We’re glad you asked. In a nutshell, the Heart of Orléans Business Improvement Area (BIA) is a not-for-profit Board of Management, started by our business community in 2008. BIAs are a way for business districts to pool resources to improve the area, and speak with one common voice. We do this by promoting the areas as a district, advocating on behalf of our members, and making improvements to the streetscape.
If you are interested in the specifics, you can brush up with our Frequently Asked Questions and get a little more up close and personal with our Leadership team, Board Members, Staff and Councillors here. Not sure where the Heart of Orléans BIA is? That’s okay! You can have a quick peek at our Map.
We are also happy to share this video from the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association (OBIAA). It’s a great explanation describing our partnership with the municipality and what a BIA is. You will spot lots from the Heart of Orléans in this video!
The BIA is a prosperous district in the heart of Orléans, a place where community happens. We represent about 350 businesses and property owners in the Heart of Orléans BIA district, for three main reasons that are addressed in our Mandate.
We want to see the BIA become a prosperous district in the heart of Orléans, a place with mixed use spaces, a place with wide sidewalks and bike lanes, a place with parks and green space, where community happens. The BIA represents about 350 businesses and/or property owners in the Heart of Orléans BIA district, for three main reasons that are addressed in our Mandate:
All with the common goal of improving the economic strength of the BIA district and its members.
BIAs are Local Boards of Council in municipalities. The Municipal Act, 2001 sets out the rules for establishing a BIA, and further details are set out in the Ontario Business Improvement Area Handbook.
Administration and strategic management of a Business Improvement Area is the responsibility of the board of management. In particular, the board of management is responsible for overseeing the planning, budgeting, as well as implementing and evaluating of BIA initiatives.
There are now over 500 BIAs across Canada, and over 270 in Ontario alone. Here in Ottawa there are 19 Business Improvement Areas. The oldest BIA in Ottawa is Bank Street BIA, established in 1977. The Heart of Orléans BIA was created in 2008.
Each year, the City of Ottawa collects a levy from commercial property owners within the BIA district which ultimately becomes the budget the BIA works with. Our budget is organized by our team pillars (see below) so it makes it easy for each team chair to know what they have left in their buckets.
Every year we attend a strategic planning session with a third party to talk about the upcoming year. We continue to improve our strategy to focus on the things that the BIA can control that have a higher impact. We also actively look for ways to produce positive results for our members.
We continue to build strategic partnerships with like-minded organizations. Some successes include the City of Ottawa, Societé franco-ontarienne du patrimoine et de l’histoire d’Orléans (SFOPHO), the Shenkman Arts Centre and Ottawa Tourism.
We are a member of the Ottawa Coalition of Business Improvement Areas (OCOBIA) which represents the 19 BIAs and about 6400 businesses! We are also members of the Ontario BIA Association representing over 100,000 local businesses across Ontario. Finally, we enjoy a membership to Ottawa Tourism, RGA and the Ottawa Board of Trade.
Making Meaningful Connections
Have you met our MET (Member Engagement Team)? If you haven’t met members of our Member Engagement Team here in the The Heart of Orléans BIA, please feel free to reach out to us. We’d love to meet up with you. That’s our job! We’re the group that likes to make meaningful connections by bringing you various networking opportunities such as The BIA Happy Hour, keynote speaker events, business get-togethers and of course, our Annual General Meeting.
We welcome new businesses to the area by letting them know about the services we can provide. We also visit with longstanding members of our business community to tap into their knowledge and wisdom.
Some of the best ways to stay engaged with us is through our website, blogs, social media and our e-newsletter, The Heartbeat. Our e-news includes important updates, stories behind the bricks and mortar buildings, links to our e-magazine, The Beat, as well as information on upcoming events.
Our Member Engagement Team is made up of a group of experienced and engaged community business leaders from a broad spectrum of sectors and specialities who are happy to volunteer their time to make the Heart of Orléans a great place to live, work and play!
You spoke and we listened, Orléans! The business community wants to have a regular networking events to bring us together and engage in professional development with keynote speakers and panel discussions on topics that are relevant to businesses. That’s why the BIA is proud to offer various networking events in Orléans from BIA Happy Hours to Town Halls to Business Member get togethers at their place of business.
Do you know of a new business in the BIA district? Maybe you have been here for a while, but don’t know what the BIA is all about.
We’re happy to stop by, say hello, and drop off a welcome kit of useful information for your business – including the benefits of being part of the BIA, and tips on how you can participate. Don’t hesitate to contact us to arrange a visit.
One of the best ways to stay in touch with what is going on in Orléans is through subscribing to our newsletter, The Heartbeat. Business members receive two emails a month, community members receive a monthly email. So we won’t flood your inbox!
You can subscribe at the bottom of most pages of our website.
For a Vibrant and Economically Strong District
Our Marketing Team strives to improve the visibility of the BIA district in Orléans, build on its unique identity, and encourage you to come check out what we have to offer. You can find a directory of businesses here.
The Marketing Team serves as the face of our organization, coordinating and producing materials representing the BIA. Some of the activities you will find the team working on are:
Do you want to know what is going on in Orléans, and learn more about the people behind the businesses? Please subscribe to The Beat, our bilingual magazine that highlights the gems of the Heart of Orléans. Please take advantage of our competitive advertising opportunities that reach our 15,000+ local readers as well.
As more and more businesses started to reopen their doors after the impacts of COVID-19 in our district, we saw BIA business owners anxious to get back to work to regain their customer base. To help with the momentum, The Heart of Orléans BIA and Christina LH Photography joined forces to implement a marketing campaign that helped the BIA businesses advertise and encourage people in the community to shop local.
We were very excited to offer The BIA Faces of Business to the businesses in our BIA district. We made arrangements to take pictures of BIA business owners at their place of business and create a blog telling the story behind the bricks and mortar building of their business. This campaign was so successful, we have continued it every year since!
For the complete yearly albums, please see our Facebook page.
Tap into our strong social media presence. We currently have a large following across our social media channels and that continues to grow. If you have an event or initiative that is relevant to the district that you would like us to share, please let us know!
You can follow our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts to stay up to date on what’s happening in Orléans. Engaging with our posts will help you reach a larger audience on your own social media as well. Be sure to use the hashtag #heartoforleans to get our attention.
Come Celebrate With Us!
The BIA understands the importance of a vibrant district and bringing people together through events. We strive to promote the BIA as the place where community happens. We love celebrating all things local and partner with small and large festival organizers to help promote and showcase local content.
Do you want to know what is happening in your community? Please see our calendar of upcoming events on the What’s Up page.
One of the largest events we support is Santa’s Parade of Lights organized by Ottawa Professional Firefighter’s Association. This is Orléans’ largest parade that travels down St-Joseph Boulevard from Youville Drive down to Centrum Boulevard on the last Saturday of each November!
It gives businesses the opportunity to offer something unique to the community as they come down to the BIA district early, looking to claim their spot to watch the 100 plus floats! Some offer hot chocolate, others have special menu items available and some businesses even set up bleachers in their parking lots so folks can watch the parade in style!
Santa Parade Recap
Another fun summer event that occurs in the summer every Thursday at 12:30PM is the Summer Series.
Each week during July and August, we partner with the Shenkman Arts Centre to bring you a free 30 minute concert or performance workshop featuring local artists! Enjoy things like Japanese drumming, Bollywood dance and Brazilian Music all outdoors on the Agora of the Shenkman! If it’s raining, no worries! It all moves indoors!
One of the largest festivals that brings people from all over is the Orléans Craft Beer Festival. We love that Orléans Festivals support all things local from the locally crafted beers, wines and spirits to the bands that keep us all singing and dancing the night away!
We love buying groups of tickets and running contests to show what else you can find in the BIA!
Another festival that brings the community together is the Orléans Rib Fest. Les Gagné and his team bring in large “ribbers” offering their unique recipes and enjoy getting Orléans all sticky!
We are committed to continuous improvements to make our district more walkable and bike friendly, to keeping it clean and safe. We welcome you to share our vision of developing the district in a way that attracts you, the people that make our community so vibrant.
The BIA has a long-term plan for St-Joseph and our district that is meant to:
We have spent some valuable time with the City of Ottawa’s Planning Team and thrilled to see our streetscape plan become the foundation for the Orléans Corridor Secondary Plan Study!
With the help of local artist Robbie Larivière a.k.a. by his artist name Falldown, the Heart of Orléans BIA has put all we know and love about Orléans on to one wall in our BIA district. You will find historical items such as Paroisse St-Joseph, landmarks such as Petrie Island and special events such as the Cork and Fork throughout this colorful mural.
Come down to have a peek at Cora’s new wall at 1971 St-Joseph Boulevard and see if you can spot the artist’s many interpretations of the list of favorites that came right straight from the Orléans community themselves!
Many thanks to the city of Ottawa for covering half the cost through the City of Ottawa’s mural program.
In 2022, we partnered with the founder of Orléans Pride, Dr. Holly Ellingwood (He/Him) and the city of Ottawa to install the first Quasar crosswalk in Ottawa. It is located at Centrum Boulevard and Place D’Orléans Drive.
In June 2018, designer Daniel Quasar combined the original rainbow flag with the Transgender Pride Flag, plus stripes of black and brown (representing people of colour), and the Progress Pride Flag was born.
We are absolutely thrilled to have the very first Progress flag or Quasar crosswalk in Ottawa right here in the Heart of Orléans!
We hope you will take the time to come see it!
Since 2016, The BIA district has been lit up with seasonal LED lighting.
You can see these 5-foot tall snowflakes along St-Joseph Boulevard from mid-November, just in time for Santa’s Parade of Lights!
They brighten our winters right up until the end of March.
In addition to 6 BIA gateway signs, the Heart of Orléans BIA also installs 74 banners to welcome visitors to the district.
The BIA recognizes the benefits of street pole banners to animate the district, to promote businesses and special events consistent with the purposes and values of the BIA and its vision, thereby contributing to the overall quality of the visitor experience.
You will find the banners along St-Joseph located at the major intersections of Jeanne D’Arc Boulevard, Orléans Boulevard and Place D’Orléans Drive.
The Heart of Orléans BIA has implemented a Banner Program which offers opportunities for small businesses to be a part of our efforts to beautify the BIA district while promoting their businesses in a cost effective manner.
If you would like to learn more about the sponsored banner program, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!
(Established 2014). In collaboration with SFOPHO, we have installed numerous informative plaques describing the many historical sites in Orléans.
Many of these special plaques are located right in the BIA district showcasing the history of the site and what it looked like in the 1950s. Every year we work with SFOPHO to add new plaques and/or maintain the existing ones to ensure they are remain legible and vibrant.
Be sure to take a stroll down St-Joseph Boulevard for a pretty impressive history lesson.
The design of our urban spaces is important in so many ways. It’s where form and function come together. When a streetscape is beautiful, businesses thrive, communities may be safer, and neighborhoods operate more efficiently and effectively.
The Heart of Orléans BIA and the Beautification Team are working with an experienced horticulturist to fulfill both a mandate and a strategic goal: Beautify The Heart of Orléans in order to enhance the district and encourage visits from both our faithful local residents in Orléans and those living all across Ottawa.
The BIA has placed eight oversized planters and five perennial beds at key intersections in the district.
We hope you’ll take the opportunity to stroll through the Heart of Orléans BIA and post photos of the beautiful flowers – and yourselves – on social media this summer, fall and winter. Don’t forget to hashtag them #heartoforleans !
The Heart of Orléans BIA has an overall goal to keep our district safe, clean, and a place to be proud of. We work very closely with a local City of Ottawa employee with the Special Operations Unit Graffiti Eradication Program to remove graffiti as quickly as possible.
Please help us keep the Heart of Orléans BIA a clean, safe place to live, work and play by reporting any graffiti you come across by calling 3-1-1 or using the 3-1-1 app.
Peter was a very kind and passionate man who was a pillar in the Orléans Community. He started his career in commercial real estate but then quickly opened his own Mail Boxes Etc. franchise at St-Joseph and Jeanne D’Arc in 1993.
He later became the Executive Director of the Orléans Chamber in 2006 and simultaneously served as the chair of the Heart of Orléans BIA. Peter was actually one of the driving forces behind the $2.5-million roundabout at St-Joseph and Jeanne D’Arc. I guess he had first hand experience with that intersection getting to work every day!
In May of 2016, Peter decided to help other business owners by offering business coaching with Rhapsody Strategies sharing his knowledge, expertise and experiences with all of his clients.
Sadly, Peter lost his battle with cancer on March 27, 2018 but he forever remains in the hearts of all those whose paths he’s crossed.
Championing an East-end Economic Corridor
In 2018, the BIA created the Balance Orléans Task Force to bring more community awareness to this issue and rally support for major employers.
Bringing Balance to Orléans
Even though Orléans has one of the most educated and bilingual workforces in the city, we export most of our workers every day. This is in contrast to other areas of the city. We want to help attract more jobs to Orléans, both federal government jobs and major employers. More employment here also means more business for our existing service sector, every day.
Orléans has transformed dramatically over the past decade, and is poised for more transformation. Light rail is arriving by 2025, along with opportunities to realize more economic growth and a more vibrant community. The BIA has identified three key priorities moving forward:
A Revitalized Centre
We promote the Heart of Orléans as a district and our businesses, and are working towards a revitalized, vibrant centre for Orléans – one that is more walkable, bike friendly and connected to light rail. This just makes good business sense.
An East End Economic Corridor
Revitalization also means redevelopment and intensification around light rail. Already we are seeing an increased interest in the potential for transit-oriented development, and the economic and job growth this can bring. Light rail will help to create an economic corridor for the east end of the city and put Orléans on the map.
The City of Ottawa has undertaken a review of land use in proximity to the Orléans Light Rail Transit Corridor and its four future stations in Orléans. The goal was to prepare a new plan that will guide future development of neighbourhoods that are livable, resilient, affordable, support transit and complementary to existing neighbourhoods. The study produced plans that identify permitted land uses, height and density of development as well as improvements to pedestrian, cycling and transit connections to and from the future stations.
The study we now know as the Orléans Corridor Secondary Plan Study, will include plans for the development of lands surrounding the four new LRT stations and provide recommended improvements to pedestrian, cycling and transit connections throughout Orléans.
This project has replaced two existing secondary plans in the Orléans Town Centre with new policies in the City’s Official Plan, as well as corresponding zoning amendments.
For more information, please go to Engage Ottawa.