Downtown Sydney
About Sydney Waterfront District - FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

When did the Sydney Downtown Development Association form?

The Sydney Downtown Development Association was established in 1989, and is a not-for-profit organization. We are a Business Improvement District.

What is a BID?

A business improvement district (BID) is a special improvement district where business people join together to promote and improve the economic vitality in a geographically-defined commercial area. It is a defined area within which businesses are required to pay an additional tax (or levy) in order to fund projects within the district’s boundaries to carry out activities related to its mandate. The BID is often funded primarily through the levy but can also draw on other public and private funding streams.

How does the Association receive funding?

The association operates on a budget determined by the assessed value of each commercial property (levy). There is an agreement that the CBRM is to collect, on behalf of SDDA, ten cents per hundred dollars per commercial assessment. It is then disbursed to the association monthly. To top this up, the office is eligible to apply for grants to assist with staffing and funding for festivals and events as a not-for-profit organization. SDDA also operates a parking lot located on the corner of Pitt Street and George Street, near the Bell Aliant building.

What are the boundaries for Sydney Downtown Development Association?

The boundaries include The Esplanade (including the Waterfront/businesses located in City Hall) to George St; and Dorchester St to Townsend St. It applies to any commercially assessed property within those limits.

What is the difference between the Cape Breton Regional Municipality and the Sydney Downtown Development Association?

CBRM is responsible to all taxpayers in its region. Sydney Downtown Development Association is responsible to the commercial entities located within the boundaries. SDDA and CBRM work closely together as partners to address collective concerns, monitor business regulations, and support business interests and development projects through outreach, advocacy, and promotion.

How does my business become a member of SDDA?

A business simply has to be located within the boundaries. Any business within our boundaries receives the services of the association. We advise any new business to contact the office to inquire prior to/upon opening. Send us an email at

What are the opening and closing hours of the shops Downtown?

The stores and businesses have their own hours, which can be found on their individual information pages.

What parking is available?

There are both parking meters as well as parking lots. We also manage a parking lot. For lot availability, simply download the HotSpot parking app. For further information regarding parking in Downtown, please visit our parking page for details.