Up to $250K Available for Municipalities in Southern Ontario Reshaping Public Spaces

In efforts to support local communities struggling with the ongoing realities of COVID-19, the Canadian Urban Institute is providing approximately $23 million over two years to communities in southern Ontario through the My Main Street Community Activator Program.

My Main Street supports placemaking, an approach that asks people to collectively reimagine and reshape public space to maximize its shared value. Examples include: events that draw people into a community, murals that brighten neglected streetscapes and celebrate local artists, seating and temporary patios that allow people to gather safely outdoors, new uses for neglected or empty spaces, and more.

To ensure the efficient and timely distribution of funding, the program will include two application windows:

  • Year One (2021): October 1, to November 1, 2021, during which 70% of available support will be allocated for placemaking work completed between June 8 and December 31, 2021.
  • Year Two (2022): December 1, 2021 to February 1, 2022, during which the remaining 30% of available funding will be allocated for placemaking work completed between January 1 and December 31, 2022.


Eligible Applicants

Applicants must:

  • Be representatives of the following groups:
    • Municipality, local or regional government
    • Business improvement areas (BIAs)
    • Indigenous governing body or development corporation
    • Federally or provincially incorporated not-for-profit
  • Be from communities located in southern Ontario, except for the City of Toronto

Eligible Projects 

Funds are available for projects in the following categories:

  • Events and activations
    • Short, limited or repeating community events or activations which intend to draw an audience, respond to an underserved market demand, enhance community connection or create an appealing destination, positioning the area as a center of community and economic activity.
  • Community improvements
    • Above grade enhancements to streetscape, design, landscaping and amenities that support the transformation of a specific geographic area by enhancing the physical and visual assets that can set the area apart. Capital costs are not eligible for reimbursements.
  • Policy and capacity building
    • The development of strategies, partnerships and capacities that will facilitate a focused, deliberate path to revitalizing or strengthening a downtown or commercial district’s economy through intentional and creative placemaking. Eligible work could include inclusion training, strategy development, and recovery action plans.

Funding Details

  • Funding between $25,000 and $250,000 will be available to approximately 140 individual projects and provided as reimbursements against completed work
  • Successful applicants can request 25% of their approved project costs in advance, as required, to help bring their vision to reality


The deadline to apply for the first round of funding is November 1, 2021.

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