Waterfront BIA

Website Design

Waterfront BIA, website design in Toronto.


A Business Improvement Area is a geographic area in a municipality. A BIA board of management is an organization set up to provide certain business promotion and improvement functions within that area. I have had the opportunity to work with two of them: Toronto Entertainment District and the Waterfront BIA.

The Waterfront BIA contacted me in 2017 to update their website. When we first met they explained to me the issues they had with their current website and from there I suggested an action plan in order to help them manage their website more efficiently.

Step 1 - Discovery

The Waterfront BIA already had a strong branding. However their website, built with WordPress had a lot of bugs and it was impossible to update it. As a consequence they weren’t able to update their directory and it was really a big issue. Indeed the website is supposed to highlight the businesses in the area and that’s why the directory need to be always up to date. They really needed a performant and reliable website.

Step 2 - Website Design & Development

When we realized that the current theme was obsolete and didn’t work properly with the latest WordPress versions, we decided to recreate the website from scratch.
Waterfront BIA main need is the directory. It needs to be sort in five categories, everyone of them having their own visual identity already established.
The new theme had to allow us to keep the directory as main function but also had to be compatible with a calendar to display the event. They also needed a blog and different other pages for general information.
So I looked for a theme that would offer all those services or that would allow me to add some functionalities. The theme had to be easy to use so they could update the directory themselves.
I found the one that was perfect for their requirements.

Then I added a calendar plugin so they could display upcoming events. Finally I imported the blog posts and suggested a way to simplify their newsletter process.
I imported all the entries from the directory and made the visual changes needed in order to stay in the branding guidelines.
At the end of the summer, the website was ready so I migrated it onto their server.

After that, we met again so I could train the team regarding the new functions of the website.

The blog is now a lot easier to use and allow them to save a lot of time while sending the newsletters. Every month, I continue to help them when they need complicated updates.


The website and directory creation was a great challenge because there was a lot of data. But using the right tools we created together a great environment that is easy for them to use while staying appealing and user-friendly.