City of Toronto grant programs are a strategic tool used to achieve the City’s social, economic and cultural goals. These funding programs represent a form of partnership with community based organizations that contribute significantly to the goals in relation to community capacity, equitable access, well being, diversity, civic participation and civic cohesion.

The majority of the City’s cultural grants are administered by the arm’s length Toronto Arts Council however, the City provides financial investments in culture via the programs below.

Grants programs identify their specific criteria. They include areas such as:

  • Consistency with the City’s objectives – the activity or outcomes for which funds are sought must support one or more goals of the City of Toronto.
  • Financial Need – the applicant must demonstrate that it does not otherwise have the resources to undertake the activity for which funds are sought.
  • Not-for-Profit Status – the applicant must demonstrate that the activity for which funds are sought will be organized without financial gain for its members or directors.

Local Arts Service Organizations

Local Arts Service Organizations (LASOs) support the City of Toronto’s strong neighbourhoods strategy in under-served areas. They provide inclusive opportunities for children and youth and participants from a broad demographic spectrum. There are six LASOs receiving municipal funding.

Cultural Festivals Program

Program criteria are under development and will be announced in the fall of 2020 for a first intake in 2021

Cultural Access and Development Program

Program criteria are under development and will be announced in the fall of 2020 for a first intake in 2021.

StreetART Toronto

StART‘s mission is to revitalize and engage communities through street and mural art. StART provides up to $50,000 in funding for partnership projects.

Local Arts Service Organizations (LASOs) support the City of Toronto’s Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy in underserved geographic areas as well as the 2018-2022 Economic Development and Culture Divisional Strategy of inclusion and equity in geographic areas outside the core. They provide inclusive and affordable opportunities for local residents, artists, and arts organizations, with a focus on underserved children, youth, and participants from a broad demographic spectrum. There are six LASOs receiving municipal funding:

The LASOs have been successful in reaching out to populations that otherwise would not have participated in the various arts opportunities they offer. LASOs are important building blocks for healthy and cohesive communities providing hubs for community arts programs. As anchor community arts organizations in Toronto, they promote the arts at the local level, making culture a part of the daily fabric of community living.

Each LASO is as unique as the community it serves, however, each organization shares the common goal of making a range of arts broadly accessible and affordable. To maximize impact, wherever possible, these organizations actively seek partnership opportunities amongst themselves and with wide-ranging partners, utilizing existing resources and talent in Toronto to design, develop, facilitate and implement relevant arts services and programs.

LASO Grant Allocations for 2019:

  Organization   Funding Allocation
  Arts Etobicoke   $436,295
  Lakeshore Arts   $313,430
  Scarborough Arts   $282,000
  UrbanArts Community Arts   $315,435
  East End Arts   $183,000
  North York Arts   $287,240
  Total   $1,817,400

In 2018, the City of Toronto launched a new fund that supports partnerships and collaborations that create new opportunities and visibility for Indigenous-led arts and culture.

The aim of the fund is to spark new relationships between Indigenous artists, arts and culture leaders and professionals, and potential partners at both the grassroots and institutional levels.

Learn more about the Indigenous Arts & Culture Partnerships Fund.

StreetARToronto (StART) is a suite of programs designed specifically for streets and public spaces. Initiated in 2012 as an integral part of the City’s Graffiti Management Plan, StART has been successful in reducing graffiti vandalism and replacing it with vibrant, colourful, community-engaged street art. Learn more about our Partnership Grants Program.

In October 2019, City Council voted to realign funding programs and discontinue the Grants to Major Cultural Organizations and Grants to Specialized Collection Museums: 2020 is a year of transition with new programs to be rolled out later in the year for 2021. The 2019 Grant allocations are listed below.

Grants to Major Cultural Organizations for 2019:

  Organization   Amount
  Art Gallery of Ontario    $684,000
  Canada’s National Ballet School    $225,000
  Canadian Opera Company    $1,500,000
  Festival Management Committee (Toronto Caribbean Carnival)    $625,000
  Harbourfront  Centre   $1,315,500
  National Ballet   $1,390,000
  Pride Toronto    $260,000
  Toronto Artscape Inc.    $415,000
  Toronto Festival of Arts, Culture and Creativity (Luminato)    $400,000
  Toronto International Film Festival Group    $1,195,735
  Toronto Symphony Orchestra     $1,220,000
  Total    $9,230,235

Grants to Specialized Collections Museums allocations for 2019:

  Organization Amount
  Aga Khan Museum   $200,000
  Gardiner Museum   $161,535
  Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto (MOCA Toronto)   $321,313
  Total   $682,848