Thank you for your interest in the 2023 WinterCity Festivals & Events Grant Program. The City is currently accepting applications. The deadline to apply is February 15, 2023.

Steps for application

  1. Read the grant information below
  2. Check to see if your event is eligible
  3. Determine what you need funding for and if it fits the application criteria
  4. Prepare your application answers and all necessary documentation
  5. Apply by completing the online form

Apply Online

Grant Information

About the Grant
  • Local winter festivals and events encourage Edmontonians to carry their passion for their city year round. The WinterCity Initiative has helped Edmontonians recognize a simple truth: You can’t change winter, but you can change how you feel about it. WinterCity Festival & Event Organizers contribute to this goal and create experiences that share the magic of an Edmonton winter to both local community members and international visitors.  
  • It is also recognized that operating outdoor festivals and events in winter can be challenging and that there are higher operational costs because of the season. Festivals need to keep staff and volunteers warm, fed and on shorter shift rotations, and deal with unforeseen seasonal challenges such as, winter storm and wind chill warnings or unseasonably warm weather that results in a lack of snow or melting ice and/or sculptures. There are also needs for four-season tents to withstand the cold winter temperatures, additional heating elements, extra lighting and site clearing equipment. Winter festivals and events can see it all - and for this reason, winter specific festival and event funding is provided.
  • Grant funds can only be used for the purpose outlined in the grant application. Please see the FAQ below for examples of how funding may be used.
  • You are required to submit a final report to the City upon the completion of your event.
  • The City may change or clarify the grant criteria at any time to be responsive to the needs of organizations. Updated information can be found on this webpage.
  • Funding to successful applicants will be in the form of an EFT (electronic funds transfer) or cheque, which will be mailed to the address that you provide.
  • We have a limited budget and are not able to support every application. To improve your chances of success, please ensure that you’ve completed all sections of the form and added sufficient detail about how you intend to use the funds.
  • Funding decisions made by the City are final and cannot be appealed.

The City reserves the right to audit applications and projects that receive funding. You may need to provide additional information to verify the funding was used for the intended purpose outlined in your application.

Eligibility

To be eligible for the 2023 WinterCity Festivals and Events Grant, a festival or event must be hosted outdoors and align with the City Plan to:

  • Support Edmonton’s identity as a winter city through its infrastructure, design, events and economy (City Plan Intention 1.3.2); 
  • Celebrate our winter identity through the arts, recreation, events, storytelling and inspired design (City Plan Direction 1.3.2.1); and
  • Encourage winter events, activities and festivals through community and business partnerships (City Plan Direction 1.3.2.3)

Eligible events must also:

  • Have expenses that as a result of winter conditions require additional funding;
  • Take place in the city of Edmonton;
  • Take place between January 1 and March 30, 2023 and/or November 15 and December 31, 2023;
  • Be an outdoor event primarily located in the public realm (such as parkland, public open space, or road right-of-ways) with more than than 80% of the event’s programming taking place outdoors;
  • Held in-person with an attendance of 100 people or more; 
  • Be open to the public. The event may be  free to attend, or have a participation fee or require a donation to attend and/or be a ticketed event; 
  • Produced by an organization (not an individual) that:
    • Is a not-for-profit or charitable organization
    • Undertakes their work primarily in Edmonton, or has a history of significant activity in Edmonton when they also work elsewhere; 
    • Is in good standing, and not in arrears with the City of Edmonton.
  • Be insured with a minimum of $2 million in general liability;
  • Held in compliance with permitting or licensing requirements as required (Edmonton Fire, Development Services, etc); and public health requirements, restrictions and guidance imposed by the City of Edmonton, Alberta Health Services or the Government of Alberta.

Note: Events being hosted in multiple locations on multiple dates with similar program content will be counted as one event. Organizers wishing to host different events may apply for multiple grants for each event produced from January 1 to March 30, 2023 and/or November 15 to December 31, 2023 season. A separate application for each event will be required. 

The program will be assessed at the end of each year to confirm or modify eligibility and criteria. 

Grant funding awards will be considered for eligible events only. 

Eligible events include but are not limited to: 

  • Cultural and historical celebrations and observances
  • Concerts, performances, and music festivals
  • Food, arts, and cultural festivals 
  • Parades and processions
  • Sport and Active Recreation events / Active Living events
  • Organized runs, walks and other sporting events
  • Not-for-profit events attracted through partnership with Explore Edmonton that have public opportunities to participate.

Ineligible festivals/events and organizations include, but are not limited to:

  • Festivals and events taking place outside of Edmonton;
  • Festivals and events that are indoors (i.e. more than 20% of the event is held inside), events may have opportunities for people to warm up, or hold during inclement weather;
  • Seasonal programs and activities (i.e. snowbank ice rinks, winter patios, trail grooming, etc.)  though special events at these facilities may be considered;
  • Registered programs such as day camps, lessons, community programs, etc.
  • Private events (examples include, but are not limited to: weddings, graduations, showers, celebrations of life, potlucks, awards ceremonies, roasts, local sports tournaments or competitions);
  • Virtual events;
  • Professional / semi professional / amateur outdoor spectator sporting events though public "try it" events or programs as part of the overall event may be considered;
  • Events intended to raise funds for specific individuals, charities or groups; 
  • Film productions;
  • Protests, rallies, demonstrations, and marches;
  • Stand alone markets (unless it is a program element as part of a bigger event); 
  • Commercial, promotional or marketing activities (i.e., product demonstrations, merchandise sales, launches, etc.);
  • Events that require membership to observe or participate and are not open to the public;
  • Primarily religious services or activities delivered by faith organizations.
  • Note:  The event cannot prevent participation based upon culture, faith or partisan politics.
  • Events run by for-profit organizations
  • Events run by government; City agencies, boards or commissions; educational secondary institutions, or political parties; NOTE: Post Secondary Clubs and organizations such as international student clubs, children’s community groups may be considered.
  • Political campaigning;
  • Capital projects (e.g., new construction, expansion or replacement of an existing facility); and
  • Performances, exhibitions or activities that promote or incite racism, hatred or violence.
Preparing Your Application

Please have the following ready:

  • Review eligibility and information providing on the website
  • How your event aligns with the City Plan and provides public benefit
  • General information about your event
  • Total estimated event expenses, eligible expenses and total revenues 
  • A description of how you intend to use the funds, if awarded (1000 words or less)

If you have questions or need help completing the application, please contact us at: WinterCityEventsGrant@edmonton.ca

If you are producing multiple outdoor winter events from January 1 to March 30, 2023 and/or November 15 to December 31, 2023, please submit an application for each event (see eligibility section for multiple events). 

Eligible Expenses

Funding may be used towards:

  • Winter Operations including, but not limited to: 
    • Purchase or rental of infrastructure and/or equipment required to support the safe delivery of the event and to keep attendees/staff/volunteers warm (i.e. four season tents, fire pits, heaters, warming huts, hot food, hot chocolate, cider, hot shots, trailers etc);
    • Hiring more staff and artists or paying premiums (i.e. overtime) for those  who have expertise in outdoor winter programming and production;
    • Sourcing reliable snow making options (equipment or options to gather/haul), including water and/or dechlorination costs 
    • Purchase or rental of equipment / supplies to keep snow and ice cool (i.e. tents, air conditioners, etc.)
    • Additional staffing/volunteers/officials needed to ensure health and safety protocols followed, especially in extreme cold weather (i.e. additional warm food, drinks, clothing (toques, scarves), hotshots, etc. 
    • Additional needs to manage increasing operational demands as more people embrace winter and enjoy outdoor winter activities;
    • Other winter specific operating costs;
    • Winter specific Civic Services costs, materials and equipment such as snow & ice removal, sand/gravel, grading, windrow removal, etc.;
  • Winter Programming elements may be considered, however, are not the primary intent for this grant which is intended to cover additional operational expenses due to extremes in winter weather conditions
Evaluation

Grant funding awards will be based on the following criteria:

  • Opportunity for attendees to experience winter;
  • Operational and winter-specific programming costs required to support the winter experience; 
  • Funding need;
  • Event size, scope, and scale (including expected attendance and location capacity);
  • Benefit to the public (cultural, recreational, charitable significance and/or supports engagement and representation of communities who have historically been marginalized and underrepresented);
  • Public access (free versus charged/cost to participate);
  • History of the event in Edmonton;
  • Not-for-profit, charitable, or for-profit organization status;
  • Receipt of funding from other City of Edmonton sources.
Additional Information
  • All applications in an intake period will be evaluated by City staff for completeness, alignments with the program objective and core criteria, and to ensure that the application meets eligibility requirements.
  • Each applicant will receive a copy of their grant application submission.
  • Notification of the grant decision will be received within eight (8) weeks after the application deadline.
  • Successful applicants will receive funds up to eight (8) weeks after you’ve been notified of the grant decision. 
  • Applications will be assessed based solely on the contents and information submitted in the application.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the deadline for applications?

Applications for the grant must be received by February 15, 2023. To allocate any remaining 2023 grant monies, a secondary deadline will be confirmed for late summer 2023. Organizers with events that take place between January 1 and March 30, 2023 and/or November 15 and December 31, 2023 can apply retroactively.

When does my event need to take place to be eligible for grant funding?

Events must take place between January 1 and March 30, 2023 and/or November 15 and December 31, 2023 to be eligible for funding. 

Who is eligible to apply for funding?

To be eligible for the 2023 WinterCity Festivals & Events Grant, a festival or event must be hosted outdoors and align with the City Plan to:

  • Support Edmonton’s identity as a Winter City through its infrastructure, design, events and economy (City Plan Intention 1.3.2); 
  • Celebrate our winter identity through the arts, recreation, events, storytelling and inspired design (City Plan Direction 1.3.2.1); and
  • Encourage winter events, activities and festivals through community and business partnerships (City Plan Direction 1.3.2.3)

Eligible events must also:

  • Have expenses that as a result of winter conditions require additional funding;
  • Take place in the city of Edmonton;
  • Take place between January 1 and March 30, 2023 and/or November 15 and December 31, 2023;
  • Be an outdoor event primarily located in the public realm (such as parkland, public open space, or road right-of-ways) with more than than 80% of the event’s programming taking place outdoors;
  • Held in-person with an attendance of 100 people or more; 
  • Be open to the public. The event may be free to attend, or have a participation fee or require a donation to attend and/or be a ticketed event; 
  • Produced by an organization (not an individual) that:
    • Is a not-for-profit or charitable organization
    • Undertakes their work primarily in Edmonton, or has a history of significant activity in Edmonton when they also work elsewhere; 
    • Is in good standing, and not in arrears with the City of Edmonton.
  • Be insured with a minimum of $2 million in general liability;
  • Held in compliance with permitting or licensing requirements as required (Edmonton Fire, Development Services, etc); and public health requirements, restrictions and guidance imposed by the City of Edmonton, Alberta Health Services or the Government of Alberta.

Note: Events being hosted in multiple locations on multiple dates with similar program content will be counted as one event. Organizers wishing to host different events may apply for multiple grants for each event produced from January 1 to March 30, 2023 or November 15 to December 31, 2023 season. A separate application for each event will be required. 

The program will be assessed at the end of each year to confirm or modify eligibility and criteria. 

What types of events are eligible?

Examples of eligible event types include: 

  • Cultural and historical celebrations and observances
  • Concerts, performances, and music festivals
  • Food, arts, and cultural festivals 
  • Parades and processions
  • Sport and Active Recreation events / Active Living events
  • Organized runs, walks and other sporting events
  • Not-for-profit events attracted through partnership with Explore Edmonton that have public opportunities to participate.
What types of events are ineligible?

Examples of ineligible festivals, events and organizations include:

  • Festivals and events taking place outside of Edmonton;
  • Festivals and events that are indoors (i.e. more than 20% of the event is held inside), events may have opportunities for people to warm up, or hold during inclement weather;
  • Seasonal programs and activities (i.e. snowbank ice rinks, winter patios, trail grooming, etc.)  though special events at these facilities may be considered;
  • Registered programs such as day camps, lessons, community programs, etc.; 
  • Private events (examples include, but are not limited to: weddings, graduations, showers, celebrations of life, potlucks, awards ceremonies, roasts, local sports tournaments or competitions);
  • Virtual events;
  • Tournaments where a membership is required to participate, including regular outdoor sport league play;
  • Professional / semi professional / amateur outdoor spectator sporting events, though public "try it" events or programs as part of the overall event may be considered; 
  • Events intended to raise funds for specific individuals, charities or groups; 
  • Film productions;
  • Protests, rallies, demonstrations, and marches;
  • Stand alone markets (unless it is a program element as part of a bigger event); 
  • Commercial, promotional or marketing activities (i.e., product demonstrations, merchandise sales, launches, etc.);
  • Events that require membership to observe or participate and are not open to the public;
  • Primarily religious services or activities delivered by faith organizations.
  • Note:  The event cannot prevent participation based upon culture, faith or partisan politics.
  • Events run by for-profit organizations
  • Events run by government; City agencies, boards or commissions; educational secondary institutions, or political parties; NOTE: Post Secondary Clubs and organizations such as international student clubs, children’s community groups may be considered.
  • Political campaigning;
  • Capital projects (e.g., new construction, expansion or replacement of an existing facility); and
  • Performances, exhibitions or activities that promote or incite racism, hatred or violence.
How can the funding be used?

Funding may be used towards:

  • Winter Operations including, but not limited to: 
    • Purchase or rental of infrastructure and/or equipment required to support the safe delivery of the event and to keep attendees/staff/volunteers warm (i.e. four season tents, fire pits, heaters, warming huts, hot food, hot chocolate, cider, hot shots, trailers etc);
    • Hiring more staff and artists or paying premiums (.e. overtime) for those  who have expertise in outdoor winter programming and production;
    • Sourcing reliable snow making options (equipment or options to gather/haul), including water and/or dechlorination costs 
    • Purchase or rental of equipment / supplies to keep snow and ice cool (i.e. tents, air conditioners, etc)
    • Additional staffing/volunteers/officials needed to ensure health and safety protocols followed, especially in extreme cold weather (i.e. additional warm food, drinks, clothing (toques, scarves), hotshots, etc. 
    • Additional needs to manage increasing operational demands as more people embrace winter and enjoy outdoor winter activities;
    • Other winter specific operating costs;
    • Winter specific Civic Services costs, materials and equipment such as snow & ice removal, sand/gravel, grading, windrow removal, etc;
  • Winter Programming elements may be considered, however, are not the primary intent for this grant which is intended to cover additional operational expenses due to extremes in winter weather conditions
What are common reasons an application is unsuccessful?

We have a limited budget and are not able to support every application. To improve your chances, here are some of the most common reasons why an application is unsuccessful:

  • Incomplete application. All form fields are necessary unless they are marked as ‘optional’. 
  • The description of the grant funding does not provide enough detail of how the funding will be used. Please be as specific as possible.
  • The description of how grant funding will be used does not align with the objectives of the grant.
  • Other City of Edmonton grant funding has been awarded to the applicant already for the event(s) listed in the application.
  • Ineligible events and/or costs were identified in the application. 
What happens after I submit my WinterCity Festivals & Events Grant application?

The City will review all applications and notify you of the grant decision within eight (8) weeks of the grant deadline.

If my application is unsuccessful, can I reapply?

If funding remains, a second deadline in late summer will be advertised. Unsuccessful applications can reapply at that time. This will provide you with flexibility to change an application if your business needs change, or if your original application did not contain sufficient detail to justify a positive award decision. Please remember to clearly identify how the funding will be used as well as the circumstances of need.

If my application is unsuccessful, can I appeal the decision?

No. The City’s decision is final, however you can reapply if a second intake is advertised.

Can I use grant funding towards eligible expenses incurred prior to approval of my grant application?

Yes. Please identify the expenses that you intend to use the funding towards in your application.

Where can the event be held?

Events must be held in Edmonton. They must also be located outdoors in the public realm (i.e. on City parkland, open space, and/or roads).

Is there a minimum attendance?

Yes. Events must be held in-person with a minimum of 100 people in attendance.

Can I apply if I have never organized a public event?

Yes. This funding is available to new event opportunities as well as to those event producers who have organized public events previously.

What is the funding amount?

The WinterCity Festivals & Events Grant allocations will vary based on the size, scope and scale of each event and will range from $500 for smaller community events to up to $60,000 for larger festivals and events. Grant funding may not exceed 25% of the total cost to produce the event.

When will I be notified of the grant decision?

We will do our best to notify you of the grant decision within eight (8) weeks of the grant deadline provided we receive a complete application.

How many grants will be awarded?

The WinterCity Festivals & Events Grant program deadline is February 15, 2023. If funding remains, a second intake will be advertised with a deadline of late summer.

When and how will I receive the funds if my application is successful?

If your application is successful, you will receive the funds by electronic transfer or cheque within eight weeks after you’ve been notified of the grant decision.

I’m producing more than one event. Should I submit an application for each event?

Yes. An application is required for each event taking place between January 1 and March 30, 2023 and/or between November 15 and December 31, 2023. 

Please note:  Events being hosted in multiple locations on multiple dates with similar program content will be counted as one event. Organizers wishing to host different events may apply for multiple grants for each event produced between January 1 and March 30, 2023 and/or November 15 and December 31, 2023 season. A separate application for each event will be required. 

Do I require event insurance?

If your festival or event is located on City of Edmonton property it must be insured with a minimum of $2 million in general liability coverage with the City of Edmonton listed as an “Additional Insured”. Depending on the size and scope of your event, additional coverage may be required.

I have applied for other City of Edmonton funding. Can I also apply for the WinterCity Festivals & Events Grant?

Yes. If your organization has received other City of Edmonton funding, you can still apply for this grant. Please note that grant funding awards will be considered based on established criteria including receipt of funding from other City of Edmonton sources.