Grey County Community Cultural Initiatives Fund

Grey County Community Cultural Initiatives Fund Banner

The Grey County Community Cultural Initiatives Fund supports partnerships and collaborations that create new opportunities and raise awareness of Grey County’s diverse cultural history.* The Fund aims to support projects and groups at both the grassroots and institutional level. In addition, it will spark new relationships between community representatives and Grey Roots Museum & Archives to create innovative projects and programs that bring authentic and diverse cultural voices to visitors and residents of Grey County.

The Fund supports projects or activities including but not limited to:

  • History and culture presentations, exhibitions, gatherings, and creative collaborations that demonstrate opportunities to raise awareness of diversity in Grey County.
  • Preservation and promotion of culture and history.
  • Networking, knowledge sharing, gathering and exchange to promote history and culture.

The application period for 2023 is now closed. Thank you to all who applied. Learn about the 2023 fund recipients below.

Grey County Community Cultural Initiatives Fund Details

2023 Grey County Community Cultural Initiatives Fund Recipients

Thank you to the many organizations and individuals who applied in the 2023 funding period, and sincere congratulations to each of the Fund Recipients. Learn about their important projects below.

Anishinaabe Cultural Experiences - Inclusive Interpretive Display Development Project

The Inclusive Interpretive Display Development Project will see Cape Croker Park interpretive staff working with Design de Plume, Saugeen Ojibway Nation Environment Office archaeologists, and Elders. We will develop and produce new interpretive signage, specifically focusing on recording and presenting our historical timeline utilizing a visual and interactive medium, as well as several interpretive display labels. Design de Plume (who worked with us to develop and produce our new park logos and branding) will create our visuals. The information they will use comes from the SON archaeologists and Elder knowledge, along with images of artifacts and art from our territory. The visual timeline will be printed and displayed in the interpretive centre, complimenting the existing displays and content. It will not remain a static display, but rather it and a variety of alternate versions (pamphlets, PowerPoints, print outs, etc.) will be utilized by our interpretive guides to share with visitors and community members to educate them about our connection to this place since time immemorial. The utilization of this type of teaching tool will help round out our offerings, as we know people learn in different ways. Having multiple ways for people to absorb information creates a higher potential for that information to have a meaningful impact on those who see and hear it.

Minjimendaamin (We Remember) Memorial Project

This is an inclusive community project in remembrance of children from Saugeen who were removed from their families and community to be sent to Residential Schools. The project seeks input from survivors and their descendants to develop and install a substantial, culturally appropriate monument in their honour. 

This project is intended as the anchor of a longer term plan to develop a comprehensive Memorial Garden.

An ad hoc committee has been formed of elders, survivors, and healers. This group is overseeing the project in its early stages.  The group has met with with a community-trusted monument maker to discuss pricing and future in-kind support. The same monument maker behind creation of a well-known and respected monument in the community of Wausauksing First Nation.
Much work has already been completed, confirming the names of children sent to residential schools, the survivors, and identifying almost all of the residential schools they attended against their will.

Through this funding, the committee will be able to continue its work with enhanced community engagement, design input sessions, design reviews, and a full-scale fundraising campaign.

Survivors and their descendants will be engaged throughout the process through multiple community gatherings and feasts. Updates to the community will be provided via social media, the Saugeen Newsletter, and the Community Webpage. 

An unveiling event, including traditional ceremony and community feast, is tentatively set for July 2024. 

Lili Anne Holding – Alpha to Omega – Owen Sound’s Greek Community

The intention of the project is to survey descendants of the originating Greek families of Owen Sound over the past century and create a narrative on video through conversations, documenting their Greek family’s immigration to Canada and to finally settle in Owen Sound to create a better life for themselves, their families and to help homeland community family members.

This Greek population played an important part in Grey County’s economic and cultural fabric. They brought a great desire to be entrepreneurs in their new homeland. From humble beginnings as green grocers, shoe shiners, candy makers and vendors of chestnut and popcorn carts, they eventually became alley operator and investors of commercial real estate.

Through their ventures, they employed local people with skilled trades in various tourist and service industries. They gave and received respect from the community, while providing healthy competition in business in the downtown core.

Acknowledgment of endeavours in sports, music and community achievements brought local, provincial, national and worldwide attention to not only themselves, but to the community of Owen Sound and Grey County.

Direct Descendants and Community Friends of Negro Creek - To Build a Monument, it Takes a Village

In 2023, we called on Chatsworth Township to commit to establishing a monument commemorating the history of Negro Creek. With strong community support, we were successful. Now, we are tasked with creating this monument.

Between March and May, we will undertake a series of zoom and in-person gatherings to collectively determine the specifics of the monument, including location, plaque wording, installation, and unveiling celebrations. Over June and July, installation work on-site will take place, and it is the hope of Chatsworth Township and our group that the unveiling celebration will take place in August.

It takes a whole village to move a stone with this much symbolic weight. Thus, our project utilizes a participatory methodology and a community-driven approach.

Old Durham Road Black Pioneer Cemetery Committee - Acknowledging our past: Updated Signage for the ODRBPC

In 2020, after consultation with descendants, we successfully petitioned the Municipality of Grey Highlands to add the word "Black" to the cemetery's official name (which had been known as "Old Durham Road Pioneer Cemetery"). We felt strongly that the new name would better reflect the community the cemetery had served. The cemetery's name was officially changed to: "Old Durham Road Black Pioneer Cemetery".  The large sign that accompanies the monument needs to be updated to reflect this.

Gitche Name Wikwedong Reconciliation Garden - Bimaadoon miikanaawan (Truth: Follow the Path)

This project will support the organization of 3 important community events and ceremonies at the Gitche Name Wikwedong Reconciliation Garden for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in our region: 

Red Dress Day on May 5th, Indigenous Day and a Sunrise Ceremony on June 21st, and the first marking of Indigenous Veteran’s Day on November 8th 2023 in the City of Owen Sound. 

The shared objectives of these three events are:

- to raise awareness of Indigenous culture and history,

- to engage Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in shared learning and change

- to build new relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples based on truth, respect and healing.

The Fund is open to:

  • History and cultural organizations.
  • Individual community members, artists, educators, heritage professionals and culture leaders.
  • Groups and collectives.
  • Non-profit organizations.

Eligible applicants must comply with all conditions and requirements contained in the Ontario Human Rights Code and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Ineligible applicants:

  • Students whose projects are part of academic course requirements.
  • For-profit businesses and organizations.
  • Municipalities.
  • Projects whose primary focus is not the people and history of Grey County.
  • Previously funded applicants who have not submitted a satisfactory final report for past projects.

Funding supports those projects and initiatives that have the potential to create lasting impact and opportunities for community-led history and culture projects in Grey County. Members of the subject community must be integral partners/participants in the project’s development and implementation.  Grants are meant to cover specific, project-related expenses, not ongoing operational costs for applicant organizations.  Applicants must demonstrate the capacity to undertake and complete the project within the proposed timelines.

Grant amounts can range from $500 - $10,000 depending on the number of applications and how well the proposed project meets the objectives of the fund.  Most grant awards will be in the $1,500 - $2,500 range.  Submission of an application does not guarantee funding.  The fund can support a maximum of one project per organization per year.  Please contact Grey County program staff to discuss your project before undertaking your application. 

The program aims to provide funding when recipients need it.  All funds must be used before December 31 of the year that funding is provided. 

Please note that if a project is cancelled for any reason, the granted funds must be returned to Grey County.  Failure to do so will result in the applicant being ineligible for future grants.

Eligible expenses may include, but are not limited to, printing costs, supplies and equipment, related professional fees, materials, promotion, and travel expenses.  Ongoing operating costs, debt recovery and capital expenses are outside the scope of this program.

In addition to financial assistance, recipients may access in-kind opportunities such as the use of Grey Roots space and promotional outlets.  Please note that Grey Roots staff may not be involved in project development or delivery.

Recipients must complete a final report, due within two months of their project’s completion that share project success stories and community impacts.

The application period for funding in 2023 is now closed.

2022 Grey County Community Cultural Initiatives Fund Recipients

Congratulations to the visionary organizations and individuals who were selected as recipients for the inaugural funding period of 2022. We look forward to following these projects as they take shape. See the recipients below, along with their descriptions of their projects.

Owen Sound Emancipation Festival – Emancipation Festival 2022

"The Emancipation Festival located in beautiful Grey Bruce and Simcoe Counties celebrates our roots and rich black culture and heritage and has the distinction of being the longest continuously running Emancipation Picnic/Festival in North America. Owen Sound and area residents have been celebrating this occasion since 1862, and individuals interested in appreciating history, family, culture, and community are welcome to join in the festivities."

Bonita Johnson-deMatteis – Lest We Forget

In this project, Bonita Johnson-deMatteis will "research, verify and update available information, photos, testimonies from friends and or family who were or knew members of the Black military of Grey, Bruce and Simcoe Counties, that took part in combat campaigns of the 20th century."

Cape Croker Park Cultural Interpretive Centre - Cape Croker Park Interpretive Center Display Development

Cape Croker has been renovating "a stone building within the park, that was built in 1902. This building is becoming a cultural interpretive center, through which community members and park visitors will learn more about Anishinaabek cultural, language, art, and history. Maps, story panels, artwork, and crafts will all be on display in the interpretive center. Additionally, original and museum quality replica artifacts will be displayed as well. Accompanying these displays will be plaques/write-ups/descriptions to explain the displays. In 2023, staff will be on site to converse with visitors and provide more in-depth explanations of the displays."

Negro Creek Descendants and Friends - Community-led public education of a Black Historic Site

"Over the past year, direct descendants and community friends of the historic Black settlement of Negro Creek have gathered to determine how to research and commemorate the site, in the context of ongoing vandalism and community erasure. Now that relationships of trust between community members have been forged and an accessible knowledge base has been created, the focus from June-December 2022 is on raising local awareness and education, and strengthening community bonds. The group will produce educational materials including pamphlets, a community zine, and a curriculum tool. After a workshop on peacebuilding and conflict de-escalation, members of the group will table at various community events."

Grey County Black Heritage Society - John “Daddy” Hall Writing Awards

This project will champion the "development and implementation of a writing contest for local students to research and write papers on local Black history topics."

This program defines “diverse cultural history” as those histories and cultures represented by Indigenous, Black and racialized peoples, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ2S+ communities, immigrants and refugees, people with low income, undocumented individuals, women, vulnerable persons and youth.