now boasts 83 BIA’s across the city, representing more than 35,000 businesses, and bringing in a combined $30 million in funding.
What are the Benefits?
The city of Toronto offers a number of assistance programs to BIA’s to implement mural projects, community festivals, strategic business plans, commercial facade improvements, as well as funds to beautify streets and sidewalks, create marketing and promotional campaigns, and develop crime prevention strategies.
One of the more successful programs offered by our BIA office is the Capital Cost-Share Program, which provides matching funding to our BIA partners for streetscape beautification projects aimed at taming our busy streets and improving the shopability and quality of life in our neighborhoods.
Each BIA throughout the city are Members of an umbrella organization called the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA), which encourage the exchange of information, experiences, and ideas among BIA’s. TABIA also advocates on behalf of BIA’s to influence government policy, help obtain funding for programs, and offers discount and savings programs for it’s members, such as preferred Merchant Visa and MasterCard rates.
Any other questions?
Please see the City of Toronto website.