Support to re-imagine Toronto’s public spaces

With increasing densities and challenges in creating new public spaces, we need to creatively make the most of every space in our city. Toronto is seeing a growing interest in innovative ways to inhabit and enliven our public spaces and find new ones.

We’re looking for people who have bold, creative, and radical ideas for Toronto’s parks, plazas, schoolyards, laneways, streets, and other publicly-accessible open spaces.

We want to encourage and support the next generation of creative public space projects. By providing access to funding and professional networks, this second round of our Public Space Incubator will support tangible pilots that test new, innovative ways to bring under-used public spaces to life.

With a focus on innovation, partnerships, programming, and scalability, Public Space Incubator will provide five projects with up to $50,000 in funding per project. And, as an incubator, will support successful applicants in implementing projects by connecting them with a network of professionals. Take a look at the five winning projects from last year for some inspiration.

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

Illustration by Daniel Rotsztain, part of a winning 2018 PSI team for plazaPOPS

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.

  Rendering by Larissa Roque, part of a winning 2018 PSI team for Red Embers

Eligibility

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

The program 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.

Minimum and maximum amount that can be awarded:

  • Minimum: $15,000
  • Maximum: $50,000

More about projects that align with program principles and eligibility requirements:

Application Process

There is a two-stage application process.

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

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 grants@parkpeople.ca. 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.

Jury Members

Please direct all questions about the program to grants@parkpeople.ca .

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