Special events planning

The City is moving the manual special event approval process to an online portal. The Facility Booking and Special Event team and City departments will use a new software called Eproval to access, process and approve special event applications for the 2023 special event season.

Special events
Each year the City of Guelph receives many requests from Individuals and groups to operate special events on City-owned property. These events vary in scope, purpose, size, cost and complexity.The City recognizes special events as an important part of Guelph’s quality of life and as providers of affordable entertainment to its citizens, as indicated by the Corporate Strategic Plan. It is also recognized that special events enhance tourism, culture, recreation, education and provide an economic benefit to businesses in the city of Guelph.Most special events represent a major investment of time and money. When well conceived and planned, they can bring rewarding dividends to the organizers and the City of Guelph. Successful events require:

  • Responsible leadership
  • Careful planning
  • Good organization
  • Provisions against the unexpected
  • Methodical “follow through” and evaluation

The following information has been compiled as a resource to assist special event organizers with planning and to ensure a safe, successful event. The Special Event User Guide outlines important procedural items, policies and contact information to ensure necessary requirements for events are met.

Please be aware that additional requirements, conditions or permits may be required
depending on the nature, size and scope of the event.

The City’s special events and tournaments coordinator will work with special event organizers throughout the planning process to ensure requirements are met within timelines and questions get answered to ensure an enjoyable event for everyone involved!

General definition of special events

The term “special event” is used to describe a broad range of activities planned to mark special
occasions or to achieve specific social, cultural or economic objectives. The term “special event” is applied to civic, provincial, or national celebrations, cultural performances or gatherings, sports contests and a wide range of commercial or corporate functions.

In Guelph, the term “special event” is recognized to mean different things to different people.

  • For the event organizer, a special event is typically a one-time or infrequently occurring event outside their normal routine or activities and has a predetermined opening and closing date/time.
  • For the City of Guelph, a special event indicates an activity that occurs outside its normal
    programming and often requires the dedication of additional resources.
  • For the resident a special event is an opportunity for a leisure, recreational, social or cultural experience.

Note: activities not meeting these criteria may still be permitted to occur as private rental functions and may still be subject to some or all of the policies, procedures and requirements outlined in this document.