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  • Heart of Our City Committee Creates New Virtual Activity Grant

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    Given the current restrictions in place to prevent public gatherings and promote physical distancing due to COVID-19, the Heart of Our City Committee (HOC) is opening up its pre-existing activity grant program with a new stream of grant funding to support virtual events. This new program will help support the events, artists and businesses who have found creative ways to continue promoting the vibrancy of Downtown Lethbridge during this unprecedented time.

    Each year, the HOC awards activity grants to provide funding support to organization delivering events that attract people, enhance vibrancy and create excitement in the downtown core. These grants were awarded in January of 2020 but the current public health crisis has impacted many of these planned events.

    “We’ve had grant recipients reach out to us saying they want to modify what they had planned given the situation as well as new inquiries around possibility of supporting new events or activities that will promote the downtown vibe,” says Dawn Leite, Chair of the Heart of Our City Committee. “We want to encourage this ingenuity and creativity and find ways we can still promote the downtown during these times. We also want to be flexible and accommodating with our partners who champion downtown and that’s what this new grant can do.”

    The new program will use activity grant funding available due to the cancelation or postponement of 2020 events. The maximum amount awarded through the new grant funding is $2,000 per event and grants greater than $500 require matching funding. Applications will be reviewed on an on-going basis and as funding is limited, all applications meeting the eligibility may not be supported, or may not receive the full requested amount.

    In January, the Heart of Our City Committee announced grant funding for 21 events to be held in downtown Lethbridge over the next year totaling $126,000. Any recipients of the original activity grants who have questions or concerns about the possible postponement or cancellation of their events or ideas for virtual events should contact Andrew Malcolm, Urban Revitalization Manager for the City of Lethbridge at andrew.malcolm@lethbridge.ca.

    The Heart of Our City Committee is committed to the revitalization of Downtown Lethbridge and will continue to support this important work now and in the future when the downtown reopens to provide the vibrant activities, events, restaurants and shopping we know and love.

    For more information on eligibility and available funding visit: www.lethbridge.ca/HOCActivityGrant

    Media Contact:
    Dawn Leite, Heart of Our City Committee Chair
    Phone: 403-393-6859

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  • Heart of Our City Activity Grants Awarded To Downtown Events for 2020

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    The Heart of Our City Committee announced today that it has awarded $126,000 in Heart of Our City Activity Grants to 21 events to be held in the downtown in 2020.

    These events include a variety of music, arts and cultural festivals that will attract audiences and participants to downtown Lethbridge. Receiving funding are 14 multi-day events and 7 single-day events which will occur over a total of 117 days and are expected to attract more than 60,000 attendees to the downtown core.

    There are a number of popular events returning including: Arts Days, Lethbridge Electronic Music Festival, Downtown Farmers Market, Word on the Street, and Wide Skies, to name a few. There will also be two new events this year including: Lethbridge Living Film Festival and Lethbridge Community Art Hive. Grant amounts range from $1,000 to $10,000.

    “We’re pleased and proud to provide financial assistance on behalf of the City of Lethbridge to a really great array of events that will help achieve City Council’s goal of enhancing the vibrancy of our downtown,” says Dawn Leite, chair of the Heart of Our City Committee.

    The Heart of Our City Activity Grant provides funding support to help Lethbridge organizations host events that foster an exciting, vibrant downtown and attract audiences to the heart of our city.

    Details on the events receiving Activity Grant funding in 2020 are available at: www.lethbridge.ca/hocactivitygrant


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  • Downtown Lethbridge introduces Heart of the Holidays

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    Lethbridge, AB – Downtown is the heart of our city and this year, in support of the many great small businesses that call downtown home, it is also the heart of the holidays. Starting November 15, visitors will enjoy five weeks of events and activities including outdoor skating and business promotions highlighting the originality of downtown Lethbridge.

    Heart of the Holidays will replace the one-day Bright Lights Festival which has been a downtown holiday tradition for the last 18 years. By spreading events out over a longer period of time and providing more variety, this new holiday tradition hopes to attract more people to the downtown core.

    “The Bright Lights Festival has been great but it was just one night and it was very dependent on weather, says Ted Stilson, Executive Director of the Downtown Business Revitalization Zone. “Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens now has an amazing lights display for residents to enjoy so it was time to look at something different for the downtown. By switching things up and introducing a new event, we hope everyone will find something that will bring them downtown this holiday season.”

    Skating in festival square will be one of the main attractions as part of the Heart of the Holidays event. Festival square (the small parking area on 6St. S.) will be transformed into a skating rink for the week of November 15 - 24 and December 7 - 14. The Downtown BRZ, The Heart of our City Committee and Lethbridge Sports Council have partnered to bring the outdoor skating rink to the downtown. There will be synthetic ice (see attached photo) installed and maintained for the public to skate on free of charge. There will also be additional lighting and seating provided as well as treats for skaters to enjoy.

    “Over the years, something we’ve continually heard through community engagement is that residents would enjoy a place to go outdoor skating,” says Andrew Malcolm, City of Lethbridge Urban Revitalization Manager. “Our Lethbridge chinooks have always been a concern in maintaining ice but by having a synthetic ice surface, which we’ve borrowed from Lethbridge Sport Council, we now have a solution. We are really excited to offer this new opportunity for friends and family to meet downtown and enjoy skating together this holiday season.”

    Over the next several weeks, Heart of the Holidays will also introduce:

    • Selfies with Santa – find Santa downtown and take a selfie for a chance to win great prizes.

    • Downtown Holiday Market – November 23 at Casa. Shop local at this special market showcasing downtown Lethbridge businesses.

    • Plaid Days - Dec 6 & 7
      Shop local this holiday season and enjoy great deals from unique businesses. Catch a ride on a horse-drawn carriage while sipping hot chocolate then hop off for a skate at festival square.

    For more information on all of the exciting events happening for the year’s Heart of the Holidays in downtown Lethbridge visit: www.downtownlethbridge.com.
  • Applications Now Being Accepted for 2020 HOC Actvity Grant

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    Applications now being accepted for 2020 Heart of Our City Activity Grant

    The Heart of Our City Committee has completed a review of the Activity Grant to ensure the program is meeting its intended purpose as well as the needs of the organizations who look to utilize the grant to bring exciting events to the Downtown every year. The committee is excited to announce that following consultation with past applicants and an in-depth review, there are few changes to the program proposed for 2020 and that applications are new being accepted.

    The purpose of the Activity Grant is to provide funds to help Lethbridge organizations host festivals and events that create an exciting and vibrant downtown and attract audiences to the city centre.

    Events and festivals located in the Downtown core or in the Civic Common are eligible for up to $10,000 annually provided they are not already receiving funding from other City of Lethbridge sources. Grants greater than $1,000 are conditional on the applicant organization providing 50-per-cent matching funds. Applicants must be a not-for-profit or apply under the auspices of an affiliate or sponsoring organization with not-for-profit status.

    Heart of Our City Activity Grant applications will be accepted until November 29, 2019. Information and application forms are available at: www.lethbridge.ca/HOCactivitygrant.

    Applications will be evaluated by a grant review committee based on how the event or festival contributes to an exciting, animated, and vibrant experience in Downtown. Successful applicants will be notified of a grant decision as soon as possible after December November 11, 2019.

    Media Contacts:

    Andrew Malcolm

    Urban Revitalization Manager

    403-320-3926

    andrew.malcolm@lethbridge.ca


  • Exciting Events and Festivals for 2019

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    Temperatures are warming, snow has melted, fresh buds on the street trees bloom, patio chairs have been placed outside cafes, and sidewalk activity is picking up. Spring in our Downtown is here.

    Spring also signals the start of the always exciting event and festival season in our Downtown. The great variety of activities and events attract critical animation, vibrancy, and overall positive awareness of Lethbridge Downtown as people from across the entire city and region make their way downtown on a regular basis to takes in the sights, sounds, and tastes of the amazing festival season.

    Many events receive funding through the Heart of Our City Committee’s Activity Grant program which provides City of Lethbridge funds to help local organizations host festivals and cultural or community events within the downtown core. In 2018, 23 events were provided grant funding which resulted in 115 days of additional event based activation of the downtown drawing approximately 65,000 visitors into the Downtown.

    The 2019 Heart of Our City Activity Grant lineup looks to be one of the most exciting years with a variety of music, arts and cultural festivals occuring over 114 days with an anticipated draw of over 60,000 people. This year will see new events funded including: 6th Street Best of the Best Festival, CariBridge Caribbean Carnival, Farmers Market Cartoonist in Residence, Festival of Lights/Dance, Hootenanny Outdoor Children’s Play, and Shelter Me in the Park. This is in addition to some of the reoccurring events that residents have come to love including: Arts Days , Feel the Beat, Jazz at the Park, Pridefest, Lethbridge Electronic Music Festival, Centric Musicfest, Shakespeare in the Park, Word on the Street and Wide Skies Music & Arts Festival.

    In addition to the Heart of Our City Festivals there are many other events and festivals that take place in the Downtown core including Celebrate Downtown (this Thursday!), First Fridays, Street Wheelers Show and Shine, Downtown BRZ Farmers Market, Taste of Downtown, and much much more!

    To stay on top of the 2019 events and festival schedule including dates, times, and additional information make sure to regularly check the downtown event calendar at www.downtownlethbridge.com.

    I challenge every resident to help Our Downtown to be the best it can be. With our partners on the Downtown BRZ and the Heart of Our City Committee, we encourage you to contribute to the content of this column with us on Twitter (@DowntownLeth) using the hashtag #ourdowntownwith yourcomments, questions, ideas, and suggestions .




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  • Celebrating Downtown Champions

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    We often use the term revitalization when we talk about the work we are doing in downtown Lethbridge. But what does revitalization really mean? First and foremost, we aimed to create vibrant spaces through positive change. We are challenging the status-quo with investment opportunities and the implementation of programs and services that are helping to create revitalization.

    The process is slow and continuous and although individual aspects or projects can be completed, revitalization as a whole is an ongoing process. Every time a new shop opens, a vacant building gets new tenants, a property slated for demolition is restored, or a festival light up a street, we are seeing the exciting effects of downtown revitalization.

    The challenge with revitalization is that it hinges on the concept of change, which we know is a tough for many, especially when it is in relation to where we live, work or play. Commitment to change is made much easier when you have champions. Champions are those outstanding individuals, businesses, and organizations who embrace change and lead through their actions..

    We are extremely lucky that we have so many champions who work tirelessly day in and day out to enhance and promote our downtown. On April 11 we will celebrate those champions at the Celebrate Downtown awards put on by the Heart of our City (HOC) committee.

    Nominations for the 7 Celebrate Downtown award categories closed on March 1st with 120+ individual nominations. The Celebrate Downtown subcommittee is extremely excited by the number of nominations this year, and has a difficult task at evaluating and making a decision on who will take home the awards.

    The Celebrate Downtown award event will take place from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Multicultural Centre (421 6th Avenue South) where downtown friends, neighbors, colleagues and community contributors will have an opportunity to honour our downtown champions while enjoying appetizers, drinks, and live entertainment.

    Information on the nominees can be found at www.lethbridge.ca/downtown and by following the event on Facebook at www.facebook.co/celebratedowntownlethbridge, where there is also information on how you can get your FREE ticket today.

    I also want to remind our downtown business community about the next upcoming safety seminar taking place April 16 at Casa from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The session topic will be on event safety and security including how to protect your business when there are large influxes of people in an area. More information on these monthly sessions can be found at www.lethbridge.ca/safetyeducation.

    I have been encouraged by recent engagement on our Downtown and continue to challenge every resident to help our downtown to be the best it can be. With our partners on the Downtown BRZ and the Heart of Our City Committee, we encourage you to contribute to the content of this column and the BRZ’s #OurDowntown video series with your comments, questions, ideas, and suggestions and engaging with us on Twitter (@DowntownLeth) using the hashtag #ourdowntown and at www.getinvolvedlethbridge.ca/ourdowntown.




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  • Downtown Events Add to Exciting and VIbrant Downtown

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    Attracting people year round to the downtown has been a central goal of the Heart of Our City Committee over the last decade as people are the key to an exciting, vibrant, and animated downtown environment.

    In 2011, with the belief that increasing the number events and festivals in the downtown core would help drive animation, vibrancy, and overall positive awareness of Lethbridge Downtown, the Heart of Our City Committee launched a new initiative entitled the Heart of Our City Activity Grant. The initiative would provide City of Lethbridge funds to help local organizations host festivals and cultural or community events within the downtown core.

    Over the first eight years, the initiative has proven to be tremendously successful in bringing people from across the entire city downtown on a regular basis, including many who do not live or work near downtown. This serves not only to make downtown more vibrant during the events themselves but also to make a wider portion of the community aware of the unique amenities that exist in the downtown core. Once a citizen has been exposed to all that downtown has to offer, they are more likely to visit downtown for shopping/dining/entertainment on other occasions and are even more likely to consider living downtown or perhaps locating their business downtown.

    In 2018, 23 events were provided grant funding which resulted in 115 days of additional event based activation of the downtown drawing approximately 65,000 visitors into the Downtown. There are several major activity grant-supported events still to come in 2018, and I encourage citizens to get out to these great events and enjoy our downtown. Upcoming events include: Arts Days Sept. 22-30; The Word on The Street Festival Sept. 22; Bright Lights Festival Nov. 16; Queen Scarlet Cinema Sept. 12, Oct. 18, and Nov. 21; and Lunch and Learn Concert Series Oct. 5, Nov. 2, and Dec. 7.

    The 2019 Activity Grant submissions will be open soon with a deadline of Oct. 31, 2018. For more details please stay tuned to www.lethbridge.ca or contact andrew.malcolm@lethbridge.ca.

    I challenge every resident to help Our Downtown to be the best it can be. With our partners on the Downtown BRZ and the Heart of Our City Committee, we encourage you to contribute to the content of this column with us on Twitter (@DowntownLeth) using the hashtag #ourdowntown with your comments, questions, ideas, and suggestions.


    *This column was published on September 10, 2018 in the Lethbridge Herald.



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