Are you planning a festival or event in Kitchener? Use these resources to help plan your event!

If you have any questions or need some help, send us an email and we will point you in the right direction.

On this page:

  1. Start with an idea
  2. Accessibility
  3. Amusement devices and carnivals
  4. Downtown Kitchener
  5. Emergency Plans
  6. Event venues
  7. Fireworks
  8. First aid
  9. Food
  10. Insurance
  11. Licensing and permits
  12. Road closures

Start with an idea

A successful event starts with a great idea. Think about the following questions: who, what, when, where, why, and how?

  • who is your target audience?
  • what experience are you looking to create for your guests?
  • what is the style of the event (concert, marketplace)?
  • when is the best time to hold the event (night, day, weekend, summer, autumn)?
  • where is the ideal location for this event (indoors, outdoors, street, park)?
  • why are you having the event (fundraiser, awareness, generating profit)?
  • how are you going to pay for this event (in-kind grants, corporate sponsorship, and charge exhibitors)?

Accessibility

We are committed to offering programs and services to persons of all ages and abilities. Our goal is to offer inclusive opportunities that encourage residents’ full participation in our programs, services, facilities, volunteer opportunities, and our advisory committees.

By including accessible design features in your event planning, you will help to ensure that your event enjoyed by all. We support the goals of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) and encourage all event planners to make their events as accessible as possible.

Helpful links


Amusement devices and carnivals

Amusement Rides are governed by the Technical Standards and Safety Association (TSSA) who administer and enforce public safety laws in the Province of Ontario. In order to have amusement ride be considered for use at a special event or festival, you must have TSSA Certification and Insurance.

Venues and facilities may also have restrictions and policies governing the use of amusement rides.

Helpful links


Downtown Kitchener

The Downtown Kitchener Business Improvement Area (BIA) is a non-profit organization enacted in 1977 by the City of Kitchener. The Downtown Kitchener BIA exists to be a collective voice that fosters collaboration within the downtown business area and acts as a catalyst for prosperous growth in our community. If you are a property owner or commercial tenant within the BIA boundary, you are automatically a member of the Downtown Kitchener BIA.

The Downtown Kitchener BIA offers services to help the members including streetscape beautification, marketing the Downtown and supporting events that bring energy and foot-traffic to our core.


Emergency plans

In your day-to-day living, disasters may seem a distant possibility. Yet emergencies, such as floods or tornadoes; technological or environmental accidents, including chemical spills; and service disruptions, like the massive power blackout in 2003, can strike at any time.

Like all other municipalities across the province, we have been proactive in preparing and constantly reviewing and updating our official emergency plan.

The plan gives guidance to key officials, agencies and departments across the city on the expected response to a serious, large-scale emergency; as well as an overview of what the individual responses of these groups should be.

Helpful links


Event venues

Visit our rental spaces page to find a list and rental rates of event venues run by the City of Kitchener.


Fireworks

Under the City of Kitchener Municipal Code, fireworks can only be set off on Victoria Day and Canada Day and the day immediately before and after Victoria Day and Canada Day. Fireworks cannot be sold to anyone under the age of 18.

For more fire regulations, visit our Kitchener Fire pages.

Learn more about bylaws and enforcement in Kitchener.


First aid

Emergency medical care is an important aspect in planning a special event. Involving experts in identifying, planning and executing medical needs for events, festivals, concerts, parades, motor races and more and will assist you to develop a specific medical services plan for your event.

Contacts

Helpful links


Food

Public Health Inspectors with Region of Waterloo Public Health provide a wide variety of programs and services designed to protect the health of residents in the Region. This includes inspection of public facilities (and businesses) where government regulations are enforced under the Health Protection and Promotion Act. These regulations relate to food safety, infection prevention and control, and recreational water safety.

Helpful links


Insurance

A standard requirement of hosting a special event in the City of Kitchener is obtaining insurance coverage. Insurance can cover many aspects of the event from liabilities, to cancellation, to emergencies. Event organizers are responsible for the participants and audience members taking part in your event.

Applications for city facilities, civic squares, and road closures all required the event organizers to obtain a minimum of $2,000,000 in liability insurance, some venues require $5,000,000 or more. The amount of insurance can also depend on your activities (e.g. food festival to outdoor licensed concert).

Insurance coverage is provided by private insurance providers. We suggest starting with your organization’s or your personal insurance provider.


Licensing and permits

Depending on your event, you may need to apply for and obtain licensing or permits:


Road closures

If you want to hold any of the events listed below, you need a special event permit.

  • parade/procession
  • ceremony
  • street dance/party
  • beer garden
  • solicitation of donations from a motor vehicle (toll road)
  • sidewalk/street sale
  • festival/carnival
  • race/walk-a-thon
  • demonstration

You will need a special event permit for a similar event that requires a lane or road closure or may interfere with the normal flow of traffic on a Regional Road, but does not include a wedding or funeral procession, picketing, or an activity for which the Region has granted a filming event permit or a work permit.

Our staff review and approve all street closure applications to ensure that emergency access is available at all times. Every street closure must have an emergency access route.

Apply for a special event permit: