Our mission is to foster a thriving business and destination district that is inviting to patrons, tourists and businesses.

The Old Strathcona Business Association (OSBA) represents the interests of nearly 600 businesses in the Old Strathcona and Whyte Avenue district.

We focus on priorities voiced by our members: programs and services in the areas of cleanliness, beautification, business support, marketing, advocacy and mobility. We represent our members’ shared goals, drive creative solutions forward and take meaningful action to constantly improve the District Whyte experience.

We operate strategically at the intersection of businesses, local policymakers, non-profit organizations, and all of the people who make up our community. The district overlaps 4 neighbourhoods: Garneau, Queen Alexandra, Strathcona, and Ritchie. District Whyte is a diverse community that is reflected in the types of businesses, services, arts and culture organizations that are the backbone of what we do.

What we do

There are many roles that a BIA, or business improvement area can play in the community, some of our core services at the Old Strathcona Business Association are:

  • Safety
  • Beautification
  • Clean Team
  • Business Attraction & Retention
  • Advocacy
  • Place Making
  • Marketing & Communications
  • Special Events

What is a BIA?

Business Improvement Areas are formed by a collective group of business owners representing a specific geographic area. Together, they form an association with the purpose of promoting and improving the local economy of that business district. BIAs exist worldwide, and Canada is home to almost 350! Edmonton’s 13 diverse BIAs represent almost 4000 businesses. The Edmonton Council of Business Improvement Areas brings together voices from across the city to increase awareness and amplify advocacy efforts among stakeholders.


In 1899 the town of Old Strathcona was considered its own municipality, separate from the City of Edmonton. In 1907, Old Strathcona received its own designation as a city, and in 1912 amalgamated with the city of Edmonton.

A defining characteristic of the Old Strathcona neighborhood is its historical buildings, many of which are more than 100 years old. The oldest building is the Strathcona Hotel, which was built by the railway in 1891. After the amalgamation of the cities, Strathcona went into an economic slump, with very little re-development occurring. Growth would remain slow in the area until the 1970’s when the area again became a hub for supplying goods and services, this growth continued through the 1990’s with many new bars and restaurants established, and the area became known for its nightlife, soon becoming Edmonton’s premiere entertainment district. Over time, retailers, and other businesses helped develop a balance between the day and night time economies, and more events took hold, such as the Edmonton International Fringe Festival, Ice on Whyte Festival, and Pride celebrations.

In 2007, the Province of Alberta granted the City of Edmonton’s request and the area was designated a Provincial Heritage Area.


Cherie Klassen (She/Her)
Executive Director

Cherie is a community builder and small business advocate with over 20 years’ experience in marketing, communications, public relations, and business development. Her formal education includes a degree in communications and a certificate in public relations. Having spent most of her career working in small organizations and nonprofits, she has become very skilled in achieving results with limited resources. 

In addition to her professional life, Cherie has invested the last 15 years as a relationship builder and leader in the community, having served in various capacities in her community league, business advisory boards, and political campaign teams. 

As the executive director of the Old Strathcona Business Association, Cherie leads the second largest business improvement area (BIA) in the city, with over 600 business. As a BIA, Cherie and her team work to build a destination and tourism district through beautification, marketing, and advocacy. 

In her free time, you’ll find Cherie out enjoying our amazing river valley, gardening, or hanging out with friends at one of our fantastic local restaurants. 

Calyca Greenwald (She/Her)
Marketing Intern

Calyca is currently pursuing a BBA in Marketing at NAIT while also serving as the Enactus President, leading a dynamic team of students toward social entrepreneurship and community impact.

She brings with her over five years of administration experience, two and a half years of diverse marketing experience (digital, outreach, and experiential), seven years of customer service/sales experience, and six months of field research experience. Her goal is to apply her learned skills to make a meaningful impact in the marketing industry and beyond.

The Board

Anastasia Arabia
Trend Research
Kris Armitage
Michelle Childs
Al Gothjelpsen
The Pint on Whyte
Dr. Amber McKinnon
Naturally Inclined Health
Dominic McKenzie
Float House
Emily Sommers
Healing Waters Spa
Aiylnn Wong
Yelo’d Ice Cream & Bake Shoppe

2023 Honorary Board Member:

Megan Dart, Fringe Theatre Adventures

Ryan Eidick, Eins Consulting

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