2017 S.E.A.T. Guidelines

S.E.A.T. is a team comprised of City staff representing various municipal divisions that facilitate and support outdoor events taking place on City property and, in some cases, events on private property that have a significant impact on City services.

They ensures that these events have all of the necessary permits, permissions and insurance in place to ensure that the event is healthy and safe for the organizers, participants, the corporation and other citizens.

S.E.A.T. is administered by the City’s Events Office in the Tourism & Culture Division.

Submit a S.E.A.T. Application

Read the 2017 S.E.A.T Guidelines before you submit a S.E.A.T application

Complete the online S.E.A.T. application
Submission deadlines
60 days for events in parks
120 days for events on a roadway

 

S.E.A.T. Guidelines

Submitting a S.E.A.T. application does the following:

  • 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.

  1. Your application will be reviewed by Events Office staff who administer the S.E.A.T. process.
    If there are any immediate problems / concerns with your application you will be contacted by staff.
    Note: if your event / organization has any outstanding fees owing to the City of Hamilton, your S.E.A.T. application will not be considered until owing amounts are paid in full.
  2. Once it is determined that your S.E.A.T. application is complete and has been vetted by the Events Office, your S.E.A.T. application will be reviewed by all the members of S.E.A.T. at its monthly meeting.
  3. Once all S.E.A.T. representatives have ‘approved’ your event, you will receive written notification of your approval via email from the Events Office.
    Your S.E.A.T. approval will be contingent on your organization adhering to the City’s policies and procedures to ensure that your event meets health and safety standards.
  4. If you should have any questions between when you receive your approval and when your event takes place, please contact the Events Office and we will assist you with your query and / or direct you to the appropriate City department. 

We recommend that the organizers of ‘first time events’ connect with the Events Office prior to submitting a S.E.A.T. application. Sometimes, a S.E.A.T. application is not required. Events Office staff can determine this for you. They can also check the availability of parks and the City Hall Forecourt, can advise if there are any conflicts with the date that you are planning on holding your event, and can discuss potential fees and S.E.A.T requirements. Email seat@hamilton.ca or phone 905-546-4646.

S.E.A.T. requires a reliable and knowledgeable representative from your event planning team to be the main contact between your organization and the City. The main contact on the S.E.A.T. application must legally be able to act / speak on behalf of the organization applying.

Please ensure that the contact information that you submit is up-to-date and add the email, seat@hamilton.ca, to your email address book so that S.E.A.T. emails do not end up in your junk mail folder. S.E.A.T. frequently uses email to communicate. 

Note: the organization that is listed on the S.E.A.T. application must also be the entity that is listed as the ‘named insured’ on any insurance certificates provided to the City. More information on this can be found under the Event Components section of these Guidelines.

Alternate contact information

S.E.A.T. asks that the applicant provide contact information for an additional member of the event planning team in the event that City staff require an immediate response and cannot get ahold of the primary contact.

Please indicate if your organization is a registered charity, incorporated non-profit, incorporated business or unincorporated group (with non-profit goals). Not only is this information helpful for statistical purposes, but in certain cases, these groups are eligible for reduced / waived costs in City services. To this end, we will also ask for the corresponding business numbers of each group to verify that events presenting themselves as a certain type of organization are indeed representing a legally registered charitable / non-profit entity.

The City is sometimes asked to provide contact information to members of the public interested in your event (i.e. website or event phone number). The City may also contact you outside of the S.E.A.T. process to gather information or data about your event. Due to privacy regulations we require your consent to release such information to the public.

The City of Hamilton’s Privacy Policy states:

The City of Hamilton collects information under authority of section 227 of the Municipal Act, 2001. Any personal information collected on a Special Event Application will be used to facilitate the request to host a special event within the City of Hamilton. Applicants may, from time to time, be contacted by the City or a City-contracted third party for the express purposes of gathering information about the proposed event, assessing satisfaction and/or obtaining feedback on the services related to special events. Questions about this collection should be directed to Bridget MacIntosh, Program Manager, Events phone 905-546-2424 Ext. 4514 P. O. Box 2040 Hamilton, ON L8P 4Y5.

Note: information about your event may appear in a dataset on the City of Hamilton’s Open Data website.

S.E.A.T. needs to know the date(s) and time(s) of your event to prevent conflicts with other events taking place in the City at the same time and in the same location.  S.E.A.T. will also use this information to alert other City departments about potential closures etc. in the interest of public health and safety.

In order to ensure that the facilities you’ve requested are booked properly and that we can better facilitate your event, S.E.A.T. needs to know:

  • When your event will take place (i.e. open to the public to attend);
  • When you will be setting up your event;
  • When you will be finished taking down your event; and,
  • Whether or not your event will occur on a weekly or monthly basis.

Note:

  • Rental fees for events taking place on City property are in effect from the day you are on-site setting up for your event until when you have completed your tear-down
  • If your event is on a roadway, there are specific times that have been approved by City Council for you to occupy the roadway. The times that have been approved include event set-up and tear-down.   

S.E.A.T. needs to know where your event will be taking place. Will your event take place on private property, City property or a combination of both? Will you be using City Hall, a City park, a recreation facility or a roadway? Will you require the use of a municipal parking lot or on-street metered parking spaces?

The location of your event

  • Help S.E.A.T. determine whether or not you need to proceed with an application and what permits and permissions are required for your event (if any);
  • Allow S.E.A.T. to verify the availability of your location request and prevent scheduling conflicts with other events /  activities /  programming /  day-to-day operations;
  • Allow S.E.A.T. to alert City departments about potential road closures / park use requests in the interest of public health and safety. For example, S.E.A.T. informs Hamilton Paramedic Services and the Hamilton Fire Department of events so that ambulances and fire trucks can avoid road closures and respond to emergencies faster.

In some cases, a site visit may be required to provide S.E.A.T. with the opportunity to work with you to properly lay out your event and pro-actively address any event problems. If a site visit is required, a representative from the Events Office will contact you to arrange a meeting date and time.

Location details

If you would like your event to take place at the City Hall Forecourt, your S.E.A.T. application must be submitted a minimum of 60 days prior to your event.

S.E.A.T. will work with the City of Hamilton’s Facilities Management Section (Facility Help Desk) to book your event into the City Hall Forecourt if it’s available.

Things you should know

  • There is no rental fee to use the Forecourt but there are fees associated with obtaining additional services and access outside of regular business hours, Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. There are special regulations surrounding rallies and protests on the City Hall Forecourt. For more information please contact the Facility Help Desk by email facilities@hamilton.ca or phone 905-546-2784.
  • The Forecourt has a sound system that is provided free of charge but staffing fees apply if you require a City staff person to run the system for you regardless of when your event takes place. Amplified sound is not permitted on the Forecourt during Council or Committee meetings held in Council Chambers. View the schedule of meetings
  • There are limitations on the size / weight of vehicles permitted on the Forecourt as certain vehicles may damage the concrete.
  • You are expected to leave the Forecourt in the same condition in which you found it. Cleaning / repair costs will be billed back to you, the event organizer, if the City of Hamilton determines that the condition of the Forecourt is in need of cleaning and / or repair after your event. Please be respectful of the space and ensure that you have a clean-up strategy in place.
  • The use of glitter, confetti, paint and chalk at City Hall and on the Forecourt is not permitted. If you are planning on using candles, they must be in a shatter-proof container. Electronic candles are preferred.  
  • Find out more about popular locations for events.

If you would like your event to take place in a City park or parkette, your S.E.A.T. application must be submitted a minimum of 60 days prior to your event.

S.E.A.T. will work with the City of Hamilton’s Recreation Division (Facility Booking) to book your event into the park that you have requested. If the park is available, a rental agreement will be created. Park rental contracts must be signed and paid for in full 30 days prior to your event. Should you fail to confirm your booking and / or fail to submit payment, the booking will be released.

Park rental contracts can be paid in person by visiting:

Recreation Division (Facility Booking)
28 James St. North, 3rd Floor
Hours: Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm
Phone: 905-540-5590

Cancellation and Changes
Cancellations are subject to the following terms:

  • 14 days’ notice, in writing, is required to cancel a previously issued permit
  • A full refund will be provided if appropriate notice is provided
  • Refunds for cancellations received with lesser notice will not be issued

For more information, email Recreation (Facility Booking) facbook@hamilton.ca.  

Event organizer responsibilities

Submitting a site map

  • As part of your S.E.A.T. application submission, you will be required to upload a legible site map, providing the details of your event layout.
  • Site maps are important for S.E.A.T. to understand how you intend to set-up your event. For more information, see the 2017 SEAT Guidelines (PDF, 255 KB).

Paying for the park rental

Rental fees vary based on the type of park you are using and the duration you’re using it for. Most of the popular event parks (Bayfront, Pier 4, Gage Park, T.B. McQuesten) have a daily rate ranging from $100 to $300 depending on the size and scope of the event. Rental costs for other parks can be obtained from the Recreation Division (Facility Booking) by phone 905-540-5590 or email facbook@hamilton.ca.

Paying for Parks staff to be onsite

Based on the size of your event, S.E.A.T. may determine that Parks staff need to be present on-site to ensure that the event is healthy and safe and that amenities are accessible (i.e. washroom facilities / electrical boxes). Staffing rates are in alignment with current collective agreements and can start anywhere from $40 per hour with a minimum 4 hour call.

Hiring and paying for Paid Duty Officers

Depending on the size and scope of your event, you may need to hire Paid Duty Officers from the Hamilton Police Service to work your event. Learn more about hiring a paid duty officer.

  • Seeking permission to park vehicles on grass
  • There are limitations on the size / weight of vehicles permitted on the grass within City parks as certain vehicles can damage the turf.
  • Do not assume that vehicles belonging to your event suppliers, vendors etc. can drive onto the turf. Parks staff will make a final determination as to whether or not vehicles are permitted to drive on the grass.
  • Indicate on your S.E.A.T. application (in the description field), the types of vehicles you wish to use so that we can work together to discuss options.

Renting washroom facilities

  • Not all City parks have washroom facilities. S.E.A.T. will advise if washroom facilities are not available at the park you have requested on your S.E.A.T. application. 
  • Depending on the size of your event and the length of time your event will be taking place, you may be responsible for renting port-a-potties and hand-washing stations at your own expense.
  • The parks that do have washroom facilities are, for the most part, open from May to October. If your event takes place outside of this timeframe, you may also be responsible for renting port-a-potties and hand-washing stations at your own expense.
  • Depending on the size of your event, you may be required to provide additional washroom facilities if the City determines that existing facilities cannot handle the amount of people expected at your event.

Ensuring that hydro is available on-site

In some parks, hydro is not available. Event organizers requiring power or power greater than a standard 110V outlet will need to rent a generator at their own expense. Parks staff will advise as to where the generator is to be placed.

Providing shade / shelter for event staff, volunteers, vendors and participants

  • Shade is essential and an area of shade must be available to staff, volunteers, vendors and participants to offer protection from the sun’s harmful rays and heat overexposure.
  • In some parks, permanent shade from buildings or trees is not available. Event organizers will need to arrange for temporary shade at their own expense, such as a tent or canopy (see information above about tents and temporary structures).

Obtaining locates

  • Utility Locates / Inspections Underground utilities (including hydro, gas, or irrigation lines) may be buried below the surface of municipal property and utility locates (the search for underground services) are required prior to staking or digging.
  • If your event requires the installation of any object that penetrates the ground including fence posts, tent poles/ pegs, and sign installation on municipal parkland, a locate must be booked with Ontario One Call, 30 days prior to your event. In instances where the ground cannot be staked or dug due to underground utilities, event organizers will be required to use other methods to secure their equipment (e.g. water barrels). 

Note: Parks requires event organizers to provide locates to staff 15 days prior to the start of your event.

To book a free locate, phone 1-800-400-2255. For more information, visit www.on1call.com.

Renting event equipment (e.g. picnic tables, chairs, pylons)

  • The City of Hamilton does not provide picnic tables, chairs, pylons or any other amenities to events taking place in parks.
  • Contact the Events Office by email seat@hamilton.ca or by phone 905-546-4646 for a list of suppliers who can provide these services for you.

Leaving the park in the same condition that you found it

  • You are expected to leave the park in the same condition in which you found it.
  • Cleaning / repair costs will be billed back to you, the event organizer, if the City of Hamilton determines that the condition of the park is in need of cleaning and / or repair after your event. Please be respectful of the space and ensure that you have a clean-up strategy in place.
  • Any plans to make alterations to the park must be pre-approved by the City’s Parks Division. If an alteration is approved, event organizers are responsible for ensuring that the park is returned to its original, unaltered state, upon event completion. 

Note: the use of chalk and/ or paint is not permitted on the roadway or in parking lots.

All event activity in parks is governed by City of Hamilton By-law 01-219 as amended To Manage and Regulate Municipal Parks.

If you would like your event to take place on a City roadway, your S.E.A.T. application must be submitted a minimum of 120 days prior to your event. This is to ensure that S.E.A.T. has adequate time to seek Council approval, coordinate detour routes with emergency services and HSR, and request advance warning signage through the City’s traffic division (when required).

Closing a road for an event is a complex process involving and affecting many people. S.E.A.T. needs to know which road you wish to close for your event in order to determine availability and prevent scheduling conflicts with other events / activities. As the use of roadways is extended to all Hamiltonians, S.E.A.T. has an obligation to prioritize public safety when closing down roads to ensure that the rest of the city’s population can safely keep moving / operating even while various events are taking place. It is also important for us to know what roadway you are considering closing down so that affected parking meters are bagged and parking lots are closed off.

S.E.A.T. will make the final determination as to whether an event that takes place on the road is a:

  • Full Closure (no vehicular access is permitted on the roadway during the event)
  • Lane Closure (occupying one lane of a roadway while maintaining traffic in all directions)

First time full road closures requests

First time road closures (and the length / boundaries of such closures) must be approved by City Council. This is done via a report that is written and submitted to City Council by the General Manager of Public Works or their designate.

Even if your event with a road closure has taken place before, if there are any changes to the road closure boundaries a new report and approval from City Council may be required as per: Delegated Authority to Close Roadways for Special Events within the City of Hamilton (TOE02009a).

By submitting your S.E.A.T. application, staff will be made aware that an approval report needs to be written. S.E.A.T. will work with the City of Hamilton Public Works (Corridor Management Section) to put together the necessary paperwork required to obtain approval from City Council.

If Council approves your road closure, changes cannot be made to your closure / route without notification to the S.E.A.T. Chair as a second Council approval must be sought.

Event organizer responsibilities

Submitting a road closure map

  • If you are requesting a road closure on your S.E.A.T. application, a detailed map, specifically outlining the requested road closure, must be submitted in order for your S.E.A.T. application to be considered complete.
  • Your application will not be considered without a map detailing your requested closure.
  • This detailed map will assist the City in the approval process and will help us work with Corridor Management, Parking, Police, Hamilton Street Railway and Emergency Services to facilitate your request. 

Paying for the Road Closure Permit(s)

  • Full Closure: $634.20 (2016 fee)
  • Lane Closure: $50.00 (2016 fee)

Hiring and paying for Paid Duty Officers

Paid Duty Officers from the Hamilton Police Service will need to be hired by you at your expense for your road closures to ensure that your road is properly closed and that safety is maintained throughout the duration of the closure. Learn more about hiring a paid duty officer

Hiring and paying for a third-party road closure company to close the road

  • The City of Hamilton does not provide events with any ground mounted road closure supplies, such as, barricades, pylons, ‘road closed’ signage or other supplies and set-up staff needed to close the road.
  • Events involving a full road closure are required to hire a third party (non-City) company to rent the required road closure supplies, hire staff to set up and tear down the actual closure and create the Traffic Control Plan needed to close the road.
  • Prices vary based on the size of the closure and the company used but it can be quite an expensive undertaking starting in the neighbourhood of $1000+.

Paying for traffic detour signs and traffic warning boards

  • The City also does not cover the cost of the traffic detour signs and / or the advance pole-mounted traffic warning boards that may need to be created to advertise the closure and ensure that traffic can detour safely around your road closure.
  • Depending on the size of your road closure, the City’s Corridor Management group (Traffic) will need to create and install standard-issued advance warning signs to help inform traffic of the upcoming closure, as well as install trailblazers to safely direct traffic around your road closure.
  • Costs vary but good practice is to budget for $300 per sign. 

Paying for Hamilton Street Railway (HSR) services (to detour, for additional buses and staff) 

Paying for Hamilton Street Railway (HSR) services (to detour, for additional buses and staff).

Potential costs that could be charged to your organization for HSR to detour buses, add additional buses, shuttles and / or staff for your event:

  • A fee for the advertisement of service changes resulting from a road closure associated with your event
  • A fee for additional HSR supervisors required to work your event, assist with crowd disbursement, operational needs, and other customer needs
  • Should you need Shuttle Bus Service to / from your event, the standard HSR charter rate for 2017 is $134.90 per hour (plus HST) with a three hour minimum. Please note that HSR does not run charters during weekday peak periods.

A representative from the HSR Operations Department will contact you, if applicable, in advance of your event to discuss the specifics of the fees listed above.

For more information regarding HSR costs and your event, please contact the Manager of Operations at 905-546-2424 ext. 1857.7.

Renting washroom facilities

Depending on the size of your event you will need to make arrangements for adequate washroom facilities (i.e. porta-potties) at your expense. 

Ensuring that hydro and potable water is available on-site

You are also responsible for making arrangements and paying for the hydro (i.e. generators) and potable water you need to run your event.  

Leaving the road in the same condition that you found it

  • You are expected to leave the roadway in the same condition in which you found it.
  • Cleaning / repair costs will be billed back to you, the event organizer, if the City of Hamilton determines that the condition of the roadway is in need of cleaning and / or repair after your event.
  • Please be respectful of the space and ensure that you have a clean-up strategy in place. Note: the use of chalk and/ or paint is not permitted on the roadway.

In summary, if you are fully closing a road for your event, it is your responsibility as the event organizer to:

  • Secure the services of a Ministry of Transportation “Book 7” trained road closure company to properly close the road and to provide all required ground mounted signs, barricading and/or pylons to support your closure at your expense. As part of your event preparations, it is recommended that you obtain quotes from road closures companies to get an idea of how much your road closure will cost.
  • Ensure that your selected road closure company provides the Corridor Management Section representative from S.E.A.T. with a detailed Traffic Control Plan (TCP) indicating how they will close the road.
  • Provide Corridor Management with a copy of the Road Closure notification letter you will be responsible for distributing to local businesses / residents notifying them of your planned road closure. We require this a minimum of 7 days prior to your event. After approval, a highlighted map or checklist of properties the notice was delivered to must be submitted to Corridor Management.
  • Cover the cost of creating and installing pole-mounted advance warning boards and traffic detours (when required). These signs are created and installed by City staff but you will need to pay for them.
  • Cover the cost of parking restrictions (i.e. parking meter lost venue or associated works) required within the closure area and surrounding detour routes.
  • Cover the cost of additional Hamilton Street Railway (HSR) supervision, if required. The cost will include detouring affecting bus routes and communication with customers to inform them of relocated bus stops.

More information about these requirements will be communicated to you if your event is approved. 

You are required to obtain a minimum of $2 million dollars in third party liability insurance to protect yourself and the City from lawsuits that may arise from your event. Third party-liability insurance is mandatory. Your event will not be permitted to take place and you will not be permitted to use City property / services without acceptable proof of insurance.

The City of Hamilton must be added as an ‘Additional Insured’ on your insurance certificate for the event.

The amount of insurance required (i.e. $2 or $5 million dollars in liability coverage) depends on the event components you wish to include in your event. Events with higher risk components (i.e. a greater likelihood of someone being injured) require higher liability limits of coverage.

  • $2 Million
    • A Commercial General Liability Insurance certificate for $2 million naming the City of Hamilton as an ‘Additional Insured’ is a minimum requirement and must be received 30 days prior to your event. 
  • $5 Million
    • Events that include alcohol, amusement rides, bouncy castles and / or fireworks require a certificate of insurance with a minimum limit of $5 million per occurrence and must be endorsed to include the City of Hamilton as an ‘Additional Insured. Where the service is provided by a third party vendor, the insurance must be provided in the name of the service provider and must be endorsed to include the City of Hamilton and the event organizer as additional insured's.  Insurance for events that include alcohol must include a Host Liquor Liability endorsement. A certificate of insurance showing these provisions must be received 30 days prior to your event.

Inflatables can fall under either the $2 million or $5 million requirement depending on what kind of inflatables are being programmed at your event. The City requires proof of $5 million in Commercial General Liability Insurance for bouncy castles, for example, where people are inside of an inflatable. However, events that have inflatables in the form of information booths, arches or movie screens, which do not carry or convey people on, along, around, over or through a fixed or restricted course, are required to provide proof of $2 million in Commercial General Liability Insurance.  

If there is any confusion, S.E.A.T. will advise you as to the appropriate amount of insurance coverage needed after reviewing your S.E.A.T. application.

The City will not allow uninsured / improperly insured events to take place on City property. Be sure to communicate what your needs are with your insurance provider early in your event planning process to avoid disappointment. You can use any insurance provider / broker you wish to secure the required insurance.  Advise your insurance provider of these requirements. Failure to include this information on your Certificate of Insurance will render it invalid for S.E.A.T. purposes. This can result in delays in your approval and the possible cancellation of your event.

The City of Hamilton requires that all of the following information be included on the Certificate of Insurance:

  • Name of Insurer (the insurance company)
  • Policy number
  • Term of Policy
  • Type of Policy: General Liability Policy
  • Limit of Policy: $(2 or 5), 000,000 per occurrence.
  • Named Insured (the ‘Named Insured’ on the certificate must be the same as the organization that is listed as the organizer on the S.E.A.T. application)
  • City of Hamilton is added as an ‘Additional Insured’
  • Events that include alcohol must reference a Host Liquor Liability endorsement
  • Description of event and activities to be insured (i.e. festival  /  event)
  • Dates and Times of event (include set up and take down dates)
  • Signature of insurance provider or broker

Insurance tips

  • See if the City’s GameDay Insurance program is an option for you
  • Visit Festival & Events Ontario and download their Directory of Suppliers to research event friendly insurance providers
  • Contact your home or auto insurance provider – as a current customer they might be able to offer the insurance you need at a preferred rate
  • Ask friends, family or other event producers who they use for insurance

Event parking

  • As the event organizer you will be responsible for picking up, paying for, setting up (‘bagging’) and removing any parking meter bags needed to prevent cars from parking within your road closure.
  • It is recommended that you bag the meters at least 12 hours before your event start time to ensure that there are no vehicles parked within the limits of your road closure.
  • In 2016, parking meters ranged in price from $9.00 to $13.00 per day based on the day of the week and area of the city where the event was taking place. All fees are subject to a 15% administration fee.
  • If you are planning on closing a parking lot under the purview of the Hamilton Municipal Parking System (HMPS), there will be a fee charged to you for the use of the lot for your event. This fee varies based on the lot you decide to use. 
  • An HMPS staff member will determine the possibility of the use of the parking lot for your event, and what the final cost will be based on what lot you wish to use.
  • It is also your responsibility, as event organizer, to ‘close’ the lot. This means, that you will be responsible for renting/ securing and installing the appropriate equipment to ‘close’ the lot (i.e. saw-horse barriers, cones, pylons and/or barrels).
  • Third-party road closure companies can provide this service for a fee. For a list of third-party road closure service providers, email seat@hamilton.ca.
  • As with parking meters, it is recommended that parking lots are closed 12 hours before your event start time.
  • It is recommended that you hire a security company to monitor the closure of the lot to prevent people from parking in it while it is being secured prior to your event start time.
  • Parking can be a challenge at a number of the City’s more popular parks. Gage Park, for example, has a very small parking lot and limited on-street parking available in the surrounding neighbourhood.
  • Parking lots cannot be booked as part of your park booking requests. The park, and associated parking lots, must remain open to the public during your event.
  • Event organizers must have staff and/or volunteers onsite during, before and after their events, to manage the parking of vendor and participant vehicles.

Parking at Bayfront Park:

  • From May 1 ro October 1, cars without boat trailers are not permitted to park in the smaller parking lot at the south-west corner of the park (near the boat launch and the beginning of the Waterfront Trail). There are long parking spots that are intended for boat launch users only. The boat launch is open to the general public from May to October unless otherwise indicated.  
  • While the parking lot is signed to communicate this restriction to motorists, S.E.A.T. has been notified in previous years that vehicles belonging to participants at events in Bayfront Park were ticketed. We encourage you to communicate the above restriction to your volunteers and event attendees.
  • As with parking lots in parks, events that are renting a room or space at a Recreation Centre do not have exclusive use of the on-site parking lot(s).
  • Recreation Centres have year-round programming that requires parking for program participants.
  • Some Recreation Centres are attached to libraries and arenas, for example, which require additional parking for their participants.
  • If your event will be using a room or space at a Recreation Centre and requires use of the parking lot(s), please indicate as such on your S.E.A.T. application.
  • Events planning on having more than 100 participants must submit a parking plan with their S.E.A.T. application. Please include a map, outlining your event layout, as well as information about how many volunteers, staff, security and police will be onsite before, during and after your event.

Event details

  • Your event description should provide S.E.A.T. with a snapshot of your event activities.
    • Where and when will your event take place?
    • Who will be organizing and participating in your event?
    • What activities will be taking place and what do you hope your event will achieve?
  • The more information you can tell us about your event, the better prepared City staff will be to work with you to create a successful event.
  • The information that you provide will also help to inform City staff and Council about Hamilton’s events sector.
  • This can inform both existing and new policies and procedures, as well as make the case for more resources and improved infrastructure to better support event activity in Hamilton.
  • Run, Walk, Bike or Motorized Rides: races, fundraisers or awareness events where participants walk, run, bike and, in a few cases, use motorcycles. Sometimes these events require full or partial road closures.
  • Festivals: a themed event or series of events. Typically, it is an event that is held annually at the same time and place.
  • Fairs: a gathering of people for a variety of entertainment and commercial activities. Fairs usually include event elements, such as, exhibitions and displays, children’s rides and amusements, food (including BBQs), merchandise and / or craft vendors.
  • Parades: a public procession, especially one celebrating a special day or event and possibly including marching bands and floats
  • Public Gatherings, Information or Awareness Sessions, or Commemorative Services: information, education and awareness events or announcements usually held at City Hall
  • Games or Leisure Activities: includes events such as Easter Egg Hunts and physical activities or hobbies
  • Health & Wellness: events with the primary objective of increasing or improving mental and physical wellness
  • Welcoming / Community Pride: events with the objective of welcoming new or existing residents or visitors and seeking to increase the city’s image and sense of pride
  • Culture, Arts & Heritage: events that are specifically focused on these themes
  • Family-focused: events that are specifically geared / programmed for young families
  • Neighbourhood: events organized by neighbourhood residents or associations for the neighbourhood including clean-up efforts, BBQs  /  food trucks, festivals, fundraisers and / or movie nights
  • Music & Performance: events that are specifically geared / programmed to incorporate music, dance or performing arts
  • Youth or Student focused: events specifically organized for youth ages 17 to 25
  • Culinary: events that are food-focused
  • Providing S.E.A.T. with estimates for event attendees, volunteers, performers, bands, artists and vendors, will give S.E.A.T. a clear picture of the size and impact your event will have on the public and on City services.
  • These numbers are essential to help us better accommodate the needs of your event and to help us work with you to maintain public health and safety. 

You are required to obtain a minimum of $2 million dollars in third party liability insurance to protect yourself and the City from lawsuits that may arise from your event. Third party-liability insurance is mandatory. Your event will not be permitted to take place and you will not be permitted to use City property / services without acceptable proof of insurance.

The City of Hamilton must be added as an ‘Additional Insured’ on your insurance certificate for the event.

The amount of insurance required (i.e. $2 or $5 million dollars in liability coverage) depends on the event components you wish to include in your event. Events with higher risk components (i.e. a greater likelihood of someone being injured) require higher liability limits of coverage.

  • $2 Million
    • A Commercial General Liability Insurance certificate for $2 million naming the City of Hamilton as an ‘Additional Insured’ is a minimum requirement and must be received 30 days prior to your event. 
  • $5 Million
    • Events that include alcohol, amusement rides, bouncy castles and / or fireworks require a certificate of insurance with a minimum limit of $5 million per occurrence and must be endorsed to include the City of Hamilton as an ‘Additional Insured. Where the service is provided by a third party vendor, the insurance must be provided in the name of the service provider and must be endorsed to include the City of Hamilton and the event organizer as additional insureds.  Insurance for events that include alcohol must include a Host Liquor Liability endorsement. A certificate of insurance showing these provisions must be received 30 days prior to your event.

Inflatables can fall under either the $2 million or $5 million requirement depending on what kind of inflatables are being programmed at your event. The City requires proof of $5 million in Commercial General Liability Insurance for bouncy castles, for example, where people are inside of an inflatable. However, events that have inflatables in the form of information booths, arches or movie screens, which do not carry or convey people on, along, around, over or through a fixed or restricted course, are required to provide proof of $2 million in Commercial General Liability Insurance.  

If there is any confusion, S.E.A.T. will advise you as to the appropriate amount of insurance coverage needed after reviewing your S.E.A.T. application.

The City will not allow uninsured / improperly insured events to take place on City property. Be sure to communicate what your needs are with your insurance provider early in your event planning process to avoid disappointment. You can use any insurance provider / broker you wish to secure the required insurance.  Advise your insurance provider of these requirements. Failure to include this information on your Certificate of Insurance will render it invalid for S.E.A.T. purposes. This can result in delays in your approval and the possible cancellation of your event.

The City of Hamilton requires that all of the following information be included on the Certificate of Insurance:

  • Name of Insurer (the insurance company)
  • Policy number
  • Term of Policy
  • Type of Policy: General Liability Policy
  • Limit of Policy: $(2 or 5), 000,000 per occurrence.
  • Named Insured (the ‘Named Insured’ on the certificate must be the same as the organization that is listed as the organizer on the S.E.A.T. application)
  • City of Hamilton is added as an ‘Additional Insured’
  • Events that include alcohol must reference a Host Liquor Liability endorsement
  • Description of event and activities to be insured (i.e. festival  /  event)
  • Dates and Times of event (include set up and take down dates)
  • Signature of insurance provider or broker

Insurance tips

  • See if the City’s GameDay Insurance program is an option for you
  • Visit Festival & Events Ontario and download their Directory of Suppliers to research event friendly insurance providers
  • Contact your home or auto insurance provider – as a current customer they might be able to offer the insurance you need at a preferred rate
  • Ask friends, family or other event producers who they use for insurance

Gameday Insurance

For a small fee which is based on the number of estimated event participants, the City of Hamilton offers third party liability insurance through the Recreation Division to eligible events that take place on City property through its GameDay Insurance program. The coverage provided is Commercial General Liability insurance with a limit of $5,000,000 per occurrence subject to a $500 deductible.

If you are interested in purchasing your liability insurance through the City’s GameDay Insurance program, please check the box on the S.E.A.T. application so that we can book the insurance for you. 

Please note that GameDay Insurance does not provide insurance for event activities, such as: fireworks, bouncy castles, cycling, horse-related activities and skateboarding.  If you wish to include these activities in your event, separate insurance must be purchased (see ‘insurance tips’ above).

GameDay Insurance rates vary by the size and complexity of your event. In 2016, the cost to obtain GameDay Insurance ranged anywhere from $35 for events with 1-25 people (without alcohol) to upwards of $450 for events with up to 1,000 people (with alcohol). Note: there is a $5 (+ HST) administrative fee for Recreation to purchase GameDay Insurance on your behalf.

For more information about the GameDay Insurance program, including current rates, please contact Facility Booking in the City’s Recreation Division at facbook@hamilton.ca or by phone 905-540-5590. 

If you are having fireworks, you will need to provide the name and contact information for your fireworks provider/ supervisor. The pyrotechnic company that you are hiring for your event will need to submit the following documentation to S.E.A.T. before your event can be approved:

  • An ‘Application to Purchase’ form
  • A detailed fireworks site plan indicating firing points, fall-out zone and spectator areas
  • Legible copies of valid Fireworks Supervisor licences (issued by the Ministry of Natural Resources)
  • Insurance certificate (in the amount of $5 million listing the City as an ‘Additional Insured’)

In addition to the above, the Fireworks Supervisor will be required to submit a full fireworks information package to the Hamilton Fire Department (Fire Prevention Bureau) for review and approval for all fireworks shows at least 14 days prior to your event. For more information, please contact the Fire Prevention Bureau at 905-546-2424 Ext. 1380.

All events involving the discharge of fireworks for display purposes must adhere to the City of Hamilton Fireworks By-law “To Regulate the Sale and Use of Fireworks” (No. 02-285). The By-law was enacted to ensure public health and safety. If you wish to include fireworks at your event, you will be required to use the services of a licensed pyrotechnic company.

Please note that due to the presence of protected trees and other flora, fireworks are not currently permitted in Gage Park.

If you are planning on having an open fire/flame at your event, please contact the Hamilton Fire Department at least 14 days prior to your event to obtain an Open Air Burning Permit. For more information, contact the Fire Prevention Bureau at phone 905-546-2424 Ext. 1380 or visit fire permits and services.

If you wish to have alcohol at your event, you will need to adhere to both provincial and municipal guidelines to ensure that you are legally permitted to serve alcohol.

Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO)

Provincially, all alcohol licensing is handled by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) www.agco.on.ca. On the AGCO website, you’ll find information related to Special Occasion Permits and Temporary Liquor Licence extensions. S.E.A.T. requires that you read through all of the AGCO’s regulations first and develop an understanding of the procedures to avoid confusion and disappointment. You will not be permitted to serve alcohol on City property without applying for and obtaining a licence from the AGCO.

As part of your alcohol licence application to the AGCO, you will be required to ‘notify the City’ and provide proof of this notification to the AGCO (more information below).

For more information about AGCO liquor licences, please contact:

Alcohol & Gaming Commission of Ontario
Toll-Free: 1-800-522-2876
Fax: 416-326-5555
Email: customer.service@agco.ca

Municipal Alcohol Policy (MAP)

Municipally, the City of Hamilton has a Municipal Alcohol Policy (MAP)  that encourages the safe consumption of alcohol on City property. MAP provides suggestions to event organizers for how to limit alcohol related problems at their events. MAP encourages the responsible use of City property by promoting low alcohol consumption, reducing exposure to risk, minimizing the potential for host liability, and providing proactive risk containment guidelines and standardized operating procedures.

As per the City’s Municipal Alcohol Policy (MAP), all alcoholic beverages served at events must be served in plastic or paper containers.

Special Occasion Permit (SOP) / Temporary Extension Process

Due to the approvals that need to happen on both the provincial and municipal levels, the turnaround time for requests to serve alcohol at events is lengthy (sometimes up to 3 months if your application to the AGCO requires an Event of Municipal Significance letter from City Council). Please plan accordingly to avoid disappointment.

To start the notification process, you will need to fill in the City’s in-house ‘notify the City’ application form. This is in addition to your S.E.A.T. application. The application form can be downloaded and submitted either by email liquorlicence@hamilton.ca or in person to:

One Stop Centre
Hamilton City Hall
71 Main Street West, 1st Floor, Hamilton, L8P 4Y5
Phone: 905-546-2782 (option 3)

Event of Municipal Significance designation

The AGCO requires for-profit organizations to obtain a municipal resolution, or letter from a delegated municipal authority, deeming their event ‘municipally significant.’

In the City of Hamilton, only City Council has the authority to issue a resolution deeming an event ‘municipally significant.’ These resolutions are approved at City Council meetings. Municipal staff are not authorized to deem an event ‘municipally significant.’

Once a resolution is approved by City Council, the information contained in the resolution cannot be altered. Any changes to your event will render the resolution null and void.

For more information about notifying the City and obtaining an Event of Municipal Significance designation contact the general email for liquor licensing liquorlicence@hamilton.ca.

Hamilton Police Service Requirements

If you are planning on having alcohol at your event, the Hamilton Police Service requires you to submit additional information about your event. The additional information must be submitted at least 30 days prior to your event start date.

Provide Hamilton Police Service with the following information:

  • Expected number of attendees at your event
  • Seating occupancy inside the area where alcohol is being served
  • Type of entertainment that will be at your event while alcohol service is taking place
  • Type of alcohol being served
  • Hours that alcohol service will take place
  • Number of security staff that will be on duty where alcohol is being served
  • Number of Smart Serve trained staff that will be working at your event
  • Type of fencing that will separate the area where alcohol will be consumed
  • A drawing of the beer tent/ licensed patio showing the entry/ exit points (you may want to use your site map as the backdrop for your drawing)

By email
Constable Hendrik Vandercraats
Email hvandercraats@hamiltonpolice.on.ca

In person
Constable Hendrik Vandercraats
155 King William Street, Hamilton L8R 1A7

Note: To ensure safety, you may be required to hire paid duty officers from the Hamilton Police Service to help monitor the service of alcohol during peak times.  This will require a contract and applicable fees.

Depending on the size and/or configuration of your tents, you may be required to obtain a building permit. According to the Ontario Building Code (2012), a tent or group of tents is exempt from the requirement to obtain a building permit if the tents are:

  1. not more than 60 m² in aggregate ground area
  2. not attached to a building
  3. constructed more than 3 m from other structures

Note: S.E.A.T. recommends that you contact the Building Division by email building@hamilton.ca or by phone 905-546-2720 to determine whether or not building permits are required for your tent(s) and/ or group of tents.

The Ontario Ministry of Labour (MOL) has issued a guideline to help event organizers understand their obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations related to the design, erection, use, dismantling and maintenance of temporary performance / event structures that are used either indoors or outdoors. This guideline covers:

  • design and materials
  • positioning
  • planning and control of work
  • inspections
  • Operations Management Plans (OMP)

Previous collapses of these structures resulted in tragedies and raised issues and concerns regarding their structural stability, design, construction and maintenance.

If you are planning to erect a temporary structure as part of your event, you will need to notify the Ministry of Labour, especially if your temporary structure:

  • will be used for multi-day events
  • require large equipment, such as cranes, to assemble the temporary structure
  • require separate temporary structures for sound, lighting, pyrotechnics, video equipment, etc.

This information should be provided to the MOL Health and Safety Contact Centre at 1-877-202-0008. Read the Ontario Ministry of Labour’s Guidelines

Also, the City of Hamilton’s Building Division requires event organizers to obtain a building permit for a stage platform in any of the following situations:

  • the platform is more than 225 m² in area
  • includes any element of the structure (i.e. wall, roof or floor) more than 5m above ground level
  • it is more than 3 m above ground level and more than 60m² in area

A building permit is required for a structure supporting lighting, audio, etc. in any of the following situations:

  • it supports a weight more than 115 kg (1.13 kN)
  • it is more than 3 m above ground level when supported by the ground
  • it is more than 3 m above the stage platform when supported by the stage platform

For more information, read the City of Hamilton Building Division’s Policy for Outdoor Stages & Associated Structure (PDF, 1.2 MB).

As with tents, S.E.A.T. recommends that you contact the Building Division by email building@hamilton.ca or phone 905-546-2720, to determine whether or not building permits are required for your temporary structure(s)

  • Although inflatables are a popular attraction, due to health and safety reasons, S.E.A.T. would strongly recommend a safer entertainment option. If you decide, however, to include this activity in your event, it must be operated, controlled and supervised by a third party licensed vendor.
  • The vendor would supply the device and their own staff to deliver, set up, operate and supervise the activity. S.E.A.T. would suggest that you, as event organizer, check with the vendor on the rental charges for the device and also for their charges to operate the equipment.
  • The vendor is required to provide a certificate of insurance showing evidence of a Commercial General Liability policy of $5 million dollars endorsed to include the City of Hamilton as an additional insured and must obtain a licence once a year.

The vendor of the amusement ride or place of amusement is responsible for ensuring they have an amusement licence. A licence can be obtained from:

Licensing Division
77 James Street North, Suite 250 A
Hamilton, Ontario, L8R 2K3

Vendors should allow a minimum of 10 business days prior to the event for licence processing.

It is the event organizer’s responsibility to verify with the vendor that they have a current City of Hamilton licence. The vendor must be able to provide proof (at all times) that they have permission to be operating at your event. This includes, a copy of their City of Hamilton licence as well as a letter from you (the event organizer) indicating that they have your permission to be there. Please include the name of the vendor(s) on your S.E.A.T. application (if known at the time you are submitting your application). 

For more information call Licensing, phone 905-546-2782 (option 3).

Although your event may be approved by S.E.A.T., and you are allowed to have outside amplified live music / sound, you must remain in compliance with the City of Hamilton Noise Control By-law No. 11-285. Outside amplified sound during special events is allowed between the hours of 11 am  to 12 midnight, however, noise levels cannot exceed 90 dBA, measured 10 m from its source and not exceed 60 dBA at a point of reception. 

Municipal Law Enforcement (MLE) and the Hamilton Police Service (HPS) are responsible for enforcing the Noise By-law and may attend your event to monitor or respond to a noise complaint. Violations of the Noise By-law may result in a ticket(s). In some situations, the services of a MLE Officer may be necessary to ensure that there are no violations of the Noise By-law.  MLE staff will contact you in advance if this is necessary and this may result in additional costs to you.

Private Property

If your event is on private property, outside amplification is not permitted unless you are granted permission by submitting a Noise Exemption Permit application (PDF, 19 KB). Completed applications and payment (no cash by mail) must be submitted to:

Municipal Law Enforcement Division
77 James Street North, Suite 250 A
Hamilton, Ontario, L8R 2K3

For more information on the Noise Exemption Permit phone 905-546-2782 (option 3)

Permits are required for certain types of signs (i.e. mobile signs, sidewalk / "A" frame signs and temporary signs).  Permits are not required for posters. However, there are some guidelines that event organizers must follow. These guidelines include:

  • posters cannot exceed 11" x 17"
  • posters must be made of biodegradable material
  • adhesive tape must be used for securing posters
  • only one poster can be posted per pole and 200m must be left in-between signs
  • posters cannot be posted any earlier than 21 days prior to the event taking place and must be removed within 3 days of the event finishing

Not all types of signs are permitted in the City of Hamilton (e.g. lawn bag signs) and due to safety issues, signs are not permitted in certain locations such as: poles on a median, a traffic island or central boulevard. Signs are also not permitted on the Lincoln Alexander Parkway or Red Hill Creek Expressway. 

Learn more about the Sign By-law or phone 905-546-2424 Ext. 1206.

S.E.A.T. needs to know if you require access to power during your event (or if you plan to bring in your own generators) so that we can confirm that the City site you wish to book has access to electrical plug-ins. As the event organizer, you are responsible for bringing all extension cords to plug into available sockets and mats to prevent cords from becoming tripping hazards.

If you are bringing generators, S.E.A.T. wants to ensure that they can be safely set up on your event site. If you do bring a generator, you must place it in a safe area free from obstruction and away from any trees or bushes. It must be vented to the outside and a fire extinguisher should be readily available in case of fire. City staff may advise as to the best location for your generator.      

Things you should know

  • If you’re planning on using electricity at your event, you need to confirm what the site requirements are.
  • If you’re planning on using a generator or ‘tying in’ to a power source, contact the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) to determine whether or not you require an inspection. If an inspection is required, you will have to complete an ‘Application for Electrical Inspection’ form and submit it to the ESA Customer Service Centre via fax, email or phone.
  • All amusement companies must obtain a permit from ESA in order to operate.
  • Any time electrical needs are greater that 10KW, a permit from ESA is required.
  • Permits take a minimum of 48 hours (2 business days) to generate. The cost for a permit is dependent upon your event elements, needs and uses.

Permit applications can be obtained from ESA

As a City entity and advocate for all Hamiltonians, S.E.A.T. is committed to ensuring that all events that take place on City property are accessible to all Hamiltonians.

The information that you provide in this section allows S.E.A.T. to develop an understanding of how the public can access your event, and ensure that the event is accessible and safe for attendees, volunteers and staff. By identifying whether or not your event is accessible, the City can work with you to help address accessibility and safety concerns.

The City of Hamilton is committed to ensuring that barrier-free programs, services and opportunities are provided to persons with disabilities and their families.  In so doing, the City implements the Human Rights Code, the Ontarians with Disabilities Act (ODA) and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), 2005 according to the legislation’s standards for Customer Service, Transportation, Employment, the Built Environment, Information and Communications. 

The City of Hamilton has developed policies, practices and procedures to accommodate the needs of persons with disabilities including their service animals and support persons, when on City premises and accessing the city’s goods, programs and services. The City also commits to foster a two-way communication process and provide customer service in a manner that respects a person’s disability, dignity and independence.

To this end, S.E.A.T. requires that all event organizers wishing to hold their event on City property ensure that their event is accessible. This can include but is not limited to:

  • Clearly marked, reserved accessible parking spaces that are within closest proximity to event location, entrance and exits
  • Providing an accessible ramp and entrance to the event
  • An automatic door opener leading to the main entrance or washroom (if it is an indoor event or if the washrooms are located indoors)
  • Providing accessible washrooms and toilets near accessible pathways/walkways for people with disabilities
  • Accessible, prominently displayed directional and information signage at events
  • An accessible elevator or elevating devices (if the event is not occurring on the ground floor)
  • Sufficient lighting provided at hallways, pathways and stairs for persons with low vision
  • Designated and accessible entertainment viewing areas
  • ASL interpreter (if providing speeches or information pertinent for all event participants)
  • Accessible pay stations, ticket booths or parking-lot operator stations
  • Accessible public transportation located close to the event venue and relevant information in an accessible format
  • Accessible stage and seating for people who use mobility devices
  • Accessible food services and eating areas
  • Mobility device charging stations for people with mobility devices

Safety is also of the utmost concern for everyone involved in organizing an event. Please indicate the steps you are taking to ensure that your event is safe for your attendees, volunteers and staff.

Depending on the size of your event, S.E.A.T. may require that you submit a safety plan/ provide additional safety information.

Hamilton Paramedic Service

To ensure health and safety, larger events may be required to secure the medical services from the Hamilton Paramedic Service. A staff member from Hamilton Paramedic Service is a representative on S.E.A.T. and will advise if medical services are required.

Overall, it is good event planning practice to have a certified first-aid service on site during your event. Remember, as the event organizer, you can be held liable for any injury that occurs to you, your staff or your event visitors and so it is prudent to ensure that you have safety measures in place.

  • The 2016 rate was $902.17 for a four hour minimum call for an Ambulance with Two Paramedics. Each additional hour of part thereof is $225.89.
  • The 2016 rate for a First Response Vehicle (One Paramedic) was $702.39 for a four hour minimum. Each additional hour or part thereof is $175.66.

Sun Safe Guidelines

  • Shade provides protection from the sun’s harmful rays and heat overexposure
  • The sun’s rays are the strongest from 11 am to 3 pm from April to September
  • The event site must include an area with shade for staff, vendors, volunteers and the public to get relief from the sun’s rays
  • If permanent shade is not available (from trees, buildings, sun shelter), event organizers need to arrange for a temporary shade structure at their own expense, such as a tent, canopy, shade sails, or large umbrellas 
  • Minimize the time that staff, volunteers, vendors and the public are outside on asphalt and concrete in the direct sun (not shaded) from 11 am to 3 pm. Concrete and asphalt reflect the sun’s rays and heat. Try to schedule these activities before 11 am or after 3 pm
  • Consider having an alternative indoor space available in case of a heat or smog alert or high UV Index on the day of your event. Check local weather forecasts for UV index ratings.
  • Encourage staff and volunteers to be sun safe by encouraging them to find shade, wear a hat, long-sleeved shirt and sunglasses and applying broad spectrum sunscreen of 30 SPF or higher.

In the interest of public health and safety, S.E.A.T. requires detailed information on the type of food you wish to have at your event and how it will be prepared. This is to make sure that S.E.A.T. initiates the proper inspections, ensuring that your food vendors are properly licensed and can meet safe food handling requirements. 

All events where vendors sell or give food away to the public must be approved by Public Health Services and Licensing prior to operation. If you will be selling/ serving food and non-alcoholic beverages at your event, please complete the following steps:

Step 1.  Complete Public Health Services’ Special Event Package and return it at least 14 days prior to your event. In 2016, the fee for each food vendor participating at an event was $32.00 + HST.

  • Any packages submitted less than 14 days prior to your event will be subject to, per-vendor, late penalties. In 2016, late applications were charged an additional $23.00 + HST per vendor.
    • Public Health Services Department
      110 King Street West, 2nd Floor
      Phone: 905-546-2424 ext. 2551
      Email: foodsafety@hamilton.ca

Step 2.  Send the complete list of your food vendors to Licensing at least 14 days prior to your event.

  • All food vendors must have a valid City of Hamilton-issued licence to participate at your event. It is your responsibility, as the event organizer to ensure that all food vendors participating at your event have a valid City of Hamilton, Food Refreshment Vehicle licence, prior to attending and operating at your event.
    • Licensing Division
      77 James Street North, Suite 250 A
      Hamilton, ON, L8R 2K3
      Phone: 905-546-2782 (option 3)
      Email: licensing@hamilton.ca

Food Service Vehicles

A City of Hamilton licence is required for all Food Service Vehicles such as chip wagons, food trucks and ice cream bicycles.  A licence can be obtained from:

Licensing Division
77 James Street North, Suite 250 A
Hamilton, Ontario, L8R 2K3

For more information, including requirements and costs, please call Licensing at 905-546-2782 (option 3) or review the Business Licence Reference Guide (PDF, 1.17 MB).

In addition to a City of Hamilton licence, food service vehicles participating at events must have a copy of their current City of Hamilton licence and a letter from the event organizer stating that they are permitted to be at the event. The dates of the event must also be noted in this letter.

Parks, Playgrounds, Recreation and Sporting Areas

All parks, playgrounds, recreation and sporting areas are smoke-free as per City By-Law 11-080 (Prohibiting Smoking within City Parks and Recreation Properties) and under provincial legislation. Event organizers are responsible for ensuring that any event held in a park, playground, recreation or sporting area is smoke-free and that vendors and the general public are aware of and comply during their event. For more information, please contact the Tobacco Hotline at 905-540-5566 or e-mail tobacco@hamilton.ca.

On Restaurant and Patio Bars

It is illegal to smoke tobacco on restaurant and bar patios. A restaurant or bar patio is an area where:

  • The public is permitted access, whether or not a fee is charged for entry, or the area is accessed by employees.
  • Food or drink is served, sold or offered for consumption, or the area is part of or operated in conjunction with an area where food or drink is served or sold or offered.

If food or drinks are served at your event

  • Provide notice to staff, volunteers and event organizers that smoking is prohibited on restaurant and bar patios
  • Post ‘no-smoking’ signs at entrances and exits to patios to ensure everyone is aware that smoking is prohibited
  • Ensure that no ashtrays (or similar items) are on the smoke-free patios
  • Ensure that workers and patrons do not smoke on patios
  • Ensure that people who refuse to comply with the prohibition on smoking do not remain on the patio or at your event

Selling Tobacco at Events

  • To sell tobacco at an event, you must obtain a Business Licence for Tobacco Retailers from the City of Hamilton. 
  • Tobacco retailers need to comply with all federal and provincial legislation regarding marketing, display and sales for tobacco products.
  • A health inspection is required prior to selling tobacco to the public.

For more information about a license, phone 905-546-2782 and select option 3 or email licensing@hamilton.ca

For more information about health inspections or display of tobacco, call the Tobacco Hotline at 905-540-5566 or email tobacco@hamilton.ca.

Sponsorship at Events from Tobacco Companies

Accepting funding from tobacco companies for events held in City parks or at City facilities may put funding agreements with government agencies in jeopardy. Email tobacco@hamilton.ca for more information.  

  • Event organizers are encouraged to implement waste diversion opportunities for attendees and vendors.
  • Waste management, collection and disposal must be planned in advance by event organizers.
  • Event locations must be left clean and free of litter following the event.
  • The City’s Public Works staff reviews waste diversion requests from organizations who have indicated on their S.E.A.T. applications that they are registered charities, incorporated non-profits or unincorporated groups with non-profit goals.
  • Estimated daily attendance and the length of an organization’s event are considered when determining what level of assistance the City is able to provide.
  • There is a representative from Public Works who is a member of S.E.A.T. and follows up with event organizers regarding their waste diversion requests. Waste diversion, collection and disposal costs vary based on the size of your event. Fees are in accordance with the City of Hamilton’s approved user fee schedule.
  • For-profit events are not eligible for municipal waste collection services. Event organizers of for-profit events must hire a private contractor to remove all waste and litter from their events.
  • To obtain a list of private contractors, please email S.E.A.T. at seat@hamilton.ca.
  • It is vital as the event organizer that you read and understand both the S.E.A.T. Guidelines and the S.E.A.T. application.
  • We also need to ensure that the information you are providing is, to the best of your ability, accurate in order to properly facilitate and support your event.
  • If there are any changes made to your application after it has been approved (i.e. date, time, location etc.), S.E.A.T. requires written notice at least 21 days prior to your event.
  • The City reserves the right to revoke any approvals or permissions based on changes that render the event unsafe.

If you have any further questions regarding the S.E.A.T. Guidelines or S.E.A.T. Application, email S.E.A.T. at seat@hamilton.ca or phone 905-546-4646.

Expenses are a reality when it comes to planning an event and should be budgeted for accordingly.

Below is a general list of City related expenses your event may incur. This is not an exhaustive list and depending on the scope of your event there will be other charges that you should account for. The more notice we have about your event and what it entails, the better we can help you identify costs. Please note that all costs are subject to change.

City permit / rental fees (selected)

Road Closure Permits

  • Full Closure: $634.20 (2016 fee)
  • Lane Closure: $50.00 (2016 fee)

Road closure supplies (i.e. barricades, pylons, ‘Road Closed’ signs Traffic Control Plans)

  • Events involving a full road closure are required to hire a third party (non-City) company to rent the required road closure supplies, hire staff to set up and tear down the actual closure and create the Traffic Control Plan needed to close the road.
  • Prices vary based on the size of the closure and the company used but it can be quite an expensive undertaking starting in the neighbourhood of $1000+.
  • You will also be required to notify residents and businesses about your closure and are required to provide S.E.A.T. with a copy of the notification letter you will be issuing.

Traffic signage

  • Depending on the size of your road closure, the City’s Corridor Management group (Traffic) will need to create and install standard-issued advance warning signs to help inform traffic of the upcoming closure, as well as install trailblazers to safely direct traffic around your road closure.
  • Costs vary but good practice is to budget for $300 per sign. 

Park rental

  • Rental fees vary based on the type of park you are using and the duration you’re using it for.
  • Most of the popular event parks (Bayfront, Pier 4, Gage Park, T.B. McQuesten) have a daily rate ranging from $100 to $300 depending on the size and scope of the event.
  • Rental costs for other parks can be obtained from the Recreation Division (Facility Booking) by phone 905-540-5590 or email facbook@hamilton.ca.
  • Based on the size of your event, S.E.A.T. may determine that Parks staff need to be present on-site to ensure that the event is healthy and safe and that amenities are accessible (i.e. washroom facilities / electrical boxes).
  • Staffing rates are in alignment with current collective agreements and can start anywhere from $40 per hour with a minimum 4 hour call.
  • The City does not cover the cost of renting porta-potties and hand-washing stations to augment washroom facilities for your event. Plan accordingly.
  • You are responsible for providing extension cords needed to plug-in as well as provide any generators needed to power your event.

GameDay Insurance

  • Game Day insurance rates vary by the size and complexity of your event.
  • In 2016, the cost to obtain GameDay Insurance ranged anywhere from $35 for events with 1 to 25 people (without alcohol) to upwards of $450 for events with up to 1,000 people (with alcohol).

City Hall Forecourt

  • There is no rental fee to use the Forecourt but there are fees associated with obtaining additional services and access outside of regular business hours Monday to Friday, 8:30 am.
  • If you require access to power, washrooms and/or City Hall meeting rooms outside of regular business hours, you will be charged to have City staff and/or security onsite during your event.
    • This can cost upwards of $50 per hour/per person for a 4 hour minimum (note: Sundays are approximately $65 per hour/ per person for a 4 hour minimum).
    • Staffing rates are in alignment with the City’s current collective agreements.
  • The Forecourt also has a sound system that is provided free of charge but staffing fees apply if you require a City staff person to run the system for you regardless of when your event takes place.

Food vendors

  • In 2016, there was a $32.00 + HST inspection charge for each food vendor participating at an event.
  • An additional fee of $23.00 + HST per vendor was charged for applications not received 14 days prior to the event.

Paid Duty Police

Learn about how to hire a paid duty officer for the latest paid duty contract and applicable fees. The Hamilton Police’s Special Events Constable is a S.E.A.T. member and determines the appropriate police serving to ensure a healthy and safe event.

To ensure safety, you may be required to hire paid duty officers from the Hamilton Police Services to help monitor the service of alcohol during peak times.

Parking fees

  • If you are planning on using a parking lot under the purview of the Hamilton Municipal Parking System (HMPS), there will be a fee charged to you for the use of the lot for your event. This fee varies based on the lot you decide to use. 
  • An HMPS staff member will determine the possibility of the use of the parking lot for your event, and what the final cost will be based on what lot you wish to use.
  • If your event prevents parking meters from being used, you will need to arrange to have them ‘bagged’ with a ‘No Parking’ bag and you will need to pay a fee to offset lost revenue.
  • In 2016, parking meters ranged in price from $9.00 to $13.00 per day based on the day of the week and area of the city where the event was taking place. All fees are subject to a 15% administration fee.

Waste management

Waste diversion, collection and disposal costs vary based on the size of your event.

  • A Public Works staff member is a representative on S.E.A.T. and will determine applicable waste management costs based on the City of Hamilton’s approved user fee schedule.
  • For-profit events are not eligible for municipal waste collection services.
  • Event organizers of for-profit events must hire a private contractor to remove all waste and litter from their events.
  • To obtain a list of private contractors, please email S.E.A.T. at seat@hamilton.ca.

Hamilton Paramedic Service

To ensure health and safety, larger events may be required to secure the medical services of the Hamilton Paramedic Service.

  • The 2016 rate was $902.17 for a four hour minimum call for an Ambulance with Two Paramedics. Each additional hour of part thereof is $225.89.
  • The 2016 rate for a First Response Vehicle (One Paramedic) was $702.39 for a four hour minimum. Each additional hour or part thereof is $175.66.

A staff member from Hamilton Paramedic Service is a representative on S.E.A.T. and will advise if medical services are required.

Note: It is good event planning practice to have a certified first-aid service on site during your event. As the event organizer, you can be held liable for any injury that occurs to you, your staff or your event visitors and so it is prudent to ensure that you have safety measures in place.

Hamilton Street Railway (HSR)

Costs that could be levied by the Hamilton Street Railway include (but are not limited to):

  • An administration fee to process the Special Event application and to prepare the necessary material to provide customers with sufficient notification of the detour routing required as a result of the road closure. The fee for 2016 was a flat rate of $500.
  • Costs for HSR Supervision to install and take down all necessary signage for the necessary bus stop relocation as part of the detour routing. The costs to temporarily cover parking meters on roads that will be used to install bus stops for HSR detours. The fee for 2016 was $55/hour per Supervisor.
  • Costs for any additional HSR Supervision required to work the event and assist with crowd disbursement, operational needs, and other customer related needs. The fee for 2016 was $55/hour per Supervisor.
  • Costs to add buses to routes to compensate for delays caused by your event taking place on the road. The fee for 2016 was $130/hour for each bus.
  • In addition, should you need Shuttle Bus Service to / from your event, the standard HSR charter rate for 2016 was $132.25 per hour (plus HST) with a three hour minimum. Please note that HSR does not run charters during weekday peak periods.

For more information regarding HSR costs and your event, contact Murray Hill, Manager of Operations, email murray.hill@hamilton.ca or phone 905-546-2424 Ext. 1857.

Municipal Law Enforcement (MLE)

There are various permits and fees associated with event activity. Find a list of Municipal Law Enforcement applications.

These include but are not limited to:

  • Noise
  • Food Truck Licensing
  • Vendor Fees
  • Amusement Ride  /  Inflatable Licences
  • Raffle  /  Bingo  /  50-50 Draws
  • Signage
  • Tents

Contact us

Special Events Advisory Team (S.E.A.T)
Events Office, Tourism and Culture Division
Email: SEAT@hamilton.ca
Phone: 905-546-4646 Fax: 905-540-5511