Arts and Culture Centre

arts and cultureIn 2010, Yarmouth Town Council adopted the Yarmouth Downtown Blueprint Plan, which lays out a 20-year vision to revitalize the downtown.

The plan, developed by Ekistics Planning and Design, envisions that by 2030 downtown Yarmouth will be the cultural hub of western Nova Scotia. Residents and tourists alike will be drawn to downtown for its culture and history. They will stroll streetscapes where a blend of heritage and modern buildings will be home to galleries, theatres, boutiques and artisans workshops. They will be able to see a play, hear a concert, enjoy a dance troupe performing at one of several outside performance venues. One-of-a-kind specialty shops will be clustered around a major new arts centre that will foster creativity and the arts.

In 2017, Town Council’s Strategic Priorities renewed that call for an arts and culture centre to be located in the downtown, in order to establish a major new public destination for the downtown to rally around.

The project space is adjacent to the Collins Heritage Conservation District, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and Alma Square. It will be a dynamic space dedicated to arts, cultural engagement, and commerce with additional publicly accessible space for community gatherings.

MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects Limited

The Town of Yarmouth hired MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects Limited to work with local representatives of various cultural and arts groups while creating a Vision Concept for the project. MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple architects, landscape architects, planners and urban designers have been offering a unique mix of interdisciplinary design services for over 30 years to institutions, federal and provincial government agencies, municipalities, developers and not-for-profit corporations. MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple's experience will assist in creating an important space for the people of the Town of Yarmouth and its region.

Get Involved - We want to hear from you.

Your input is important to us.  To find out where we are in this project's lifecycle, and to particpate in the consultation process, please visit and register at Get Involved Yarmouth site: 

Summer Sounds in Frost Park

Calling all musicians, actors, artists, poets, and dancers!

Would you like to entertain in Frost Park on a Tuesday or Wednesday evening this summer? If your performance is family-friendly and on a volunteer basis, we'd love to see you there. Performers are welcome to busk and sell your CDs. To find out about performances, visit the Town’s Community Event Calendar for more information.

For further information or to book your spot, contact Natalie Smith at (902) 742-1505 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or Wade Cleveland at (902) 749-6194 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Download the Summer Sounds Poster 

Busker Performances Welcome Downtown

Jugglers, musicians, living statues – family-friendly entertainment is welcome in downtown Yarmouth! Help us bring fun to the streets this tourist season. There are no permit or fee requirements, just a few rules of thumb. Check out the guidelines below or download the full brochure.

Busker Brochure Final Page 2

Busker Performances Welcome Downtown

Jugglers, musicians, living statues – family-friendly entertainment is welcome in downtown Yarmouth! Help us bring fun to the streets this tourist season. There are no permit or fee requirements, just a few rules of thumb. Check out the guidelines below or download the full brochure.

Busker Brochure Final Page 2

Development Rebate Program

On January 11, 2017, the Town of Yarmouth was the first in Nova Scotia to enact a by-law establishing a Development Rebate Program, designed to stimulate building construction and expand the Town economy.

The Town of Yarmouth’s By-Law 65, cited as the “Central Business District Improvement Plan By-Law” takes advantage of the recent change to the Municipal Government Act (through Bill 177) to “authorize municipal councils to make a by-law providing for the phasing-in, over a period of up to 10 years, of an increase to the taxable assessed value of certain or contaminated properties located in a commercial development district established by by-law and further providing for the cancellation, reduction or refund of taxes paid as a result of the phasing-in.”

This means that property owners within the Central Business District (shown in the image below) can apply for annual partial rebates of up to ten years on commercial taxes if you have undertaken development of the property.

central business district

Development can include new building construction, or the expansion of an existing building to realize more effective utilization of the property’s potential.

Eligible property must enter into a Phased In Assessment Agreement with the Town prior to receiving a development rebate. More details can be found in the attachment at the bottom of this page. To get started, check out the full Central Business District Improvement Plan By-Law on our By-Laws page, and contact Town of Yarmouth Economic Development, Natalie Smith, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (902) 742-1505.

pdf Central Business District Improvement Plan By-law (418 KB)

pdf Phased In Assessment Agreement (519 KB)

pdf Central Business District Map (524 KB)

Downtown Facade Improvement Program

Background – Historical Significance

circadowntownWhile most towns in Nova Scotia were settled as either French or an English colony, Yarmouth was settled by both at different periods in time. In the early 1600’s a French fishing settlement was established, where Yarmouth stands today. Over a century later, the town of Yarmouth was settled by a group of New England Planters. Following the Seven Years’ War Acadians who were exiled returned to the area, followed after the American Revolution by a large number of United Empire Loyalists arriving in the late 1700’s. This dynamic history is reflected in Yarmouth’s existing built form.

Yarmouth is filled with extravagant, handsome buildings from centuries ago, and is known for having the “most exuberant” examples of Victorian style houses in the Maritimes. These houses were the homes of wealthy captains and ship-owners, and the buildings left today are mementos of that age. In contrast to the Victorian houses, Yarmouth is scattered with brick and stone buildings, with arched windows and handsome detailing. When looking through archived photos you can see the diversity of buildings that lined Main Street. However, over the course of the years a majority of the buildings have been lost to fire and demolition.


Participation In The Façade Improvement Program Guideline Process

To review or download the Façade Improvement Guildlines see: pdf Facade Improvement Guidelines (4.50 MB)

Façade Improvement Program Details

The Town of Yarmouth offers a façade improvement grant program to assist downtown property owners and tenants with the financing of street-oriented building façade improvements.

The facade improvement program is administered by the Yarmouth Facade Society, a not-for-profit volunteer board with support from the Town’s Economic Development staff.

Grants are only considered for proposals that offer:

  • High-quality storefront and façade design.
  • High quality signage.
  • Preservation and enhancement of upper-storey facades.

Goals of the Façade Program

  • Encourage high quality storefronts which respect the architectural elements of the buildings they reside in;
  • Achieve consistent, high quality signage;
  • Conserve and restore upper storey facades, including significant architectural details; and,
  • Implement the Town’s downtown urban design policies.

Financial Details

  • Property owners and merchants/business owners are eligible to receive grants of up to $5,000 per civic address or storefront.
  • Buildings on corner lots, where façade improvements are proposed on both frontages, are still only eligible for grants of up to $5,000.
  • The total value of any grant may not exceed 50 per cent of the total cost of eligible works.
  • No municipal street address or storefront shall receive more than a total of $5,000 under this program.
  • Grants are subject to the availability of funding.
  • Grants are issued upon the completion of the proposed work.


  • Only those properties located within the Downtown Facade Improvement Area ( Image Facade map sizeF 2016 600dpi (26.67 MB) ) with commercial uses are eligible.
  • Only those applications which satisfy the town's downtown urban design standards (see here) and the town’s downtown façade guidelines will be eligible to receive grants.
  • All applications must be capable of satisfying the town's sign bylaw (See here part 6 of land use by-law) and the National Building Code (see here).
  • If the total value of all grants applied for exceeds the amount of funding available, grant will be approved on a first come first basis.

Eligible Work

  • Repainting, cleaning or re-facing of façades.
  • Repair or restoration of façade masonry, brickwork or wood.
  • Replacement, repair or restoration of cornices, eaves, parapets and other architectural features.
  • Replacement or repair of windows as part of the overall façade improvements.
  • Entranceway modifications that improve the appearance and/or access to the commercial units.
  • Redesign and reconstruction of the store front.
  • Installation of appropriate new signage or improvements to existing signage.
  • Installation or repair of canopies and awnings.
  • Installation or repair of exterior lighting.
  • Restoration of historic features.

Pre-application Meeting

We highly recommended you meet with us for a pre-application meeting prior to submitting any application, to ensure your application meets our urban-design policies and the façade guidelines ( pdf Facade Improvement Guidelines (4.50 MB) )

To arrange a meeting, please contact Natalie Smith, Economic Development, at 902-742-1505. All successful grant applications will be subject to the terms and conditions as they relate to the façade improvement grant program.

Application Process:

Façade Program Resources:

pdf Facade Improvement Guidelines (4.50 MB)

pdf Yarmouth Facade Society Application Phase 2 (27 KB)

Image Facade map sizeF 2016 600dpi (26.67 MB)

pdf Phase 1 Facade Society Nov 2015Presentation (663 KB)

pdf Phase 2 Facade Society Dec 2016 Presentation (1002 KB)


Town of Yarmouth

 This is an exciting time for the Town of Yarmouth. By working together, we can meet today’s challenges and build a better future.”

Pam Mood


Town of Yarmouth
400 Main Street
Yarmouth, B5A 1G2

  (902) 742-2521
  (902) 742-6244

Keep in Touch