Art, Community|

Public Space Incubator: Support to Re-Imagine Toronto’s Public Spaces


With increasing densities and challenges to creating new public spaces, we need to creatively make the most of every space in our city to contribute to our quality of life.

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, Public Space Incubator will support tangible pilots that test new, innovative ways to bring under-utilized public spaces to life.

With a focus on innovation, partnerships, programming, and scalability, Public Space Incubator will provide ten projects—five in each of 2018 and 2019—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.

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

Core Principles

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


Eligible applicants: We invite applications from groups and collaborators such as, local community groups, artists, collectives, non-profits, public sector agencies, designers and registered charities. If they are not already a charity, they 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. Private for-profit businesses may not be the sole applicant, but can be part of an application as a partner.

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 summer of 2019.

Grants can cover:

  • Operational and staff costs of directly delivering the project
  • Research and policy development directly related to the project, including development of new governance or funding models to support 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 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 will be two separate funding rounds – one in 2018 and one in 2019. There is a two-stage application process each round.

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 29, 2018)

No more than 2 pages.

  • Overview of project, partners (including charitable trustee), and proposed location
  • Overview of how it meets each core principle of the program
  • Overview of how it could be realistically implemented
  • Amount requested, including high-level budget and potential other funding sources or in-kind support

Please submit your application 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 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 11, 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.

  • Overview of project: desired goals/outcomes, needs assessment (why is your project needed and why in a particular location?)
  • Project team: relevant experience, potential partners, overview of previously successful projects that have been implemented
  • Detailed description of how the project meets each principle of the program
  • Project workplan including time frames, milestones, and deliverables
  • Measures of success: How will you evaluate the success and impact of the project?
  • Detailed budget, including other funding and in-kind support
  • Community engagement and communications strategy
  • Potential implementation risks and mitigation measures. For example, does your project require a policy change or government approvals? Will you need to obtain permission from the landowner (City, TDSB, TCH, etc.)? Will you need assistance with any part of the project?
  • Recognition: How Park People and Public Space Incubator grants will be recognized

Please submit your application 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 on the deadline date.

Applications will be evaluated and selected through a jury process. Decisions will be made in early June 2018.


Please direct all questions about the program to

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