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News & Updates

Welcome to the Downtown Kitcheners News & Updates page. Here you will find all sorts of cool things we are working on, press releases, information on COVID- 19 and lots more.

Strategic Planning 2023

Strategic Planning 2023

Downtown is among many areas that have experienced hardship over the last few years. We want your input as we embark on this next phase of recovery and strategic planning. In 2023 we will develop a new strategy to guide our resources to 2027. Before we develop this strategy, we want to hear from you.

What is the role of the BIA?

The Downtown Kitchener Business Improvement Area (BIA) is a non-profit organization initiated by small businesses in Downtown Kitchener and approved by the City of Kitchener in 1977. The Downtown Kitchener BIA is a collective voice that fosters collaboration within our business area and prosperous growth in our community. The BIA is funded by a commercial taxation assessment levy paid by property owners within the BIA boundary, and works to establish Downtown Kitchener as a place where those that visit, work or live here will find unique, vibrant and eclectic experiences.

The BIA provides many services to benefit members, including streetscape beautification, marketing the downtown area and supporting special events that bring energy and foot traffic to the core. BIA’s across Canada work to compliment the efforts of their municipal governments, typically investing their funds into improving an area.

Share your feedback!

Please connect with Stefanie Golling ([email protected]) today to register. Please note, registration closes on Thursday, March 30, 2023.

The Collective Magazine - Your Guide to DTK

The BIA team has officially launched The Collective, a beautiful publication showcasing all the fantastic businesses in DTK.

20,000 copies were printed, with 18,000 directly delivered to postal codes surrounding DTK and condos in DTK. Our team has also arranged for copies of the publication to be available at all 30 community centres in Kitchener + community and cultural hubs, including the Kitchener Market, KWAG, KPL and Centre in the Square.

We will have a limited number of copies available to our businesses; if you would like to share a few with your customers, please contact Breanna Crossman.

Find the online version it here

City of Kitchener - Façade Grant Program

The City of Kitchener offers grants to eligible downtown property owners and tenants who want to improve street-facing building façades.

Proposals considered must offer:

  • high-quality storefront and façade design
  • high-quality signage
  • preservation and enhancement of upper-storey façades
  • upgrades to exterior accessibility upgrades that meet AODA standards
  • high community and streetscape impact

Applications are open until 11:55 p.m. on July 15, 2022. Please visit their website using the link below, and if you have any questions, send them to the City of Kitchener by email or call 519-741-2200, ext. 7197. Click here.

DTK Art Walk

We have officially launched the fourth phase of the DTK Art walk. Take advantage of this captivated audience by targeting your social media post and encourage walk-in traffic for those exploring DTK.

Check out the updated Field Guide! Click here.

DTK BIA Receives My Main Street Funding

My Main Street announces $15.8 million of successful projects to support local businesses in southern Ontario

January 12, 2022 | NEWS

My Main Street is supporting 106 Community Activator placemaking projects and 65 Main Street communities through the Business Accelerator program

Today the Honourable Helena Jaczek, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) announced the successful applicants for My Main Street - a $23.25 million investment by the Government of Canada and delivered in partnership by the Canadian Urban Institute (CUI) and the Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO) to support the revitalization of 200 neighbourhoods across southern Ontario.

My Main Street is being delivered through two program streams:

The My Main Street Local Business Accelerator program is supporting the revitalization of 65 main street communities, and 650 businesses across southern Ontario. The Local Business Accelerator program provides support through a $57,500 contribution to hire a dedicated Main Street Ambassador, customized marketing research and data analysis, and non-repayable funding contributions for small businesses. Overall, about $3.7 million dollars will be provided directly to municipalities, business improvement areas and other My Main Street host organizations across southern Ontario and an additional $6.5 million will be received by 650 small local businesses. EDCO expects to send close to $1 million to our My Main Street communities as they recruit their Main Street Ambassadors to engage with local businesses and entrepreneurs. My Main Street Community Activator is funding 106 placemaking projects in the first round, totaling $5.6 million in 106 communities across southern Ontario (excluding Toronto). All of these projects aim to reanimate neighbourhoods through installations, events and activities to drive foot traffic back to main streets and provide local communities with safe, outdoor experiences to enjoy. In total, the program received 149 applications worth nearly $9 million in the first round.

A list of all of the successful Community Activator Projects and Local Busines Accelerator communities can be found at here.

My Main Street is built on the principle of supporting community economic development and creating vibrant and diverse neighbourhoods where residents from all backgrounds can benefit, enjoy and feel safe in their communities and on their main streets throughout the pandemic. The program takes an inclusive approach, supporting areas that have commercial and community importance, and provides targeted support to racialized neighborhoods and measures to reduce the barriers faced by underrepresented groups.

“The projects supported by this first round of My Main Street demonstrate how communities are creatively working to bring people together—safely, following all the protocols, with local businesses,” said Mary W. Rowe, President and CEO, Canadian Urban Institute. “They are reminding us of how remarkable our local places and spaces can be accessible to everyone, especially now."

“Main streets that combine placemaking and diverse business balance, result in successful local economies,” said Heather Lalonde, CEO, Economic Developers Council of Ontario. “This project enables communities to ensure that both are possible. Thanks to the support of the FedDev Ontario, communities in southern Ontario will have the resources to establish a strong foundation for moving forward.

Applications for Year Two for the My Main Street Community Activator program are currently being accepted until February 1, 2022. Interested municipalities, business improvement areas and community organizations located within southern Ontario (except for Toronto), are encouraged to learn more and apply at

About My Main Street

My Main Street is a $23.25-million investment by Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario to support the recovery and revitalization of main streets and local businesses in southern Ontario. The Canadian Urban Institute and the Economic Developers Council of Ontario have partnered to deliver My Main Street through two program streams. Learn more at

DTK BIA & KWAG win big at Arts Awards Waterloo Region

Arts Awards Waterloo Region: Congratulations to our 2021 Winners!

Arts Awards Waterloo Region hosted its awards night on Friday, November 26, 2021. The arts community – artists, supporters, and fans –gathered at a live online event for the 2021 Arts Awards Waterloo Region Awards Event.

Arts Awards Waterloo Region Chair Pam Patel shared: “Our Board is speaking to you live and online tonight. At the same time, we will be travelling around and presenting the awards ‘live’ at each winner’s home during the duration of this exciting live event!”

The evening saw 10 awards presented: seven awards presented in the broad category of “the arts”; in addition, there were one Emerging Artist award, an Arts Philanthropist award, and a Lifetime Achievement award. The evening culminated when Chair Pam Patel arrived at the final winner’s home to present the Lifetime Achievement award.

Arts Awards Waterloo Region 2021 winners are as follows:

Neruda Arts, General Taylor Graham, Emerging Artist MT SPACE, General CAFKA (Contemporary Art Forum Kitchener + Area), General Luke Swinson, General Green Light Arts, General Downtown Kitchener Business Improvement Association and Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, General Suzanne Luke, General Musagetes Fund, Arts Philanthropist Glen Carruthers, Lifetime Achievement


Last, many thanks to our 2021 sponsors as well. In 2021, there are many new challenges facing our community, including artists, arts nonprofits, local businesses, retail establishments and sponsors.

Our many thanks to the 90+ members of the Arts Awards Waterloo Region Academy, who freely nominate and vote upon art, artists, arts organizations and others in the arts community. Members of the Academy play a vital role in helping us to honour the best in art in our region. Without them, this awards process and awards night would not have been possible.

Arts Awards Waterloo Region is a non-profit arts organization that recognizes, honours and celebrates the arts sector in the Region of Waterloo.

Many thanks to our sponsors: the Cities of Kitchener and Waterloo, Explore Waterloo Region, HIP Developments and HFK McRae & Wilson LLP, who have helped to make this event possible! Additional thanks to Imagine It Gift Baskets in Waterloo Region, who prepared our winner gifts this year.

Business Resources

City of Kitchener Economic Development

Your business is officially off the ground, now it is time to focus on growing!

From businesses small to large, the city of Kitchener is the number one source for all your business needs! From networking opportunities to consultation services and financial incentives, we are available to work with your business to achieve your goals. Click here.

Waterloo Region Small Business Centre

The Waterloo Region Small Business Centre encourages and contributes to the enterprising spirit and economic vitality of our community by assisting entrepreneurs with the development of new or existing businesses.Click here.

Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber of Commerce

Your Chamber is dedicated to providing strong, continued service to 1,700+ members in one of Canada’s marquee pioneering and entrepreneurial business communities. For the past 128 years, dating back to the Chamber’s founding as the Berlin Board of Trade, we have expanded into one of the largest and innovative Chambers in Canada by focusing on the needs of all our members, big and small.Click here.

Canadian Chamber of Commerce

As the unified voice of Canadian business, we represent our members’ interests on policies, regulations and decisions that are critical to creating a favourable environment for business success and the future of Canada. Click here.

International Economic Development Council

The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is a non-profit, non-partisan membership organization serving economic developers. With more than 5,000 members, IEDC is the largest organization of its kind. Economic developers promote economic well-being and quality of life for their communities, by creating, retaining and expanding jobs that facilitate growth, enhance wealth and provide a stable tax base. From public to private, rural to urban and local to international, IEDC’s members are engaged in the full range of economic development experience. Given the breadth of economic development work, our members are employed in a wide variety of settings including local, state, provincial and federal governments, public-private partnerships, chambers of commerce, universities and a variety of other institutions. When we succeed, our members create high-quality jobs, develop vibrant communities, and improve the quality of life in their regions. Click here.

Safety & Security

Waterloo Region Police Service

Statement from WRPS - April, 2020:

The Waterloo Regional Police Service continues to provide essential service in the Kitchener Downtown. Increased presence by our Community Engagement Officers, Central CORE Team, Community Resource Officers and Zone Officers is ongoing and we are responding to concerns throughout the downtown. I would encourage business to include messages about closures to be temporary and check your business regularly. It is important to report any activity, property damage or other issues promptly so we can respond.

Please reach out to us via Slack, email or by phone if you have any questions or comments.

Statement from WRPS - March, 2020:

"The Waterloo Regional Police Service continues to offer essential service to the community.

We understand business owners may be feeling anxious at this time of uncertainty. We want to reassure you that it is business as usual for us and officers will remain on patrol throughout Waterloo Region responding to calls for service.

This is a time when our community needs to come together, to help each other, and to watch out for one another. We remind business owners and residents of this community to report any suspicious activity or individuals to police."

Business self security audit

Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre

As COVID-19 continues to spread globally, watch out for associated scams. Fraudsters want to profit from consumers' fears, uncertainties and misinformation. Fraudsters are exploiting the crisis to facilitate fraud and cyber crime. Here are ways to protect your business.

Keeping Downtown Clean

January 2022: Please note, Clean Team 1 (Street Sweeping), is now being operated by the City of Kitchener. Clean Team 2 is active and will continue to collect King Street waste after 5:00pm on weekdays. The Downtown Discovery Team is no longer operating; please see Who to Call Cardfor contacts.

January 2021: Clean Team 1, 2 and the Downtwon Discovery Team will remain on hold until further notice.

July 2020: Clean Team 1 and 2, in addition to the Downtown Discovery Team have returned to service with modified hours. The Downtown Organic Waste Diversion Pilot will remain on hold until further notice.

March 2020: Due to Public Health concerns, Clean Team 1, 2 and the Downtown Organic Waste Diversion Pilot Program have been placed on a temporary hold. If you have any questions please [reach out](

Online/Social Media Opportunities

Waterloo Region Eats, powered by Sociavore

During COVID-19, food delivery has become increasingly popular, and is often a large percentage of your profits. Together in a joint initiative we are pleased to offer member businesses the opportunity to participate in a pilot project. [In the document attached](, you will find information about the exciting Waterloo Region Eats platform, powered by Sociavore.

The Waterloo Region Eats platform costs significantly less to participate, offers features to lower your delivery costs, acquires your guest data, and takes no commission.

Hey Local

HeyLocal is a Canadian marketplace that helps small and medium-sized businesses by allowing consumers to shop consciously and locally on one single online platform with the same ease and convenience as notable retail giants.

Established in May 2020 by Waterloo Region business leaders as a direct response to the challenges faced by small businesses brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, HeyLocal is bringing commerce back to local cities, neighbourhoods, and people.

Media Kit News Release

Google & Website Optimization

Our community can help support your business online by leaving reviews and providing a star rating. Keeping up with these reviews and relevant information on your accounts is important.

Follow the link attached to learn a few tips on how to keep your online presence relevant.

DTK Social Media Guide

Looking for a few more ways to engage with your audience? Click the link attached to view our social media guide.

E-commerce is an excellent way to ensure your business continues to bring in profits during COVID-19. Below are two platforms that can help with your restaurant and online storefront.


Sociavore is an online platform that allows businesses the opportunity to sell digital gift cards, accept curb-side & takeout orders, and also sell merchandise with shipping or pickup options.

Click the link attached for more information.


Shopify is offering a 90-day trial for businesses during COVID-19. Build your online platform and storefronts, provide customers with a way to support you now through gift cards, and local pickup & delivery options.

Click the link attached to learn more.



Region of Waterloo

Open spaces and public washrooms

Community Services

Support the local business community!

Looking for our Downtown shopping & dining guide? Click here.

Check out our new patio map! Click here.