The Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) awarded 39 Toronto Business Improvement Areas (BIA), including several west end groups, at its inaugural Recognition Awards, Wednesday, Oct. 26.

Since its inception three decades ago, TABIA has shared stories about the many successes BIAs have experienced, however, it wasn't until this year that it decided to recognize their efforts.

BIAs across the city were recognized in 20 different categories ranging from environmental and decorative lighting to advocacy and communications.

"The awards just begin to recognize how much BIAs contribute to the fabric of life in the neighbourhoods of Toronto and they do it on their own dime or through capital cost-sharing with the city," said TABIA Executive Director John Kiru in a statement.

The awards were determined by TABIA's executive. In the future, people will be able to nominate BIAs in a number of categories.

Thanking BIA board members for the "time and concern they bring to enhance the lifestyle, culture and neighbourhoods of Toronto," volunteer board chair Michael Comstock, representing the St. Lawrence Market BIA, said the first TABIA awards night "served to salute some of the current achievements that BIAs have made in their neighbourhoods."

Bloorcourt Village BIA received the Streetscape Master Plan Award, the Bloor West Village BIA received an environmental award for its solar lighting, the Village of Islington BIA was awarded for its murals in the branding category, Corso Italia BIA and St. Clair Gardens received the Advocacy Award. In the Fellowship category, it was an Etobicoke clean sweep. Lakeshore Village, Longbranch, Mimico By the Lake and Mimico Village BIAs were awarded. The Kingsway BIA won the Festival Award while the Dundas West BIA and Roncesvalles Village BIA won Perseverance Awards.

Although the group wasn't formerly notified, Helder Ramos, co-ordinator of the Dundas West BIA, said he wasn't shocked by the honour.

"We're not surprised given the award category. It's been ongoing for four years," he said of the ongoing construction issues the neighbourhood has recently been facing. "It's very apropos. We're very grateful we're being recognized."

Each BIA received a plaque. Right now, the Dundas West BIA's plaque is being kept in its office. The award will likely be displayed at various BIA events, said Ramos.

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