Class is in Session! Welcome to BIA:101

Welcome to BIA: 101! If you’ve ever walked past our Bronte BIA office and wondered what those letters mean, we’ve summarized everything you need to know right here.

A Business Improvement Area (BIA) is a “made-in-Ontario” innovation that got its start in Toronto in the 1970s. It is a self-funded association of commercial business people within a specified geographic district who join together, with official approval of the municipality, to stimulate local business and create a unique local experience. We’re talking about a collective effort in four key areas: marketing, beautification, activations and advocacy.

A BIA brings together funding and people power to create thriving, beautiful and safe business areas that attract shoppers, diners, tourists and new businesses. There are now over 270 BIAs in Ontario – three of which are right here in Oakville – Downtown Oakville, Kerr Village and, of course, Bronte

Here in Bronte, we are a local board of the Town of Oakville and we’re dedicated to improving economic prosperity and quality of life by creating a distinct sense of place. We aspire to be a ‘15-minute district’ where local residents can walk to all the amenities they need in about 15 minutes or so – a place where everyone is welcomed and everything you need can be found. Read our Bronte Forward! community vision.

The BIA employs two full-time staff (Executive Director and Membership & Communications Coordinator) and is governed by an elected volunteer Board of Management or Directors made up of business and property owner members in the district.

A visit to Bronte is a chance to experience a unique intersection where city life meets waterfront living. Our streets and our harbour are safe, clean, walkable and bikeable – and our businesses are a mix of locally owned, independent and operated establishments and chain stores that provide daily amenities for a growing district. 

The Bronte BIA serves its community in four key ways:

  1. We invest in the public realm to give the district a sense of place with banners, benches, décor and art.
  2. We market the area to draw attention to the neighbourhood and all the businesses within it.
  3. We work in cooperation with the Town of Oakville to influence policy and advocate for the needs of our members in a unified voice.
  4. We support events and activations across all four seasons to create a unique, vibrant and welcoming community.

We look forward to another year of working with our 175+ members to welcome visitors to our beautiful district. And we thank YOU for taking the time to learn about what we do. We hope you’ll visit us in Bronte soon!

To keep learning about all things BIA, watch this great video.