The world’s very first Business Improvement Area was created in the Bloor-Jane area of west Toronto in 1970. Today, under the umbrella of the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association (OBIAA) there are more than 270 BIAs in Ontario, ranging in size from 60 to 2,000 businesses. The concept has also grown globally, with BIAs in Europe and countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Africa and the United States.
OUR DOWNTOWN STRATFORD BIA was formed on August 27th, 1973. Making this the year we celebrate our 50th year!
The Downtown Stratford Business Improvement Area (BIA) is an association of downtown small business owners who work in partnership with the City of Stratford to create a thriving, competitive, and safe business area that attracts shoppers, diners, tourists and new business. By working collectively as a BIA, our local businesses have the organizational and funding capacity to be catalysts for civic improvement, enhancing the quality of life downtown and the City as a whole.
Every year a tax levy is collected from the approximate 320 businesses that fall within the BIA boundaries (please see attached map) and this is what makes up the BIA’s annual working budget. Membership to the BIA is automatic. If you fall within the boundary, a levy will be collected by the City and the business becomes a member.
The Stratford BIA consists of a Board of Management (please see list below) that oversees and is responsible for all the operations, activities, and decisions of our BIA. The positions are a four year term that runs concurrently with city council terms. Our Board comprises eight small business owners/employees and one City Councillor. Four staff also support the operations in the role of General Manager, Social Media, Communications and Board Assistant.
I saw the partnerships and work done in the early stages of the pandemic, especially the role of downtown Stratford, and wanted to be a part of that. I want to be able to use my very unique skill set to help foster local economic development and revitalization.
I love downtown Stratford. It has always been a big part of my life. Growing up close to downtown, it's where I would spend time with my friends. My parents both owned businesses downtown, and it was home to all my favourite restaurants and snack spots. Now as an adult, I still live downtown! I'm lucky that my office is located here, and of course it still has all my favourite restaurants and shops. Downtown Stratford embodies a wonderful sense of community for everyone who lives here and visits.
Though I have been a long time business owner in Stratford, I am excited my new venture in the downtown core will allow me to contribute to this vibrant area of the city I have enjoyed so much over the last 25 years.
As an entrepreneur, I draw inspiration from the vibrancy of our downtown area and variety of independent businesses. Being actively engaged and giving back is a personal priority. I aspire to advocate for fellow small business owners in our downtown area, working towards meaningful improvements for our community!
I am volunteering my time with the BIA to enhance the connection between the Stratford Festival and our vibrant downtown community. With so many synergies to spark, I look forward to discovering new ways of collaborating and growing together!
Downtown Stratford is a special place, with so much to offer both residents and vistors. I really enjoy being part of the BIA community, and I want to give back to the city that has made me realize how important community truly is. I look forward to representing the two downtown businesses I am fortunate to be employed at.
As a small business owner and entrepreneur as well as a City Councillor, I’m excited to serve on the Downtown Stratford BIA this term. It’s my privilege to act as a bridge between business owners and the City to help sustain and improve our vibrant downtown core.
The Downtown Stratford BIA conducts its Board Meeting on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 6:15 pm, at the Stratford Public Library. All BIA members, property owners and the public are welcome to attend. Please contact [email protected] for meeting details.
Beautification / Holiday (seasonal) Working Group
Advocacy & Education
If you are interested in joining a sub-committee, please contact [email protected].
January 29, 2024 – Contest – Winter Walk Around the Block
January 23, 2023 – Invest Stratford and Downtown Stratford BIA Announces Support Through the Government of Canada Funded by My Main Street, Local Business Accelerator Program – Ten businesses receive $10K each from My Main Street
September 24, 2021 – The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation September 30, 2021
June 2, 2021 – Commitment of responsibility, advocacy and reconciliation with the Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island
April 6, 2021 – Provincial lockdown impact on Stratford city centre businesses
July 27, 2020 – Ally-ship and accountability towards diversity and inclusion within Stratford