20% of Ontario Digital Transformation Grant have already been distributed – Apply Now!


July 01, 2019

Why Your Business Needs to Go Digital

Reason # 1:
Researches show that 36 cents out of every dollar spent in-store in retail shopping is influenced by digital devices. (Deloitte)

Reason # 2:
Digital Main Street makes it easy! Digital Main Street is a free online platform which gives businesses recommendations on how to get started and which tools they can use to increase sales and engage more customers online.

Reason # 3:
Exclusive Deals are available from trusted vendors. Digital Main Street encourages digital vendors to offer exclusive deals, discounts and free trials to main street businesses.

The Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) and the City of Toronto have developed Digital Main Street as a platform that can help you better understand the digital tools your business should be using.

Digital Transformation Grant Program

The Digital Transformation grant provides $2,500 to each qualifying small main street Ontario business to purchase and adopt digital tools and technologies. There are ONLY 2000 grants available until March 2020, so apply EARLY. To start the process to apply for a Digital Transformation Grant, visit the program information page on the Digital Main Street website.

Whether your business needs a website, a new point-of-sale or digital inventory system, or just needs to become more visible online, by joining you will receive a free digital assessment for your business, learn how to adopt digital tools and get connected to vendors offering deals and discounts for the BIA members.

Have Your Say on the Proposed Zoning By-law

June 04, 2019

The DUKE Heights BIA has undertaken a study of the current zoning By-law regime across the area, seeking to assist the City of Toronto identify and reduce obstacles to businesses operating in the area. This Zoning By-law review aims to:

  • eliminate the overlap of two zoning By-laws — the City-wide By-law and the old North York By-law;
  • address the onerous and confusing parking requirements;
  • support a range of uses that facilitate business growth in the area;
  • eliminate the holding By-law that applies to certain properties.

We hosted an Open House on June 04, 2019 to introduce the proposed changes to collect feedback from the members of the BIA. There will be more opportunities to view and respond to proposed changes during the Zoning By-law amendment process including future community open houses and public meetings as the City process unfolds.

The complete set of display boards presented at the first Open House held on June 04, 2019 are accessible with the link below:

DHBIA Open House Display Boards June 04, 2019

At the end of the review, our Draft Zoning By-law and report will be submitted to Community Planning with the City of Toronto, beginning the City’s public process to amend the zoning By-law. You can get involved now by speaking with one of our staff to provide your feedback. You can also fill-in a comment sheet or get in touch with us online. Please provide all responses by June 14, 2019.

Community Open House Feedback Form

Streamlined Application Process for Business Licenses in Toronto

June 3, 2019

Applying for a new business licence or permit?

The City of Toronto is improving the application process for new business licences and permits. As of June 3, 2019, applicants will need to submit a complete application with all their documents. Incomplete applications will not be accepted. Application requirements and forms are available online at

The improved application process will help you get your licence in one visit. Submit your complete application at the Licence and Permit Issuing Office, 850 Coxwell Avenue, 3rd Floor, East York, ON M4C 5R1.

Note: The new business licence application process does not apply to taxicab and limousine owners, or business licence renewals.

Questions? More information at

2019 DUKE Heights Business Survey is Open

June 01, 2019

Each summer, our team of field researchers conduct on-site interviews with businesses located in DUKE Heights BIA to find out how the BIA can better support you, our members. Your needs and views assist us in prioritizing how Duke Heights can better help the businesses and community in our area.

The goal of the survey is to:
• Gather the needs and perceptions of local business owners
• Identify what businesses need to thrive in our area
• Inform businesses of services and programs Duke Heights currently provides
• Aid in planning and delivering support services for businesses and enterprises located in the DUKE Heights BIA

All businesses located in DUKE Heights BIA are invited to participate in this survey. Our representatives will be visiting your premises during May 30 – July 25, 2019 to conduct this brief survey. Dedicating a few minutes of your time to complete the survey can have a direct impact in meeting the needs and services of your business and the greater business environment in which your business resides. If you are not available for an in-person interview, you may follow the link below and fill out a digital version of the survey.

DUKE Heights Business Survey

We understand that confidentiality is important to you. That is why the law and our own security policies strictly protect the confidentiality of participants in our surveys. The survey data will only be reported in aggregate form to show employment patterns without revealing information about individual businesses. The individual responses related to the BIA services will be used only to extend relevant services to specific organizations.

Your participation is pivotal in the success of this survey and its intended outcome. If you have any questions about the survey, please e-mail DUKE Heights BIA at:
If you own or manage buildings, please allow our surveyor to visit business occupants.

Proposed Zoning By-law Changes: Open House Meeting on June 04, 2019

Tuesday, June 4, 2019
5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

DUKE Heights BIA (southeast entrance hall)
2 Champagne Drive, Unit C9
Toronto, Ontario, M3J 0K2

Duke Heights BIA will be hosting an Open House to introduce the proposed changes to the Zoning By-laws for the area within the BIA including:

  • Simplifying the present two zoning by-laws that currently overlap in the BIA
  • Amend the parking requirements for new developments by bringing them in line with City of Toronto standards
  • Allow for additional uses to be permitted in our BIA which are currently permitted in other employment zoning areas

This is your opportunity to learn about the proposed zoning changes and recommendations.

Come and get involved, we need your input.

NB: This open house and its outcome is being undertaken to provide input to City of Toronto Planning for its consideration and appropriate action.

Visit us online and provide your feedback by June 14, 2019.
Twitter: @DUKEHeights

Download and share this invitation:

Continue reading “Proposed Zoning By-law Changes: Open House Meeting on June 04, 2019”

DUKE Eats Festival & Free Outdoor Movie – June 29, 2019



DUKE EATS food festival is back to Toronto this summer, the tastiest time of the year! Get ready to eat, shop and have some fun on Saturday June 29th, 2019 from 5 PM to 9 PM!
No admission fees, it’s FREE!

Come with your family and friends for an afternoon full of treats, music, giveaways and fun!
Follow us for live updates & announcements from the most delicious events across the city. If you are interested in getting involved, let us know on the event Facebook page-

Don’t miss out #DUKEEatsFestival!

The festival will be complemented by a FREE movie screening at James Cardinal McGuigan Catholic High School from 8 PM courtesy by Anthony Perruzza, Toronto City Councillor for Ward 7. Bring your family and enjoy an outdoor movie and refreshments on an exciting evening during the Canada Day weekend! Don’t forget your lawn chair and blankets!


Adopt a Tree in Your Neighbourhood

May 01, 2019

Winter has finally ended, and spring is upon us. As the season begins and the weather becomes warmer a new scenery is about to engulf Toronto. One that contains lush trees and large amounts of greenery that are beneficial in many aspects to the community.

The local trees within our BIA are not only valuable but also fundamental to the success of the area as they provide essential and aesthetically pleasing elements including an increase in property value, improvements to mental health, a barrier to noise traffic and the removal of carbon dioxide from the environment. With a strong motivation to protect our BIA, DUKE Heights BIA is introducing Adopt-a-Tree program in partnership with the Local Enhancement & Appreciation of Forests (LEAF) to the BIA members.

The program targets trees located on City-owned and maintained sidewalks or boulevards, often referred to “street trees.” Although locations can include trees planted in turf or landscaped boulevards, this program focuses on trees that are often subject to severe stress and poor growing conditions. Whether it is an adoption of one tree or multiple surrounding your local area, each participant will enable the sequestering of harmful greenhouse gases and contribute in building a stronger and vibrant community.
We are inviting the DUKE Heights BIA members to take part in the Program and to adopt-a-tree today!
For all inquiries, please contact LEAF (
Phone: 416-413-9244 ext.0
Toll Free: 1-888-453-6504 ext.0

A Message from Matias de Dovitiis



March 31, 2019

It has been just over 4 years since I joined the team at DUKE Heights and it is with pride and some apprehension that I am moving on. DUKE Heights has grown tremendously over that time, creating a new path for Business Improvement Areas in the process.

The trajectory has not been a straight line, these things never are and the personal learning curve for me was tremendous. Like all difficult journeys, the accomplishments were tremendous:

We partnered to create leverage out of our businesses’ investment into the area:
•  Planted over 2,000 trees in the area, with more on the way every year
•  Creating a sector-based employment strategy through a Metcalf Foundation grant
•  Developed a partnership with Osgoode Hall to create linkages between local businesses and Osgoode and York University, helping both local businesses and local students
•  Received grants to create a mural, develop new web tools and create new services for local businesses
•  Received grants for youth employment, which we used to hire over 2 dozen students

We helped create a new voice for the area:
•  Collaborated with Toronto Hydro, which led to the investment of over $35 million to improve infrastructure in the area
•  Worked with TTC to improve new transit routes as a result of subway station opening
•  Worked with staff at the City of Toronto in the Planning and Transportation departments to ensure that the area received the attention it needs to continue to develop
•  Developed new events that foster the area, like DUKE Eats and DUKE on Ice, which brought in over 1,500 people on their year

We helped to change how the City of Toronto treats employment areas and employment BIA’s:
•  Changes to Imagination, Manufacturing, Innovation and Technology (IMIT) grant to allow for commercial condominiums to apply to program and encourage more development to help grow employment
•  Changes to the façade program from the BIA Office to allow for large businesses to apply
•  Changes to BIA Office, including Innovation Grant, which DUKE Heights was one of the first to receive

More things are coming. The DUKE markers, pole wraps, street furniture, more festivals and events, banners and street art that are in the works, are being designed and will help transform the public realm and the area. The fantastic team that is left in place to continue to further this work leaves me excited for the possibilities.

Above all, on a personal level, I learned to appreciate the hard-working people in the area. The businesses and people that give our area the energy and vibrancy that made this such a joy for me over the last four years.

I want to thank the Board members and my co-workers for all that they have taught me and for the wonderful opportunity I was given to help buildup the community I live in. It is impossible for me to recount how much I learned. It has been a privilege for me, and I am thankful for the opportunity.


Matias de Dovitiis

One Platform, Many Connections


Join us on April 11, 2019 for the “DUKE Careers: Manufacturing Connections” event

April 01, 2019


DUKE Heights Business Improvement Area is an employment focussed BIA. As a part of the economic development strategy for this area, we are working with businesses and other local service providers to develop a sector-specific workforce model to strengthen business-labor relationships in the BIA, attract well-trained talent pool, and support businesses to enhance their sustainability and productivity.

The DUKE Heights BIA largely comprises of manufacturing-based businesses. To this end, DUKE Heights is hosting a first of its kind industry and education engagement event called ‘DUKE Careers: Manufacturing Connections’ on April 11th ‘19. This event is for our businesses, job seekers, employment agency partners and industry professionals to discuss how to improve career prospects and to introduce exciting innovations in the food and furniture manufacturing industry. Our goal is to dispel employment myths, generate solutions for ongoing attraction and retention issues, and promote a better understanding of career development opportunities in the evolving manufacturing industry. The event will include panel discussion, working group sessions, followed by a lively session of networking where potential job seekers will get the opportunity of one-on-one interaction with the businesses and industry professionals. The objective is to promote localized employment opportunities by creating a connection between the manufacturing industry and the emerging workforce.
Register for FREE at:

Finch West Goods Movement Stakeholder Workshop on April 11, 2019

The City of Toronto invites local businesses who depend on commercial shipping and freight delivery to participate in this workshop to discuss ways to improve commercial shipping and freight transportation in the Finch West area of Toronto.

Background and Objectives
Over the next four years, Metrolinx will be constructing a new light rail transit (LRT) line on Finch Avenue West from Highway 27 to Keele Street. The LRT will require some permanent changes to the road network, and will affect traffic patterns and potential truck route options.
The City is developing the Finch West Goods Movement Transportation Master Plan (TMP) to consider the LRT related changes, as well as to recommend other opportunities to provide for safe, efficient, and effective transportation of freight in the area. More information is provided in the attached backgrounder.
A consultant team led by Wood ( and CPCS ( is supporting the City’s completion of the study and will facilitate the workshop. The workshop is being held early in the project to seek the input of local businesses that depend on commercial shipping and freight delivery, to understand your transportation needs and to discuss issues and solutions in a small-group setting among your peers.

Agenda (Tentative) April 11, 2019
08:30 – 09:00 AM Registration and Light Breakfast
09:00 – 09:40 AM Introductory Remarks and Consultant Presentation
09:45 – 10:30 AM Small Group Discussions (Round 1) – Trends and Needs
10:30 – 11:15 AM Small Group Discussions (Round 2) – Issues and Solutions
11:15 – 11:30 AM Closing Remarks
Study team will be available for follow-up discussion after the workshop (optional)

Venue Details
Julius Banquet Centre
2201 Finch Avenue West
Toronto, ON, M9M 2Y9
Free parking

Please register to attend this workshop using the online form:

or, through the contacts below.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact the team.

City of Toronto Project Manager Consultant Team Project Manager
Edward Presta John McGill
Major Projects Unit, Transportation Services Principal, Transportation Planning, (416) 338-6582, (905) 330-9569


Find the background information for the Finch West Goods Movement Stakeholder Workshop here:

FGMS Stakeholder Workshop Background