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.

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.

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.

The Cultural Festivals Funding Program (CFFP) is designed to support the development of the festival sector in a manner that is accessible, transparent and accountable. The CFFP  advances the City’s access, equity and inclusion goals, including reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.

The program provides financial support to recurring cultural festivals whose programming supports community-building, focuses on engaging with the people of Toronto, serves Toronto residents across the city and promotes opportunities for emerging artists, Indigenous artists and artists from other groups. A significant programming component must occur in the public realm and be free to the public or offered at a nominal fee.

The decision to fund all or part of an applicant’s request depends on the festival’s alignment with City of Toronto’s current strategic priorities, assessment criteria and overall demand for funds in the program.

Key Definitions

For this program, a “cultural festival” is defined as a concentrated collection of arts and cultural activities with a common theme, presented over a minimum of a one-day period and no longer than one month. A festival may be devoted to one or more artistic disciplines and be produced annually or once every two years. The cultural festival is primarily free to the public or offered at a nominal fee (less than $5.00 per person), takes place in the public realm, has general appeal and a public profile.

“Cultural festival programming” includes performing arts, visual arts, literary arts, interdisciplinary arts, craft, design and expressions of cultural identity.

The “public realm” is defined as the publicly owned places and spaces that belong to and are accessible by everyone. These can include municipal streets, lanes, squares, plazas, sidewalks, trails, parks, open spaces, waterfronts, conservation areas and community centres.

“Indigenous-led organizations” are broadly defined as organizations with a mandate to serve Indigenous communities, operate under Indigenous governance models, have executive and senior management who identify as Indigenous, are primarily staffed by Indigenous community members and/or follow an Indigenous service model.

“Equity deserving group” include women, racialized groups, people with disabilities, immigrants and refugees, undocumented individuals, 2SLGBTQ+ people, people of low income and other groups the City identifies as historically underrepresented.

Funding Streams

Funding for eligible festivals is available through three program funding streams:

  • Multi-Year Operating
  • Annual Operating
  • Projects

General Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible, applicants must:

  • Be one of the following:
    • An incorporated not for profit organization
    • A local band council, a local tribal council or other local Indigenous government (First Nations, Inuit or Métis) or equivalent authority
    • A Business Improvement Area (BIA) can only apply to the Project funding stream
    • An incorporated not-for-profit community organization partnering with unincorporated individuals or collectives producing a cultural festival
  • Apply for a festival that takes place between January 1 to December 31, 2024
  • Have successfully organized a prior edition of the festival that meets the eligibility requirements of CFFP
  • Present significant cultural programming that is mostly free to the public and that occurs in the public realm

How to Apply

Applications are currently closed. The next round of applications reopens in fall 2024.

For questions please email

The Cultural Hotspot is an annual arts program that celebrates Toronto’s outside-the-core communities. Funding of up to $22,000 is provided to high impact and innovative project proposals that foster community engagement. Cultural Hotspot is delivered in collaboration with local arts and community organizations and provides valuable opportunities for youth job placement and mentorship through workshops, art activations and events.

Learn more about Cultural Hotspot funding opportunities.

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.

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 neighbourhoods outside the core. They provide inclusive and affordable opportunities community members to engage with arts and culture programming and events. As service organizations, the LASOs provide artists and organizations with learning, professional development, exhibition, performance and employment opportunities, as well as project support. The LASOs operate from an inclusive, anti-oppressive framework and are committed to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion. There are six LASOs receiving municipal funding:

LASOs are important building blocks for healthy and cohesive communities providing hubs for community arts programs, services and engagement. 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 collaborate and seek partnerships with wide-ranging organizations, utilizing existing resources and talent in Toronto to design, develop, facilitate and implement relevant arts services and programs.

Organization Funding Allocation
LASO Grant Allocations for 2023
Arts Etobicoke $407,936
Lakeshore Arts $293,057
Scarborough Arts $297,279
UrbanArts Community Arts $315,435
East End Arts $216,453
North York Arts $287,240
Total $1,817,400

StreetARToronto (StART) is a suite of programs designed specifically for streets and public spaces. Since 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 the Partnership Grants Program.

The Youth Cultural Incubators Stabilization Initiative (YCISI) focuses on enhancing the growth, capacity and long-term sustainability of Toronto’s small and mid-sized youth-serving or youth-led arts organizations. Established in 2019 as a three-year pilot, YCISI provided support to six organizations: HXOUSE, Manifesto, Nia Centre for the Arts, RISE, The Remix Project and Unity. In the next phase, nine mentee organizations will be supported by up to nine mentor organizations to focus on capacity-building and sustainability.

Learn more about YCISI Mentor and YCISI Mentee programs.

The Cultural Organization Operating Partnership (COOP) program was created by City Council in May 2023. The program provides operating support to eight not-for-profit cultural organizations with strong operational and governance links to the City of Toronto.

  • Governance links include instances where the organization leases City-owned land or operates City-owned properties; where there is representation by the City on the organization’s Board of Directors; or where there is a longstanding historical governance relationship.
  • Operational links include a significant and direct role played by City staff to support the organization’s core operations, including in-kind logistical support for events.

Under the COOP program, the City develops individual, customized partnership and funding agreements for each recipient with criteria and objectives that reflect the organization’s unique role in the cultural ecosystem. Examples of criteria include providing year-round, accessible public programming; ensuring diversity and representation in programming and administrative leadership; supporting cultural tourism; or providing affordable spaces for other artists or arts organizations. Recipients of funding through the COOP program are not eligible to receive funding from Toronto Arts Council programs.

2023 Funding Recipients

Organization 2023 Grant
Aga Khan Museum $175,000
Art Gallery of Ontario $660,000
Canada’s National Ballet School $210,000
Gardiner Museum $140,000
Harbourfront Centre $1,315,500
MOCA Toronto $321,313
Toronto Artscape $415,000
Toronto International Film Festival Inc. $1,195,735
Total $4,432,548