Cultural Plan


Why a Cultural Plan?

In developing this Cultural Plan, the Town of Hanover joins leading municipalities across Canada in recognizing the important role played by cultural resources in enhancing quality of life and in building prosperous and diversified local economies. Today there are over 75 municipal cultural plans that have been completed covering over 75% of Ontario’s population.

As a growing municipality in Ontario, the Town of Hanover undertook this Cultural Plan to provide a strategic guide to developing and investing in its cultural resources and for leveraging these resources to advance other economic and wider community development objectives.

The Town has already shown leadership in cultural development in several ways. The first establishing a Steering Committee to undertake this Cultural Plan. The Cultural Plan provides a strategic guide to planning and investing in cultural development over the next 5 years and beyond.

The second and critically important way in which the Town has demonstrated leadership is through the integration of cultural resources into a range of important existing planning documents. While enhanced attention to cultural resources is possible and necessary, a foundation has been established in references to arts, culture or heritage in many core Town planning documents. Chapter Three identifies these plans and connections to the Cultural Plan.

The Town of Hanover Cultural Plan

The Cultural Plan consists of the following elements:

  • Vision
  • Town Roles
  • Strategic Directions and Action Plan
  • Governance Recommendations
  • Implementation and Monitoring Recommendations

The Cultural Plan is grounded in 4 Strategic Directions, 2 Governance Recommendations and 2 Implementation and Monitoring Recommendations which establish a framework for 15 actions and 36 tactics. Each of these elements are presented in Chapter Five.

The Cultural Plan Vision and Strategic Directions are presented below.


The Town of Hanover envisions a community:

  • Where culture is a cornerstone upon which vibrant resilient, competitive and creative industries are built around;
  • Where there is commitment to support the growth and diversity of cultural activities and offerings in Hanover;
  • Where Hanover’s cultural fabric will continue to flourish because of its diversity and interdependence of its not-for-profit community, the creative industries and a wide range of cultural consumers;
  • Where diversity is welcomed as a source of strength and inspiration and celebrated by Hanover residents;
  • Where cultural awareness and understanding will be the hallmark of community development decision-making in Hanover;
  • Where recognition exists of our strong organizations that support artists and creators in order to drive the quality and perception of cultural value within the community.

Strategic Directions and Goals

In achieving this vision, the Cultural Plan has identified the following strategic directions:

Strategic Direction #1 – Enable Cultural Investments with Supportive Municipal Policy Structures
Goal - The Town of Hanover embraces a model of government that integrates culture holistically and comprehensively into the way it does business every day. The application of this cultural lens requests that all decision-making across the Town consider the impact that any decision might make on the vibrancy and identity of the community.


Strategic Direction #2 – Leverage Creativity and Culture to Attract and Retain People as Key Drivers of Innovation and Economic Growth
Goal - The Town of Hanover will collaborate with its partners in the community to take actions which foster innovation in all aspects of cultural policies, programs and services that support the incubation of cultural ideas and expression. The Town of Hanover is home to strong and energetic cultural networks that inform, build, and mentor individuals and organizations on current opportunities within cultural development.


Strategic Direction #3 – Create an Environment Where Enhanced Cultural Activities Can Take Place
Goal - The Town of Hanover will play a leadership role in finding practical ways to create an environment for collaboration and communication to create opportunities for continuing dialogue among cultural partners and to invite residents to engage and participate in cultural activities.


Strategic Direction #4 – Implement a Recognizable Cultural Identity for the Town that Communicates an Innovative, Transformative and Authentic Experience
Goal - Hanover’s identity leaves a lasting legacy that will change the mind-set of the town and raise its creative talent profile for years to come. Hanover recognizes the richness of its heritage as a defining characteristic of the community; one which embeds openness, understanding, appreciation and shares cross-cultural expression in the daily lives of residents and provides individuals rich opportunities to expand and learn new skills. Hanover’s identity solidifies as a performance and festival destination.


Cultural Planning is a priority for the Government of Ontario. In 2011, Municipal Cultural Planning Inc. with support from the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport produced Municipal Cultural Planning: A Toolkit for Ontario Municipalities. The Toolkit defines Cultural Planning as:

A municipal government-led process approved by Council, for identifying and leveraging a community’s cultural resources, strengthening the management of those cultural resources, and integrating those cultural resources across all facets of municipal government planning and decision making.

Cultural Planning is part of an integrated, place-based approach to planning and development that takes into account four pillars of sustainability: economic prosperity, social equity, environmental responsibility and cultural vitality.
Cultural Planning is guided by 5 assumptions:

  1. Cultural resources – Cultural Planning embraces a broad definition of cultural resources that includes creative cultural industries and occupations, cultural spaces and facilities, natural and cultural heritage resources, festivals and events, community cultural organizations, and intangible cultural resources such as community stories. See Cultural Resources Framework below.
  2. Cultural mapping – Cultural Planning begins with cultural mapping, a systematic approach to identifying, recording, classifying and analyzing a community’s cultural resources.
  3. Adopting a ‘cultural lens’ – Cultural Planning involves establishing processes to integrate culture as a consideration across all facets of municipal planning and decision-making.
  4. Cross-sectoral strategies – Cultural Planning requires new partnership models or mechanisms (such as Cultural Roundtables) to support ongoing collaboration between the municipality and its cultural, community and business partners.
  5. Networks and engagement – Cultural Planning involves strengthening networks across all facets of the cultural sector and strategies to support ongoing community engagement.

In this video, Greg Baeker discusses the importance of cultural planning as an essential tool for Ontario municipalities in rediscovering the wealth of place 

Cultural Resource Framework

Cultural mapping is a process to systematically identify, document and analyze the cultural resources or assets of a community. Across the country, more and more municipalities are turning to cultural mapping as an important new tool to support economic development and to demonstrate the quality of life in communities.

Cultural mapping embraces a broad definition of cultural resources as illustrated in the diagram below. This includes a wide range of tangible resources such as arts and heritage organizations, cultural occupations and industries, cultural and natural heritage – among others. It also explores the areas of intangible cultural assets - the stories, traditions and unique quality of life that shape the town’s identity and sense of place. The broad definition of cultural resources illustrated in the diagram is dynamic. It is, however, a starting point for gathering information on the rich and diverse cultural assets in Hanover.

Creativity, culture and quality of place have become major drivers in growing local economies. One reason for the increased focus on culture-led economic development is a basic shift in assumptions about what drives local economies. A traditional economic growth model in which the attraction of large-scale business investment attracts jobs and people is being turned on its head. Instead, we understand that if we build communities with strong quality of place where people want to live and work, business and investment follow people, not the other way around. Places with strong community amenities and a range of cultural assets and entertainment options attract people, which in turn attract business investment. A second factor driving increased attention to culture is rapid growth in the creative cultural industries, one of the fastest growing sectors in the emerging creative economy.

With these conclusions comes the need for new strategies to cultivate cultural resources to drive economic development.

Key Message 1

Cultural planning involves identifying cultural resources and leveraging those resources to support economic and broader community development objectives. The Cultural Plan will help advance a wide range of plans and priorities across the Town.

Key Message 2

Cultural planning adopts a broad definition of cultural resources. The Cultural Plan will employ a cultural mapping process to identify, document, narrate, and analyze the Town’s cultural resources.

Key Message 3

Community input is critical to the success of the Cultural Plan. The Cultural Plan process will engage the community through systematic tools that will capture collective thoughts and voices of the Town.

Key Message 4

A rich cultural life and amenities are important elements to attracting jobs and investment in the economy. The Cultural Plan will assist in identifying opportunities to connect cultural development to the Town’s economic development efforts including how cultural life and its amenities can be connected to tourism, businesses, and main street initiatives.