On April 29, 2022, it was announced that federal funding of more than $6.7 million through the Canada Community Revitalization Fund will enable 27 community-led regeneration initiatives across the city of Edmonton, Alberta.
“I am very pleased to see the federal government invest in so many community-led projects across Edmonton. Neighbourhood-level initiatives are the perfect fuel for a strong economic and social recovery and will go a long way to helping everyday Edmontonians get the most out of their local amenities and public spaces. This is the right time to reenvision what our city can be and I applaud these communities for their city-building spirit!” exulted Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi.
Projects being supported through the Fund are focused on revitalizing downtown cores and main streets; reinventing outdoor spaces; creating green infrastructure; and increasing the accessibility of community spaces.
“New shared spaces, improved access to our River Valley, and pedestrian focused design will foster community, support small businesses, and improve the quality of life for Edmontonians. Our government’s investment to rejuvenate and enhance the community spaces across our city will continue Edmonton’s global image as a city for festivals, events, and a destination for memorable experiences that both residents and visitors alike can enjoy,” said Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance.
The goal of many of these projects is to welcome residents and visitors back to public spaces and support local businesses.
“What the past two years have taught us about our downtowns is that they’re not only an important part of our economy, but also an essential part of the social and cultural infrastructure for our communities. We’re thrilled to have funding for this alley transformation project to create new and unique public spaces of community and delight in unexpected places, which will benefit both our economy and our social well-being,” said Puneeta McBryan, Executive Director, Edmonton Downtown Business Association.
As with all places, vibrant and modern public spaces are central to Edmonton’s quality of life and play an important role to build communities and support local businesses.
“This funding will allow us to create a more welcoming, inclusive, and enhanced visitor experience in Old Strathcona. Over the last two years, we’ve heard from Edmontonians that additional public space increases the enjoyment of their visit, which then has a positive impact on our economic recovery,” said Cherie Klassen, Executive Director, Old Strathcona Business Association.
Revitalizing the downtown core and main streets, reinventing outdoor spaces, and increasing accessibility are all key to enabling Edmonton’s public spaces to safely welcome visitors and residents, support social well-being, and stimulate the local economy.
“The Edmonton Urban Farm is a community hub for urban agriculture, education, and sustainability. It’s also a thriving example of how surplus urban space can be used to build connections and enhance local food security. Over 300 people from 16 community groups grow food in our urban farm and with PrairiesCan funding, we will be able to expand the opportunity to even more Edmontonians, which we are thrilled about,” said Traci Bednard, CEO, Explore Edmonton.
Examples of projects receiving support include:
- An initiative to transform two downtown alleyways into community gathering spaces that will host festivals, markets and pop-up patios;
- Revitalizing a transit station by enhancing its accessibility and installing Indigenous art;
- Enhancing walkability and active transportation accessibility around Whyte Avenue with street furniture and parklets;
- Constructing an accessible gazebo and expanding a community garden in the Alberta Avenue community; and
- Creating a pedestrian-friendly area on MacDonald Drive that connects Edmonton’s downtown to the city’s river valley.
The combined federal investment of $6,756,629 is expected to help create or maintain 185 jobs, increase accessibility and enjoyment of community spaces for people of all ages and abilities, and support investment attraction and business activity.
“Public spaces are at the heart of how we come together in our communities. From ice rinks and community gardens, to spray parks and pedestrian walkways, our government’s investments will further enhance Edmonton’s reputation as a destination for year-round activities, events and attractions while ensuring people of all ages and abilities can enjoy modern, accessible amenities for years to come,” said Daniel Vandal, Minister for PrairiesCan.
The Canada Community Revitalization Fund is designed to help communities across Canada build and improve community infrastructure so they can rebound from the effects of the COVID-19 crisis.
“With many area residents facing food insecurity, the Alberta Avenue Community League offers garden spaces for yearly usage and a multi-purpose outdoor community space. These funds will help us in the construction of an accessible gazebo and with the expansion of our community garden plots,” said Valda Roberts, Vice President, Alberta Avenue Community League.
With a national allocation of $500 million over two years, the CCRF’s purpose is to support not-for-profit organizations, municipalities and other public institutions, as well as Indigenous communities on the road to economic recovery.
Photo of the Edmonton Urban Farm is courtesy of Explore Edmonton.