Representing businesses along the Queens Quay corridor between Bathurst and Cherry St, the Waterfront Business Improvement Area (BIA) is the business community’s voice and the unifying entity to Toronto’s Waterfront.
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.
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 BIA’s. 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. Financial assistance is also provided to BIA’s to implement mural projects and commercial facade improvements. Toronto BIA’s 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 BIA’s; advocates on behalf of BIA’s to influence government policy and helps obtain funding for programs and services for BIA’s.
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.
All persons who own ratable property in a business property class, and all persons who are non-residential tenants of ratable property in a business property class in a business improvement area.
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.