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Million Dollar Makeover Program

Million Dollar Makeover

Million Dollar Makeover is a funding program designed to encourage and support economic development in Kawartha Lakes.

Applications are open for 2024 projects.

Application intake 1
  • Applications open: September 1, 2023
  • Applications close: October 31, 2023
  • Review and Approval: by early January 2023

Application intake 2

  • Applications open: January 10, 2024
  • Applications close: February 28, 2024
  • Review and Approval: by April 30, 2024

Million Dollar Makeover logo

Carlie Arbour
Economic Development Officer
705-324-9411 extension 1396

About the program

We aim to support property and business owners in improving the visual and functional aspects of their commercial, mixed-use commercial/residential or heritage designated residential buildings.

To achieve this, we've expanded our funding programs to include a number of new incentives that will encourages investment in our commercial districts and properties with heritage designation in Kawartha Lakes.

The Million Dollar Makeover funding program to implement the Kawartha Lakes Strategic Community Improvement Plan (CIP).

Program objectives
  • Downtown main street revitalization and enhancements
  • Heritage districts and building restoration and improvements
  • Derelict building repairs and improvements to functionality
  • Affordable rental housing private space retrofits in mixed-use buildings.
Application review and evaluation

Staff will review and evaluate your application based on the program objectives.

The City reserves the right to distribute funds across the eligible communities and funding programs as deemed appropriate to achieve the City’s Strategic Goals, the Economic Development Strategy and the CIP program objectives.

A Steering Committee will select the successful projects. Steering Committee decisions are final.
Project areas

The Million Dollar Makeover is open across Kawartha Lakes, however priority status will be given to projects located within one of the following priority areas.

Additional resources and downloads


All improvement projects are subject to the following criteria and conditions to be eligible for any funding program. Additional program-specific eligibility requirements are listed under the applicable funding program.
The Property
  1. The property must be located within a designated Project Area. Priority status may be given to properties within communities whose improvement proposals align most closely with the City’s policy and design guidelines foundation.
  2. The property must be a commercial, residential or mixed-use commercial/residential property, or be changing to one of these land uses as part of the proposed redevelopment.
  3. The property and building(s) shall not have tax arrears, outstanding utility charges, contraventions, penalties, fines or fees, or any other legal claim, lien or order, including work orders that may adversely affect the title of the land, or other outstanding requirements, and must comply with all municipal by-laws
The Project
  1. The project to be undertaken must contribute to community improvement in accordance with the Kawartha Lakes Strategic Community Improvement Plan, as well as the Official Plan, any community-based Secondary Plan for the respective community, any Streetscape and Façade Design Guidelines and any other relevant, municipally-endorsed plans, studies, guidelines, or regulations.
  2. The minimum project cost shall be $1,000 or as determined through pre-application evaluation.
  3. Appropriate building permits and planning approvals shall be in place.
  4. Upon approval and/or completion of a project, the City reserves the right to audit the costs associated with any of the works described by the approved application, and any audits will be undertaken at the expense of the applicant.
  5. Upon approval and/or completion of a project, the City reserves the right to inspect any properties/buildings that are part of the approved application.
The Application
  1. A “complete application” will include a completed application form, and supporting materials such as plans, studies, cost estimates and contracts, applicable reports, and any additional information required by the City.
  2. A complete application must be approved by the City before work commences (applications for projects that have already begun will not be considered).
The Funding
  1. The total amount of the financial incentives will not exceed the eligible project costs of the property improvements (clearance/demolition, construction, reconstruction and rehabilitation, or improvement of energy efficiency), and may combine financial tools (grants, loans, rebates).
  2. The City is not responsible for the costs associated with preparing an application or any other related costs.
  3. Should the applicant fall into default of any of the eligibility requirements or any other requirements of the City then the City may delay, reduce, or cancel the incentive, and may require repayment of any of the incentive program benefits, at the discretion of the City.
  4. Any program commitments may be cancelled if work does not commence within six (6) months of the City’s approval of an application, or in accordance with an Agreement with the City

Application process

  1. Look for opportunities to improve your building and property
  2. Determine which Million Dollar Makeover program(s) best fits your project
  3. Read and understand the Eligibility Criteria and Conditions
  4. Connect with the City’s Economic Development staff to discuss your project and/or arrange a pre-application meeting to answer any of your questions
  5. Complete and submit your application with all of your required documentation

The application

The application requires the following information:

  • Application

This is where you will provide all of the information related to your application. Complete all questions. Provide as much detail as possible so there is a clear understanding of your project. 

  • Supporting Documents

All detailed drawings, pictures, plans, and relevant documents must be included with your application to be considered complete.

  • Release form

Applicants and property owners (if different than the applicant). Must complete and sign this prior to submission.

Application form

 Million Dollar Makeover Application Icon

Frequently asked questions

 Find answers to frequent program questions

What is the Million Dollar Makeover?
The Million Dollar Makeover is a funding program available to support property and business owners in improving the visual and functional aspects of their commercial, mixed-use commercial/residential or heritage designated residential buildings. The City has over one million dollars in financial incentives available through loan and grant programs.
Who can apply?

The Million Dollar Makeover is available across Kawartha Lakes. Property owners, or businesses (with permission of the property owner) of commercial, mixed-use residential-commercial, or heritage designated residential properties are able to apply. There are focus areas which will receive priority for funding. These areas are Bobcaygeon, Coboconk, Fenelon Falls, Lindsay, Norland, Omemee and Woodville, which have been identified as Focus Areas.

Grant funding is available city-wide. Owners of these properties, or business owners to whom the property owner has delegated the right to receive funding, may be eligible for funding, subject to the full eligibility criteria outlined in the Million Dollar Makeover program.
 Is there a fee to apply?
No, there is no fee to apply for the Million Dollar Makeover program. The City is not responsible for any costs associated with preparing an application.
Do I need a building permit?
It is the sole responsibility of the Applicant to ensure that all permits and/or approvals are received from the applicable agencies prior to the commencement
of the Work. This could include, but not limited to, the Municipality, Ministry of Transportation, relevant Conservation Authority(ies) and relevant Watershed
Authority(ies). We may withhold all or a portion of the funding until all required permits and approvals have been obtained.
Is a project eligible for funding from more than one funding program?


For example, if a property owner located in downtown Omemee wanted to complete an accessibility improvement and install a new sign, they could apply for a $2,000 sign grant (with $2,000 individual investment) and a $7,000 loan for the accessibility improvement.
What makes a good application?

You will be more likely to receive funding if your project:

  • Aligns with the Façade and Design Guidelines
  • Has a significant visual impact
  • Maintains the history and heritage of your Downtown or Community
  • Enhances the overall wellbeing of your Downtown or Community
  • Your private investment exceeds the cost of City investment
What documents are needed?

A complete application will include:

  • Photographs of the existing building and site conditions
  • Sketches of the work to be completed
  • Two cost estimates for eligible work provided by licensed contractors or appropriate professionals
Larger projects may require additional documentation. A pre-application meeting will be arranged with the Economic Development Division to determine what specific documentation is required for your project.
When will you receive the funds?

Successful applicants are required to sign a funding agreement outlining funding and legal requirements.

For loan projects, the funding is released according to the funding agreement.

For grant projects, funding is released to the applicant once the project has been completed to the agreed standards.
When does my project need to be completed?

All grant projects must be completed construction within one (1) year.

All loan funding agreements will contain detailed requirements for construction, reporting and timelines. The terms of all loans will be no longer than five (5) years.
Why talk to our staff?
You are encouraged to have a pre-application meeting with Staff. Our team can help advise your project and outline important steps in the application and construction phases of your project.

Program funding partners

 The Million Dollar Makeover Project is brought to you by the City of Kawartha Lakes and Kawartha Lakes Community Futures Development Corporation.


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