The world’s original Business Improvement Area (BIA) is celebrating another first as it works to encourage Toronto residents to spend their money locally in Bloor West Village.

We are excited to announce the Bloor West Village BIA has purchased the rights to the platform to launch the first online-offline Shop Local campaign of its kind by a Business Improvement Area.

In 1970, the Bloor West Village Business Improvement Area was formed as the world’s first BIA* to help support local retailers struggling due to the rising popularity of shopping malls. With retailers now facing newer, more fierce competition online, the BIA is innovating again to support some of those same local independents with the launch of a joins a growing family of Shop Local sites from across Canada, run by Midland, Ontario tech firm

“ is so excited to partner with the Bloor West Village BIA,” said founder, Colin Pape. “With Bloor West’s rich tradition of firsts –including the creation of the first Business Improvement Area in the world– it’s no surprise that they’re once again pioneers, this time in the world of online commerce with the launch of”

The online campaign includes a brand new Shop Local marketplace for the Bloor West Village BIA to help draw the attention of consumers on computers and mobile phones through Google searches. The website incorporates a shopping search engine, local business directory and publishing suite, allowing locally-owned businesses to post full catalogs of goods and services, share news and promotions, post deals and coupons and connect with current and potential customers by email. The online launch is paired with a brand new website for the BIA and a local advertising campaign to draw attention to the Shop Local effort.

“ brings us online with all of our products and services, so when customers search locally they’ll be able to find what they’re looking for and stay local,” said Bloor West Village BIA Chair, David Howitt. “The platform finally gives us an opportunity to grow visits to Bloor West Village, and to measure our successes online through web traffic.”

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