Officially established in 1972, the Uptown Waterloo Business Improvement Area (BIA) turned 50 in 2022, making us the second oldest BIA in the world!

But, what is a BIA anyway?

The concept of Business Improvement Areas originated in 1970 with a group of business owners in the Bloor-Jane area of west Toronto (now known as the Bloor West Village BIA). For many BIAs starting out in the 1970’s, business owners were concerned about the decline of their main streets caused by the growing popularity of shopping malls which was drawing shoppers away from their traditional retail areas. BIAs enabled their members to pool resources to promote their main street, make beautification and physical improvements to their areas which benefitted local businesses and neighbourhoods and join together to advocate for each other. There are now over 300 BIAs across Ontario and the concept has been emulated throughout Canada, the United States and around the globe.

In celebration of this incredible milestone, we have a number of initiatives and campaigns throughout the year including featuring the stories of our Uptown business owners, a photo contest, limited edition posters, pins, patches and so much more!