What is the Downtown Oshawa BIA?
The Downtown Oshawa Business Improvement Area (BIA) is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. The Board is nominated at an Annual General Meeting and, once approved by City Council, serves a four-year term concurrent with the term of Council. The Board works on behalf of its BIA and meets regularly to develop budgets, set priorities, implement capital improvements, plan festivals, and promote its business area.
Once a BIA is approved by City Council, every business within its boundaries automatically becomes a member. There are no exceptions, under the principle that all who benefit should be required to bear their fair share of the cost of the program.
Created in 1974, the Downtown Oshawa BIA recently expanded the boundary (2017). There are two staff that work for the 400+ members that reside within the boundary. BIAs use their own money in an ongoing effort to draw more prospective customers to their area by improving the attractiveness of the area and promoting it as a good place to shop, visit and do business.
A Brief History
Oshawa has become one of the fastest growing cities in Canada, although statements to this effect are often in reference to the Census Metropolitan Area, which includes neighbouring Whitby and Clarington. Oshawa achieved a record-setting year of growth in 2015
with over a half a billion dollars in construction value (breaking its previous record in 2014). Many commuters have been enticed to Oshawa by comparatively low housing prices and the regular rail service into downtown Toronto provided by GO Transit and Via Rail.
Downtown Oshawa is identified as an Urban Growth Centre in the Government of Ontario's Places to Grow initiative. More than 5,000 people work and more than 2,400 university students study in the downtown core. The downtown is a prominent centre for entertainment and sporting events (Regent Theatre and Tribute Communities Centre), food (60+ restaurants and cafes) and culture (The Robert McLaughlin Gallery and Canadian Automotive Museum). Oshawa is home to a Regional Innovation Centre and offers start-up facilities for entrepreneurs and small businesses. Co-working offices are also located in the downtown.
In spring 2016, Oshawa was ranked No. 1 city for jobs in Canada when compared to 33 cities across the country. The trend suggests major social and demographic changes for Oshawa, which has long had a history of a reliance on manufacturing, specially with a focus on automobiles led by General Motors. The nature of our population, commerce and our workforce is rapidly changing.
Today, with a population of over 166,000, Oshawa is the largest municipality in Durham Region. It is home to three post-secondary institutions and is rich in arts and cultural assets, with over 500 cultural businesses, events and festivals.
By creating a strong and distinct image for a neighbourhood shopping area and marketing it effectively, the main benefits of a BIA start with the fact that it can better compete in an age of shopping malls, big-box retailing and e-commerce.
BIAs encourage and advocate for civic improvement which contributes to the quality of life of our neighbourhoods. In order to help local commercial areas create thriving, competitive and safe business areas, the City of Oshawa, through the Economic Development Department, offers assistance programs to the BIA members.
Direct benefits to our members include:
Everything from grant programs, to advertising opportunities, to local policy that will impact your business.
Street banners, seasonal decorations, lighting as well as liaison with the city for such things as snow removal, litter removal and streetscape upgrades.
Every member receives a listing on our business directory.
Social Media Promotion
With active accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube, we use these tools to promote our members and their events.
Event Facilitation and Organization
Through the year we organize or support events to promote or showcase Downtown Oshawa. Your participation in these events can help generate awareness for you business.
Actively advocate on behalf of the members various topics (streetscape, garbage, etc.) for the members with the City, Police and other local agencies. Lifestyle
Oshawa is rapidly becoming the choice destination to live. Being only 30 minutes from Toronto, many people find it convenient to live in Oshawa and work in Toronto. Downtown Oshawa is doing its part to respond to this increased demand. Recently, approximately 200 residential units have been completed with many more on the way. Some of the upcoming developments are designed for students whereas others are being designed with families in mind.
Soon we will see the construction of a new Go Station just south of the downtown, further encouraging people to locate in Oshawa. Our downtown has it all; medical services, places of worship, public transportation, night life, shopping and restaurants galore. For the active person, we have the YMCA and the bicycle paths going through the downtown. Downtown is quite active with numerous events and festivals throughout the year including wine festivals, outdoor events, concerts in the park and much much more, all making Oshawa a very attractive location to reside.
Downtown also provides a beautiful and safe location in which to live, shop, and do business. With galleries, culture and related events, unique stores, essential services, and diverse restaurants, Downtown Oshawa has it all and offers a lifestyle that differs from any other part of the city. So many amenities within walking distance of a couple of city blocks makes living downtown convenient and healthy.
Community Improvement Plan (CIP)
The Community Improvement Plan (CIP) is a City-funded incentive program that is designed to stimulate private-sector investment in the Downtown. The goal of the CIP is to improve the attractiveness of the Downtown by encouraging sustainable businesses and residential projects.
Are you a business owner, property owner or a potential investor looking for funding opportunities in Downtown Oshawa? Grant programs available include:
- Increased assessment grant program
- Facade and accessibility improvement grant program
- Conversion of residential grant program
- Upgrade to building and fire codes grant program
- Economic stimulus grant program
City of Oshawa
50 Centre St S
Oshawa, ON L1H 3Z7
Canadian Youth Business Foundation
The Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF) provides programs to assist young entrepreneurs between the ages of 19-39. From pre-launch to growth and expansion, CYBF supports entrepreneurs throughout the life-cycle of their businesses by providing coaching, financing, mentoring, and business resources.
Canadian Youth Business Foundation
133 Richmond St W, Suite 700
Toronto ON, M5H 2L3
Downtown Meet & Greet opportunities
Planned quarterly members meetings where business get-togethers allow for presentations on various topics brought to us by BIA members. Check the Events Calendar or the Downtown office for more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 905-576-7606.
Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce
For more than 90 years, the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce has advocated for and represented local businesses in the Greater Oshawa Area. The chamber hosts events and services which support members’ businesses, and it creates new opportunities for business in the region. Downtown Oshawa BIA members are encouraged to join the Chamber and take advantage of the numerous benefits available.
Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce
44 Richmond St W
Oshawa, ON L1G 1C7
City of Oshawa
Information for Businesses
The City of Oshawa website is www.oshawa.ca
Do you want to attract more visitors to your downtown business? The City of Oshawa is offering financial assistance to improve the image and functioning or your operations.
For more information please download the application form here.
City of Oshawa’s Economic Development
The Downtown Oshawa BIA with the assistance of the City of Oshawa’s Economic Development Office has produced a new brochure on the economic opportunities in downtown Oshawa.
To download a copy, click here.
Sandwich boards sign license this is a pilot project initiated by the City of Oshawa.
For an application please click here.
Waste Collection and Recycling
In the designated area downtown garbage is collected weekly on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Recycling is collected on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
To keep the downtown clean and litter free, waste must not be set out before 6pm the night before collection. On windy days, place recycling out the morning of collection, bundle all cardboard and secure any material that may blow away.
For more information on the collection schedule for the Downtown BIA visit www.oshawa.ca/waste.
The City of Oshawa has revised the by-law for Food Trucks. For more details about the changes please click here.
Parking in the downtown
The City of Oshawa is happy to provide a new convenient option for paying for your parking downtown.
HonkMobile can now be used for all on-street and surface lot parking payments.
Motorists will receive alerts and reminders 15 minutes prior to expiration of a paid parking session, and be provided with the opportunity to pay for additional meter time remotely, if within the time limit for the parking space.
To download the app or to learn more visit www.honkmobile.com.
The City of Oshawa also provides a parking token program. More information about parking can be found here. https://www.oshawa.ca/residents/downtown-parking.asp
Latest City of Oshawa News
Winter seasonal reminders
Changes to on-street parking for the winter season take effect December 1
OSHAWA – Now that the cooler weather has arrived, the City of Oshawa is reminding residents and businesses of seasonal changes to on-street parking and of snow and ice removal responsibilities.
Changes to on-street parking for the winter season will be in effect from December 1 through to April 1:
- On-street parking is not permitted on City streets between 3:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m., December 1 to April 1. Vehicles may be ticketed and/or towed from 3:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. regardless of snow clearing operations and weather conditions.
- In addition to the 3:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. regulations, vehicles parked on City streets at any time while salting/snow clearing is underway may be ticketed and/or towed.
- Occasional Use Parking Permits (O.U.P.P.’s) are not valid during salting/snow clearing operations and all O.U.P.P.’s previously arranged are suspended during salting/snow clearing operations.
Snow and Ice Removal
Snow and ice on sidewalks can greatly impact the ability of people to get around safely – including pedestrians with service animals, walkers, wheelchairs and strollers. Residents and businesses are responsible and required to clear the way around their property this winter.
- Property owners (residents, businesses and landlords) are required to completely remove snow and/or ice from sidewalks adjacent to their property by midnight of the first day after precipitation has ended.
- Continue to completely remove snow and/or ice from your sidewalks throughout a snow, sleet or freezing rain event. If the sidewalk is not completely cleared of snow and/or ice, the property owner may be fined $75.00 per day and/or invoiced costs associated with the removal of snow or ice.
- Property owners are also required to remove the ridges of snow from any public sidewalk which abuts their property where the sidewalk intersects or immediately abuts with a road.
- Do not push or blow snow from your property back on to the street. This is in violation of the Highway Traffic Act and it creates unsafe conditions.
- Where possible, pile snow on the right side of your driveway (as you face the street) so that cleared snow does not get moved back onto your driveway by the snow plow.
- Reduce the height of the snow bank at the end of your property by shoveling snow back further onto your property. This improves visibility when entering or exiting your driveway.
- For safety reasons, remove snow accumulations around exit doors, stairways, fire escapes and furnace vents. If there is a fire hydrant in front of your home or business, remove accumulations of snow and ice around the fire hydrant.
For more information, including updates on snow plowing and salting operations on City roads during a snowfall, visit www.oshawa.ca/snow.