Toronto is well known as the "City of Neighbourhoods", but most people don't know that this reputation has been built by BIAs. More than 40 years ago, Toronto welcomed the world's first Business Improvement Area (BIA) in Bloor West Village. Since then, the BIA model of governance has spread across the world to more than 55 countries. There are now more than 10,000 BIAs globally, and in Toronto there are 82 in total which is the most of any city in the world. Toronto continues to be the world leader in this movement, which is the city's most successful public-private partnership.
All properties located within our boundary on Queen St West from University to Bathurst are members of the BIA. Every legally established business located within these properties is also a member of the BIA, even if the business address is on a side flankage street address.
The BIA is financed through a levy appended to each Property Tax bill. The levy amount varies according to the annual budget approved by BIA members.
Each BIA operates independently, with its own staffing and volunteer Board of Directors. Each BIA operates according to the will of its membership will varying objectives such as organizing special events, improving streetscape beautification, establishing a brand, marketing and promoting the neighbourhood, offering group discount programs such as graffiti removal and insurance, and conducting advocacy on municipal issues such as bylaws, taxation, and other policy changes.
Each BIA is supported by the BIA Office located at City Hall (link), and TABIA (link), an umbrella organization for all BIAs. The BIA Office is staffed by City employees and provides assistance on issues pertaining to finance, governance, and capital improvements. TABIA develops programs and services to assist all BIAs, and provides a unified voice on advocacy issues such as taxation and bylaw changes.