Creating the First Regional Municipal Cultural Plan in Ontario


The County of Hastings, the City of Belleville and the City of Quinte West have a history of regional collaboration and a ‘stronger together’ perspective that set the context for developing a regional cultural plan. Prior to this project, cultural plans in Ontario had been developed by single municipalities. There is growing recognition in Ontario and elsewhere in Canada of the need for stronger regional collaboration in cultural and broader economic development agendas.

A major planning issue was the need for the Cultural Plan to address a large geographic area comprised of two urban centres, many small towns and villages and large rural areas. The planning process involved mapping of regional cultural resources, an analysis of the cultural economy and an extensive community engagement process, including the development of a dedicated project website. The final Cultural Plan sets out a vision statement, a set of guiding principles, and a 10-year agenda of recommended actions. A core recommendation was establishing a new cross-sectoral leadership group or Cultural Roundtable to public-, private and voluntary sector partnerships across the region. The project was funded by the Creative Communities Prosperity Fund of the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport.