Cultivate Festival main stage

Planning to host an event in Port Hope? Our event booking and application process is designed to help you understand your responsibilities and facilitate approvals that lead to excellent events. Our Special Events Management Policy expects that you provide proactive planning to make sure that you follow our requirements before, throughout, and following your event. This ensures that safe and successful events create a positive impact on the community. 

Event types

The following definitions will help to determine the appropriate event approval process for event organizers based on their event size/scope.

A small or large scale special event, parade, or procession taking place on Municipal property will go through the Special Events Office to get the appropriate permits.

Apply for a special event

A reservation of a Municipal facility or sport field for an event, practice, or tournament will go through Central Bookings for a booking permit.

Request a facility booking

While events on private property do not require municipal approval, there may be components that do require municipal sign off, such as installing a large tent. Contact us to discuss any ideas you might have. Don’t forget to play nice with the neighbours!

Application process

With adequate insurance and applicable licensing, after booking a facility, you will get a booking permit within two weeks of your request.

You can apply for a special event at any time of the year. Please submit a minimum of ninety days before to the event date to ensure enough time to process approvals.  Before completing and submitting your special event application, you must review the following Planning Guide to ensure your event complies with our event policies, procedures, and regulations.

The Special Events Review Committee (SERC) will review your application and give feedback on your event plan. They will notify you if they need more information, changes, or if fees and charges may be applicable. 

Find out what’s happening in Port Hope. Our event calendar is updated regularly. Please review the calendar before submitting your event applications.

Events requesting the service/sale of alcohol, road closures, overnight camping and/or large-scale events that expect over 500 attendees may require Council approval. 

Review our A-Z Planning Guide below to review various event planning considerations, including COVID-19 safety measures.

For new or significantly changed recurring events, we will present your application as a report to Committee of the Whole (COW) no later than four weeks before the proposed event. The recommendation of the COW will be forwarded to the next scheduled Council meeting. Council may, by resolution, approve the event, grant approval with conditions, or deny the request.

Even if your recurring event has no significant changes, you must still submit a new application each year. The application may not require a Council resolution, but instead will be reviewed and approved by our Municipal staff team.

Planning Guide (A-Z)

Our reference guide can help you with the special event planning process. If you have a question about hosting an event on Municipal property, contact us.


The Municipality of Port Hope strives to be an inclusive and accessible community. We encourage you to review the Guide to Accessible Festivals and Outdoor Events to find out how to host accessible events, especially with regards to access to amenities, parking and programming elements such that they meet the requirements of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).


Alcohol is not permitted at any event unless proof of a valid liquor licence is provided by the permit holder to the Municipality and is always available onsite at the event. 

Visit the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) to apply for a Special Occasion Permit (SOP), which allows for the sale and service of alcohol at events. You must follow all guidelines or conditions implemented by the AGCO and Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO). 

The Event Coordinator can assist you with providing a template and contact information for the required SOP notification letter that must be sent to the AGCO and local authorities.  All licensed events must comply with the conditions of the Municipal Alcohol Policy. 

Outdoor events

For outdoor events to obtain an SOP, they need approval from the Municipality of Port Hope in the form of a Resolution of Council or a letter from the Clerk deeming the event to be of municipal significance. This can be obtained through the special event application process. 



Smart Serve

Amusement Rides and Inflatables

All rides and inflatables must always be manned to ensure safe operations while the event is open to attendees. 

Copies of current Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) certification for each ride and/or inflatable must be submitted to the Municipality prior to the event, along with appropriate insurance.


We do not permit unsolicited buskers, street or roaming performers on Municipal property. 

If you would like to invite buskers to the downtown area, you must get approval through the Heritage Business Improvement Area (HBIA) Busker Program.

You can invite buskers into your permitted event space at your own discretion.


We do not permit camping on Municipal property. In special circumstances, permission to camp may be granted on a limited basis, through approval from the Parks Manager or resolution of Council, through the special events application process. The provision of all necessary site amenities and personal security during any granted overnight camp is your sole responsibility.


To obtain a copy of the By-law to Govern the Use of Parks, please email or call the Department of Parks, Recreation and Culture.


Copyrights are a form of intellectual property that gives the author, owner, or the distributor of original work (movies, literature, music, etc.) exclusive rights for a certain time period in relation to that work, including its publication, distribution, adaptation, and use.

If live or recorded music of any kind is included in your special event, you must obtain appropriate licensing from the Society of Composers, Authors, and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) and Re:Sound.

All organizations that present commercially available movies in a public performance environment are required to obtain a license from the appropriate rights representative. This applies even if presentations are free of charge, for non-profit reasons, or if copies are obtained from personal collections, retail stores, or online retailers. 



Event plans must now also contain planning to address the need to prevent and monitor the spread of COVID-19. Event Organizers are required to present a COVID-19 Safety Plan to be reviewed by the Municipality and the Haliburton, Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit. A booking permit cannot be issued without an approved COVID plan.

Ontario's Response Framework indicates which of the 5 zones of public health measures Port Hope is currently in. Events must follow all existing guidelines, including gathering limit restrictions.

Preparing a COVID-19 Safety Plan

When developing a COVID-19 Safety Plan for your event, provide as much information as possible to make it easy for our Municipal Emergency Control Group and our Public Health Officials, as well as event staff and volunteers to review a snapshot of your event.

Consider including a General Event Overview:

  • Event name
  • Event date & time (include set up/take down)
  • Event location (plus site map)
  • Expected attendance (include breakdown of staff and event attendees)
  • Expected attendee demographics
  • General event description (program/timing overview)
  • Event website
  • Event and emergency contacts (name, title, phone, email)

Please also provide an explanation of Infection Control Measures to indicate how you will support event patrons, staff, and volunteer safety, which may include:

  • Signage: for example, to remind people to avoid entering the event if unwell
  • Physical distancing measures to ensure patrons, performers, etc. maintain physical distancing
  • Physical environment re-design, such as physical barriers, staggered seating, ingress/egress, areas (to avoid crowding and capacity controls)
  • Health screening of events staff and volunteers when they arrive for their shift
  • Admitting fewer patrons at a time, or in certain areas
  • Staggering performance times
  • Increasing cleaning and sanitation of high-touch surfaces and shared amenities
  • Enabling patrons and workers to perform hand hygiene (making alcohol-based hand rub available) as well as access to lined no-touch waste baskets
  • Tracking patrons to support contact tracing efforts
  • Following provincial advice or local requirements on the use of face masks
  • Protecting workers who may be interacting with patrons (for example, providing face masks or personal protective equipment as required)
  • Communication measures to ensure all stakeholders are aware and versed in your COVID-19 protocols. 

How to develop your COVID-19 safety plan: A guide for Ontario workplaces provides examples and insight into what you should consider when developing your own event specific COVID-19 safety plan.

Timeline considerations

Event application and COVID-19 safety plan review may take a few weeks. Your patience is appreciated.


Any inclusion of a drone at your event must comply with all Transport Canada Drone Regulations & Protocols.

Emergency Management

You are responsible for considering, planning for, and mitigating against event emergencies through the development of an event-specific Emergency Plan. All event-specific emergency plan must be approved by Port Hope Fire and Emergency Services

Emergency Plan

The Emergency Plan for your event should include the following:

  • Contact list: Provide contact details for your main and emergency contacts
  • First Aid: Events are required to have a fully stocked first aid kit at the event site. Considerations should be given to arranging for trained first aid personnel to be stationed at your event.
  • Emergency Access: There shall be designated primary and secondary emergency access points.
  • Capacity: The Event Organizer shall know the number of persons using the permitted space.
  • Fire: all public events located in buildings and outdoor areas shall be designed with fire safety in mind, including the placement of fire extinguishers. Hay, straw, or similar combustible materials shall not be used in the construction or as decorative feature unless provisions are made to control the hazards. 
  • Extreme Weather: Event Organizers are responsible for tracking extreme weather conditions and communicating them to event participants and attendees before and during the event.
  • For event on roadways: Events taking place on a road must ensure one lane, a minimum of 3.7 metres remains clear of any temporary or permanent installments (i.e. tents, vendors, stages, rides, games, etc.) throughout the event to ensure emergency vehicles can access the site. 


Equipment Rental

The rental our equipment is subject to availability. Rental fees for equipment and additional services by the Municipality of Port Hope will be applied according to the Fees and Charges By-Law

Equipment is available to rent, on a first come, first serve basis. Consult the Events Coordinator for available equipment details.

Fees and Fee Waving

The Municipality of Port Hope has established user fees and charges to assist with the capital, maintenance, and operational costs of its services and facilities. 

The waiving of fees may be applied in exceptional circumstances only and is subject to the criteria.


You must have approval of all event fencing before installation. If you would like to install temporary fencing, you must indicate the positioning of all fence lines on your site plan/map. 

At no time is event fencing permitted to block access to residents’ property, driveways, parking lots, walkways, or thoroughfares. It must also be kept clear of all temporary or permanent emergency access points or routes. 

Staking and spiking

Please note that staking or spiking into the ground or grass is not permitted until utility locates have been set in place.

Fireworks Display

Please refer to the Fireworks page for a breakdown of guidelines and requirements for a Fireworks Display, and to obtain a permit.

Food and Beverage

If food is to be served/sold to the public as part of your event, you must send us a list of food vendors and suppliers, as well as notify the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit at least 14 days prior to the event. Event organizers are requested to submit all their food vendor applications as one package to the Health Unit. 

Food provided to specific event partners (i.e. volunteers) is not required to obtain a permit from the Health Unit but is still required to follow safe food handling regulations. 

Mobile food service vehicles

All Mobile food service vehicles will be inspected and approved in accordance with the Technical Standards & Safety Authority (TSSA) requirements and the Ontario Fire Code by the Municipal Chief Building Official and Fire Chief prior to the start of your event. 

Barbeque or cooking devices

No person shall, on any municipal property, use any barbeque or cooking device without a special event permit. No permitted barbequing will take place under tents. All permitted barbeques must be a minimum of 3 metres (10ft) away from any structure or tent. Fire extinguishers are required to be at all bbq locations.



Grants and Funding

There are a variety of grant opportunities available for special events: Northumberland Partners has additional funding sources as well as tourism research.


You must ensure to have adequate liability insurance for the event. You should consider all event components when reviewing insurance requirements, including all vendors, food merchants, performers, and all programming elements. 

All events require appropriate liability insurance coverage in the minimum amount of $5,000,000 with the Corporation of the Municipality of Port Hope named as an additional insured. Evidence of appropriate coverage must be provided prior to the event. The Municipality of Port Hope reserves the right to request a higher level of insurance coverage to ensure appropriate coverage has been obtained. 

Please use the following when listing the Municipality as an additional insured: The Corporation of the Municipality of Port Hope (56 Queen Street, Port Hope ON L1A 3Z9).

Lottery, Raffles, Games-of-Chance

All occurrences of gambling and games of chance (i.e. lotteries, raffles, bingo, and 50/50 draws) in the province of Ontario are subject to the licensing and regulations of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. Any event planning to include any form of gambling or game of chance (even if for fundraising purposes) must obtain a lottery license from Corporate Services


Marketing and Promotion

When your event is approved, please upload your event information to our online calendar. You will also find a list of external online calendars for your consideration.

Northumberland County Tourism has compiled some great resources for planning and promoting your event. 

Community entrance signs

The Municipality of Port Hope has three community entrance signs. To arrange to have an entrance sign created for you event, please contact the Municipal Marketing Manager

Noise Exemption (Sound Amplification)

Events shall always observe the noise by-law unless prior exemption has been granted by Council or through SERC. Concerts (and sound amplification) must cease by 11:00 p.m. as per our Control Noise By-Law.

Please be mindful of the volume of your event and music and recognize that there are people who live in the area and neighbouring businesses. This mindfulness is especially important for events taking place in Memorial Park. 

Local police will respond to noise complaints and may identify to the users of the park to reduce volume, as necessary. In the event the Police are activated by a community complaint, organizers must comply with Police or Municipal staff direction.

Parks and Facilities

 Explore our parks and facilities to discover and rent a venue that is right for your next event.

Parking and Parking Lots

You are responsible for considering the impact of their event to area parking and are encouraged to develop a parking plan, including sufficient parking for event attendees, signage, arranging off-site parking, and providing shuttle service if required. 

Parking diagram

Events requesting parking restriction must provide a parking diagram as part of the event application, specifying your requested locations, dates and times. All parking restrictions must be approved by Council or SERC.


To provide a safe and clean environment for all to enjoy, dogs are not allowed to be off-leash on any Municipal property, except for designated off-leash areas. Stoop-and-scoop practices shall always be followed. 

Except for designated service animals, dogs and all other animals are not allowed inside any municipal facilities as per our Animals in Facilities Policy.

Depending on the nature of the event, and out of care and concern for your attendees’ pets, consider using your pre-event communication channels to advise whether or not pets are welcome to attend your event (where facilities permit) or if they should be left at home.

Parades and Processions

If you would like to have a parade on Municipal roads, you must submit a detailed route map and arrange for appropriate Police escort. See Road Closures section for more information. 

A procession is an event that travels through the Municipality of Port Hope on streets or sidewalks, with or without a stopover. Event Organizers holding a procession on Municipal roads must consult with the Events Coordinator to discuss requirements and provide adequate insurance coverage.

Picnic Tables

Picnic tables can be rented from the Municipality based on availability and at a cost outlined in the Fees & Charges By-Law. The Events Coordinator will assist with arranging picnic table rentals and delivery. 


For events requiring the services of paid-duty police officers, you must arrange booking of officers with the Port Hope Police Service. Contact can be arranged through the special event application process.


Organizers are required to provide proactive planning and ensure compliance with all requirements of the Municipality, before, throughout, and upon the conclusion of their special event. The Special Event Management Policy establishes our internal procedure to manage your event approvals.

Portable Washrooms and Sanitation

The Municipality of Port Hope’s event planning guidelines require that one washroom (stall) and one handwashing station should be available at a minimum ratio of 1:100 event guests, with considerations for accessibility. 

The Municipal Chief Building Official is the authority on determining the number of available washrooms and hand washing stations your event must include and will confirm this detail through the special event application process.

Post-Event Report

To help us gain insights and improve our processes, we request that Event Organizers submit a post-event report to us within four weeks of your event taking place on Municipal property. Please review the form before your event to ensure you collect the requested information. 

Tourism Regional Economic Impact Model

Ontario’s Tourism Regional Economic Impact Model (TREIM) is a free online tool that helps event organizers measure the economic impact of their event. This economic impact model may be helpful for event organizers who wish to gather insights to build a business case for funding applications and develop comprehensive event analysis. TREIM includes conducting a survey during the event and identifies other information you need to gather to determine economic impact.

Road Closures

Applications for road closures must be approved by Council through a resolution and subsequent road closure by-law or through annual approval by SERC, as per the Policy. 

For road closures within the Heritage Business District, consultation with the Heritage Business Improvement Area (HBIA) will take place to ensure cooperation and accommodation with our downtown stakeholders. Approval of road closures within this district remains with Council/SERC. 

Road closure map

It is the responsibility of the Event Organizer to draft a road closure diagram (or in the case of a roaming procession, a route map) with any road closure request, specifying:

  • Event name, date, location(s)
  • Which roads and intersections are to be closed
  • Start and End times for road closures
  • The location of primary and secondary (emergency) access points
  • The location of all roads/trails/routes used for the procession
  • The location of all activity zones and temporary infrastructure
  • A legend to determine symbols or icons on the plan 

Traffic control

For approved special event road closures, the Works & Engineering Department will assist in the preparation of a traffic control plan and arrange for the set up and teardown of all barricades required for approved temporary road closures. Parking meters (if any) will need to be covered with “No Parking” bags in advance of the road closure; the Events Coordinator will work with the Event Organizer on how this will be implemented. Security and/or paid-duty police officers may be required to assist with traffic control, at the permit holder’s expense. 

Event Organizers are advised that event staff must be posted to all major intersections while temporary road closures are in effect. The Ontario Community Emergency Assistance Program (OCEAP) volunteers can be accessed through the Port Hope Police Department to assist with this role; however, alternative coverage must be arranged in the event OCEAP is not available. Requests for OCEAP service can be arranged through the Events Coordinator. 

All event taking place on a road must ensure one lane, a minimum of 3.7 metres remains clear of any temporary or permanent installments (i.e. tents, vendors, etc.) throughout the event to ensure emergency vehicle access the site. 

Road closure notice

Event Organizers are required to inform all area residents and businesses of approved road closures, in writing, prior to the event. The notification should provide contact information, purpose of road closure, particulars of the road closure (date, times, direction of traffic), a map, and the detour route available. 

It is encouraged that the Event Organizer arranges signage for the road closure barricades that indicate event name and duration of the closure. 


The road closure may also require the detouring of public transit buses. Municipal transit can be rerouted to accommodate Council/SERC approved temporary road closures through the special event application process.

Staking or Digging (locates)

If your tent(s)/structure(s) require stakes, utility locates must be arranged under the supervision of the department of Parks, Recreation and Culture. Under no circumstances shall tents be anchored to asphalt, concrete, or similar surfaces using stakes or spikes; only surface anchor blocks shall be used. 

If your event requires excavation of municipal property, the Events Coordinator must be notified. Costs associated with conducting utility locates will be the responsibility of the Event Organizer. Any penalties or charges resulting from damage to any underground utilities as the outcome of unapproved staking, spiking, or digging are the responsibility of the Event Organizer.


You're responsible for requesting permission to install event-related signage within the Municipality of Port Hope through your event application. The request must include details on the type and size of signs and the installation locations – keeping in mind any sightline concerns. Event signs can be installed up to 21 days prior to the event and must be removed 48 hours after the completion of the event. Through the Event Coordinator, your request will be reviewed by the Chief Building Official and Works Department. 

Community entrance signs

The Municipality of Port Hope has three community entrance signs. To arrange to have an entrance sign created for you event, please contact the Municipal Marketing Manager


To obtain a copy of the Sign By-law, please contact By-Law Enforcement.

Site Map

Please provide a detailed site drawing illustrating all physical objects:
  • Event name, date, location(s)
  • Approximate size and scale of the event space
  • The location of all activity zones (i.e. stage, food vendors)
  • The location of primary and secondary (emergency) access points
  • The location of all roads/trails/routes used for the procession
  • The location and size of all temporary infrastructure (i.e. tents, fencing, portable washrooms, First Aid stations, garbage disposal/pick up location)
  • A legend to determine symbols or icons on the plan

To assist in the development of an event-specific site map, try using our map planning tool. The map has a few features, like a measurement tool, drawing tool and has a few layers of information. 

Unfortunately, you are not able to save content in to tool, but you can print to pdf, screen shot - or simply use as a reference to specifics to your site plan.


You are encouraged to create smoke-free environments and must consider if any special arrangements will need to be made regarding smoking. 

Smoke-Free By-law

As per the Smoke-Free By-Law: “No person shall smoke in a public park within a 10 metre radius of the boundary of any playground equipment, sports field, and playground area including but not limited to soccer pitches, baseball diamonds, tennis courts, player’s benches, spectator’s area, beaches, splash pads, dog parks, skate parts, and any children’s playground equipment including but not limited to swing sets and climbing apparatus including the surrounding playground equipment area which is located within the municipal boundaries of any public park which is owned or leased by the Municipality.”

Tents and Temporary Structures

Please notify us of all tents and temporary structures planned for within an event site. You must submit a detailed site plan for your event and must indicate the location and size of each tent and temporary structure. 

If your event set-up includes a tent larger than 10’ x 20’, you will be required to submit a Tent Application

If your tent(s)/structure(s) require stakes, utility locates must be arranged under the supervision of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Culture. Under no circumstances shall tents be anchored to asphalt, concrete, or similar surfaces using stakes or spikes; only surface anchor blocks shall be used. 

All tents must have flame retardant tags affixed. Tags must be legible for inspection by the Chief Building Official and Fire Chief. A site inspection will be arranged prior to your event opening to the public. 

Any structure larger than 10m² may require a Building Permit. The Chief Building Official will determine if a building permit and/or engineering report is required. 

The Events Coordinator will arrange consultation with the Chief Building Official for any Event Organizer considering the installation of stages or elevated platforms to review any applicable building code and accessibility requirements.

Use of Parks and Facilities

Explore our parks and facilities to discover a venue that is right for your next event.

The use of Municipality of Port Hope parks and public spaces are governed by Municipal By-Laws, including Govern Use of Parks, Recreation Areas, and Park Facilities and Parks, Recreation and Culture Behaviour Management Policy. 

It is your responsibility to ensure that Municipal property is protected from crowd damage, overuse, vandalism, and improper disposal of garbage.

Any damage resulting in maintenance, repair, or replacement will be the sole responsibility of the Event Organizer. If damages occur during or because of an event, any repair costs will be accessed and communicated to the Event Organizer within 72 hours of the event vacating the site.

To obtain a copy of the above named by-laws, please contact the Department of Parks, Recreation and Culture.


We will coordinate and help you through gaining permissions and implementing requirements for utilities. 


Electrical access will be provided where possible and at the sole discretion of the Director of Parks, Recreation & Culture. Events requiring the use of generators may utilize whisper-quiet generators only. Generators should be well-positioned, as to not create a hazard, disturb or cause a nuisance as the result of noise or exhaust emissions. 

Municipal Water

Municipal water access will be provided where possible at the sole discretion of the Director of Works & Engineering


Underground utilities (including hydro, gas, or irrigation lines) may be buried below the surface of municipal property. If an event requires the installation of any object that penetrates the ground, approval from the Municipality must be granted and utility locates (the marking of underground utilities) are required. The Events Coordinator will arrange for the locates to be marked. Costs associated with conducting utility locates will be the responsibility of the Event Organizer. Any penalties or charges resulting from damage to any underground utilities as the outcome of unapproved staking, spiking, or digging are the responsibility of the Event Organizer. 


Vehicular Access

Vehicular access can be made available in Municipal Parks. Book a pre-consultation with the Parks & Facilities Manager to determine access routes and seasonal restrictions.


Events planning to feature vendors of any nature (e.g. retail, food, etc.) on Municipal property as part of the event’s programming must disclose these details during the event application process. Vending is not allowed on Municipal property unless outlined on the event application. 

The provision of all necessary site, vendor, and personal security during any event is the sole responsibility of the Event Organizer. 

Food vendors will be required to notify the Event Organizer and the Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit (see Food and Beverage). 


Waste Management

As an Event Organizer, you are responsible for the clean-up of your event site. We will provide all normal maintenance services to our routine standards. Any additional maintenance required prior to or during the event should be requested and additional fees may apply.


We encourage you to promote recycling and reuse of materials. Northumberland County Recycling & Waste has recycling containers available for your event.

We love events

Festivals and events contribute to cultural life in Port Hope and promote community involvement through volunteerism. They increase tourism and civic pride and provide educational and economic opportunities.

We have a rich history of events in Port Hope and look forward to hearing about your next idea.

Check out our Leisure Services Master Plan and Strategic Plan for further insights into the importance of events in our community.

Please note

Applicants are reminded that a submitted application does not ensure a confirmed booking. You will be contacted upon receipt of your application to verify receipt and discuss next steps. 

The Municipality of Port Hope reserves all final decision-making authority with respect to considering, granting, issuing, or terminating an event permit at any time.

The Municipality of Port Hope reserves the right to cancel any approved or active event where public safety is a primary concern or where the terms of the permit are not being met.