What is a BIA anyway?
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 Backgrounder (English) (French).
- Here is our Leadership team, Board Members, Staff and Councillors.
- Not sure where the Heart of Orléans BIA is? Take a look at our Map.
The Heart of Orléans BIA:
- Takes a leadership role in attracting the kind of businesses that makes the Heart of Orleans distinct.
- Represents the heart of the community of Orleans as the place of choice for specialty goods, professional services, unique dining experiences, shops that are local and family-run, and arts and culture.
- Nurtures an engaged and enthusiastic membership that reflects and values our vibrant community.
- Is passionate about bringing vibrant festivals and events to Orléans throughout the year.
- Is working towards a revitalized, vibrant district for Orléans – one that is more walkable, bikeable and connected to light rail.
- Champions redevelopment and intensification around future light rail, and creating an economic corridor for the east end 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.
We strive to be a strong community leader, influencing decisions for Orléans, and inspiring positive change.
We are committed to advocating for and promoting our district, and empowering our members.
All our activities help support the long-term economic development of our district.
A BIA is based on the principle of stronger, together. We are committed to helping our members connect and collaborate with each other, and working with key players in the broader community of Orléans.
What we do
Make meaningful connections
Our vision 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:
- To promote the area as a district
- To advocate on behalf of our members
- To make improvements to the streetscape
All with the ultimate goal of strengthening the economic growth of the district.
Improve the economic strength of the BIA District and its members
To address our mandate, our BIA is split across 5 different pillars: Member Engagement, Marketing and Promotion, Festivals and Events, Economic Development and Streetscape and Beautification.
Each pillar represents a team of volunteers and is led by a BIA Board Member.
- Advocacy & Member Engagement
- Marketing & Promotion
- Streetscape & Beautification
- Vibrant Festivals & Events
- Economic Development
Advocacy and Member Engagement
Making meaningful connections
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.
Become an Associate Member
Many business owners see the benefits of the BIA, but are not located within a BIA district. If you are not a member but would like to get involved, the Heart of Orléans BIA has created Associate Memberships. Businesses can gain from many of the benefits of full membership, with a minimal investment per year. Please contact us for more information or book a coffee meeting.
Meeting Our Members
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.
Sign Up for Newsletters
One of the best ways to stay in touch with what is going on in Orléans is through our e-newsletters. Business members receive two emails a month, community members receive a monthly email. So we won’t flood your inbox!
Most pages on our website have a SIGN UP form for our community e-newsletter. They include links to our e-magazine, The Beat, as well as information on upcoming events and other important initiatives in the community.
Back to BIA Mentorship Program
The BIA has partnered with a few local mentors who have graciously offered a 1/2 hour free consultation to interested businesses to respond to questions, offer advice and/or share resources as they reopen their businesses after COVID-19.
We have some well respected, local mentors with insights and experience that would greatly benefit the businesses in the Heart of Orléans BIA in the following areas:
- Strategic Planning
- Business Coach
Click here to see the full program and available mentors.
Marketing and Promotion
for a vibrant and economically strong district
We strive 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.
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 10,000+ local readers as well.
Marketing Strategic Plan
Our most recent Strategic Marketing Plan was developed in 2019. This plan will guide us through the BIA marketing activities between 2020 – 2023. Many thanks to CP Business Solutions for guiding us through the process and producing this complete and thorough working document.
BIA Faces of Business Campaign 2020
As more and more businesses start to reopen their doors after the impacts of COVID-19 in our district, we see 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 have joined forces to implement a marketing campaign that will help the BIA businesses advertise and encourage people in the community to shop local.
You will remember Christina’s recent Porch Project 2020 – Faces of Hope where she took pictures of families on their front porches as we all dealt with quarantining and self isolation during the first few weeks of COVID-19. Christina graciously volunteered her time, service and 15 years worth of expertise to photograph 110 families for this special project in exchange for donations to the food bank.
We’re very excited to offer The BIA Faces of Business to the businesses in our BIA district. Normally a corporate session would cost a business approximately $500 but we’ve made arrangements to take pictures of BIA business owners at their place of business in exchange for a donation to the two food banks in our district – The Orléans-Cumberland Resource Centre and the Community Compassion Centre Food Bank. Whatever is collected will be equally divided between the two food banks. Although we appreciate businesses giving what they can, we ask that their donation be a minimum of $50.
Electronic copies of the pictures would go to both the business owner and the BIA. The BIA and photographer both reserve the right to use the pictures.
Sponsor a BIA Business
Are you a BIA member and doing well during COVID-19? OR perhaps you are not a BIA member but simply want to give back to our local small business community and local food banks.
Good news! Any individual in the Orléans community can sponsor their favorite business! This means the Sponsor would donate $50 (100% goes the food banks), identify the BIA business they would like to sponsor and that BIA business becomes a part of the BIA Faces of Business.
Tap into our strong social media presence. We currently have a following of over 3,000 followers 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.
Who doesn’t love a little branded BIA fun? Check out our latest items below!
Festivals and Events
Come celebrate with us!
Let’s celebrate together!
Orléans loves to come together for various festivals and events throughout the year. Whether it’s Fête Frissons, Orléans Craft Beer Festival, Orléans Pride, Dinner Under the Stars, Canada Day or The Parade of Lights, there is definitely something for everyone!
The BIA understands the importance of bringing the community together and has formed a Festivals and Events Team that strives to promote the district as the place where community happens in Orléans. We are known for our signature Dinner Under the Stars event celebrating all things local but we also love to partner with large festivals to help promote and showcase local content.
Please have a peek at our Events Calendar to see the various events planned this year!
Dinner under the Stars 2019
Streetscape and Beautification
We are committed to continuous improvements to make our district more walkable and bike friendly, to keeping it clean and safe.
Streetscape Strategic Plan
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, and we would love to share it with you. Drafted in 2010, it still holds true today and into the future. This plan is meant to:
- articular the vision for the future
- encourage and enhance a vibrant district
- set out priorities, or areas we could start
- look at opportunities for redevelopment in the district
- encourage both public and private sector to coordinate efforts to help make this vision a reality.
Traffic Box Vinyl Wraps
As part of the City of Ottawa’s Vinyl Wrap Program, the Heart of Orléans BIA has wrapped all 13 traffic control boxes located within the district. The design was a creative application of the the Orléans BIA branding, subjected to the City’s design guidelines for vinyl wraps of course. The brand concept was developed by Greenmelon Inc, an Ottawa-based design firm that has been nationally and internationally recognized for their work in graphic design.
Graffiti Removal Program
The BIA invests about $10,000 annually to remove graffiti from commercial buildings, fencing, dumpsters, etc., within the district.
Seasonal Lighting Program
Since 2016, The BIA has invested over $25K in seasonal LED lights for St-Joseph Boulevard. You can see these 5-foot tall snowflakes along St-Joseph Boulevard from mid-November to mid-March.
Banners and Signage
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 benefit 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.
The Heart of Orléans BIA has implemented a Banner Program which offers opportunities for businesses to be a part of our efforts to beautify the BIA district while promoting their businesses.
Banners at Jeanne D’Arc Boulevard
Banners at Orléans Boulevard
Banners at Place D’Orléans Drive
The Heart of Orléans Banner Program is a fantastic opportunity to connect with not only the BIA business community but Orléans as a whole.
The banners welcome visitors to the Heart of Orléans and are especially noticeable during events. This is the perfect way to be a part of our efforts to beautify the BIA district while promoting a businesses at the same time.
If you are a BIA member or associate member and would like to apply for a sponsored banner, please complete the this form.
If you have any questions about the banner program or application process, please contact us.
Historical Plaque Program
(Established 2014). In collaboration with SFOPHO, we have installed 37 plaques describing 42 historical sites in Orléans. 30 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. The BIA is responsible for the ongoing maintenance of the plaques. 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 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 8 oversized planters 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. Don’t forget to hashtag them #heartoforleans !
The BIA and the City of Ottawa have been working together place all new metal benches in the BIA district in 2020. We even have a very special one located at the traffic circle in memory of Peter Stewart. Stay tuned for the unveiling of this one!
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
A Changing Landscaping
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, bikeable 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 is undertaking a review of land use in proximity to the Orléans Light Rail Transit Corridor and its four future stations in Orléans. The goal is 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 will produce 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.
Once the study is completed, it 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 aims to replace 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.
Presentation given by Max Walker, City Urban Planner to the BIA Board of Directors May 20, 2020:
The Heart of Orléans BIA is looking forward to seeing the Economic Corridor bring positive change to our streetscape and economic development.
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.
In 2018, the BIA created the Balance Orléans Task Force to bring more community awareness to this issue and rally support for major employers. We are currently supporting the work of the Ottawa Capital 2020 Task Force, in its priority to bring a federal employment campus to Orléans.