Category Archives: BIA Board News

Roncesvalles Village BIA Honoured At OBIAA Conference

It is with pride that we announce that the Roncesvalles Village BIA has been awarded the Special Events and Promotions Award at this year’s Ontario BIA Association conference.

obiaa-conference-2010-436.jpgRVBIA Vice-chair Andrew Chomentowski accepted the award on behalf of the BIA. In particular, this award acknowledges the extraordinary success of the Roncesvalles Polish Festival, which in five years has become one of the largest neighbourhood festivals in Toronto and the largest festival focussing on Polish culture in Canada. In our press releases we call the festival “Canada’s largest celebration of Polish culture in Toronto’s best neighbourhood.”

In this photo we see TABIA executive director John Kiru, RVBIA Chair Tony Cauch and Vice-chair Andrew Chomentowski, and Patti Brooks, Vice-president of OBIAA.

obiaaaward.jpgThe following address was read in advance of the award’s presentation: “The Roncesvalles Polish Festival has grown from its humble beginnings of a few thousand people to attracting an estimated 175,000 to 200,000 people in 2009 – the largest Polish Festival in Canada, if not North America.

The success of the Roncesvalles Village BIA Polish Festival is largely due to the innovative approach to the re-branding of the festival some 5 years ago. Formerly known as the Harvest Festival and although effective, was not distinctive and drew small numbers at significant expense.

By taking advantage of its rich Polish heritage, the Roncesvalles Village BIA re-branded its name to the “Polish Festival” and distinguished itself in a crowded market of neighbourhood festivals in Toronto.

Attracting momentum with their new name, significant sponsors for the event leveraged their modest event budget almost 7 times.

The Polish Festival puts the Roncesvalles Village BIA on the map every year; broadcast in Poland, across the GTA and as far away as New York City, major Canadian television networks pick-up on the event. The event attracts people from all over the world and is a major internationally celebrated event.

Please join me in a warm round of applause for Roncesvalles Village BIA.”

The RVBIA congratulates and thanks all past and current members of the Promotions and Marketing Committee. In particular we thank that committee’s chair, Andrew Chomentowski, who has volunteered for the BIA for over two decades on the Promotions and Marketing Committee. This award is a tribute to his ongoing efforts to promote Roncesvalles Village.

This award is the result of an enormous group effort. We thank our Festival patron, the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Toronto, and our Festival sponsors including the Polish Credit Union, Peter Mielczynski Agencies, European Fine Foods, The Knights of Polonia, and all the participating members of the Roncesvalles Village BIA.

Roncesvalles Village At BIA 40th Anniversary Celebration

Toronto is well-known as being an innovative city. Great artists, businesspeople, thinkers and scientists call Toronto home.

What is less well-known is that the BIA movement started in Toronto. In 1970 the Bloor West Village BIA became the first BIA in the world. Last Saturday we were pleased to attend a celebration of the 40th anniversary of BIAs. Mayor David Miller was in attendance and declared BIAs to be “Toronto’s greatest export.”

MPP Cheri diNovo honoured TABIA president and RVBIA Chair Emeritus John Wakulat for his tireless volunteer efforts to improve business life in Toronto.

RVBIA Chair Tony Cauch, Vice-chair Andrew Chomentowski, John Wakulat and Coordinator Keith Denning attended on behalf of Roncesvalles Village, and we provided a tasty spread of food courtesy of Benna’s Bakery and Deli.


Thank You Krys!

krys.jpgAs a number of you probably know, Krys Streich left Copernicus Lodge and therefore our BIA a short while ago.

Krys served on the Board and was an important volunteer in our community, particularly in the Roncesvalles Polish Festival.

This is an excerpt from a very nice letter we received:

Dear Tony and BIA Members:

Thank you so much for the floral arrangement and kind words… I have deep roots in the area as I was born there and worked there for many years. It was a real pleasure for me to serve and perhaps have added some value to the Board. Best wishes to you all and most importantly may you have smooth roads ahead.

With warm regards,


We thank Krys for her service to the BIA and Roncesvalles Village, and wish her all the best for the future.

Thank You Stenia!

stenia1.jpgStefania (Stenia) Baran has been an integral part of the Roncesvalles community for many years as manager of St. Stanislaus-St. Casimir’s Polish Parishes Credit Union. Her service to the Credit Union is about to come to an end. Stenia is retiring at the end of November and the board of the RVBIA wishes her well in her future endeavours.

Stenia has also served on the board of the Roncesvalles Village BIA for many years and has been a key volunteer in the Promotions and Marketing Committee, helping us with all of our events, particularly the Roncesvalles Polish Festival. RVBIA Vice-chair Andrew Chomentowski calls her “the heart of the festival.” While we’re sad to see her leaving the Credit Union, we are certain that she will continue to play a significant role in our community.

What will the City’s new Zoning Bylaw Project mean for Roncesvalles?

Zoning Bylaw ProjectSpacing has been covering the progress of the City’s new Zoning Bylaw Project, an effort to harmonize the City’s 43 existing zoning bylaws into one. The discussion is technical and complicated, but its results will affect all new development in the City once passed.

Today, Spacing examines the section of the draft bylaw covering Commercial/Residential, the section governing main streets outside the downtown core such as Roncesvalles.

The BIA urges the community to keep informed about the Zoning Bylaw Project. The City has set up a consultation portal, including an interactive map showing how each area is currently zoned.