We are recommending that the City work with the Kawartha Lakes Arts Council and other community leaders and volunteers in the cultural and heritage sector to achieve the following:

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LONG-TERM : Creation of the first Municipal Cultural Plan (MCP) – a strategic planning document to guide city-building

SHORT-TERM: Partner with the Cultural Centre Committee (a joint committee of Kawartha Lakes Arts Council and Kawartha Lakes Heritage Network) and other organizations to develop and fund a feasibility study for a future Cultural Centre and Archival Collections Facility


A Municipal Cultural Plan (MCP) brings together vision and partners for the betterment of our community.   Leadership from elected Council, municipal staff, experienced volunteers and community members create a strategic framework and together implement a plan with specific cultural priorities. A MCP is a significant tool in city-building. Over 72 municipalities in Ontario have a Municipal Cultural Plan. Our neighbours, the City of Peterborough and the Municipality of Trent Hills have adopted Municipal Cultural Plans -  Peterborough in 2012 and Trent Hills in 2011. To see their plans, follow these links:$!2c+Culture+$!26+Heritage/Peterborough+Municipal+Culture+Plan-+FINAL.pdf.pdf



In 2017, KLAC received a gift from a private donor of $50,000 to support a feasibility study for a proposal Cultural Centre/Community Hub. With matching funds and engagement from the City we can ensure a full community consultation, including site appraisals, governance and sustainable business models can be explored.


Planning is critical to success in every facet of our lives. Cultural planning offers an opportunity for communities to create a roadmap unique to their needs, aspirations and strengths. By planning strategically, local governments and arts and heritage groups can work together to integrate culture more fully into their community.

    — Honourable Stan Hagen

         Past Minister of Tourism, Sport and the Arts

“Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”

                — Warren Buffett



Since 2015, our volunteers and City Council have initiated some major steps and significant progress has been made over the past several years within our community’s cultural sector:


At the Council Meeting of October 22, 2015, Council adopted the following resolution: 

CR2015-1327 RESOLVED THAT Report ED2015-013, Establishment of a Culture and Heritage Task Force and Recommended Terms of Reference, be received; 

  • THAT a Culture and Heritage Task Force be established; and THAT the recommended Terms of Reference, as outlined in Appendix A to Report ED2015-013, be approved and adopted by Council.

At the Council Meeting of June 28, 2016, Council adopted the following resolution: 

CR2016-614 RESOLVED THAT Report ED2016-006, Culture and Heritage Task Force Final Report, be received;

  • THAT the 2013 Cultural Master Plan and the 2012 Heritage Master Plan be endorsed by Council and the Task Force’s updated Implementation Action Plans for each Master Plan be adopted;
  • THAT a permanent full time City staff position for arts, culture and heritage be established; 
  • THAT the Manager of Economic Development prepare a 2017 budget for arts, culture and heritage based upon the updated recommended implementation actions for 2017 in the Cultural Master Plan and the Heritage Master Plan to be considered in 2017 budget deliberations; and
  • THAT an arts, culture and heritage committee of council be established with the terms of reference to be determined.

At the Council Meeting of March 7, 2017, Council adopted the following resolution:

CR2017-193 RESOLVED THAT Report ED2017-003, Arts, Culture and Heritage Committee of Council Alternative, be received;

  • THAT staff be directed to establish a Cultural Roundtable as a process for supporting the City’s leadership in the development of the cultural sector and to inform and assist in the implementation of the Cultural Master Plan and the Heritage Master Plan; and
  • THAT the Terms of Reference for the City of Kawartha Lakes Cultural Roundtable as outlined in Appendix E to Report ED2017-003, be approved.


Follow up to the recommendations of Resolution CR2016-614; With the Council endorsement and adoption of the 2013 Cultural Master Plan and the 2012 Heritage Master Plan and the Task Force’s updated Implementation Action Plans for each Master Plan, a five-year work plan was put into place. 

Within a two-year time period all of the five-year initiatives have been put into place.

With increased financial support from our municipal government, our community is ready to invest in the opportunities that exist to raise our capacity to the next level for an innovative and thriving cultural tourism sector.



The public face and shape of art galleries and museums are undergoing dramatic changes across North America and internationally. New designs for cultural activity space and alternative programming models are proving to be more effective in terms of reaching wider audiences, engaging communities, and providing more meaningful experiences for visitors. These new models also offer alternative solutions to the financial and functional challenges that are faced by many cultural organizations that operate in traditional cultural facilities.

A new Culture and Heritage Centre will place Kawartha Lakes on the forefront of arts and heritage best practice in Ontario – becoming one of the first GLAMs (Gallery, Library, Archives and Museum) in the province. The Centre will be a much needed community hub - providing area residents with engaging, improved and productive arts and heritage programming and the opportunity to incorporate new technologies into the centre’s functions. It will spur economic development by providing a dynamic destination for tourists, by attracting newcomers to live and work in a community that values culture, innovation and entrepreneurship. It will enrich our quality of life. Its programs and activities would provide capacity building experience and space for people to create, learn, perform and play – bringing museum, art gallery, research library and public archive functions together in a unique collaborative environment.

The new centre would focus on delivering cultural experience, with less emphasis on ‘old stuff on shelves’ and pictures hanging on walls, and more on telling our community’s stories, on creating interactive exhibits out in the community with community partners. It will provide Kawartha Lakes arts and heritage organizations with services, expertise and opportunities that are currently not able available to them. It will combine gallery and museum functions in a space that enable all museums, historical societies and galleries to showcase and promote their own programs. It will create performance, event and artists’ spaces for the wide range of arts and cultural activities in the Municipality.


65% of Ontario business leaders say that a thriving arts and culture scene is something that would make it easier to attract top talent to their community.

Businesses’ thoughts on attracting employees through the arts and culture, by Nanos Research for Business for the Arts, May 2016.

65% of skilled workers agree that a thriving arts and cultural scene is something they would look for when considering moving to a new community.

Skilled workers’ impressions of the arts, by Nanos Research for Business for the Arts, April 2016.



A Cultural Centre Committee, comprised of representatives from the Kawartha Lakes Arts Council, the Kawartha Lakes Heritage Network and other major cultural groups from Kawartha Lakes, is leading this ambitious project and is working to obtain commitments from major partners who will help bring it to fruition.

Development of new programming models will enable organizations to provide more dynamic, meaningful and cost-effective programming and cultural services for local organizations and museums. They will take exhibits out into the community that bridge the arts and heritage sectors and be a service provider for other museums and cultural organizations. They are prepared to contribute their expertise, resources and future programs towards a new Culture and Heritage Centre and to provide the required services that will be essential for the new centre’s operations.

Collaborative opportunities will also be offered to other organizations who wish to contribute to the development and implementation of programming initiatives that complement their own operations. Collaboration with other organizations is being explored in such areas as infrastructure, collection storage, maintenance and programming with an emphasis on youth.

The Centre would be operated as a community benefit organization and various models of governance which promote long term sustainability (not-for-profit, social enterprise, cooperative, etc) will be explored. The model will promote inclusivity and engage with major partners and other interested stakeholders, including the Indigenous community and other representatives from the community at large.

Private funding has been secured to undertake a feasibility study that will assess options on the specific functions that the centre could provide where it might be located and the associated costs for each option. When those options have been decided upon, a dedicated business/financing plan will be developed that considers both the capital costs of construction and preferred models for ongoing operational costs. Capital funding for the Centre will be sought from a variety of funding programs of all three levels of government. There will also be a fundraising campaign which will inspire financial support from individuals, businesses, foundations, community groups and granting agencies.



The Culture and Heritage Centre model that is envisioned consists of two components. The first is a community centre hub which should be centrally located to maximize accessibility for residents and be in proximity to visitor services and amenities. The second component is a separate collections storage facility that could potentially be located in another location. The objective is to create industry-standard space that is eligible for all federal and provincial funding and complies with standards that will maximize functional and event opportunities with other major cultural facilities.

THE HUB: The Kawartha Lakes Culture and Heritage Centre

A new Cultural and Heritage Centre will be a community hub that is a service delivery model, not a conventional museum or gallery. It will bring together service providers to offer a range of services that respond to demonstrated community needs and priorities. It will be a place where area residents and visitors can meet and participate - take lessons, exhibit creations, create art, perform, learn and communicate - a place that is welcoming and inclusive, responding to all ages, income groups and backgrounds.

It is anticipated that there will be shared exhibit space (including space for museums and arts and cultural organizations), performance and event space for artists, shared administrative space, meeting space as well as other cultural development uses. A feasibility study will be undertaken in order to identify space characteristics and uses that best respond to community needs and aspirations, and that will be financially sustainable.  

AN ARCHIVAL AND ARTIFACT SPACE: Shared Community Collections Storage

All CKL heritage societies, museums and cultural facilities are feeling the burden of artifact storage. In addition to the Culture and Heritage Centre, an artifact and archival storage space should also be created which could be located elsewhere in the municipality. This would provide collections storage and maintenance space with conservatorialsupervision and climate control, and provide all cultural and heritage organizations with the opportunity to store, care for and rationalize their collections and to borrow from a central inventory for exhibits as needed. Creating a separate space located in a neutral location will eliminate any potential ‘ownership’ questions and will enable everyone to access appropriate climate control, curatorial services and the comprehensive cataloguing of all organization’s collections.


A common thread in the feedback received was the value of partnerships and collaboration in helping artists and the culture sector flourish and grow. “Collaborative” was one of the top words chosen at the town halls to describe how participants would like to see culture in Ontario in 10 years.

Breaking down silos and fostering collaboration across culture sectors and with other sectors, large and small organizations, municipalities and ministries will help strengthen the sector and, in turn, enhance creative and economic benefits for Ontarians.

From the Ministry of Tourism, Culture & Sport, Culture Talks 2016



Both the provincial and federal government have recognized the importance of the cultural economy in growing our overall economic base and creating thriving communities. New programs at both the provincial and federal levels have been introduced with new funding opportunities on the horizon. Now is the time to commence local planning processes in order to be shovel-ready, and to build strong local partnerships that will enable us to move forward with our vision.

A new Culture and Heritage Centre would address many of the financial and operational challenges currently faced by cultural organizations in the City of Kawartha Lakes. It would also provide the opportunity for our cultural sector entrepreneurs to be innovative, to explore and realise their aspirations, and to work together to create a new operational and physical hub that will position Kawartha at the forefront of cultural practice. It will increase cultural vibrancy for current and future residents, increase the number of visitors to our region and enhance the local cultural tourism experience.

This is the time to unite and move forward.


Our diverse cultural heritage resources tell the story of our shared past, fostering social cohesion. Culture helps cities to develop compelling city narratives and distinctive brands, with unique selling points for tourists and business investors. Culturally rich districts also enhance competitiveness by attracting talent and businesses.

Ministry of Tourism, Culture & Sport, Culture Talks, 2016.



On September 18, 2018, the Kawartha Lakes Arts Council will go before Council to put forward a proposal for a partnership with our municipal government and the arts and heritage sector that will develop a roadmap of cultural tourism unique to the needs, aspirations and strengths of our community. 

These recommendations are:

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2019 Budget  - expand on the current funding model that is in place for Maryboro Lodge/Fenelon Museum to include similar funding for comparable cultural organizations using eligibility criteria developed by the Steering Committee noted below

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Municipal Leadership – increase the number of City cultural staff positions in Economic Development from one position to:

  • Senior Leader, Culture
  • Heritage Planner – currently proposed by Development Services
  • Cultural Organizations & Arts & Heritage Trail Programmer
  • Administrative Assistant – to be shared with KLAC and KLHN
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Steering Committee -  to meet immediate needs in the cultural sector (including develop funding eligibility criteria for core funding) and develop the first Municipal Cultural Plan:

  • Senior Leader, Culture
  • Heritage Planner
  • The Cultural Organizations & Arts & Heritage Trail Programmer
  • City Councillors (number to be determined)
  • Members from the Arts Council/Heritage Network’s Cultural Centre Committee
  • Shared administrative assistant    
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New Cultural Centre - in the next six months, the City, the Cultural Centre Committee (a joint committee of Kawartha Lakes Arts Council and Kawartha Lakes Heritage Network), and other potential partners create the RFP and fund the feasibility study study for a future Community Cultural Centre/Community Complex


Remember, we are talking about investment in a sector that contributed to 301,933 jobs in Ontario in 2014, and had a direct economic impact of $27.7 billion, or 4.1% of the province’s GDP.

Desjardins, E. (2016). Provincial and Territorial Culture Indicators, 2010 to 2014. Statistics Canada.