Holding a Special Event on City Property

The City of Hamilton’s Events Office produces, facilitates, reviews and regulates hundreds of events across Hamilton on an annual basis. 

The city has developed guidelines for holding events outside on city property to ensure the health and safety of participants and residents. The review of these outdoor events is done through the Special Events Advisory Team or S.E.A.T., a team comprised of city staff representing various municipal divisions who ensure that all of the necessary permits, permissions and insurance are in place.


You must submit an S.E.A.T application if:

1. You wish to hold your event on any portion of outdoor property owned by the City of Hamilton.

This includes:

  • Roads and road allowances such as street festivals, parades and races
  • Parks and parkettes
  • Parking lots
  • Alleyways, both assumed and unassumed
  • Walkways, pathways and trails
  • Water lots
  • Open spaces
  • City Hall forecourt

And the event includes any of the following:

  • Food being given or sold to the general public at an event open to the public
  • Alcohol
  • Fireworks
  • Sound amplification
  • The use of electricity - you are plugging into an outlet for power and/or using a generator
  • Tents larger than 10 feet by 10 feet
  • Amusement rides and/or inflatables, such as bouncy castles or bouncers
  • Projected attendance of over 1,000 people

2.  A S.E.A.T. Chair requests you to do so because your event significantly affects City services. Affected services can include Police, Hamilton Street Railway, Road Operations, Corridor Management and/or Waste Management. 

In this case, you must add the City of Hamilton to your insurance as an “Additional Insured” if your event on private property involves the use City services or staff and provide a copy of this insurance to S.E.A.T.

Deadlines give both you and the city enough time to ensure that your event is safe and that all required approvals and applicable licenses are in place. The larger and more complex the event, the more time it will take to review and process your application. Plan accordingly to avoid disappointment.

S.E.A.T. applications have the following deadlines, but you are strongly encouraged to submit earlier:

  • If your event will take place on a roadway, you will need to submit a S.E.A.T. application a minimum of 120 days before your event is scheduled to take place. 

  • If your event will not take place on a roadway, you will need to submit a S.E.A.T. application a minimum of 60 days before your event is scheduled to take place. 

S.E.A.T. will make the final determination as to whether an event that takes place on the roadway which be a full or partial road closure.

When you submit an application, S.E.A.T.:

  • informs all of the affected City divisions about your proposed event.
  • makes sure that all health and safety guidelines are met
  • makes sure that all necessary permits, permissions, insurance and approvals are secured
  • ensures that there are no scheduling conflicts with other events or activities
  • ensures that City services are not negatively impacted as a result of your event

The safety of the people at your event and respect for City property is important. We maintain our facilities for long-term public use and event organizers are responsible for any damages caused by event activity.

In consultation with S.E.A.T. members, the S.E.A.T. Chair reserves the right to waive the necessity for an application and to direct the event organizer to the alternative City application or processes to secure approval to use City property.  

Sports tournaments

If you are interested in holding a sports tournament, contact:

Brad Walker
Sport Policy and Development
Phone: 905-540-2424 ext. 4610

Read the 2015 SEAT Guidelines before you submit a S.E.A.T. application

Complete the S.E.A.T. application online

  • You must complete your application in one sitting. You cannot save your application and return to it later.
  • If you leave the application open for too long it will time out. To prevent losing your data we recommend typing out longer answers in a Microsoft Word document and then cutting and pasting your answers directly into the application.

Submit your site map or road closure map by:

  • Email:specialevents@hamilton.ca
  • Fax: 905-540-5511, Attention: S.E.A.T
  • Mail or drop off to: Lister Block, Recreation, 28 James Street North, 2nd floor, Hamilton, Ontario L8R 2K1

S.E.A..T. will not accept applications without a site map and/or road closure map.

2015 Pan Am/ Para Pan Am Games

From July 10 to 26, 2015 the City of Hamilton, in partnership with TO2015, will be hosting a number of events including 32 soccer matches at the new CIBC Hamilton Pan Am Soccer Stadium and related cultural festivities. The Games are sure to be memorable as we welcome over 10,000 athletes, coaches and officials and over 250,000 visitors to the Greater Golden Horseshoe. Together with soccer matches being held in CIBC Hamilton Pan Am Soccer Stadium, it is proposed there will be 16 days of public celebrations and cultural festivities throughout the city, for visitors and residents to enhance their overall Games experience.

Due to the amount of resources needed to accommodate the Games and associated events, related resources will be limited. As such, if you plan to apply for a July 2015 event date, you may be required to amend your event requirements and/or make alternate venue arrangements.

For more information about the City’s involvement in the Pan Am / Parapan Am Games, contact the Hamilton Pan Am Initiatives office at 905-546-2424 ext. 3672.

Contact us

Special Event Advisory Team (SEAT)
28 James Street North, Lister Block, 2nd Floor
Hamilton, Ontario
Phone: 905-546-4646
Email: specialevents@hamilton.ca 
Appointments are strongly recommended.