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Cultural Capitals of Canada

Cultural capitals of Canada

The Government of Canada announced on May 31, 2002 the creation of Cultural Capitals of Canada, a national program to recognize and support Canadian municipalities for special activities that harness the many benefits of arts and culture in community life.

Our objective, your results

Our objective is to promote the arts and culture in Canadian municipalities, through recognition of excellence and support for special activities that celebrate the arts and culture and integrate them into overall community planning. Designation as a Cultural Capital of Canada will enable your community to invest more in arts and culture, increase and improve your cultural services, and strengthen connections with other communities through shared cultural experiences.

Who can apply

Canadian municipalities can apply for an award, either individually or as partners in a joint project. For the purposes of this program a municipality is defined as a town, city, regional municipality or district with a duly constituted government, including First Nations, Métis and Inuit equivalent governments (such as Band Councils). (Aboriginal associations, such as Friendship Centres, are not eligible to apply.)

What is it?

Cultural Capitals of Canada Awards

Each year, Canadian municipalities compete to receive a designation under the Cultural Capitals of Canada Program. Up to five communities can receive this designation annually, which includes a contribution to support special activities that celebrate the arts and culture and build a cultural legacy for the community. The designated municipalities will also receive street banners, and a commemorative sign for outdoor display.

The annual Cultural Capital of Canada designations are awarded to single municipalities or groups of municipalities that submit a proposal to celebrate and build a legacy for the arts and culture. These are divided into three categories based on population.

  • Level 1, total population of over 125,000, 1 per year, 75 percent of total eligible costs up to a maximum of $2,000,000

  • Level 2, total population of 50,000-125,000, 1 per year, 75 percent of total eligible costs up to a maximum of $750,000

  • Level 3, total population of under 50,000, 2 per year, 75 percent of total eligible costs up to a maximum of $500,000 each.

The Cultural Capital of Canada designation will be awarded to the municipality in each category with a good track record of past achievements, coupled with the best and most ambitious (while still realistic) program of proposed activities for a community its size.

Recognition for Innovative Cultural Bridges

Canadian communities can also be recognized for innovative cultural partnerships that focus on cultural exchanges. Each year, one prize can be given, in the form of a contribution, to a group of two or more municipalities (in at least two provinces or territories) submitting a joint application to develop innovative reciprocal cultural exchanges and partnerships that celebrate the community identity of each partner and help to build a legacy for the arts and culture in each. The contribution maximum is $500,000 or 75% of total eligible costs, whichever is less.

For both the Cultural Capitals of Canada Awards and the Innovative Cultural Bridges, municipalities must demonstrate their commitment to arts and culture through their past achievements and propose a series of activities to take place during the year for which the award or recognition is given.

When to submit an application

For the 2009 designation, complete applications with all support material must be postmarked no later than October 15, 2006.  You may consult the calendar for deadlines for future awards.

How to apply

Please read the Guidelines and complete the forms. You may contact the Department of Canadian Heritage for further information by calling at (866) 661-0662 (toll free).

Guidelines 2009

PDF Version | HTML


Application forms

Funding Application – General Information (PDF Version)
Detailed form (PDF Version)
Budget form Excel | PDF

Cultural Capitals of Canada 2006
Cultural Capitals of Canada 2005
Cultural Capitals of Canada 2004
Cultural Capitals of Canada 2003

Note: to read the PDF version you need Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 (or later) on your system. You can download the Acrobat Reader here. If the Adobe download site is not accessible to you, you can download Acrobat Reader from an accessible page. If you choose not to use Acrobat Reader you can have the PDF file converted to HTML or ASCII text by using one of the conversion services offered by Adobe.

Date modified: 2006-06-19
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