Introducing the Marda Loop BIA

The Marda Loop BIA represents over 190 businesses that are the heart of Marda Loop: where life connects.

The Marda Loop BIA works to promote, improve and enliven Marda Loop as a friendly and walkable business district in the heart of southwest Calgary. Come to Marda Loop and find everything you need.

OUR HISTORY

The name Marda Loop comes from two significant landmarks in local history. “Marda” comes from the former Marda Theatre (1953-1988), which was founded by Mark and Mada Jenkins at the corner of 33rd Avenue and 20th Street SW. “Marda” is a combination of the founder’s names.  The “Loop” comes from the historic streetcar line that looped around the area between 1913 and 1950. It it was replaced by an electric trolley bus that went down 33rd Avenue to a turnaround loop near 22nd Street.   In 1984, local businesses came together to found a “Business Revitalization Zone” or “BRZ” (nowadays called a Business Improvement Area or  BIA). They held a contest to come up with a name and “Marda Loop” was chosen.  Although both the streetcar and the theatre are long gone, the name and the history are still an important part of the area.

Find out more about our history at www.visitmardaloop.com/history

What are BIAs?

Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) are business organizations that work to improve and promote a district. They are established by City Council in response to an initiative by businesses in a specific area. All businesses within the boundary are automatically members of the BIA.

There are 15 BIAs in Calgary. Marda Loop BIA was one of the first, established in 1984. There are thousands of BIAs and like organizations in North America and worldwide.

The BIA is governed by a Board of Marda Loop business owners and representatives who are elected by members at an Annual General Meeting. The Board sets the BIA’s budget, which is mostly funded by an annual levy on businesses that is administered by The City of Calgary.

What's the Marda Loop BIA all about?

The Marda Loop Business Improvement Area includes over 170 businesses, and growing

  • The BIA works to support businesses by improving and promoting Marda Loop as a friendly, attractive, walkable, and successful business district in the heart of the community.
  • Street banners, planters, Christmas decorations, events, advertising and promotions, social media, and providing info and support to businesses are some of the things we do.
  • We also advocate on issues like streetscape improvement and beautification, development, public investment, transportation and access.
  • We work with other BIAs and business groups on issues like business-friendly policies and tax fairness.

Here is a map of the boundaries (image) of the Marda Loop BIA

If you are a Marda Loop business, find out more at the tabs below.

Member of the public?  Sign up for our e-newsletter here

Marda Loop Business? Register your Marda Loop business to get connected to the BIA and be on our list: visitmardaloop.com/business-registration/ or send a note to info@visitmardaloop.com.

The BIA communicates on everything from promotional opportunities to road work to business support programs. Email is how we keep our business members informed. Make sure you are on our email list and please read our emails – don’t let them go to the junk or Spam folder!

  • Our emails deal with everything from government supports to promotional opportunities to upcoming road work. Business owners, store managers and marketing people will benefit from the info in BIA emails.
  • Join our private Marda Loop Business Owners Facebook page to share information with your business neighbours.
  • Come to one of our Networking or Learning events, in person or online: See if one is upcoming

Get in touch if you are interested in learning more about the BIA Board or one of our Committees, or about any of our programs. To find out more about how the BIA is run, and about the Annual General Meeting of business members, check out: BIA Governance and AGM

Marda Loop BIA businesses can participate in our promotions, events and other opportunities:

  • Businesses: Find out more at https://www.visitmardaloop.com/about/marketing-support/
  • We promote businesses regularly on our social channels:
    • We are @visitmardaloop on Tiktok, Facebook, Instagram and X/Twitter.
    • Make sure you tag us in your posts using @visitmardaloop and use our hashtags #intheloop #myymarda #meetmeinmarda #mardaloopyyc #mardaloop.
  • Our monthly public e-newsletter goes to 1000 subscribers and growing. Sign up for our public email newsletter here
  • Check out our Marda Loop Gift Card program with 25 participating businesses and growing.
  • The Marda Gras Street Festival is our signature event, attracting  about 40,000 people on the second Sunday in August.
    • If you are a vendor or potential sponsor, get in touch
  • We do promotions and events like Eggfest at Easter, Spook the Loop at Halloween, Spirit of the Loop to kick off Christmas, a holiday Gift Guide and more.
    • If you are signed up on our email list, you will be kept in the loop!
  • Contact us to get involved in our advertising, marketing and event programming.

The Marda Loop BIA takes care of:

  • Street furniture including planters, garbage cans and benches.
  • Décor including street banners and seasonal Christmas lights.
  • We are interested in public art, heritage signage and “wayfinding”  signage
  • We also have a litter pick and graffiti abatement program
  • Some of our streetscape programs (like planters) are on hold in 2023 and 2024 due to the Main Streets construction work. But we’ll be back and better than ever when the dust settles!

The Marda Loop BIA supports improvement to our area:

  • We want to foster an attractive, comfortable and pedestrian-friendly business district. The Main Streets improvements currently under construction in 2023 and 2024 represent a huge investment in a better Marda Loop. Find out more and sign up for City updates at  http://www.calgary.ca/mainstreets
  • There is a lot of development happening in Marda Loop. The BIA wants quality development that brings more businesses and residents to the area to build a vibrant and prosperous community.  To find out about what’s going on in the area, check out these links:

Marda Loop BIA is growing

The Marda Loop BIA is expanding to better support and involve businesses in the Marda Loop business district.

Marda Loop BIA 2023

Bob van Wegen, Executive Director – bob@visitmardaloop.com

The BIA has 10 board members. These four are the Executive Committee:

Mike Bruni, Board President (Bruni Law)
Whitney Titheridge, Vice President (Crabapple Clothing)
Nova Kane, Treasurer (ATB Financial)
Mike de Jonge, Secretary (Marda Loop Brewing)

Priorities for 2023

  • Our major priority is mitigating the impact of Main Streets construction through our promotional efforts.
  • We are working on the Marda Loop Heritage Project to better tell the Marda Loop story in our marketing, beautification, and community engagement efforts. Find out more at: visitmardaloop.com/history
  • Expansion to 17th Street to include new businesses on our boundary: https://www.visitmardaloop.com/about/bia-expansion/
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