Local BIAs pick up awards for community initiatives at annual conference

Business improvement areas in Ottawa and Eastern Ontario have been recognized for their achievements and community contributions, winning awards from the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association earlier this week. 

The organization, which represents more than 300 BIAs across the province, presented the awards at a ceremony on Monday as part of its annual BIA conference. Entries are reviewed and awarded by a committee of professional peers.

In Ottawa, the Vanier BIA and Barrhaven BIA were recognized for their work within their communities. 

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The Vanier BIA received two awards, including an award of excellence in public realm management for the Vanier Hub, a placemaking project that transformed an underused parking lot adjacent to Montreal Road into a community and art space. 

It also received an award of excellence in marketing and promotions for Partage Beechwood, a fundraising dinner hosted in the Beechwood National Cemetery. 

“Vanier is such a thriving community and our peers are recognizing the important work we’re doing – this is a huge honour. The Hub is our little jewel and has become such an important gathering space, not just for Vanier but all of Ottawa,” said executive director Nathalie Carrier in a press release. 

“Partage Beechwood is the most wonderful event and embodies the true spirit of community. We could not be more proud to share both of these awards with our partners at the Vanier Community Services Centre and the VBIA board and team.”

Barrhaven BIA received a marketing award of merit for its I Heart Barrhaven initiative, a campaign to bring a sense of identity to the suburb. 

“The I (Heart) Barrhaven campaign has been a true team effort with staff, board members and marketing committee members all contributing along the way,” the organization said in a LinkedIn post. “The concept was built on the fierce sense of pride of the community, who we can’t thank enough for embracing it and making it bigger than we could have imagined.” 

The BIA added, “We are proud to push boundaries and think big while leading the way for suburbs around the province with creative and innovative thinking.”

Also recognized was the Downtown Kingston BIA, which won a special events award of excellence for its Waawaateg Northern Light Interactive Light and Sound Experience, as well as a marketing award of excellence for its Downtown Kingston advent calendar. 

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