When the pandemic began, people were urged into mandatory stay-at-home measures for more protection from the virus. This prioritization of health, as necessary as it was, inevitably resulted in less travel, less community involvement, and fewer social and cultural experiences.
Community programs and spaces that had been active for years began to lay dormant with no participants allowed to enjoy them and many organizations were forced to shut down due to such inactivity. It is only recently as the world has cautiously begun to re-emerge in an optimistically post-COVID world that global leaders have realized the urgency for more inclusive public spaces for the ongoing physical and mental wellbeing of their citizens. Yet to revitalize almost any economy coincides with improving the tourism of that region, and such things require proper cashflow for projects to generate strong, reliable progress.
FedDev Ontario recently announced a combined $3.6 million in grant funding for the revitalization and restoration of six local community projects for Hamilton, Ontario.
Government funding programs such as the Tourism Relief Fund and the Canada Community Revitalization Fund, managed through FedDev Ontario, provide grant and loan funding for projects that focus primarily on economic growth and community innovation.
Hamilton Receives $3.6M to Revitalize Community Spaces
Through the Government of Canada, FedDev Ontario is investing just over $3.6 million in the restoration and revitalization of six local community spaces in Hamilton, Ontario.
“The federal government recognizes the amazing potential of this city, and we are here to ensure that we bring that potential into a reality,” said Hamilton City Manager, Janette Smith.
Below is a breakdown of the six community projects including funding amounts and focus areas that aim to enhance economic growth in the region.
Redeveloping and Enhancing Beasley Park
$750,000 has been granted to support the redevelopment of Beasley Park. The plan, which has an overall cost of $1.2 million, is to update accessible pathways within the park, install LED pedestrian level lighting, renew the decorative fountain, convert the adjacent Kelly Street into a public green space, and plant fresh trees throughout the park. Redevelopment will begin this upcoming fall and is expected to be complete by fall of 2023.
Upgrading Hamilton Children’s Museum
$450,000 will be dedicated to upgrades at the Hamilton Children’s Museum. The goal is to build additional spaces to promote community tourism, including a large outdoor gathering space, large entrances, more bathrooms, a children’s garden, two outdoor patio play spaces, and an accessibility elevator. The total project budget is set at $4.3 million. Construction is listed to begin this fall and finish by fall 2023.
New Touchless Faucets in Community Facilities for Ongoing Safety
$472,575 will go towards ongoing community safety measures through the installation of new touchless faucets in 81 municipal facilities across Hamilton. This initiative will begin this fall and is set to be completed by winter 2023.
“Great things are happening. Lots of great investments are occurring and it’s to the betterment of our city and our people,” said Fred Eisenberger, Mayor of Hamilton.
Evolving St. Mark’s Church into a Cultural Programming Space
$750,000 is going towards restoring and transforming St. Mark’s Church into an inclusive cultural programming space, as the building has been sitting untouched since it was purchased by the City of Hamilton in the 1990s. The plan includes interior restoration, accessible entrances and facilities, as well as a new community garden. The total cost of the project is estimated to be $5.5 million. Restoration began in July and is expected to wrap up by summer of 2023.
Renovation of Victoria Park
$694,000 in funding will support renovations for Victoria Park with an overall goal to recreate the old Crystal Palace that stood on the site from 1860 to 1891. Upgrades will include replacing the spray pad, creating a new sun shelter, planting more trees, adding more seating, and improving pathway networks. Construction will begin this fall and is scheduled to be finished by summer 2023.
Visitor Experience Centre at the Lister Block
$492,682 has been awarded to build an “enhanced visitor gateway” to Hamilton’s tourism and heritage experiences, to be named “The Visitor Experience Centre”. It will aim to offer programming opportunities for local creators and exhibit space for community groups. Renovations are expected to start this winter and wrap up by March 2023.
Learn More About FedDev Ontario Funding
“We brought a lot of community leaders together to help us look at what are the things we need to invest in and do to support the economic recovery of this city. And no surprise, one of them was tourism,” said City Manager, Janette Smith.
While there are dozens of programs currently funded by FedDev Ontario via the Government of Ontario, one that has an ongoing intake is the Community Economic Development and Diversification Program (CEDD) which aims to create sustainable economic growth in small and rural communities in southern Ontario. Qualified applicants can be businesses or not-for-profit organizations in southern Ontario who are working to diversify and transform their local economies.
Learn more and stay up to date with FedDev Ontario funding opportunities by subscribing to the free Mentor Works newsletter, delivered weekly straight to your inbox.