The Downtown Niagara Falls Board of Management or Business Improvement Area (BIA) is comprised of commercial property owners and tenants within the Downtown Niagara Falls core. The BIA has 100+ shops and services within its geographical boundaries. The BIA members are assessed an annual business tax levy, as provided by the Ontario Municipal Act. A Board of Directors is appointed by the City of Niagara Falls following a general membership election every four years. The Board of Directors can form various committees to oversee a range of initiatives by the BIA. The primary mandate of the Board of Management is the improvement, beautification and maintenance of municipally owned land, structures and buildings within its boundaries. Through these initiatives the Board of Management can assure that Downtown Niagara Falls is a preferred area for shopping, eating and living.
The Downtown Niagara Falls Board of Management or Business Improvement Area (BIA) has a membership of 100+ shops and services. Businesses within this geographical boundary are members to the Association through an annual business tax levy, as provided for by the Ontario Municipal Act. The Board of Management is governed by a Board of Directors appointed by the City of Niagara Falls following a general membership election. Various Committees are periodically appointed to oversee a wide variety of programs and association initiatives. Throughout its leadership in advocacy, infrastructure, development and promotion, the Downtown Board of Management works to ensure that Downtown Niagara Falls will be the preferred place to work, visit and live. The Downtown BIA exists to effectively represent the interests of all its member sectors as they relate to the economic, political and social vitality of the downtown business district. The Board of Management is responsible for the improvement, beautification and maintenance of municipally owned lands, buildings and structures in the area, and shall promote the area as a business or shopping area.
In 1853 construction began to build an international suspension bridge over the Niagara Gorge. This brought work and prosperity to the north end of Stamford Township. A shanty-town development was erected to house workers at the base of the bridge. Over the years this became the Village of Elgin. Amalgamation of the Village of Elgin with the Town of Clifton was caused by the Great Western, Erie and Ontario Railways and their economic impact. The prosperous town boasted fifteen grocery stores and twenty saloons and hotels. However the Elgin community still remained the focal point of commercial activity.
Majority of the early downtown businesses were located on the lower part of Bridge Street, Erie Avenue and River Road, with a few businesses on Clifton Avenue (now Zimmerman) and Park Street.
At the turn of the century, retail activity slowly started to shift to Queen Street where to date some of these firms are still operating. The residences of Queen Street have given way to stores and offices that form the Downtown core we see today.
From its origin in the 1850's, the downtown core remains the City's financial hub. The major Canadian chartered banks still make Queen Street their home. The medical, legal and accounting professions are well represented in the downtown core. Municipal government services are provided through the City Hall. The Federal Government is also represented in the downtown at 4500 Queen Street (Post Office). Along with these activities, downtown offers a wide range of entertainment and personal services for all to enjoy.