COVID-19 Information: Currently, the province has paused the exit from the Roadmap to Re-open three-step plan as and such festivals and events are allowed, permitted they follow Step Three guidelines.

The City of Sarnia has an abundance of park and green space on which events can be hosted. As these are all considered public spaces, the general gathering limits for organized public events, as directed by the province, apply. In Step Three, event organizers are permitted to host organized events of up to 100 people outdoors.

Staff continue to work with local event organizers to ensure the success of their events, following this framework.

Public vs Private Events

Public Events:

Public Events are community gatherings that are open to the public and community and can range in attendance from 100 people to over 1500 people. These events are typically advertised in the media or on social media, and anyone can attend or purchase tickets/invites to attend. Examples of public events hosted in park spaces include Bluewater Borderfest, Canada Day Celebrations, Walk so Kids Can Talk, Terry Fox Run, and many more.

Private Events

Private Events are gatherings that are not open to the public and typically host under 150 people. Private Events cannot be advertised or made open to the public. Information about the event may be shared with invited guests and members only. Examples of private events hosted in park spaces include wedding ceremonies, large birthday parties, family reunions, corporate gatherings, and many more.

Hosting a Public Event

Festivals and events that are vetted through the Festival and Event Application Process are defined as any planned gatherings supporting cultural, recreational, charitable and/or community initiatives. A festival or event can be a be a one-time, annual or infrequently occurring activity on City of Sarnia municipal land that is reserved exclusively for the operation of an organized activity open to the public and which meets the following criteria:
1. Celebration of specific theme;
2. Pre-determined opening/closing, hours of operation;
3. Available to the community at large; and
4. Paid admission or free to the public.

If you are planning to organize a new event for the current or upcoming year, please complete a Festival and Event Application Form and email it to parksandrecreation@sarnia.ca or drop it off at City Hall Customer Service – Attn: Parks and Recreation.

Your application will be reviewed by our Events Coordinator, who will follow-up via the contact information provided in the application.

Each event is unique to the next, and therefore each event will require different permits, licenses, and approvals. The most common of these include the following:
– Terms and Conditions Agreement for Events
– Certificate of Insurance
– Lambton Public Health Organizer and Food Vendor Forms
– Fire Department Food Vendor Forms

Planning a Festival or Event on Municipal Property
The management of festivals and events on municipal property requires the coordinated effort of City staff and additional affiliated agencies. Event Organizers will be informed on how to effectively use City resources to ensure safe event operation and adherence to applicable City by-laws, policies, permits and procedures. Planning and organizing assistance is provided to any community group, business, agency or citizen planning a festival or event on city-owned lands (ie. park or road allowance). If deemed necessary, Parks and Recreation will initiate the “one stop shop” process by arranging a meeting with the Recreation Coordinator and (where applicable) advisory staff from various City Departments and affiliated agencies to discuss event specifics.

To have your festival or event considered to be held on municipal property, the Event Organizer must adhere to the following procedures:

  1. Complete the Festival and Event Application Form below and return to the Sarnia Parks and Recreation Department.
  2. Read, sign and date the Terms & Conditions for Rental Agreement.
  3. A “notification letter” should accompany the Festival and Event Application Form with a brief description of the activities, history of, and special requests for your event.
  4. If upon receipt, review, and approval of your Festival and Event Application Form, you will be issued a Rental Contract/Permit which will include your rental costs and information, indicating that your festival or event date has been held.
  5. As of the first Tuesday in January, the Parks and Recreation Office will accept rental requests from the community based upon when they were received. (Please note: Annual users have priority.)
  6. Please contact the Recreation Coordinator to discuss any issues related to your festival or event (i.e. insurance, vendors, road closures, tent permits, etc.). The application form can be found below.
  7. Your Festival and Event Application Form and any applicable forms will be circulated to appropriate city departments and affiliated agencies for their notification, processing, and approval.
  8. Final approval for you to host your festival or event on municipal property will be determined by the Recreation Coordinator or designate.
  9. Our entire Festival and Event Policies and Procedures Manual can be downloaded below. A brief outline of this manual will be available for download in the coming weeks.

Festival and Event Policies and Procedures Manual 2021
Festival and Event Application Form
Terms and Conditions Agreement for Events

All public events may be subject to the additional location and/or facility fees, unless they are considered an anchor event and are utilizing the entire park. Events hosted at the Suncor Agora are not typically subject to the event fee.

Hosting a Private Event

Planning an Event or Gathering on Municipal Property
Whether you’re looking to host a wedding ceremony, a birthday celebration, or even a corporate gathering, a park space is a great place to host. Hosting a private event is not as difficult as hosting a public event, however it does require some additional stipulations as opposed to simply renting a facility.

Private event permits are not refundable in the event on inclement weather, and we request users to be prepared for undesirable weather conditions.

Tents
The Ontario Building Code requires building permit approval for all tents that exceed 225 m2 (2422 ft2). Engineer Plans are required.

A tent does not require a building permit under the Ontario Building Code Act provided that it is:
a) Less than 645 sq. feet in aggregate ground area;
b) Not attached to a building and;
c) Constructed more than 10 feet from other structures.

Tents that are not used for personal camping or that are larger than 320 sq. feet must meet flame resistance requirements of the Ontario Fire Code.

Inflatables (Air Supported Structures)
Air Supported Structures shall meet the requirements of the City Planning, Building and By-Law Department. All Air Supported Structures must be in compliance with the provisions of the Technical Standards and Safety Act (TSSA). A valid license to operate business in Ontario and Ontario Amusement Device permit for each ride, issued by the TSSA must be submitted to the City before a festival and event permit will be issued.

Amusement Devices and Air Supported Structures must:
a) Be appropriately staffed at all times
b) Not create trip hazards with any electrical cords
c) Meet all safety requirements as outlined in TSSA guidelines
d) Be removed or adequately secured daily, as approved
e) Be anchored securely using weights/spikes to be approved by City staff prior to installation (Air Supported Structures only)

Music and Catering
Music can be played before 8pm in accordance with the Noise By-Law, at a respectable level to others within the park space. Users are allowed to bring in caterers, so long as they do not serve to the general public and leave the space as they found it.

Licensed Events/Rentals
Private events and/or gatherings can be licensed and are subject to the Municipal Alcohol Policy. These events are required to obtain a Special Occasion Permit (SOP) from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) online or in-person at the L.C.B.O. A damage deposit may be required upon rental.

Municipal Alcohol Policy
Refund and Cancellation Policy

Refer to the Facilities & Outdoor Spaces pages for more information regarding locations, amenities, and fees.

Event Fees

Fees vary dependent on the nature of the desired event. Generally, event fees are not charged for private events and users are charged the location fees. While event fees and location fees are usually charged for public events.

Council approved non-profit/charitable groups may be eligible for a 50% subsidized reduction in fees. Insurance fees may be applicable, although users have the option to provide their own insurance.

RATES FOR 2021
Type of EventSpecificationFee Per Day
Small Community EventUnder 500 People Attending$110.00+HST
Mid-Sized Community Event Over 500 People Attending $300.00+HST
Anchor Events & Festivals Over 5000 People Attending$1100.00+HST
Set-Up & Take-DownMultiple Day Events $250.00+HST

Refer to the Facilities & Outdoor Spaces pages for information regarding location and facility fees.

Refer to the Contact Us page to submit an inquiry, or email parksandrecreation@sarnia.ca.