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Interested in installing some creative lighting on your heritage building? You may be eligible for up to $50,000 in matching funding through our pilot project.  This guide will give you the information you need about this exciting pilot project.

Please note that there is a separate information guide for applying for Development Permits which may be required for your creative lighting.  

Program Purpose

  • To support exterior creative lighting that enhances and highlights the visual presence of  Edmonton’s historic resources, adding to our sense of place, identity and pride.
  • To demonstrate the benefits of creative use of light so that they are better understood by building owners as well as the public, and thereby generate interest and support for the creative use of light – done well. 
  • To provide an opportunity to learn how to best set up an ongoing lighting program.
  • To realize the potential that our long hours of darkness in wintertime offer as a palette for creative lighting while being mindful of light density, spread and colour.
  • To provide a strategy for how exterior lighting of historic buildings can be provided, while balancing the responsibilities of appropriate historic resource management and minimizing light pollution.

Eligible Applicants

  • Owners of historic buildings that are designated as Municipal Historic Resources by the City of Edmonton or Provincial Historic Resources by the Province of Alberta. 
  • Owners whose buildings are identified on the Inventory of Historic Resources in Edmonton may qualify for the pilot project; however, preference will be given to fully-designated resources.

Note: An applicant who is in property tax arrears is not eligible for pilot project funding.

Eligible Costs

  • New or replacement exterior lighting fixtures
  • All associated electrical work and components (conduit) to service the new or replacement exterior lighting fixtures
  • Any special installation requirements or components to retain the original historic fabric and materials of the subject building

Ineligible Costs

  • Interior demolition
  • Operating or regular maintenance costs (including costs of electricity)
  • New construction or reconstruction not related to the exterior lighting elements
  • Electrical service upgrades to meet current Building Code requirements
  • Utility services and installation costs

Eligible Properties

  • Buildings must be designated as a Municipal Historic Resource or else be identified on the Inventory of Historic Resources in Edmonton.
  • Properties must be located within the boundaries of the City of Edmonton.
  • Properties must meet City zoning and Alberta Building Code requirements to permit the lighting.

Note: Buildings that are designated Provincial Historic Resources may require project approval from Alberta Culture and Tourism before qualifying for the pilot project.

In all cases, consent from the property owner or other applicable agency will be required before qualifying for the pilot project.

The pilot project will focus primarily on designated structures that are particularly significant or are located in prominent locations with maximum exposure to the public.

Lighting Requirements

Proposed creative lighting should not project light outside of the subject property, thereby minimizing light pollution.

The lighting schemes must use low-energy technology and consider the use of solar options.

Proposed lighting programs shall be in compliance with the City’s Light Efficient Community Policy (Policy No. C576) and The Way We Green. 

Exterior lighting elements shall be in compliance with the Edmonton Zoning Bylaw requirements.

Lighting fixtures and systems should be discreet and not compromise the historical integrity of the building. In all cases, lighting interventions should consider the direction of the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada.

Proposed lighting programs should be designed to highlight the historical and architectural features of buildings. 

Any new lighting fixtures installed must not damage the structural or historic integrity of the buildings, and should be installed in a manner that minimizes impacts to the structure. In some cases, the installation of new lighting fixtures on historic buildings may not be supported. In such cases, ground-oriented lighting or other options may be considered to illuminate a structure.

The quality, strength and type of lighting system should consider the nature of the building materials to be illuminated. The use of colour and programmable light fixtures should be considered.

In certain instances, advice may be sought from external stakeholder groups regarding the proposed lighting program for a building.

Lighting installed shall be turned off no later than midnight and be turned on no earlier than 6 am.

Should key bird migratory periods be identified in the spring and fall, and it be deemed beneficial to keep the lights off during these periods, then the owner will keep lights turned off at these key migratory times.

Grant Approval Process & Conditions

The City will issue a letter to an approved applicant enclosing a draft five-year operating agreement that specifies the approved grant amount and the terms and conditions of the grant approval. In response, the applicant shall sign and return all copies of the operating agreement. The operating agreement will commit the applicant to  ensuring that the new creative lighting be maintained.

One hundred percent (100%) of pilot-project approved funds may be paid to the applicant upon a final inspection by the Urban Planning and Design Branch after all work is completed and receipt of all required final inspection reports confirming compliance with appropriate governing codes and legislation. All grant funding cheques will be made payable to the applicant.

The City retains the right to access the property,  monitor the project, and ensure compliance with all terms and conditions of the operating agreement over its five-year term. The City may inspect a program-funded property on an annual basis. The applicant and tenant must provide access to a City Inspector within one week of a request being made to enter the premises for up to five (5) years after the receipt of program funding.

Approval of an application will be revoked if the work is not completed within 12 months of the date of the approval letter. All required documentation and a request for final inspection by the City must be submitted by this time.

An applicant who breaches the terms of the signed operating agreement will be required to repay the entire grant amount in full.

Grant Application Form

Fill out the grant application form.

The City will evaluate completed grant applications and the following required documentation. A complete application includes the following attachments:

  • A current Certificate of Title of the subject property, and if necessary, written consent from the owner(s) ;
  • Valid Development and Building Permits;
  • Itemized estimate of the cost of the proposed creative lighting, certified by up to three (3) independent contractors;
  • Colour rendering of the proposed lighting scheme;
  • A copy of the City of Edmonton property tax notice showing that all property taxes and other levies have been paid in full for the year prior to the application; and,
  • An outline of the total grant funding requested, and confirmation of project financing.

Approved building owners may be eligible for a reimbursement of up to 50% of the project’s eligible costs, to the maximum $50K grant amount.

Completed applications will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis.

Note: A maximum of three large projects will be approved (requiring the maximum $50K support). The remainder of the funds will be used to support a larger number of smaller creative lighting projects.

Interested in installing some creative lighting on your heritage building? Fill out and submit a grant application form.

For More Information

WinterCity Strategy




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