Plan an Event

Are you organizing a festival or event in Kitchener? Do you require services from the city or just have a question on getting started?

Whether you are planning a new festival or event our team is dedicated to pointing you in the right direction to get you started off on the right foot.

Fill out our Special Events Application Form

Event Planning Toolkit

When planning an event there are a number of things to consider and obstacles you may face. As the event organizer, you will be responsible for the planning and execution of your event. Although the task may seem daunting at first, you will a lot of the information and resources you need here. Events are a great way to celebrate diversity, fundraise for a special cause, or add more enjoyment to the community of Kitchener.

A successful event starts with a great idea. Think about the following questions: who, what, when, where, why, and how?

  • Who is your target audience?
  • What kid of experience are you looking to create for your guests?
  • What is the style of the event (concert, market place)?
  • When is the best time to hold the event (night, day, weekend, summer, autumn)?
  • Where is the ideal location for this event (indoors, outdoors, street, park)?
  • Why are you having the event (fundraiser, awareness, generating profit)?
  • How are you going to pay for this event (in-kind grants, corporate sponsorship, and charge exhibitors)?

During the planning process for your special event, you will likely require a permit/license to be completed prior to your event taking place. Some examples of items that would require a permit/license would include the food vendors, fireworks, midway, road closures, tents, alcohol or temporary vendor. Do your homework in advance, educate yourself on what may be required to host a successful event.

Noted in the resource section below are some of the guidelines that need to be completed and adhered to when planning your event in the City of Kitchener. Keep in mind this may not be a complete list of contacts/approvals you will require for your event/festival and should be used as a guide.

City of Kitchener Special Events Unit

The Special Events team is comprised of four Special Event Coordinators and a Facility Scheduler. Our staff manage a variety of events throughout the city each year. It is the responsibility of the event organizer for the planning and implementation of your event.

Our Special Event Coordinators act as a liaison to internal departments, a link to external resources and is your support to ensure a safe and successful event.

Our team is also responsible for the renting of the historic Victoria Park Pavilion, Victoria Park Commons and a number of meeting rooms within City Hall including the Rotunda and Carl Zehr Square.


Website: Kitchener Events

Some helpful links

Kitchener Events Staff


The City of Kitchener is made up of a variety of diverse communities and groups. The City of Kitchener values the contributions made by all of its people and believes that diversity among its people has strengthened Kitchener. The City of Kitchener is committed to offering programs and services to persons of all ages and abilities. Our goal is to provide inclusive opportunities that encourage residents full participation in our programs, services, facilities, volunteer opportunities, and our advisory committees. By including accessible design features in your event planning, you will help to ensure that your event enjoyed by all. The City of Kitchener supports the goals of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) and encourages all event planners to make their events as accessible as possible.


Website: City of Kitchener Accessibility & Inclusion

Some helpful links

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act
Ministry of Community and Social Services: Understanding Accessibility
Festivals & Events Ontario Guide to Accessible Events



To serve alcohol at a Special Event, a Special Occasion Permit (SOP), under the regulations of the Liquor License Act, must be applied for through the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO). Additionally, the AGCO regulates any extension to your licensed premises to adjacent areas for a special event.
Locations that require an SOP for service of alcohol during events include City of Kitchener-owned buildings, facilities, parks, properties, public squares and City public right-of-ways. In cases where City of Kitchener property is being used individual departments have the final decision as to site layouts and approvals where alcohol is involved.


AGCO Toll free in Ontario at 1-800-522-2876

Some helpful links:

Special Occasion Permit – Municipality
Special Occasion Permit – General Public
AGCO – Liquor License Extension Due To Special Event
Smart Serve Ontario
City of Kitchener Municipal Alcohol Policy

Amusement Devices/Carnivals

In general, Amusement Rides are governed by the Technical Standards and Safety Association (TSSA) who administer and enforce public safety laws in the Province of Ontario. In order to have amusement ride be considered for use at a special event/festival you must have the appropriate TSSA Certification and Insurance.

Venues and facilities may also have restrictions and policies governing the use of Amusement Rides.


To find out more information on Certification requirements to be an operator of an amusement device contact:

Technical Standards and Safety Association (TSSA):

Phone: 1-877-682-TSSA (8772)
Website: TSSA Regulated Amusement Devices

City of Kitchener Licensing Unit

Phone: 519-741-2275
Address: 200 King Street West, Kitchener – 2nd Floor

Some helpful links:

TSSA Operating an Amusement Device In Ontario
TSSA Inflatable Device Decision Tree


The City of Kitchener’s Building Division reviews permit applications, issues permits and conducts inspections in accordance with the Ontario Building Code, the City of Kitchener's zoning by-laws and other legislation.

The Building Division can, if needed, assist and consult with event organizers on what permit requirements for structures (such as scaffolding and stages), buildings and tents over 645 sq ft may be required.

As an event organizer you may need to retain your own engineers and professionals to advise you of proper policies, provide structural drawing and other documents. (Note: most rental tent companies will guide you and provide proper documentation).


Kitchener Building Division

Phone: 519-741-2433
Website: City of Kitchener Building Division

Some helpful links

City of Kitchener Building Permits
Ontario Building Code

The Downtown Kitchener Business Improvement Area (BIA)

The Downtown Kitchener Business Improvement Area (BIA) is a non-profit organization enacted in 1977 by the City of Kitchener. The Downtown Kitchener BIA exists to be a collective voice that fosters collaboration within the downtown business area and acts as a catalyst for prosperous growth in our community. The BIA is mainly funded by a commercial taxation assessment levy paid to The City of Kitchener, by the property owners within the BIA. If you are a property owner or commercial tenant within the BIA boundary, you are automatically a member of the Downtown Kitchener BIA.

The BIA works closely with the City of Kitchener’s Economic Development team to establish Downtown Kitchener as one of the best downtowns in North America that offers a complete sense of community while offering cool, unique, vibrant and eclectic experiences. The Downtown Kitchener BIA provide a number of services to benefit the members including streetscape beautification, marketing the Downtown and supporting special events that bring energy and foot-traffic to our core.


Downtown Kitchener BIA:
Phone: 519-744-4921 ext. 405
Website: Downtown Kitchener BIA

Carl Zehr Square

Carl Zehr Square, located in front of Kitchener City Hall at 200 King St. W. is home to many of our events and festivals throughout the year. Formally Civic Square, it was renamed after the city's longest serving mayor in December 2014.

Whether we are celebrating youth hockey in our community through HockeyTown or playing host to thousands during Canada Day, Carl Zehr Square continues to be one of the main hubs of activity in downtown Kitchener.

A permanent granite stage is used by the community for concerts and performances throughout the year; while the reflecting pool - with its powerful fountains, illuminated at night - is the square's showpiece.

From November to March the reflecting pool is transformed into an ice rink, a popular destination for skaters throughout the winter months. Special wheelchair skates and sleds are available to ensure accessibility for all.


Phone: 519-741-2200 ext. 7488
Website: Carl Zehr Square

City Hall Room Rentals

Whether you're looking to rent space for a meeting or a special event, Kitchener City Hall has a number of options available to meet your needs and make your event or function memorable.

Located at 200 King St. West, Kitchener City Hall offers many meeting rooms that vary in capacity from small groups of 12 to the formal council chambers that can accommodate up to 150.

The stunning open-concept rotunda can be adapted for a wide range of events and holds up to 220 people. This is a prime location and is an excellent venue for receptions, banquets, corporate functions, performances, fundraising galas and other special events.


Phone: 519-741-2200 ext. 7488
Website: City Hall Room Rentals

Some helpful links

City of Kitchener Facility Rental Guidebook

Community Centres

 The City of Kitchener operates 14 community centres, where unique collaboration between staff, volunteers, community organizations, seniors groups and neighbourhood associations ensures quality recreational services and programming is provided to citizens in every corner of the city.


Phone: 519-741-2345
Website: City of Kitchener Community Centres

Some helpful links

City of Kitchener Neighbourhood Associations
City of Kitchener Neighbourhood Association Boundaries
City of Kitchener Festival of Neighbourhoods Program
City of Kitchener Room Rental Information

Corporate Contact Centre

The corporate contact centre provides the community with contact information to departments within the City of Kitchener 24/7.


Phone: 519-741-2345
Website: Corporate Contact Centre

Emergency Plans

In your day-to-day living, disasters may seem a distant possibility. Yet emergencies, such as floods or tornadoes; technological or environmental accidents, including chemical spills; and service disruptions, like the massive power blackout in 2003, can strike at any time.

Like all other municipalities across the province, we have been proactive in preparing and constantly reviewing and updating our official emergency plan.

The plan provides guidance to key officials, agencies and departments across the city on the expected response to a serious, large-scale emergency; as well as an overview of what the individual responses of these groups should be.

Some helpful links

City of Kitchener Emergency Plan
Emergency Management Planning Guide

Film Kitchener Services

If you are looking for a location or amenities, Kitchener Film liaison services are here to help. From processing permits, establishing contacts locally, and making your project as seamless as possible while you are here, we can offer direct support.


Phone: 226-753-3620
Website: Film Kitchener Services

Some helpful links

Ontario Media Development Corporation

Fire Department (Kitchener) – Fire Prevention - BBQ, Fireworks, Fire pits

Review attached guidelines for bbqs, tanks, site layout and general safety rules. (insert attachments) Under the City of Kitchener Municipal Code, fireworks can only be set off on Victoria Day and Canada Day and the day immediately before and after Victoria Day and Canada Day. Fireworks cannot be sold to anyone under the age of 18.


Kitchener Fire Department:
Phone: 519-741-2495
Website: Kitchener Fire Department

Some helpful links

Fireworks Safety


Under the City of Kitchener Municipal Code, fireworks can only be set off on Victoria Day and Canada Day and the day immediately before and after Victoria Day and Canada Day. Fireworks cannot be sold to anyone under the age of 18.


Kitchener Fire Department:

Phone: 519-741-2495

Some helpful links

Fireworks Safety

First Aid

Emergency medical care is an important aspect in planning a special event. Involving experts in identifying, planning and executing medical needs for events, festivals, concerts, parades, motor races and more and will assist you to develop a specific medical services plan for your event.


Waterloo Region EMS:

Phone: 519-650-8295 ext. 2260
Website: Waterloo Region EMS

St. John Ambulance:

Phone: 519-579-6285
Website: St. John Ambulance

Some helpful links

Emergency Preparedness Plan
CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation)


Public Health Inspectors with Region of Waterloo Public Health provide a wide variety of programs and services designed to protect the health of residents in the Region. This includes inspection of a number of public facilities (and businesses) where government regulations are enforced under the Health Protection and Promotion Act. These regulations relate to food safety, infection prevention and control, and recreational water safety.


Region of Waterloo

Phone: 519-575-4400
Website: Region of Waterloo 
***Use of gas fired barbecues – please call Fire Prevention at 519-741-2495

Some helpful links

Region of Waterloo Public Health - Restaurants & Food Services

Special Events Coordinator Form

Special Event Form For Food Vendors

Gaming and Lottery

A lottery license from the City of Kitchener Licensing Unit will be required if you want to hold any type of lottery at your event including bingo or raffles (i.e. elimination draw, 50/50 or stub draw).

Gaming Services issues lottery licenses to eligible charitable, religious or not for profit organizations.


City of Kitchener Licensing Unit:

Phone: 519-741-2275
Address: 200 King Street West, Kitchener – 2nd Floor

Some helpful links



A standard requirement of hosting a special event in the City of Kitchener is obtaining insurance coverage. Insurance can cover many aspects of the event from liabilities, to cancellation, to emergencies. Event organizers are responsible for the participants and audience members taking part in your event.

Applications for city facilities, civic squares, and road closures all required the event organizers to obtain a minimum of $2,000,000 in liability insurance, some venues require $5,000,000 or more. The amount of insurance can also depend on your activities (e.g. food festival to outdoor licensed concert).


Considering insurance coverage is provided by private insurance providers we suggest starting with your organizations or personal insurance provider.

Insurance Brokers Association of Canada

Some helpful links

PAL Insurance Brokers Canada

Kitchener Market

Kitchener Market is a feast for the senses - and one of our community's most beloved gathering places. The Market International Food Court is open Tuesday to Friday from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 7 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Filling a country block within our downtown core - with food and wares representing the great diversity and cultural richness of our city - the year-round market hosts thousands of visitors each week - people who want to shop, browse, and meet their neighbours and friends.


Phone: 519-741-2287
Website: Kitchener Market

Some helpful links

Renting Space at the Kitchener Market

Music License

Any music that is played at an event needs to be licensed by SOCAN (Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada). This can include background music or music being performed by a band. Without the SOCAN license you would be required to get permission from every composer, songwriter, lyricist and music publisher for every piece of music you perform. The SOCAN license gives you the freedom to play almost every song ever protected by a copyright.


SOCAN (Music Licensing)

41 Valleybrook Drive
Toronto, ON M3B 2S6
Phone:1.866.944.6223 or 1.800.557.6226
Fax: 416-445-7108
Website: SOCAN

Noise Amplification Exemption (By-law)

The City’s Noise By-law prohibits making noise that is likely to disturb a resident. This by-law is in effect 24 hours a day, however there is typically a bit more tolerance for noise during the day and early evenings.

If you are charged and found guilty of an infraction under the noise bylaw, you will be fined a minimum of $300 for each offence.

Noise bylaws are enforced on a complaint basis by the city and the Waterloo regional police. If you need a Noise Bylaw Exemption you can receive one from the City by contacting your councilor in your appropriate ward. If you have questions please contact:


City of Kitchener By-law:

Phone: 519-741-2330 or TTY: 1-866-969-9994

Road Closures

A special event permit is required for anyone wanting to hold a parade/procession, ceremony, street dance/party, beer garden, solicitation of donations from a motor vehicle (toll road), sidewalk/street sale, festival/carnival, race/walk-a-thon, demonstration or any similar event that requires a lane or road closure or may interfere with the normal flow of traffic on a Regional Road, but does not include a wedding or funeral procession, picketing, or an activity for which the Region has granted a Filming Event Permit or a Work Permit.

The City of Kitchener Traffic Department must review and approve all street closure applications to ensure that emergency access is maintained at all times. Every street closure must have an Emergency Access Route.


City of Kitchener Traffic Department

Website: Region of Waterloo Road and Traffic Permits

Some helpful links:

Region of Waterloo Special Event Permit (Road Closure)

The Aud and Community Arenas

Visit The Aud & Community Arenas and stay active! The Aud & Community Arenas can be used for ice and floor rentals, hall rentals, corporate meetings, and special events.


Phone: 519-741-2699
Website: The Kitchener Memorial Auditorium

Some helpful links:

Rentals & Tickets

Victoria Park Pavilion

Nestled among natural gardens and mature trees, the 1920's-era pavilion is a stately building overlooking Victoria Park, one of the city's oldest and largest parks, located in downtown Kitchener.

The large, well-lit room features a stage, large windows and capacity for 250 people. It is an ideal location for banquets, corporate presentations and stage performances and is sought after as a premier wedding reception venue.


Phone: 519-741-2200 ext. 7488
Website: Victoria Park Pavilion

Some helpful links:

City of Kitchener Facility Rental Guidebook

©2016 Kitchener Events