Today, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, joined Hedy Fry, Member of Parliament for Vancouver Centre and Christine Buttkus, Executive Director at Surrey Cares Community Foundation to announce funding for projects under the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative that will benefit residents of Metro Vancouver. Also in attendance were Sophia Suderman, Executive Director of Pedal Foundation, Teka Everstz, National Coordinator at DUDES Club Society, and Karen Lee-Morgan, Artistic Director, Health Arts Society. The projects being announced today are among the more than 250 projects receiving funding following the first round of applications.
Safe and Vibrant Public Spaces
With almost $75,000 in federal funding, Burnaby’s Nikkei Garden will set up a local farmer’s market open to the public that will offer fresh, local, and culturally-appropriate food options in a safe outdoor setting that respects public health guidelines. Funds will also support safety upgrades and restorations so that the garden and market can be enjoyed by everyone.
Improved Mobility Options
Federal funding of $66,000 will support the Pedal Foundation’s Oppenheimer Park Bicycle Repair Clinics project, which will offer bicycle repair clinics in Oppenheimer Park to help ensure that people who live in Vancouver’s downtown east side can keep their bikes tuned and remain active as well as get to work and access social networks and support services.
With federal funding of $95,000, the DUDES Club Society will expand and adapt their virtual platforms so that it can create opportunities for men in over 200 locations, including 10 men’s correctional centres, to connect and support each other’s wellness through online communities. In particular, this project will help the marginalized men disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 continue to meet in peer-based spaces that promote Indigenous men’s physical and mental wellness.
More than $64,000 in federal funding will help support BC Hospice and Palliative Care Association’s grief and bereavement programming by allowing them to host their symposium and perform outreach virtually. Grief and bereavement struggles have been exacerbated by COVID-19 making projects like this one all the more important. Funds will also support the development of a web page dedicated to grief and bereavement resources to support those experiencing loss.
Federal funding of $43,000 will support the Farm-to-Plate project by the Canadian Society Promoting Environmental Conservation. The free online platform will act as a virtual farmer’s market that consolidates orders for locally farmed goods and offers “pay what you can” and “pay it forward” options. This project benefits both marginalized individuals that struggle to access fresh food and farmers who have been negatively affected by restaurant closures.
With federal funding of $50,000, the Health Arts Society will to develop a new online portal from where seniors living in retirement communities can access Concerts in Care – weekly video-recorded concerts by local musicians and artists to replace in-person shows. Going digital will enable seniors in Vancouver and neighboring rural communities to access and enjoy music from home both during the pandemic and once public health restrictions have been lifted.
The Canada Healthy Communities Initiative is a $31-million investment to build safer spaces and ensure a higher quality of life for people across the country, by helping communities adapt to the challenges presented by COVID-19.
A second call for applications for funding under the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative is open until close on June 25, 2021, at 5:00 p.m. PST. Applicants can apply for funding ranging from $5,000 to $250,000 for eligible projects.
“The pandemic has affected the ability of people of all ages to connect with each other and communities across the country have found innovative solutions to support the well-being of residents. Federal funding is supporting great initiatives across Vancouver, from a bicycle repair clinic in Oppenheimer Park to help residents stay active outdoors, to video-recorded concerts for seniors living in retirement to safely enjoy. The Canada Healthy Communities Initiative is supporting projects across the country that build more inclusive communities and ensure a higher quality of life for Canadians.”
The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities
“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the important role public spaces play in connecting our communities. After over a year of public distancing, our communities need new, innovative public spaces that respond to the realities of pandemic times. I am thrilled to see these projects move forward and witness first-hand their role in building more vibrant, resilient, and safer communities.”
Hedy Fry, Member of Parliament for Vancouver Centre
“The Oppenheimer Bicycle Repair Clinic project will benefit members of the downtown eastside by ensuring their bikes are in safe riding condition. For people in vulnerable situations, access to transportation can mean the difference between them being able to earn an income, access their support networks, social services, and live an active lifestyle.”
Sophia Suderman, Executive Director of Pedal Foundation
“Public spaces are the glue to our communities: they enable a feeling of belonging and of social cohesion. They are a big part of what makes communities safe, vibrant and connected. As the southern BC regions face increased isolation due to COVID-19, these projects from the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative will help our community to connect safely and will benefit the mental and physical well-being of our residents.”
Christine Buttkus, Executive Director at Surrey Cares Community Foundation
“Health Arts Society’s ‘Concerts in Care’ program acts as a conduit between the professional music community and elder audiences in long-term care, retirement communities and other facilities. Our audience represents the demographic hardest hit by COVID-19, and in this time of isolation, we are reaching out with ‘Concerts in Care Online’, weekly virtual concerts on our dedicated platform. The recent grant from the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative has been invaluable in helping us stay connected with our audiences. We are extremely grateful to SurreyCares Community Foundation, the Government of Canada and Minister McKenna for this generous contribution. Thank you!”
Raymond Aucoin, Managing Director, Health Arts Society
“With the funding from the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative, DUDES Club will continue to grow and build relationships with community organizations, Indigenous nations, and regional Health Authorities. We are a proud and diverse mix of men, male, masculine-identified, queer, and gender-nonconforming individuals. All of whom continue to build access to both western and Indigenous wellness approaches, reconcile and heal from intergenerational impacts of colonial systems, and navigate themselves toward a healthier lifestyle while strengthening community and have a good time doing it.”
Teka Everstz, National Coordinator, DUDES Club Society
“The Healthy Communities Initiative is supporting organizations in British Columbia to bring people together in our communities both in-person and digitally, while respecting public health measures. These projects show us the creativity and resourcefulness of communities as they create temporary and longer-lasting solutions that enable people to connect and access public spaces safely.”
Andrea Dicks, President of Community Foundations of Canada
The Canada Healthy Communities Initiative was created to help communities adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic and create safe ways for residents to access services and enjoy the outdoors. The Initiative is designed to fund eligible projects between $5,000 and $250,000 that fall under three main themes: creating safe and vibrant public spaces, improving mobility options, and digital solutions.
Community Foundations of Canada was selected through an open call for applications to implement this national project. Together with its partners, including the Canadian Urban Institute, it is working with pan-Canadian networks to manage the funding process and serve the distinct needs of communities across Canada, including equity-seeking groups interested in applying.
The first intake for projects was launched on February 9, 2021, and closed on March 9, 2021.