Community Initiatives Program

In 2020, the Car Free Vancouver team moved our street festivals online for the first time ever, out of concern for public safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite being a difficult year for everyone, these virtual Car Free Day festivals allowed us to continue engaging with local communities, artists and businesses during an incredibly difficult time.

In 2021, we still do not believe it to be ethical to hold a large street festival out of concern for the ongoing pandemic. We are taking the opportunity to explore a new structure for the first time to maximize our impact in our communities outside of a street festival format.

This led us to create the Car Free Festival Month: a month-long celebration and reimagining of our public space, featuring numerous small in-person activities transforming our streets and parking spaces, and online events to educate and connect our communities.

In addition to events coordinated by Car Free Vancouver, we want to include community-led projects as a part of our festival month. These projects can take virtually any form you can imagine, as long as they can be executed safely and embody the concept of ‘reimagining public space’.

By including community-led projects as part of our festival, we hope to connect with areas and individuals in Vancouver who we may not have reached before, provide opportunities (some paid) to local urban planners, placemakers, curators, creators, community groups and other creatives, and to encourage the public to think more critically about public space in their neighbourhood.


Please note that the acceptance of any and all applications is subject to health trends and provincial regulations in BC. 


What sort of applicant-led projects are you looking for?

We’re looking to support and collaborate with local creators in producing projects that reimagine the way we use public space. Proposed initiatives should align with Car Free Day’s mission of nurturing and growing car-free spaces and culture in our local communities. Projects and initiatives that focus on areas of Vancouver that are heavily reliant on private vehicles, have poor walkability rates or poor accessibility measures will be prioritized. 

Your project should answer some or all of the following questions, or questions around the same topics.

  • How do you envision a version of your city or neighbourhood that prioritizes people over vehicles?
  • How can alternate means of transportation be more celebrated in your neighbourhood?
  • What would it mean to you to have more pedestrian- or cyclist-focused urban planning?
  • What alternative uses can you imagine for street and parking space in your area?
  • What do you feel is missing from public spaces in your neighbourhood?
  • How could public spaces in your neighbourhood be more inclusive and accessible?

Programming for the festival can be in-person or virtual, as long as it relates to this concept and has comprehensive COVID-19 safety measures in place. Programming with an arts component is encouraged, although not mandatory. 


Can I submit an application for a virtual project?

Yes, as long as it relates to the concept of reimagining or reclaiming public space. Be creative!


Who can apply?

Anyone with an idea for a project relating to public space! We encourage applications from individuals of all identities, backgrounds and experience levels. Applications from community organizations are also very much welcomed.


When are applications open?

Now! Applications will be open until mid August, or until we can no longer add more programming to the festival calendar. 


Where do I apply?

Right here!

We cannot accept your application via email, however, please feel free to contact us at [email protected] if you have other questions about the application process.


When is the festival taking place?

From Sunday, August 29th until Saturday, September 25th 2021. Accepted projects must take place during this time.


What information is required in the application form?

  • Type of project (e.g. parklet, virtual workshop, etc.)
  • Project details, including how it relates to the concept
  • Organizer biography
  • Organizer contact information
  • Planned dates
  • Planned location
  • COVID-19 safety considerations
  • General safety considerations
  • Accessibility considerations
  • Waste diversion plans

The more information included in your application, the better! We are looking to see some solid planning taking place.


Will I be paid?

Car Free Day is fortunate to receive some funding that allows us to provide honorariums for certain projects. Honoraria will be decided by the CFD team once your application has been approved and you will be notified of the decision upon receiving an acceptance email. Please note that an honorarium is not guaranteed for all accepted applications. 


If I receive an honorarium, when and how will I be paid?

If you receive an honorarium from Car Free Day, you will be provided with a cheque after your project has been completed.


I’m unsure about some of the safety / COVID-19 / accessibility considerations for my application.

We can help with that! We have created this COVID-19 safety guide and this public space guide to assist in your project planning (also check out Park(ing) Day for some awesome resources and inspiration!). Submit as much information as you can in your application, and make a note of any areas that have been a challenge. If the application is promising, we can work with you to make a robust plan for any remaining items. Please note these guides are not intended to replace legal advice or guidance from relevant authorities.


What happens if I don’t get accepted?

Unfortunately we only have a limited amount of funding available, meaning we can only accept a small number of applications. If we can’t accept your application but are excited about what you’ve proposed, we’ll get in touch and hopefully can have you join us in the future! Please note that our small team is mostly made up of volunteers and we may not be able to respond as quickly as we’d like. If you don’t hear from us and would like to chat more, feel free to shoot us an email at [email protected]

You can also sign up to volunteer with the festival or donate to Car Free Vancouver Society.