Newly-named Duke Heights BIA now representing Dufferin and Finch neighbourhood

Dufferin Finch BIA is getting a makeover.

In a bid to reinvent itself as a viable area of economic growth, which will include new subway stations, a new GO train station, and Finch LRT stops, the business improvement area (BIA) which was formed in 2014 has been renamed Duke Heights BIA.

An official launch of the re-branded BIA was held Monday, Dec. 7 at Champagne Centre in the heart of Duke Heights, which is bounded by Steeles Avenue, Dufferin Street, Sheppard Avenue, and Keele Street.

Duke Heights – the name is made up of the first two letters of Dufferin and Keele – represents more than 2,500 businesses and 30,000 employees and contains a plethora of new construction, including a stop along the future Finch LRT, stops along the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension, York University, and Downsview Park.

“The members wanted to do something new,” said Matias de Dovitiis, executive director of Duke Heights BIA. “The area has been forgotten, and now all these great investments are going ahead. We are now a hub.”

According to its website, Duke Heights BIA’s primary objective is to “promote the potential of the area, provide support to businesses in the area and inject new resources to tap into the potential of the community.”

“The community doesn’t really know we are there,” de Dovitiis said. “(Re-branding) is our way of saying hello. We are trying to get people to look at our place anew. Before it was the type of place you drove through and didn’t stop.”

A new office building is being built at the corner of Keele Street and Finch Avenue, he said, noting the area is going to look vastly different in a decade’s time.

“We want bike lanes, green space, spaces that people can enjoy and not just drive through,” he said. “We needed a new personality.”