“Stratford itself is the type of walkable wholesome town Rodgers and Hammerstein might write a musical about.”
– Amy Alipio, Associate Editor, National Geographic Traveler


On January 22nd, 2016 a group of over 60 stakeholders met to brainstorm hundreds of ideas that animate Stratford and promote the City’s destination DNA as a high calibre ‘Cultural Resort Town’.

Stratford surprises and delights with its heritage town charm and world-class cultural experiences. The next step in the process is to collaboratively implement projects that continue to set Stratford as the stage. In order to create a truly unique cultural resort town experience for both visitors and residents, the Stratford Destination Animation Partnership Project has been established to enable feasible projects that are highly shareable and have high impact on the destination.

The 2016 Stratford Destination Animation Project awarded $30,000 to co-invest on 10 unique and highly successful projects. In 2017, $40,000 was invested. For 2018, $45,000 was invested. For 2019, an estimated $20,000 is available for co-investment. Applications may be for any amount from $500 up to $10,000. The Destination Animation Selection Committee will review and award the proposals.


Eligible organizations include:

  • Festivals and Events
  • Tourism Enterprises and Businesses (as individual organizations or as a consortium) such as Arts & Culture, Heritage, Agri-
    Culinary, Sports, Meetings & Conventions, etc.

Applicant business/organization must be a visitor friendly establishment/event located within or in close proximity of Stratford
city limits.

The project must be a net new or enhanced experience and have a minimum 1:1 matching contribution, either in dollars or valued in-kind.

Ineligible requests include:

  • Capital/infrastructure expenses
  • Regular operational expenses
  • Charitable contributions


The online application process requires the following questions be completed:

  1. Provide the business name, address and contact information.
  2. Provide the name of the experience and brief explanation of the event or project.
  3. What are the dates and duration of this “Cultural Resort Town” Experience? Please include a timeline of key milestones for the duration of the project.
  4. What are the goals/expectations for the project?
  5. How will success of the project be measured and reported?
  6. What is the budget for the project? Please provide an itemized list of expenses, indicating which expenses will be covered by the applicant (may include staff resources and work-in-kind), and which are covered through the animation partnership project.
  7. Will there be a charge or admission price for the experience? If so, how much?
  8. Demonstrate capacity (staff time and required skill set) to successfully implement this project.
  9. What type of marketing support will be provided to promote this “Cultural Resort Town” Experience?
  10. Is this intended to be an ongoing event or experience?
  11. What are the risks associated with this project (i.e. weather, permitting, minimum attendance requirements…)? Describe contingency plans to mitigate these risks.


The following criteria will be utilized by the Destination Animation Selection Committee to evaluate each application:


  1. Net new or enhanced experience (not pre-existing)
  2. Unique, authentic “Cultural Resort Town” experience that is a good fit for Stratford
  3. Level of shareability (i.e. inspires social media sharing)
  4. Feasibility
  5. Appeals to both local residents and visitors
  6. Potential to attract out-of-town visitors
  7. Potential of overall economic benefit to the Stratford area
  8. Potential of overall economic benefit to the downtown core
  9. Level of collaboration with other stakeholders
  10. Marketing/promotional support provided


Selection Process
All applications go through a process of screening against the eligibility criteria before they are then assessed by the Selection
Committee against the selection criteria. The Selection Committee meet to discuss the applications and agree upon a final short-list of applications that will be submitted to RTO4 with a recommendation for: a) approval; b) revision and re-assessment; and c) non-approval.

Due Diligence
Before proceeding to funding, RTO4 will undertake due diligence on the lead organizations. The due diligence assesses if potential applicants meet minimum criteria for:

  • Governance, risk management and internal controls
  • Financial status, procurement and financial management
  • Programmatic capability and readiness to deliver

Co-Investment Funding
The project co-investment funding agreement will be between the lead organization and RTO4. Once the project proposal has been approved, the lead organization will be provided with the funding template containing the standard terms and conditions. The agreement will also include the final agreed project proposal and budget and specify the requirements for obtaining disbursements and progress reporting.


All organizations who receive funding are required to provide a final project evaluation directly to RTO4 no later than 60 days from the conclusion of the event or completion of the project, and include reporting for the following:

  1. Please describe any significant accomplishments, success stories, knowledge gained and/or lessons learned.
  2. Please briefly summarize goals and objectives outlined in your original proposal.
  3. Please report specific results of each of the above-stated goals and objectives (e.g., number of persons served, social media engagement, earned media).
  4. Please describe any significant factors that may have impacted your ability (positively or negatively) to implement the funded project (e.g., challenges or opportunities, such as funding issues or collaborative partnerships).
  5. Will the funded activities be continued? Please provide details.
  6. Do you have feedback on how the Stratford Destination Animation Project might be more helpful to organizations it funds (e.g., application process, review process, level of funding)?


Applicants are strongly encouraged to discuss their project, questions and eligibility before applying using the contact info below.

The proposal application must be completed in its entirety.
Proposals must keep in mind that failure to provide any requested information could affect the Selection Committee’s final decision regarding the project.

Proposals must be submitted online at animationfund.ca. The Destination Animation Selection Committee will review and award the proposals at the time they are received.



Please feel free to email or call if you have any questions or need clarification.
Leigh Cove 
(519) 271-7000 x 204