Downtown Event Revitalization Funding

2024 City of Nanaimo Downtown Event Revitalization Grant intake is now closed.  Thank you for your interest.

The Downtown Event Revitalization Funding Program (Downtown Event Grant) supports events and initiatives which attract residents and visitors to downtown, support vibrancy, stimulate business activity and align with other objectives of the City's Corporate Strategic Plan.

Funds can be used to assist with the costs of organizing and presenting public events and initiatives in downtown Nanaimo. The intention of the grant is to recognize the value that initiatives have in building vitality downtown and in enhancing Nanaimo's profile as a destination of choice. The grant serves as an incentive to event organizers to enhance, expand and improve their events. Applications are received once per year.

View the 2024 Summary of Grants Awarded (Operating, Project, and Downtown Event Grant)
View the Culture Awards FAQ page

Deadline: October 10, 2023 (CLOSED)
Grant applications must be received by 4:00 pm on the day of deadline to be eligible for consideration in this funding stream.

For more information contact:

Culture & Events

Important Notes

  • Late applications will not be reviewed.
  • Applicant (or representative) must have attended a mandatory Zoom meeting prior to submission.
  • Applicants who have received funding in previous years must submit a Final Report on your most recent project, 90 days after completion.  If your previous project is not yet complete at the time of application, please submit an interim report.  Failure to provide a Final Report will render new applications ineligible.

*If content of section exceeds space allocated in field, please provide supplemental pages to your report for legibility.


The City of Nanaimo recognizes the vital contribution of arts, culture and heritage activities to the City’s economic and social progress; the value of artistic and cultural expression; and enjoyment of life by its citizens. The work of the Culture & Events team is guided by the City of Nanaimo’s strategic planning document, City Plan - Nanaimo ReImagined. The City Plan outlines a commitment to investing in arts and culture for the purpose of strengthening the City’s economic base, improving the quality of life of residents, and enhancing community identity and pride. Further grounded within this integrated document are the City’s strategic goals to build respectful, collaborative relationships with the communities we serve.

Culture opens our minds to new perspectives. As convener, connector, facilitator, enabler and funder, the City of Nanaimo recognizes the crucial role of Nanaimo’s independent arts, culture and heritage event and festival producers to create impact and value for diverse publics.  Events and festivals contribute to the economic, social, and cultural well-being of residents, drive tourism and attract investment. The City of Nanaimo is committed to providing opportunities for all Nanaimo residents and visitors to express creativity and enjoy leisure time through a wide range of programs, activities and special events. 


This fund is intended to assist with the costs of staging, organizing and presenting public events in downtown Nanaimo. The intention of the grant is to recognize the value events and festivals provide in building vitality downtown, enhancing quality of life, and raising Nanaimo’s profile. The grant serves as an incentive to organizers to enhance, expand and improve their events and festivals, and prioritizes applications that demonstrate how events and festivals are responding to changing community needs and leveraging opportunities.

Strategic Priorities

The City’s strategic funding priorities for the program include: 
  • events and festivals that activate the downtown area;
  • projects that generate community pride and raise the profile of Nanaimo; 
  • projects that support innovative collaborations and partnerships and
  • events and festivals that attract tourists throughout the year into the shoulder season. 

Program Objectives

This grant is intended to support both groups and individuals in Nanaimo to plan and implement events and festivals downtown that: 
  • promote experiences for residents and visitors;
  • have strong potential to attract out-of-town visitors and overnight stays;
  • promote local businesses, arts, products, culture, history and attractions;
  • are either a one-time special event, or a recurring event or festival that is presented on an annual or semi-annual basis and 
  • are accessible to the general public (with or without gated admission).

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants must:
  • be based in Nanaimo; 
  • be an incorporated non-profit society or community organization and in good standing (provincially or federally) as a non-profit society or community organization in good standing;
  • active for at least a full year prior to application and
  • individuals are also eligible to apply and will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. 
Grant applications can be submitted for up to 35% of the total event budget; requests above 35% of total event budget will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Ineligible Applicants

  • City of Nanaimo departments
  • Event organizers with outstanding balances owed to the City of Nanaimo
  • Publicly funded or private educational institutions (public schools, universities, colleges, training organizations)
  • Organizations or individuals located outside of the boundaries of the City of Nanaimo 
  • Previously funded individuals / organizations that have not submitted a final report
  • Organizations that have not had a representative attend a mandatory Grant Preparation Zoom meeting

Eligible Festival & Event Activities 

Grant funding can be used to assist with costs related to organizing and presenting public festivals and events in downtown Nanaimo, such as: 
  • fees for artists, entertainers, Elders, and other presenters;
  • venue and equipment rental fees;
  • materials and supplies;
  • marketing and promotion
  • administration

Ineligible Activities 

The grant is not intended for the following:
  • activities where participation is based on fundraising pledges;
  • activities that are politically-partisan;
  • activities that are focused on commercial activity (e.g. marketing campaigns, tradeshows), religion or health care;
  • activities occurring outside of downtown Nanaimo (the City reserves the right to determine the boundaries of downtown for the purpose of this program);
  • projects where the central focus is not hosting an event or a festival;
  • projects which duplicate existing events or festivals;
  • capital projects;
  • recuperation of deficits;
  • the distribution of bursaries or scholarships and
  • events and festivals that have already received funding for the same activities through other sources at the City of Nanaimo

Assessment Criteria

Applicants must demonstrate how the event or festival applicant or organization is able to execute the initiative including:

(40%) MERIT
  • Quality of proposed event or festival
  • The degree to which proposed activities are innovative or distinctive
  • The degree to which the proposed project has community support
  • Activities that reflect the strategic funding priorities and program objectives outlined in this grant
  • Demonstrated capacity to plan, administer and deliver the proposed event 
  • Realistic proposed budgets with diverse sources of revenue
  • Promote downtown, and its arts and culture assets, and its businesses and services, to create pride of place, vibrancy, and attract both residents of Nanaimo and tourists  
  • Contribute, as one-time special events, or annual festivals and events, to the overall scope of activities downtown by providing a unique offering 
  • Be accessible to the general public (with or without gated admission)

Adjudication Process

Applications must be received by the deadline. Late or incomplete applications will not be considered. Applications will be screened to determine eligibility and evaluated according to the assessment criteria. Recommendations will be made to Council for distribution of funds. Decisions are guided by the program’s mandate, objectives and assessment criteria. Council decisions are final.

Appeal Process

If there was an error in the assessment process (for example, that support material was misplaced), applicants may file a formal complaint, in writing, within 10 calendar days of notification of results. All appeals will be reviewed by an appeals committee.

Funding Acknowledgement

Successful applicants must acknowledge the support of the City of Nanaimo in all print and publicity material.

Terms & Conditions of Funding

You must formally acknowledge that you accept your grant by the date specified in your results letter. The awarding of a grant is at the sole and absolute discretion of the City of Nanaimo. The City of Nanaimo retains the right to rescind or reduce any grant previously awarded. The circumstances for rescinding a grant include but are not limited to:
  • failure to meet the terms and conditions of the grant
  • failure to comply with legal obligations
  • failure to respect the commitment to provide a workplace free from harassment, discrimination and sexual misconduct
  • unapproved changes to funded activities
  • significant risk of insolvency or bankruptcy

Final Reports

Grant recipients must use the Downtown Events Revitalization Fund Final Report Form to complete and submit their final report by the due date specified in the results letter. 

Final reports must detail any substantial changes to your original proposal and must include an accounting of spent and unspent funds. Failure to provide a final report will result in the rejection of all new funding applications. 

Grant Repayment

If for any reason you cannot use the grant at the expected time, decide not to carry out the plans described in your grant application or refuse the grant conditions, you must notify us immediately. If you are unable to complete your project or event any unspent funds must be returned to the City of Nanaimo. Unused grant funds will not be carried over to the next calendar year. 


The City of Nanaimo will deliver awarded funds by direct deposit. To receive funds via electronic funds transfer (EFT), recipient must fill out and return the EFT form, along with VOID cheque or verified account information printout from banking institution.

Statement of Inclusivity

Recipients of City of Nanaimo Culture Grant funding must demonstrate commitment to City of Nanaimo Policy C4.2 Equity and Inclusivity

“Equity recognizes that each person has different circumstances and allocates resources and opportunities to support more positive outcomes for all regardless of age, ability, gender, sexual orientation, faith practice, ancestry, or background. By identifying inequities and targeting investment in prevention and intervention, the wellbeing and inclusion of the diversity of people that make up our entire community can be enhanced, creating a city that puts people first and supports a sense of belonging.”

Funding is provided with the expectation that recipients will:

Create a welcoming, inclusive atmosphere where all people feel safe, comfortable and represented (Policy C4.2.1) 

Encourage diversity awareness and build a culture of compassion for people of all cultures, genders, orientations, ages and abilities (Policy C4.2.8).

Changes to Activities

Changes to the scope of your original proposal must be approved by the City of Nanaimo. You must notify the City of Nanaimo if you cannot use part or the entire grant during the period stated in your application. If there are major changes to your proposed activities (for example: changes to the focus of the project, in the activity budget, to key creative personnel or a significant change to the timeline) you must submit a project update form for approval. 

City staff must approve any major changes to your funded activities before you carry them out. 

Acknowledgement of the City of Nanaimo and Logo Use

Public acknowledgement of support is required for all grant recipients. Please ensure that all materials (including copies of reports, advertising, oral presentations and publicity relating to the project(s) or programming credit the support of the grant. Please ensure proper logo use when crediting the City of Nanaimo’s support. You can request logo files by contacting

Permits, Fees, Applications

The approval of this grant does not indicate approval of associated required permits for public events. Processing special event permits can take several weeks. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that all necessary permits have been obtained prior to commencing project and or event and ensure compliance with all required permits.


Documents submitted by applicants become property of the City of Nanaimo. The City will make every effort to maintain the confidentiality of each application and the information contained therein except to the extent necessary to communicate information to Staff and the committee for the purpose of evaluation and analysis. The City will not release this information to the public except required under the Province of BC’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act or other legal disclosure process.

Tax Implications

Organizations must be registered non-profit societies, in good standing, and will receive payments in the society name.  
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