Waterfront Business Improvement Area
Representing businesses along the Queens Quay corridor between Bathurst and Cherry, the Waterfront Business Improvement Area (BIA) supports the continued growth of the waterfront as a premier destination that is well-connected to the rest of the City and is beautiful, clean and vibrant year-round. Activities of the BIA include representing the area on key policy and advocacy issues, making targeted public realm improvements and highlighting the area’s vibrancy with activations and daily promotion online.
The City of Toronto has 85 BIAs representing its business communities. BIAs are involved with representing their area on policy, advocacy and planning issues, making streetscape improvements, and activating the area with marketing and events. A board of management is elected from the property owners and business representatives in the area. BIAs are funded by a special levy on commercial and industrial properties in the area. Annual budgets are set by the board of management and approved at an Annual General Meeting where all property owners and businesses can attend to vote. The annual budget is then applied across the assessed tax base of the area and appears on municipal property tax bills. For tenants, the costs are passed on through their lease.
Briarlane Property Management
Oxford Properties Group
Great Lakes Schooner Co.
Cindi Vanden Heuvel
Mariposa Cruises by Hornblower
Dr. Suzanne Bober
Our Strategic Objectives are to:
- Enhance the street experience to reflect the Waterfront’s regional stature.
- Connect uses, people and public spaces to build the Waterfront as a cohesive and supportive community.
- Collaborate with partners to acquire and retain a vibrant mix of retail that encourages lingering by locals and tourists alike.
- Attract more people to the Waterfront area by presenting year-round programming and activations.
- Implement evidence-based decision-making as part of best-practice Board governance.
Click here to find out who provides what City services.
Operations – Streetscape Enhancement
- Maintain the street and local parks via reporting to 311/property managers/Parks Department/Transportation Services; i.e. damaged traffic signals and garbage bins, derelict bicycles, unsafe sidewalks, etc.
- Clean Streets Team removes garbage, graffiti, posters and cigarette butts twice weekly through the summer season – May to October
- Assistance with City-related member issues; i.e. required bylaw enforcement
- Advocate for timely completion of local construction activities
A Business Improvement Area (BIA) is an association of commercial property owners and tenants within a defined area who work in partnership with the City to create thriving, competitive, and safe business areas that attract shoppers, diners, tourists, and new businesses. By working collectively, local business have the organizational and funding capacity to be catalysts for civic improvement, enhancing the quality of life in their local neighbourhood and the City as a whole. Toronto now boasts a total of 85 BIAs, representing more than 35,000 businesses – the largest number of BIAs in North America. The world’s first BIA was started in Toronto in 1970. Since then, this innovative public-private partnership model has been copied internationally. Focusing on street/sidewalk beautification, marketing and promotional campaigns, street festivals, clean street/graffiti-removal campaigns, and crime prevention strategies, BIAs also act as a unified voice to address issues on behalf of their membership. BIA members employ more than 400,000 people in full-time and part-time positions. Over 7.4 million people attend the more than 160 community events and street festivals supported and produced by BIAs throughout the year. Source: City of Toronto website.
What are the benefits of a BIA?
In order to help local commercial areas create thriving, competitive and safe business areas, the City of Toronto, through the Economic Development & Culture Division, offers a number of assistance programs to BIAS. 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. These projects help tame our busy streets and improve the quality of place in our neighbourhoods. In 2011, Council approved almost $3.5 million towards BIA beautification projects. Financial assistance is also provided to BIAs to implement mural projects and commercial facade improvements. Toronto BIAs are also members of an umbrella organization called the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA). TABIA encourages and facilitates the exchange of information, experiences, and ideas among BIAs; advocates on behalf of BIAs to influence government policy and helps obtain funding for programs and services for BIAs.
How does a BIA work?
A BIA is run by a volunteer Board of Management elected from its members. The Board is nominated at an Annual General Meeting and, once approved by City Council, serves a four-year term concurrent with the term of Council. The Board works on behalf of its BIA and meets regularly to develop budgets, set priorities, implement capital improvements, plan festivals, and promote its business area.
Who are BIA members?
All persons who own rateable property in a business property class, and all persons who are non-residential tenants of rateable property in a business property class in a business improvement area.
How is a BIA funded?
Once the budget is approved by the BIA members and ratified by City Council, funds are raised through a levy on all commercial and industrial properties within the BIA’s boundary. Calculation of this levy is based on the proportionate value of each property’s commercial and/or industrial assessment. Once the levy is collected by the City, the funds are returned to the BIA to manage.
Boundaries of The Waterfront BIA
Click here to expand, download or print BIA map.