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The City of Stratford, in partnership with Destination Stratford, has started work on a Municipal Cultural Plan for Stratford.

The project, funded by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) via Regional Tourism Organization 4 (RTO4), will assess the City’s current cultural assets, gather information through public consultations and provide recommendations for growth and next steps.

The Municipal Cultural Plan will offer guidance on the long-term and short-term growth of Stratford’s Cultural fabric and community and will knit together policies covering a wide range of areas and cultural sectors into a growth strategy that sets the city on a path towards its desired long-term vision.


Through November 2022, over 250 connections and conversations were had with community members, key cultural stakeholders, Stratford City Staff, Council, and Mayors relating to the Municipal Cultural Plan. These community connections were the public survey on Engage Stratford, online and in-person stakeholder focus groups, 1:1 interviews and a Data Gathering Station in Market Square.

Through the Cultural Plan, we envisage providing a refreshed perspective and action-oriented strategies that will help find ways to support:

  • Community involvement and ownership of local cultural initiatives
  • Enhance cross-sectoral partnerships and cooperations between city departments, including diverse city committees such as heritage, planning, events, public work, and parks.
  • Democratic cultural policy by better understanding what people are doing and want to do
  • Development of meaningful and respectful relationships across various cultural stakeholder groups
  • Programs and services that respond to the desires of the community
  • Communication and cooperation among the creative sector and other community groups
  • Effective integration of arts and culture into the larger community
  • Greater awareness and understanding of the cultural sector’s potential economic impact
  • Visibility of community artists, cultural workers, and organizations
  • Improvement of community safety while increasing greater social and cultural inclusion (especially for communities that may not traditionally be engaged in programming)
  • Develop and enhance the cultural facilities that enable access to cultural activities and the development of larger audiences
  • Increased public and private support for culture

Through both online and in-person engagement tactics, key stakeholder groups will be consulted in developing the Municipal Cultural Plan, including City Council, City Staff, managers of cultural assets, and community members. Outreach to stakeholders will include, but is not limited to, EngageStratford.ca, direct email outreach, a website/landing page, online promotion through social media, and tapping into the local information channels including mailing lists, as well as flyers and posters in cultural facilities, building lobbies, grocery stores, and community spaces.

By connecting with stakeholders, the following will be identified:

  • A governance and decision-making framework;
  • Challenges and opportunities for across-department synergies;
  • Opportunities for internal and external partnerships;
  • An asset map of Stratford’s cultural resources;
  • A shared vision, mission, and guiding principles for a Stratford Cultural Plan.

Please start with this video, created by the City of Kelowna at the completion of their Culture Plan, to think about what culture means and the types of tangible and intangible sources of culture in Stratford.

STEPS Public Art was selected as the consultant to lead this work, and started public consultation on the Municipal Cultural Plan in October. The final Municipal Cultural Plan is to be presented to City Council in April 2023.

For more information, please contact:
Zac Gribble
Executive Director, Destination Stratford

This project is funded by the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario via Regional Tourism Organization 4.

Funded by FedDev