Animating Historic Sites

Toronto Arts Council’s Animating Historic Sites program provides funding to arts organizations, collectives or professional artists to re-imagine and animate selected Toronto historic sites.

The silhouette of a dancer's head with the sky and a 'Todmorden' sign in the background.
Alias Dance Project animates Todmorden Mills. Choreographed by Hanna Kiel. Photo by Dave McKay (2017)

Application deadline: postponed until early 2021

  • Please check back here in the fall for more information.

For questions about this program, contact Erika Hennebury, Strategic Programs Manager.


Toronto Arts Council has partnered with City of Toronto Museum & Heritage Services and Evergreen Brick Works to provide opportunities for artists to re-imagine and animate selected Toronto historic sites, community museums and Evergreen Brick Works through engagement with their histories, local contexts, and communities.

The available sites are Scarborough Museum, Spadina Museum, Gibson House Museum, Montgomery's Inn, Todmorden Mills, Zion Schoolhouse and Evergreen Brick Works.

Programming Grants (up to $30,000) provide opportunities for curators/producers to present a series of programs and events at selected City sites and Evergreen Brick Works. 

Exploration Grants (up to $5,000) are smaller grants that provide the opportunity for curators/producers to engage with community, landscape, volunteers and the site staff to explore ideas for future projects.

City of Toronto Museum & Heritage Services and Evergreen Brick Works are contributing matching support in the form of space, historical knowledge and research resources, extended hours, staffing, marketing and promotion.


Toronto Arts Council is partnering with City of Toronto Museums & Heritage Services and Evergreen Brick Works on an initiative intended to create opportunities for Toronto artists to animate selected historic sites within the City of Toronto located outside of the downtown core. The goals of the program are to serve as a catalyst for people to see and think about historic places differently, and to provide alternative methods of historic interpretation. This program envisions historic sites as “living museums” – vital public spaces of social interaction, where the past provides creative context for the future.

The Animating Historic Sites program provides funding to professional artists, arts organizations and collectives working in any artistic discipline to plan or create and deliver free site-specific programming that responds to or interprets the selected sites. This grant may cover up to 100% of project costs.


  • This program is open to professional, independent curators, producers and presenters and the applicants may be individual artists or not-for-profit arts organizations or collectives. Experience working with local communities is an asset. Payment of artists’ fees is a requirement.
  • A professional artist is someone who has developed their skills through training and/or practice; is recognized as such by artists working in the same artistic tradition; actively practices his or her art; seeks payment for her/his work; and has a history of public presentation.
  • You may not apply as an individual and be part of an organization or collective applying in the same competition.
  • You may not apply as an individual or as part of an organization if you are employed (full- or part-time) by City of Toronto Museum Services or Evergreen.

TAC has two distinct funding envelopes: 1) Arts Discipline funding (e.g. discipline-specific project grants and operating grants) and 2) Strategic funding (e.g. Animating Historic Sites, Animating Toronto Parks, Artists in the Library, etc.). Applicants are eligible to receive only one grant from each funding envelope per calendar year. Applications to the Animating Historic Sites program fall within the Strategic funding envelope. Any other Strategic Program grants must be complete with a final report filed and approved to meet eligibility criteria. (*Please note: Newcomer and Refugee Artist Mentorship grants do not fall under the category of Strategic funding)

Eligibility criteria specific to Individuals: 

If the applicant is an individual artist, the following eligibility criteria apply:

  • Applicants must be Canadian Citizens, or Permanent Residents (Landed Immigrants), or have an application pending for Permanent Resident status, or be a Protected Person (approved refugee claimant) and, if requested, be able to provide documentation to verify this.
  • Individuals must have been a resident of the City of Toronto for at least one year prior to the deadline, and live and work in Toronto for at least 8 months a year. A post office box address cannot be used to meet the residency requirement.
  • Undergraduate students are not eligible to apply to this program.
  • Professional artists pursuing graduate studies may not apply for work related to their program of study. A letter from the graduate program director specifying that the project is not related to the graduate student’s program of studies must be submitted with the application.

Eligibility criteria specific to Organizations and Collectives:

If the applicant is an organization or a collective, the following eligibility criteria apply:

  • Organizations and collectives must be incorporated non-profit arts organizations or unincorporated arts collectives which operate on a non-profit basis. A collective is defined as two or more artists working together under a group name, either on a single project (ad hoc) or on an ongoing basis. For collectives of two artists, both must be City of Toronto residents. For collectives of more than two artists, the majority of members must be City of Toronto residents.
  • Organizations and collectives must be located in the City of Toronto. A post office box address cannot be used to meet this requirement.


Projects involving Deaf artists and artists with disabilities may apply for an additional TAC grant by completing the Accessibility Expenses section of the application and including the requisite information in their budget. A TAC Accessibility grant will provide up to a maximum of $5,000 towards accessibility costs for artists incurred during the project. Accessibility costs include but are not limited to: ASL interpretation, audio description, closed captioning, communications assistants, attendant care (including helpers for Elders), support workers and equipment rentals or other supports required to meet artists' accessibility needs).

Discover more TAC Grants