What kind of activities/projects will be implemented in the Cultural Districts?

    The Cultural Districts Implementation Plan will implement flexible, seasonal demonstration projects to test ideas within each Cultural District and stimulate community and stakeholder interest from 2021-2023. These may include local area marketing initiatives, wayfinding signage and maps, temporary public art and public realm enhancements. This plan identifies opportunities to pilot policy changes to create more art, culture and music-friendly neighbourhoods. Mechanisms to permit outdoor seating, live music, arts and cultural uses in public spaces will be explored. Programming interventions may include busking locations, community placemaking events and focused grant investments to stimulate cultural activities.

    Activities that are proven to be successful will then be formalized as part of the long-term plan for the Districts.

    How will Cultural Districts contribute to a more vibrant and liveable city?

    Cultural districts worldwide have been successful in connecting arts and cultural activities more intimately with local communities by creating opportunities for local residents to participate in creative placemaking, storytelling and cultural programming.

    The positive social impact of cultural districts can strengthen civic pride and foster a sense of belonging for the community. Improvements associated with the establishment of a cultural district can enhance and beautify public spaces and streets, increase public safety and encourage spill out of activity onto the streets.

    Cultural districts have been shown to support urban growth and entice development. The mix of creative enterprises and cultural facilities with entertainment and retail establishments leads to increased spending in the district and boosts local economic growth. Events, performances and creative programming encourage people to stay longer which promotes local tourism and supports the creation of an evening economy. In many cities, cultural districts have fostered the development of creative industry clusters which increases production, business networking opportunities in the creative industry and event ticket sales. Cultural districts have been successful in creating environments that are friendly and economically beneficial to artists, not-for-profit arts organizations and cultural institutions.

    How will Cultural Districts contribute to economic recovery in Mississauga?

    The COVID-19 pandemic has brought on unprecedented challenges and affected the livelihoods of many people in Mississauga. The devastating and multi-layered impacts of COVID-19 on arts and cultural organizations, small business and workers across the country, have underscored the importance of the 2019-2029 Culture Master Plan’s recommendations for supporting Mississauga’s creative sector and the City’s Community and Economic Recovery Frameworks.

    The Cultural Districts’ vision for public art and public realm opportunities and creative programming will bring about greater economic, skills and experience-building opportunities for Mississauga’s artists and creative workers. These initiatives will create new experiences in the Cultural Districts, attract audiences from across the city, and boost local tourism and economic growth.

    Ongoing collaboration with BIAs and local area marketing initiatives under the Cultural Districts banner will help support businesses and promote events in the Districts, and reconnect people with these areas as the city moves through COVID-19 recovery. 

    How will Cultural Districts be funded?

    Developing Mississauga’s Cultural Districts will be based on incremental investment and building momentum through City-led initiatives that will kickstart activity in these areas. This initial implementation phase will be funded through a Council-approved budget of $70,000 to support low-cost, high-impact temporary public space activations that will help attract buy-in from the private sector and the general public.

    Project implementation may also be supported through different streams such as the City’s Public Art program (e.g. existing public art programs may be strategically located in the Cultural Districts where appropriate). Additionally, local organizations and BIAs may be eligible for grants to implement various projects in these areas. 

    Private sector funding will be encouraged and is expected to help to continue to program and market the Cultural Districts as vibrant, local destinations.

    How did the idea for Cultural Districts in Mississauga come about?

    Throughout public engagement for the 2019-2029 Culture Master Plan, it was established that residents are seeking better quality, more affordable and accessible places to experience a localized scene of arts and culture on a daily basis. Residents expressed the desire to engage with a city-wide network of culturally activated areas, where each area would reflect the local identity and organically grow. In response to this, the Culture Division built a recommendation into the Plan to prioritize the enhancement of cultural spaces and places in Mississauga and focus cultural development and City services in distinct cultural districts. 

    The vision for the Cultural Districts is inspired by examples of successful districts worldwide, and has roots in the Port Credit Culture Node (PCCN) pilot project. In 2011, the Culture Division initiated the PCCN to test various planning tools to bring about greater vibrancy in the public realm. Planning tools included permitting patios, art installations and retail sales in the municipal right-of-way, live acoustic music on patios, and extended hours of operation for businesses through a blanket minor variance in the Port Credit BIA area.

    The pilot project has been successful in increasing economic growth, sales, employment and bringing foot traffic to the area by allowing continued use of the municipal right-of-way within the Port Credit BIA area. A 2016 survey with business owners demonstrated that 100% of those who had installed patios hired additional staff, 75% expanded programming and increased business hours, and 50% accessed services from local businesses in the community.

    The 2016 PCCN project update recommended expanding the tools to support businesses, organizations and community members in the development of future ‘cultural districts’ throughout Mississauga. The Port Credit Culture Node is an important local precedent of how to reduce barriers for local businesses and organizations to creative placemaking through policy changes. The Cultural Districts Implementation Plan expands the use of these planning tools in the six Cultural Districts.

    What are the goals of public engagement for the Cultural Districts project?

    Community input is vastly important to helping refine recommendations for the Cultural Districts. Public engagement for the Cultural Districts project is predicated on an asset-based approach, which focuses on identifying existing assets as well as future opportunities within a community. This approach is rooted in the idea that communities need to build from the “inside out” and respond creatively with a focus on resources, capacities, strengths and aspirations. 

    Community input is vastly important to helping refine recommendations for the Cultural Districts. Public engagement for the Cultural Districts project is predicated on an asset-based approach, which focuses on identifying existing assets as well as future opportunities within a community. This approach is rooted in the idea that communities need to build from the “inside out” and respond creatively with a focus on resources, capacities, strengths and aspirations. 

    Through engagement, the City will look to identify community champions and engaged stakeholders who are interested in actively contributing to the development of Culture Districts. Building these connections will help to refine a framework for ongoing collaboration among local partners to maximize impact of initiatives.

    What is outside of scope for the Cultural Districts engagement?

    Items that cannot be influenced through engagement include the selection of neighbourhoods for the Cultural Districts, the boundaries of each District and the timeline for the initial phase of implementation as defined in the Cultural Districts Implementation Plan.

    How can the public contribute to animating the Cultural Districts?

    Great places and neighbourhoods are created when all partners within them work closely together. Local businesses, community organizations, residents and the City will all play a role in shaping Cultural Districts. 

    The first step is to provide feedback and help refine the recommendations in the Cultural Districts Implementation Plan. We want to get local insights on the exciting things that are already happening in these communities and things that can be improved to support cultural vibrancy. This input will help the City identify where arts, culture and creativity can be infused and used as tools to strengthen the identify of places. Once the refined Plan is approved, local community members will be encouraged to actively participate in implementation of initiatives. 

    Making Cultural Districts successful will be an ongoing, coordinated effort, with the City focused on bringing partners to the table and providing a platform for these groups to work together. The public can play a big role in this effort, from attending events and supporting programming to co-developing solutions to local challenges, initiating community-led projects and proposing ideas for unique actions to energize the Districts. Activities in the Cultural Districts will ultimately be a mix of City-led and community-led activities so getting the community onboard is critical to the project.

    We want to connect with passionate people that have ideas for the Cultural Districts. Share your feedback through various engagement tools (e.g. Survey, Map, Idea Bank), subscribe for project updates and email us at cultural.districts@mississauga.ca if you want to continue the conversation. 

    What is meant by placemaking and creative placemaking?

    Placemaking describes a collaborative process for designing, programming and managing shared public space. Community input is integral to the placemaking process so that public spaces can respond to diverse community interests and ambitions. 

    Creative placemaking adds another element to the equation and refers to a placemaking process in which arts and culture are leveraged to develop stronger, more dynamic and inclusive communities.

    Placemaking in the Cultural Districts will increase vibrancy and opportunities for community gathering; bring value and new energy to underused spaces; create new avenues for community participation and stewardship of shared assets; and develop culture-friendly partnerships and neighbourhoods.