Toronto's Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) Go to the CNE

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On Tuesday, August 20, one of Toronto's most successful exports to the world will be at the CNE.

Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas

As everybody knows, CNE stands for the Canadian National Exhibition.

What many people don’t know is that the acronym BIA stands for Business Improvement Area and identifies an area of the city where the businesses and property owners work together to make their community more attractive and pleasant for visitors, shoppers and diners.

You probably frequent BIAs all the time but may not realize it. They are usually identified by their decorative lights, banners, attractive street furniture and floral arrangements. If you have ever attended a street festival chances are it was in one the city's 75 BIAs.

The first BIA in the world was Bloor West Village BIA, founded over 40 years ago. Established by Toronto Council in 1970, it is certified by the City of Toronto comprised of business members that raise funds through property tax levies and undertake streetscape improvements and put on events that benefit the community.

Since its inception, this important innovation has not only spread across the City of Toronto but around the world. BIA enthusiasts and organizers from around the world consult with TABIA, the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas, and Alex Ling, one of the original board members of the Bloor West Village BIA for their experience and expertise.

TABIA will have a booth at the Better Living Centre on Tuesday August 20th from 10am to 4pm where you can get all kinds of free swag from several BIAs, as well as information.

There is a City of Neighbourhoods website which can help you identify the BIAs in your neighbourhood.

“Toronto's network of BIAs has been an important factor in the vibrancy of this city,” states John Kiru, TABIA Executive Director. “And while people might not recognize the term we know they appreciate the value we provide.”


OBIAA and TABIA are non-profit umbrella organizations representing more than 80,000 businesses and property owners in Ontario’s 280 BIAs. The organizations engage in advocacy initiatives that create business environments where main street businesses can thrive.

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John Kiru
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