New Rediscover Main Streets Initiative to Reanimate Main Streets, Downtowns and Neighbourhoods  

New Rediscover Main Streets Initiative to Reanimate Main Streets, Downtowns and Neighbourhoods  

Since public health restrictions forced many Atlantic Canadian businesses to shut down or reduce their operations, communities have come together to support their local businesses. To that end, the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for ACOA, announced a new initiative to breathe more life into Atlantic Canadian main streets, downtowns and neighbourhoods.

The Rediscover Main Streets initiative will complement other federal, provincial and municipal support measures by investing in activities that inspire locals and tourists to re-experience Atlantic Canada’s main streets, downtowns and neighbourhoods. As health restrictions ease and people begin to make plans beyond their social “bubbles” for the first time in a long time, this measure will also help:

  • bring consumers back to their community main streets, downtowns and neighbourhoods;
  • bring back arts and culture events that had been cancelled or reduced by health measures;
  • support collaborative projects by non-profits that bring people back to the businesses hardest hit by the pandemic, helping them build capacity;
  • increase community engagement through new partnerships;
  • entice Atlantic Canadians to explore their provinces on a local and regional level;
  • help build an inclusive economy through projects that support underrepresented groups and take into consideration their unique challenges.

The Government of Canada will be investing up to $10 million in non-profit organizations such as business improvement associations, tourism associations, chambers of commerce, and destination marketing organizations to create projects and activities that will encourage people to revisit and rediscover what their downtowns, main streets and neighbourhoods have to offer. Funds for the Rediscover Main Streets initiative will be disbursed through the existing Regional Economic Growth through Innovation program.

Examples of projects might include:

  • A local chamber of commerce working with its membership to design a local culinary offering highlighting the foods and culture of the local area, by offering packages for food, events and accommodations (Eat, stay, play type of packages).
  • An incorporated non-profit organization supporting the animation of rural or urban vacant storefronts by facilitating and encouraging pop up initiatives (ex. pop-up food and retail events).
  • A non-profit organization working with municipalities to organize events to draw people to the community (open-air markets, street performers, art exhibitions, outdoor concerts, or movies-in-the-park).
  • A non-profit tourism association partnering with festivals and events happening across the region, promoting their tourism assets in the downtown cores.
  • A destination marketing organization adding value and impact to an existing festival by adding new programming, experiences or features – such as light shows, improved sound, extended hours, or art installations – to attract more people and encourage them to stay longer.
  • A regional association working with a city/town to implement a marketing campaign that highlights the importance of buying local, as well as adding new marketing activities that highlight the assets of the offerings in the downtown/community main street.

Applications will be accepted from April 4, 2022, to April 29, 2022, from non-profit organizations such as business improvement associations, tourism associations, chambers of commerce, and destination marketing organizations.

Contributions under this new initiative will be non-repayable; and could cover up to 100 percent of eligible costs. Contributions will range from $25,000 to $500,000 for targeted initiatives. Larger region-wide projects could receive more on a case-by-case basis. Information on eligible and non-eligible costs and activity is available on ACOA’s website.

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