Investing in the future of Ontario’s community spaces

Ontario is implementing a program to provide grants to community spaces such as parks and sports facilities to celebrate the province’s 150th anniversary, allowing such spaces to complete much-needed improvements and upgrades.
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At the end of January, Eleanor McMahon, Ontario’s Minister of Tourism, Culture, and Sport, announced the province will be celebrating its 150th anniversary by supporting the restoration of public spaces such as sports facilities, parks, and seniors’ centres. Through the Ontario150 Community Capital Program (one of three grant programs), $25 million will be invested in 203 capital projects so not-for-profits, municipalities, and indigenous communities will be able to make improvements to accessibility, safety, and usability.

“In order to build something lasting, you have to start with a strong foundation,” says Janet Yale, board chair at the Ontario Trillium Foundation, which will administer the program. “Through the Ontario150 Community Capital Program, the Ontario Trillium Foundation is celebrating the good work done in communities by ensuring they have the infrastructure they need to continue making Ontario a healthy and vibrant place to live. We are proud to deliver this key program on behalf of the Government of Ontario to mark a major landmark in the history and fabric of our province, helping services in communities to reach their next milestones.”

Almost 130,064 m2 (1.4 million sf) of renovated community space and more than 36,000 additional hours of physical activity and arts programming are anticipated to result from the program.

“The Ontario150 Community Capital Program will positively impact people right across the province by improving public spaces like parks and youth centres,” said McMahon at Barrie-based cancer support group Gilda’s Club Simcoe Muskoka. “Our investments in these important projects will build a strong social, cultural, and economic legacy for our communities for years to come.”

Gilda’s Club will be one of the recipients of the grant, receiving $24,000 for infrastructure improvements. Others include:

  • the Canadian Automotive Museum (Oshawa), which will receive $72,000 over five months for a renovation covering doors, safety lighting, and the exterior façade;
  • the Alderville First Nation, which will receive a $40,000 grant over six months to upgrade the Alderville Community Centre;
  • the City of Peterborough, which will receive $300,000 over 10 months for a restoration at Barnardo Park, replacing old play structures and increasing the park’s accessibility;
  • the North Bay Area Museum Society, which will receive $151,500 over 11 months for window and masonry repairs;
  • the Alzheimer Societies of Niagara Region, York Region, and Haldimand Norfolk, Brant, and Hamilton-Halton, which will receive varying grants to renovate components such as doors, activity rooms, roof shingling, HVAC equipment, and washrooms;
  • camps such as Toronto’s Camp Oochigeas, which will receive $500,000 over 14 months to expand its Creative Arts and Music Centre; and
  • Covenant House Toronto, which will receive $47,300 over seven months for a new boiler and kitchen and common area improvements.

These are only a few of the areas slated for improvement under the program—a complete list can be found online.

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