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Million Dollar Makeover

Be a part of the Million Dollar Makeover! Million Dollar Makeover Logo

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.

The four key program objectives are:

  • 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.

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

Complete applications must be submitted by January 17, 2019 at 4:30pm.

How to get started on your makeover

  1. Look for opportunities to improve your building and property. Determine which Million Dollar Makeover program(s) best fits your project.
  2. Confirm your eligibility by submitting an Expression of Interest.
  3. The City’s Economic Development staff will connect with you to discuss your project and arrange a pre-application meeting to answer any of your application needs.
  4. Complete the application and gather all your required documentation.
  5. Submit your application.

Expression of Interest
All applicants are required to complete an Expression of Interest. Complete the form below to start the process and confirm your eligibility.

 Submit your Expression of Interest

Legal Name (If Different Than Company):


Applicant Role:


Project Address - Street #:
Project Address - Street Name:
Project Address - Community:
Existing Use Of Project Property:
Other Existing Use:
Heritage Status - Project Property:
Describe Your Project:
Million Dollar Makeover Project Type:
Have you already started this project?:
Total Project Value Range:
Before you start your application

Read and understand the Million Dollar Makeover general eligibility and program specific requirements in the application packages below.

Application package - Grant   
Application package - Loan

Note: Eligibility will be dependent on the property having no 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.

Read and understand the façade guidelines. Connect with the Economic Development department at makeover@kawarthalakes.ca if you have any questions.

The application

Download the Million Dollar Makeover application from the website. The application contains three worksheets or tabs that contain valuable information.

1. Information for applicant.
The first tab or worksheet contains information about the application process and the program conditions.

2. Application.
This is where you will provide all of the information related to your application. Complete all questions; your answers will go in the green blocks.   

Provide as much detail as possible so there is a clear understanding of your project. Provide all detailed drawings, pictures, plans, and relevant documents with your application, where possible to allow for a comprehensive review of your application.

Submit your application, along with all supporting documentation, by email to makeover@kawarthalakes.ca

3. Release form.
Print and sign this page of the application. Email your signed release form to makeover@kawarthalakes.ca or submit it at one of the Municipal Service Centres with attention to the Economic Development Office.

Note: All Applications and Release forms must be received by email or at a municipal location no later than the application deadline of Thursday January 17, 2019 at 4:30pm.

 What documents are needed
  A complete application will include these additional documents:
  • 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 City Staff to determine what specific documentation is required for your project.

Million Dollar Makeover application
A “completed application” will include a completed application form, signed released form, and supporting materials such as photos, sketches, cost estimates, and any additional information required by the City.

Million Dollar Makeover application form

 Application review and evaluation 

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

The four key program objectives are:

  • 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

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.

Funding Programs

The Million Dollar Makeover is a program that includes eight funding opportunities that are designed to encourage private sector investment, revitalization, redevelopment and construction activity throughout the City of Kawartha Lakes. The programs can be used individually or stacked together for a particular project.

Loans are available to the registered property owner, and must not exceed the eligible project costs of the property improvements.
Grants will support business and property owners up to 50% of the eligible costs for the programs listed below.

For the November 2018 intake, grants will be available to eligible properties within the downtown areas that completed a Downtown Revitalization project in 2014-2017, as outlined in the downtown revitalization area maps

Design Studies
Objective: Encourage high quality design in accordance with the City of Kawartha Lakes Official Plan and Secondary Plans.

Eligible Costs: Cost of preparation of architectural or engineering plans and site plans for building façade improvements, Building, Fire or Electrical Code retrofits, Accessibility retrofits, or landscaping and property infrastructure improvements.

Eligible Funding Options: Design Studies are eligible for loans.

Signage Improvement Project

Objective: Improve the appearance/aesthetic/consistency of businesses signage.

Eligible Costs:

Improvement or replacement of the business signage, street number, and/or awnings including:

  • Removal of old signage;
  • Purchase and installation of new signage or awnings; and,
  • Lighting improvements associated with signage.

Eligible Funding Options: Signage Improvements are eligible for loans and grants.

Percentage of Eligible Grant Cost Covered: 50%

Maximum Grant Amount: $2,000

Note: Signage Improvement grant may be granted to a single property more than once, if the property is occupied by a new tenant or business.

An applicant will be required to meet the requirements of the Signage & Façade Design Guidelines to receive funding. Please review the guidelines and discuss your project with City staff if you have any questions.

Façade Improvement Project

Objective: Improve and renew the exterior appearance/aesthetic of buildings with a focus on the front façade of the buildings.

Eligible Costs:

Costs to renew and update building façades with an emphasis on the front of buildings; side and rear façades may be considered if located on a corner lot, or if highly visible from a public space abutting other front façades. The following costs are eligible:

  • Restoration or replacement of exterior building treatments, such as brickwork/cladding/siding;
  • Restoration or replacement of cornices, eaves, and parapets;
  • Restoration or replacement of windows, doors and awnings;
  • Restoration or replacement of exterior lighting;
  • Exterior painting;
  • Redesign of storefront or entrance modifications; and,
  • Similar improvements and repairs that would improve the appearance of a building façade.

Note: Costs that are eligible under the Signage Improvement grant are excluded from the Façade Improvement grant.

Eligible Funding Options: Façade Improvements are eligible for loans and grants.

Percentage of Eligible Grant Cost Covered: 50%

Maximum Grant Amount: $5,000

An applicant will be required to meet the requirements of the Signage & Façade Design Guidelines to receive funding. Please review the guidelines and discuss your project with City staff if you have any questions.

Building Repair & Renovation Project

Objective: Encourage rehabilitation through building repairs, renovation, energy retrofits, and utility upgrades.

Eligible Costs:

Costs of upgrades to the physical interiors of buildings:

  • Structural repairs to walls, ceilings, floors, and foundations;
  • Interior restoration and design; and,
  • Any other improvements that may bring a building up to code, or address health, safety, or risk management issues.

Eligible Funding Options: Building Repair & Renovations are eligible for loans and grants.

Percentage of Eligible Grant Cost Covered: 50%

Maximum Grant Amount: $4,000

Accessibility Improvement Project  

Objective: Increase accessibility and walkability.

Eligible Costs:

Costs of interior or exterior projects to improve accessibility for people with disabilities.

Note: The project must be designed in accordance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act and related standards and guidelines.

Eligible Funding Options: Accessibility Improvements are eligible for loans. 

Heritage Conservation Project 

Objective: Encourage conservation of heritage characteristics for designated heritage properties or properties within a designated heritage district.

Eligible Costs:

Costs to preserve, repair, or maintain heritage characteristics of properties designated under the Ontario Heritage Act.

Note: the following additional eligibility requirements apply:

a. Property must be designated under the Ontario Heritage Act.

b. Project must address the designated heritage characteristics of the property as identified in the designation by-law.

Eligible Funding Options: Heritage Conservation Projects are eligible for loans.

Outdoor Patio Project 

Objective: Encourage the development of outdoor patios and similar “el fresco” dining opportunities.

Eligible Costs:

  • Costs for a deck, patio stones or a similar surface;
  • Costs for fencing;
  • Costs for roll up or folding aluminum/glass garage doors or similar installations to open up the building to the outdoors.

Note: the following additional eligibility requirements apply:

a. Patio must be for use of business patrons of a commercial use or for the general public.

Eligible Funding Options: Outdoor Patio Projects are eligible for loans.

Outdoor Art Project 

Objective: Encourage permanent art installations in the public realm. Promote and support local arts and culture.

Eligible Costs:

Costs to commission, purchase or install permanent outdoor art installations including but not limited to murals and sculptures.

Note: the following additional eligibility requirements apply:

a. Project must be located so as to be plainly visible from an adjacent public street or sidewalk.

b. Project is subject to any applicable municipal public art policy and/or art acquisition process in effect.

Eligible Funding Options: Outdoor Art Projects are eligible for loans. 

Additional Resources

There are several materials that are available to asist with the application process. Please review the following materials for more information:

 Million Dollar Makeover Application Guides

For information about how to apply for the Million Dollar Makeover program, please review the relevant application guides.

Application Guide - Grant    Application Guide - Loan

Focus Area Maps

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.

For the November 2018 intake, grants will be available to eligible properties within the downtown areas that completed a Downtown Revitalization project in 2014-2017, as outlined in the downtown revitalization area maps.

Community Improvement Plan Policy
The City of Kawartha Lakes Council adopted the Strategic Community Improvement Plan (CIP) in August 2018. This is the policy document that enables the Million Dollar Makeover funding program.
Signage and Façade Design Guidelines 

The City of Kawartha Lakes also adopted Streetscape and Façade Design Guidelines to encourage a more cohesive and inviting look and feel in the Downtown core. In order to receive funding through the Million Dollar Makeover program, applicants will be required to meet the Façade and Signage Design Guidelines, including the suggested colour palette.

Façade & Signage Design Guidelines

Kawartha Lakes Colour Palatte

Please contact makeover@kawarthalakes.ca for accessible versions of the design guidelines.

 Downtown Lindsay Heritage Conservation District Stewardship Guide

In October 2017, The City of Kawartha Lakes Council adopted the Downtown Lindsay Heritage Conservation Plan, designating the downtown area as a Heritage Conservation District under Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act. A Downtown Lindsay Heritage Conservation District Stewardship Guide was created to assist property owners in understanding the requirements for making changes to their properties wihtin the district.

Please contact makeover@kawarthalakes.ca for an accessible version of the Stweardship Guide.

Frequently Asked 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.

For the November 2018 intake, grants will be available to eligible properties within the downtown areas that completed a Downtown Revitalization project in 2014-2017, as outlined in the downtown revitalization area maps.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. 
Is a project eligible for funding from more than one funding program? 

Yes.

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. 

Is my project eligible?

All improvement projects are subject to eligibility criteria and conditions for any Million Dollar Makeover funding program.

Eligibility will be dependent on the property having no 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.

In addition:

  • The property is within the CIP Project Area.
  • The property is a commercial, mixed-use commercial/residential or heritage designated residential property, or be changing to one of these land uses as part of the proposed redevelopment.
  • Minimum project cost for a grant is $1,000.
  • Your project fits within one or more of the funding programs.
  • The project has not yet started construction. Applications for projects that have already begun are not considered.
  • Funding will not exceed the eligible project costs.
  • You are able to begin construction within six (6) months of the City’s approval of an application.
When is the application deadline?
The first intake deadline for grants and loans will be January 17th, 2019 at 4:30pm. Applications will not be accepted on a first, come first serve basis.
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 will be released to the applicant once the fuding agreement has been signed.

For grant projects, funding will be released to the applicant once the project has been completed to the agreed standards.

When does my project need to be completed?

All February 2019 grant intake projects must be completed construction by December 31, 2019.

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.

The Million Dollar Makeover Project is brought to you by the City of Kawartha Lakes Community Improvement Plan (CIP) financial program and our funding partner Kawartha Lakes Community Future Development Corporation. The grants are funded by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

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