ELORA – The Elora Centre for the Arts (ECFTA) will receive a $25,000 grant through Infrastructure Canada’s Healthy Communities Initiative program.
The funding, announced on May 26, is part of round one of grants through the program, which has will award $31 million to organizations across Canada.
The Healthy Communities Initiative
A partnership between the Government of Canada and Community Foundations of Canada, the Healthy Communities Initiative aims to help with COVID-19 recovery for communities, focusing on building vibrant public spaces, increasing mobility options and developing innovative digital solutions.
At a May 26 virtual press conference announcing round one grants, Halifax MP Andy Filmore discussed how well communities across the country have persevered in light of the pandemic.
“It’s that community fortitude… that we were hoping to leverage when we launched the Canada Healthy Communities initiative, and I must say that Canadians across the country did not disappoint,” said Filmore.
The initiative received 3,000 applications this round, totalling $360 million in requested finds, but only 250 projects were approved.
Applications for round two are now open and will close on June 25.
“The more applications that we have, and the more interest that we can demonstrate in this project, the more likelihood that we’ll be able to find more funding to extend it perhaps into a third, or more rounds,” said Filmore.
ECTFA decided to apply for the grant after looking at its empty outdoor space, a two-acre plot in downtown Elora consisting mostly of a field and a few trees.
“You can’t just have a field, right?” said ECTFA executive director Lianne Carter.
She explained the centre’s project – under the theme “The Paths that Connect Us” – will make use of the property and promote community involvement.
It will include an accessible trail running the length of the property for bikers, walkers, or anyone else to use, as well as a map that has been developed, in partnership with Green Lanes, showing all of the lesser-known recreational trails in the community.
“Paths that Connect Us, it goes beyond just our property, it’s now encouraging people to get out into the neighbourhoods,” said Carter, explaining how the theme for the space is incorporated into its design.
“It’s to try and encourage people to be active and utilize our trail system and support what our township has established, which is some wonderful biking trails.”
The outdoor space will include bike stands and picnic benches, encouraging people to consider the space for a break, and a biker’s hub.
The trail map will be artist commissioned, and other art works will be featured in the space as well, using the theme of connection.
“What they loved about our project is it was engaging local artists,” said Carter on why the arts centre was picked for the grant.
The timeline for the project is tentative, as materials are in short supply and landscape companies are quite busy. The goal will be to have most of it done by this fall, though there is potential for a couple projects to stretch into next spring.
Carter said she is hoping the space becomes a starting point for community growth.
“Once all this infrastructure is in place, it then lets our community think, ‘oh, what else can we do?’” she said.
Artists interested in submitting proposals for sculptures or creating the map can visit eloracentreforthearts.ca/news/call-for-entries.
For more information about the Healthy Communities Initiative visit www.infrastructure.gc.ca.