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 (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 a 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/road allowances (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 60 m2 (e.g. 20 ft x 40 ft)
  • Stages that are more than 225 m2 (building permit will be required)
  • 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. 

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 in advance. 

  • 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 in advance. 

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

S.E.A.T. 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.  

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

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

Contact us

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