Source: City of Toronto
March 3, 2005 – Mayor David Miller and Councillor Bill Saundercook (Ward 13, Parkdale-High Park) joined leaders of Toronto’s small business community this evening to honour Alex Ling, founder of the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA). Ling played an integral role in establishing thriving business communities in many Toronto neighbourhoods.
“Toronto’s unique and vibrant neighbourhoods and districts are represented by BIAs that owe a great deal of their success to Alex Ling,” said Mayor David Miller. “Congratulations to Alex for his vision and initiative that created an environment where BIAs continue to thrive and play an important part in our local economy and are the driving force behind our neighbourhoods and communities.”
In honour of Ling’s volunteerism and activism throughout the past 30 years, a dedication ceremony was held as part of the evening’s celebrations to name the fountain at the corner of Jane and Bloor Street the Alex Ling Fountain.
Ling championed Canada’s first BIA, Bloor West Village before founding the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas. The Association currently boasts 50 BIAs with four more currently in development, making it the largest cluster in North America.
More than 20,000 businesses and property owners are represented by BIAs. The City and BIAs together have committed to spend $4.5 million for streetscape improvement projects in 2005. As well, BIAs spearhead community safety and crime prevention programs to enhance the commercial and residential desirability of these areas.
“BIAs are a wonderful example of how the City and its communities are working together to revitalize our streets, beautify our neighbourhoods and strengthen our city, one community at a time,” said Councillor Saundercook.
The City of Toronto recognizes the importance of BIAs and values their contribution to the city’s economic health and well-being. Toronto Economic Development, through its Small Business and Local Partnership office, delivers a variety of programs and services to BIAs. This includes BIA start-up, development and strategic business planning, as well as financial assistance for street and sidewalk improvements, tree lighting, banners and festivals.