About Us

WHAT IS the 17th ave bia?

A Business Improvement Area (BIA) is a collaboration of business operators in a specified area, who formally agree to contribute funds with the intent of collectively promoting their business community. BIA’s also provide funding to support their pedestrian environments and improvements to the public realms in which they reside. With the further cooperation of property owners, BIA’s may also undertake longer term streetscape improvements and pedestrian corridor enhancements through a separate funding mechanism or local improvement bylaw.

Established through legislation under the Municipal Government Act (MGA), for the Province of Alberta, all Business Improvement Areas are not-for-profit organizations and governed by Boards of Directors. The Board is elected annually and develops a budget to support the programs and service provisions for each BIA. Funds are collected from each business based on their prorated share of occupied space in the area.

There are BIA’s throughout the province and across Canada.. There are 15 BIA’s in Calgary; the 17th Ave Retail & Entertainment District, Marda Loop, the Calgary Downtown Association, Kensington, Inglewood, 4th Street, Victoria Park, Mainstreet Bowness, International Avenue, Chinatown District, Greenview Industrial, Crescent Heights Village, Beltline, Bridgeland and Montgomery on the Bow.


Launched in 1984 and originally incorporated as Uptown 17, the 17th Ave Retail & Entertainment District was the first BIA in Calgary, and the 2nd in the province. Back then, the boundaries extended to MacLeod Trail in the east and 15th Street in the west, however in the early ‘90’s the boundaries were redefined, when a group of property owners approached the BIA about the need for additional revitalization and improvements to the area. Realizing that costs precluded doing the entire area, the Board of Directors petitioned the City of Calgary to have the area redefined, resulting in the boundaries that remain today. They are 17th Avenue from 2nd Street SW to 16th Street SW (with the exception of 2nd Street to 4th Street SW on the south side).


The 17th Ave Retail & Entertainment District BIA will coordinate, promote and support activities that continually improve the conditions that ensure the area/zone maintains it’s status as a diverse, energetic, multicultural business community.

Meet The Team

Tulene Steiestol | Executive Director

Tulene is an award-winning marketing, communications and business development professional recognized nationally and provincially for her contributions for event development, marketing campaigns and collaboration.

She has honed her skills as a community leader, collaborator and business advocate developing and delivering business development, partnership and engagement initiatives that address, support and enhance business sustainability, awareness and growth in world-class destinations throughout the Alberta Rockies. 

Tulene has played a significant role in business support and engagement managing and overseeing the overall function of business development teams developing and implementing strategic growth initiatives and partnerships to position destinations as leaders in product, market and experience development.

Tulene has delivered a wide range of innovative and diverse programs as part big picture picture strategy to increase engagement, awareness and make cash registers ring. Her extensive cross-industry experience includes delivering public relations, business development and leadership initiatives with a focus on stakeholder engagement, community development, destination marketing and government communications. 

Born and raised in Alberta, Tulene has called many small towns throughout the Province home thanks to her father’s career with the Alberta Forest Service. Despite her small town roots, the pull of big city life brought her to Vancouver where she spent eight years working in marketing and communications agencies before making the change to destination marketing. Tulene returned to Alberta in 2008 and has dedicated her career ever since to not-for-profit, shareholder driven organizations. Tulene is an avid traveller and a big fan of spas, music (especially ABBA) and dining out because grocery shopping is her least favourite thing. 

Samantha Gryba | Communications Coordinator 

Sam has been with the 17th Ave Retail & Entertainment District BIA since the Summer of 2020, aiding this small but mighty team in all of their communications and marketing pursuits as well as BIA member engagement — if you’re ever looking for the best hangover grub, spicy margarita or local hidden gem to check out while perusing the Red Mile, head to our Blog for all of her AMAZING insider tips. 

When Sam’s not in the office (drinking her daily litre of caffeine), she can be found experimenting in her kitchen, crushing all the trending Netflix series — so far, her “bests of the year” include  Squid Games and Ted Lasso — and biking for beer in Calgary’s southern neighborhoods. Sam is  also a fierce game night competitor, although she hates most card games almost as much as she hates losing, so beware. 

Prior to her experience at the BIA, Sam  was an editorial intern at RedPoint Media, where she worked on highlighting the best of Calgary with award-winning publications such as Avenue Magazine and WestJet Magazine. She earned a Journalism Diploma from SAIT, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Lake Erie College, where she played NCAA Lacrosse.