Town of Canmore

COVID-19 Safe Spaces Grant

We know COVID-19 has had a big impact on our business community. This COVID-19 Safe Spaces Grant Program (formerly the COVID-19 Vibrancy Granthas been developed to assist businesses with the additional cost of creating these safer spaces within ongoing public health orders. This program will be managed by the Town of Canmore in partnership with the Downtown BIA. New this year is the Pedestrian Zone Permit required as part of the Safe Spaces Grant.

Council has also provided an exemption for temporary outdoor patios and tents for Eating and Drinking Establishments on private property from requiring a development permit from April 13 2021 to Oct. 15 2021. In lieu of a permit, the Town will provide a letter of authorization for an outdoor patio. Click here for more information on new streamlined requirements.

Grant funding can be utilized for two streams:

1. Addition of new public outdoor seating, public patios, parklets, sidewalk activations, and create safer public spaces. Funding of 50% up to $5,000. Adjacent storefronts may apply jointly with a combined project of up to a maximum of $10,000 in matching grant funding.

2. Creating new or enhanced outdoor business presence. Creating business outdoor spaces is broken down into two project options with matching grants of 50% of costs up to $1,000.

a) For businesses within the Downtown BIA zone. New or enhanced outdoor business presence (e.g. semi-permanent display to sell goods or create a space where people can line-up while maintaining physical distance)

b) For businesses throughout the Town of Canmore. Creating a temporary patio set-up for food services and beverage providers to allow outdoor dining and adhere to COVID-19 industry-specific health orders. Please note that business owners must also apply for the Private Property Patio permit.

Applications will be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis, and the program will be offered until the total funding pot has been spent or by Aug. 30, 2021 whichever comes first.


Click here to apply now


Program Objectives
The Town of Canmore and BIA seeks, through the COVID-19 Safe Spaces Grant to:

• Create more spaces for informal seating and bicycle parking in the Town Centre as recommended by the Integrated Parking Management Plan;
• Improve the public and pedestrian environment of the Town Centre;
• Create safer spaces for people to meet up with friends and family;
• Embrace unique spaces to create one-of-a-kind experiences; and
• Encourage and support economic development and business resiliency in the Town Centre.
• Assist food and beverage providers within the Town of Canmore with the cost of creating a temporary patio set-up to maximize the outdoor spaces available to them while adhering to COVID public health orders. 
Eligible Recipients
• Owners of buildings with ground floor space within defined boundaries of the Downtown Canmore Business Improvement District (BIA).
• Ground floor tenants within boundaries of the Downtown Improvement District. Requires written authorization from the property owner(s).
• Business owners must have a valid 2021 Town of Canmore Business license. 
• Food and beverage establishments such as, but not limited to restaurants, coffee shops, breweries etc. within the Town of Canmore (Stream 2).

Ineligible Recipients
• Projects for which building permits have already been issued or projects already under construction. 
• Existing patios or previously purchased items.


Eligibility Streams

Stream 1: Safe Spaces Stream 2: Business Outdoor Spaces

The COVID-19 Safe Spaces Grant is available to property owners and qualified businesses within the Town Centre. Eligible projects must result in a visible improvement to the street front and add vibrancy to the street. 

The COVID Safe Spaces Grant is available to property owners and qualified businesses within the Downtown BIA and for Food Services and Drinking Places throughout all Canmore. 

Safer spaces must be designed in a way that they are clearly intended for everyone and not be restricted to customer use only.

Outdoor Business presence is intended to assist businesses with the cost of creating an outdoor presence specific to their business needs.
This program is not designed to fund general maintenance. 

This program is not designed to fund general maintenance. 

The following types of improvements are eligible for funding:

  • Enhancements that activate the sidewalk such as outdoor seating, public patios, and planters, including functional artwork that suits these purposes;

  • Architectural lighting that enhances the building’s façade and enhances the pedestrian environment and patio areas;

  • Bicycle parking areas that are integral with these spaces;

  • Improvements may be permitted on public or private sidewalk spaces directly in front of the business;

  • Improvements, such as parklets, may be permitted on-street in parking bays directly in front of the business (i.e. the parklet in front of Rusticana Grocery.) Only businesses located on Main Street, 6 Avenue, and 7 Avenue are eligible for on-street development.
Collaborations among multiple businesses are welcome. 

The following types of improvements are eligible for funding:

BIA Downtown Area:

  • Creation of outdoor business presence that would enhance business operations within pedestrian zone.
  • Creation of space where customers can appropriately line-up to enter business premise within the Pedestrian Zone.
  • Creation of new seasonal patios outside of the Pedestrian Zone.
  • Improvements may be permitted on-street in parking bays directly in front of the business located within the Downtown BIA district.

All of Canmore:

  • Creation of outdoor patio spaces to enhance business operations incl. barriers, seating, heaters, planters etc. 

Ineligible expenses: Streams 1 and 2 include but are not limited to:

  • Contractor travel, accommodation, or meals
  • Expenses associated with existing patios
  • Items purchased prior to application date

Ineligible expenses: Streams 1 and 2 include but are not limited to:

  • Contractor travel, accommodation, or meals
  • Expenses associated with existing patios
  • Items purchased prior to application date
Available Funding Available Funding
  • A matching grant of 50% of project cost for each storefront up to a maximum of $5,000.

  • Adjacent storefronts may apply jointly with a combined project up to a maximum 50% matching grant of $10,000. 

Total bucket of funds available under stream 1 is $40,000.

A matching grant of 50% of project cost for each storefront up to a maximum of $1,000.

Total bucket of funds available under Stream 2 is $10,000

Application Requirements Application Requirements
  • A short narrative of the proposed work/project and a summary form with basic information about the applicant.
  • An 8" x 10” photograph of the existing condition.

  • Perspective rendering, architectural elevation, or annotated photograph illustrating proposed changes. The photo/drawing should include specifications on all materials, paint colors, lighting fixtures, etc.

  • An itemized budget of the estimate of costs associated with the project including but not limited to, design fees, permits, construction, and fabrication costs. The cost estimate should be provided by an architect or contractor.

  • If a tenant, a letter from the property owner authorizing the tenant to apply and undertake the work if selected for funding.

* The Town of Canmore Engineering department must approve in writing any substantive changes to the original construction plans or specifications. 

  • A short narrative of the proposed work/project and a summary form with basic information about the applicant.

  • Overview of cost and inclusion of any quotes.

  • If a tenant, a letter from the property owner authorizing the tenant to apply and undertake the work if selected for funding. 



How to Prepare Your Application
  • Read the conditions and all related materials
  • Gather the following required information and documents and be ready to upload them at the time of application:
    1. Project location address
    2. Project description
    3. Estimated total cost of project, plus

      Stream 1:

    • Budget / Cost estimate including but not limited to design fees, permits, construction, fabrication costs, etc. Should be provided by an architect or contractor.
    • 8in x 10in photo of project site's existing condition
    • Rendering of proposed project: perspective rendering, architectural elevation or annotated photograph illustrating proposed changes. Include specifications on all materials, paint colours, light fixtures, etc.
    • If applicable, a letter of support from property owner (required if applicant is not the property owner; copy of email is sufficient)

      Stream 2:

    • Overview of project costs and inclusions of any quotes
    • If applicable, a letter of support from property owner (required if applicant is not the property owner; copy of email is sufficient)
Selection Process
• Applications will be reviewed for completeness, cost review, and appropriateness.
• A decision on applications will occur within 30 days of the application submission. All applicants will be notified in writing of the decision.

Because funding is limited, not every application that conforms to these conditions can be funded.
Pre-Construction Requirements
When applicable, the applicant will be required to obtain any required approvals and permits, including but not limited to:

Patio permit
Letter of Authorization for Patios on Private Property

Building permit
Approval for encroachment (if applicable)
Construction and Payment
Upon approval, a grant agreement must be signed and all applicable permits completed, where relevant, before cheque is issued. Upon completion of the projects a completion report must be completed and submitted to the Town of Canmore to include:

• Financial accounting report which is to include copies of all eligible expense receipts
• Project overview of what was achieved and/or pictures.

If the requirements are not met to the Town of Canmore’s satisfaction, or if monies are spent on ineligible expenses, the Town of Canmore may request full repayment of its lump-sum contribution.

The Town of Canmore is located within Treaty 7 region of Southern Alberta. In the spirit of respect, reciprocity and truth, we honour and acknowledge the Canmore area, known as “Chuwapchipchiyan Kudi Bi” (translated in Stoney Nakoda as “shooting at the willows”) and the traditional Treaty 7 territory and oral practices of the Îyârhe Nakoda (Stoney Nakoda) – comprised of the Bearspaw First Nation, Chiniki First Nation, and Wesley First Nation – as well as the Tsuut’ina First Nation and the Blackfoot Confederacy comprised of the Siksika, Piikani, Kainai. We acknowledge that this territory is home to the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3, within the historical Northwest Métis homeland. We acknowledge all Nations who live, work, and play and help us steward this land and honour and celebrate this territory. We commit to working to live in right relations and to advance Truth and Reconciliation.

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