COVID-19 has seriously impacted our access to and use of public spaces. This is especially true in communities that are already experiencing systemic inequalities.
The Healthy Communities Initiative is a $31 million investment from the Government of Canada to support communities as they create and adapt public spaces to respond to the new realities of COVID-19. Projects funded through the Healthy Communities Initiative will create safe and vibrant public spaces, improve mobility options and provide innovative digital solutions to connect people and improve health.
Photo credit: Wex POPS. This photo was taken in 2018.
Organizations have shown tremendous creativity and resourcefulness in developing temporary and longer-lasting solutions that enable people to connect and access public spaces safely while still respecting public health measures. In a recent Community Mobilization Session, Park People highlighted some inspiring projects we have seen in recent years.
These can inspire project submissions
- Red Embers– Indigenous weaving and art installation on gates in a city park
- Flemo Farm– A 2-acre community food garden in a hydro corridor
- MABELLEpantry– A food security program in response to the COVID-19 shutdown emergency
- WexPOPS–Temporary seating and native gardens in a parking lot
- Milky Way Indigenous Initiative-Greenest City–Indigenous garden in a community space
- CAP Jarry Forêt Éphémère–Pop-up art installation in the park of recycled Christmas trees
- SINGA Québec- Deconfinons l’espoir– Travelling photo exhibition walk for newcomers, to warm up in winter and reduce isolation
- La forêt nourricière de Lac-St-Charles– Green infrastructure project in the form of an edible forest
- Le Carré et sa ruelle– Beautification of a Montreal laneway through botanical painting workshops
- Park Ave Community Bake oven-Volunteer-run, wood-fired community oven that is located inside a custom-built structure that transforms into a food preparation area, alongside a community garden and orchard
- Hives for Humanity-Hastings Folk Garden–Community garden in the downtown eastside, serving vulnerable community members
- Still Moon Arts Society -The Spectacular Dawn Chorus–Virtual birdwatching workshop followed by community members recording the dawn chorus, all observations shared on a digital platform
- Flyover Park–an innovative park project empowering the next generation of city builders in Calgary
- East Van Skate Crows–roller skating group formed during COVID, workshops on DIY roller-skating pop-up infrastructure (skate rails)
- Springboard Performance- ContainR Youth mural project–Team of youth painting murals on shipping containers used for public art performances and installations
The projects linked here are provided as to sources of inspiration. For eligibility details, please be sure to check specifics on the Community Foundation website.
With funding between $5,000 and $250,000, the Healthy Communities Initiative aims to support local efforts to develop small-scale infrastructure solutions, programming and services for communities across Canada. Local governments, charities, Indigenous communities and nonprofits are all welcome to apply for funding.
Funding can be used for adapting public spaces, or for programming or services that respond to COVID-19 and serve the public or a community disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Organizations are encouraged to engage the community when designing their projects.
Read more in the Applicant Guide, attend an upcoming event and the deadline to apply is June 25, 2021.
Watch our webinar on Simple ways to create vibrant and safe spaces during COVID-19