Budget 2017: Parks, arts and culture funding gets boost

Aside from the billions earmarked in the 2017 budget for housing and childcare, the government’s social infrastructure agenda includes millions of dollars for building new cultural spaces and making them accessible to all Canadians.

In the federal budget released Wednesday, the government says it will build on commitments in the 2016 budget by investing a further $1.8 billion over 10 years, starting in 2018, to promote arts and culture. The majority of that money, $1.3 billion, will be provided to provinces and territories through bilateral agreements.

The Canada Cultural Spaces Fund will provide $300 million over the next decade to construct, renovate and better equip creative spaces and hubs.

Several Ottawa-area facilities have previously benefited from the fund.

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The expansion of the Ottawa Art Gallery and the redevelopment of the Arts Court building received $5.25 million in February, while the gallery received an additional $1.3 million for specialized equipment for its new space.

Carp’s Diefenbunker Cold War Museum received $25,000.

A further $77 million over 10 years will pay for the construction and renovation of public spaces such as community centres and swimming pools to make them more accessible.

Eligible projects include constructing and renovating buildings (adding ramps, automatic door openers and accessible washrooms), providing accessible information and communication technologies, and retrofitting vehicles.

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The Enabling Accessibility Fund has provided cash to more than 2,300 projects across the country since its creation in 2007.

The government will also give Parks Canada $364 million over the next two years to manage national parks, marine conservation areas and historic sites.

In recognition of the 150th anniversary of Canada’s Confederation, admission is free to all national parks, marine conservation areas and historic sites this year.

The 2017 budget also outlines the government’s plan to complete, enhance and maintain the Trans Canada Trail.

The government will spend $30 million over five years to Parks Canada, starting in 2017-2018.

When completed, the TCT be the longest recreational trail in the world, stretching nearly 24,000 kilometres from the Atlantic to the Pacific to the Arctic oceans, touching every provincial and territorial capital and linking together 15,000 communities.

Access to the trail will be within 30 minutes of about 29 million Canadians.

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