Announcing five new projects that reimagine public space in Toronto

*Announcement made on July 23, 2019*

Now in its second year, our Public Space Incubator program invited Torontonians to submit their wild, inventive, and innovative ideas for how to bring people together in our city’s public spaces. 

Once again, we weren’t disappointed. 

Designed to offer both funding and support, the Public Space Incubator aims to spur new models for the use of publicly accessible open space, whether that’s in laneways, parking lots, parks, streets, or plazas. As our city grows ever denser, making use of all of our open spaces for celebration, social connection, and respite becomes more critical.

The winning five projects include night markets and food training opportunities, renewal and animation of heritage structures, rethinking connections to land through Indigenous urban agricultural practices, re-using mall parking lots as community space, and levelling-up our ideas of play in public space. 

As with our last five winning projects, this new cohort will provide us with new models, challenge existing practices, and hopefully spark ideas beyond themselves. We’re so excited to see them all become reality over the next year.

For a listing of past winners click here.

For media inquiries please email

Public Space Incubator is a program of Park People and is generously funded by Ken and Eti Greenberg and Balsam Foundation.

Core Principles

  • Innovative: Projects push the boundaries of what’s possible and propose new, creative ways to bring people together in under-used urban spaces.
  • Community-driven: Projects are rooted in community involvement and local partnerships to ensure a sustainable, accessible, and inclusive approach.
  • Programmable: Projects are not simply design pieces, but involve programming and engagement activities that ensure spaces are used and lively.
  • Catalytic: Projects maximize the impact of the grant by leveraging additional financial and in-kind support.
  • Scalable: Projects respond to their context, but also present new models that can be used in other neighbourhoods, showing their potential to be replicable and scalable beyond a single public space.


We invite applications from groups and collaborators including but not limited to: community groups, student groups, artist collectives, non-profits, public sector agencies, designers, and registered charities. Private for-profit businesses may not be the sole applicant, but can be part of an application as a partner.

If you are not already a charity, you must include a charitable trustee as a partner. A charitable trustee is required for the administration of funds, but is not required to be a programming partner in the project. For tips on finding one, see our FAQ.

Geography: Projects must take place within publicly-accessible outdoor open space in the City of Toronto, whether privately or publicly-owned.

Duration: Projects can be temporary or permanent, where temporary is defined as at least four consecutive weeks or a series of events. One-time events are not eligible. If a project is pitched as permanent, the proposal must consider how it will be maintained. Projects should be completed by the fall of 2020.

Grants can cover:

  • Operational and staff costs of directly delivering the project
  • Research and policy development directly related to the project, including the development of new governance or funding models to support the sustainability and scalability of the project
  • Planning, public consultation, and community outreach
  • Capital costs
  • Programming and event costs
  • Honorariums to people directly associated with implementing the project

Grants will not fund:

  • Website development or online activities
  • Previously incurred costs
  • Funding for existing programs or projects
  • Projects that are strictly planning-related and do not include any tangible changes or activation
  • Contributions to a general fundraising campaign
  • Activities or projects that duplicate work already being undertaken by the City of Toronto

Application process

There is a two-stage application process. The applications are now past due.

If you have any questions, please consult our Frequently Asked Questions, or, if your question is not addressed, drop us a line at

Stage one: Letter of Intent (DUE: MARCH 22, 2019)

The Letter of Intent should be no more than two pages and include:

  • Overview of project, partners (including mandatory charitable trustee–for tips on finding a charitable trustee see our FAQ), and proposed location
  • Overview of how it meets each of the 5 core principles of the program
  • Overview of how it could be realistically implemented
  • Total amount requested. We do not require a budget breakdown for the letter of intent; however, if you have other funding sources already lined up, please let us know.

Submissions must be no more than 2 pages. Font size no less than 11 point. Margins no less than 2 cm on all sides. Please be sure to adhere to this format.

Please submit your letter electronically as a single PDF to Please note that we are unable to consider late or incomplete applications for funding. Submissions must be received by Park People by 5:00 pm (EST) on the deadline date.

Letters of Intent will be jointly reviewed by Park People and Ken and Eti Greenberg and Balsam Foundation.

Stage two: Full application (DUE: MAY 10, 2018)

Applicants successfully chosen in the first round will be invited to submit a full application. This is not a guarantee of funding. Those applicants asked to submit a full application should prepare a document that must be no more than 4 pages in length not including the budget and additional attachments such as maps, graphics, or sketches. A more detailed list of requirements for the full application will be provided to those applicants invited to submit a full application, but it will include project team and experience, project workplan and timeframe, detailed budget breakdown, measures of success, community engagement strategy, and mitigation of implementation risks.

Applications will be evaluated and selected through a jury process. Decisions will be made in early June 2019.