Plan an event

What you need to plan a public or private event in Waterloo, apply for an event, permits required to plan an event and locations to host your event.

Application timeline - please apply for your event at least 6 months if it is a large indoor event, 45 days if it includes food, and at least two weeks before if it is a small scale event.


On this page

  1. What you need for your event
  2. Apply for your event
  3. Permits for your event
  4. Locations to host your event
  5. Who to contact for your event

What you need for your event

To host an event on a City of Waterloo facility, park, road or sidewalk you will need to apply for a permit. Depending on what type of event you are hosting, you may need additional permits for food, live entertainment, road closures, tents or any extras. Our permit guide or event staff can assist you.

Depending on what facility you are hosting your event at, we may require a site plan. Proof of insurance may be required for your event.

Our event staff are also able to assist in booking equipment for your event. We have chairs, table, benches, people fencing - everything you require to host an event.


Apply for your event

Once you have a clear idea of your event details you should apply to reserve your event space. This application does not guarantee your booking.

Apply for your event


Permits for your event

Food

If you are serving food that is prepared on site, prepared offsite or prepackaged you will need approval from Public Health Inspectors at Waterloo Region Public Health. This requires a minimum of 45 days in advance of your event.

Find the information and forms you require on the region's Public Health website.

Alcohol

If you're interested in serving alcohol at your event, our Food Services team is able to assist as they are licensed to serve alcohol at our recreation facilities.

A Certificate of Insurance is required when serving alcohol on a City of Waterloo property with proof of 5 million dollars of Commercial General Liability Insurance. Our facilities allocation and booking team can assist you with obtaining insurance while booking a facility.

Insurance

Insurance is required for your event if you have alcohol, amusement rides inflatables, fireworks, and live entertainment. As an event organizer you are responsible for those participating. Insurance protects those who are planning to enjoy your event as well individuals volunteering for your event.

You must name the City of Waterloo facility as a coverage for up to 5,000,000, depending on your event activities. You are able to purchase insurance through our FAB team who can assist you through this process.

Music and live entertainment

If you are playing licensed music at your event you will require a Entandem licence. A Entandem licence allows you to play licensed music, recorded or live at a public event.

Accessibility

We encourage events that are inclusive for all people to participate in. Begin by planning your event to be as accessible as possible. Learn about the AODA and find resources to ensure your event can be enjoyed by all.

Amusement rides

A TSSA certificate and insurance is required if you would like an amusement ride at your event. The TSSA has information on rides and inflatables that require certificates and insurance.

Animals

You will require an animals for entertainment licence if you wish to have live animals at your event. Not all our facilities/properties permit animals.

Fireworks and open flames

Fireworks are only permitted until 11:00 p.m. on the Victoria Day and Canada Day long weekend, Chinese New Year, the Diwali Festival and one day following those holidays. Only the owner of the property is allowed to set off fireworks as per section 5.4 of the Fireworks bylaw.

Open flames or campfires can be accommodated for culturally significance groups or community events. A minimum of 50 people must be in attendance in order for the event to take place in a city-owned park. The permit fee is $79.05 and you must complete a open air application form.

Propane BBQs are available for rent with our pavilions at Waterloo Park. Charcoal BBQs are not permitted as per our Open Air Burning bylaw.

Neighbourhood events

A neighbourhood event involves people who live in your neighbourhood, multi-residential building, on your street or block and want to develop and maintain community connections.
The neighbourhoods team can help you apply for potential grants, brainstorm event ideas, and support logistics for your gathering. Learn more about planning neighbourhood events.

Noise exemptions

Noise exemptions are required if your event will have excessive noise between 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. (9:00 a.m. on Sundays). You can apply for a noise exemption through our bylaw division.

Rentals

If your event requires chairs, tables, benches, picnic tables, people fencing, garbage cans, recycling bins, AV equipment or any event style equipment our facilities have this equipment available for rent. Our FAB team will be happy to book any of your required equipment when booking one of our venues.

Road and sidewalk closure

If your event requires the closure of a road or a sidewalk you will have to complete our special events permit form. If you are looking to host a walk or run, we have pre-planned routes that do not require a road closure.

Timelines for approval along the light rail transit route is 60 to 120 days. Events requesting road and/or lane closures require a minimum of 60 days, and events using only sidewalk or trails require 30 to 60 days.

Security

Your event may require security if there are a large amount of people or if alcohol is being served.

Tents

If you're having a tent at your event you may require approval from our building division. Building permits are required for any tents that are more than 60 sq.m in area or more than 60 sq.m in combined area for a group of tents.

Walk/run routes

Visit our walk/run routes page to find routes that do not require a road closure or police services and are accessible to organize charity walks or runs. With five options that include different locations across Waterloo and participation levels.


Locations to host your event

These are our top event facilities. Our event staff will be happy to suggest alternative event locations to facilitate your event needs.

Waterloo Park

Known as the jewel of the city, Waterloo Park has a lake, animal farm, the Grist Mill, picnic areas, splash pad, sport fields, playgrounds and more.

RIM Park

RIM Park is the city's largest recreation centre with multiple rinks, courts, sports fields and natural areas.

Community Centres + Arenas

Waterloo Public Square

Waterloo Public Square is a place for people to gather in the heart of the city. It can accommodate large and small events, year round.

Waterloo Memorial Recreational Complex

WMRC is our primary uptown rec facility, with a large swimming complex, arena, indoor track and community spaces.


Who to contact for your event

RIM Park, WMRC, arenas, parks, and community centres - fab@waterloo.ca

Waterloo Public Square - lakyn.barton@waterloo.ca

Road, sidewalk closures and walk/road races - helga.bowman@waterloo.ca

Neighbourhood specific events - neighbourhoods@waterloo.ca