I HeART Main Street 2021

Building on the success of the 2020 Main Street Art Challenge and in partnership with RBC Royal Bank, STEPS presents this year’s I HeART Main Street to support Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) of all sizes, strengthen business-community relationships, and provide meaningful opportunities for local Canadian artists. Beginning in June 2021, 26 main streets across Ontario will be activated through unique outdoor public art installations that can be visited in person or virtually through an interactive app. Participating BIAs will have a chance to win prizes valued at $30,000 at the end of the summer to recognize exemplary projects.


Location: Various locations across Ontario

BIAs:  Albion Islington Square, Aldershot Village, Belle River – On the Lake, Burlington Downtown Business Association, Chinatown, Clarkson Village, Cooksville, Downtown Bench Beamsville, Downtown Brockville, Downtown Tillsonburg, Downtown Timmins, Downtown Whitby, DUKE Heights, Fairbank Village, Kensington Market, Lakeshore Village, Leslieville, MarkeTO District, Mimico by the Lake, Mount Pleasant Village, Oakwood Village, Pape Village, Port Credit, Riverside, Trinity Bellwoods, Upper Village

Artists: Our I HeART Main Street artist roster includes Asli Alin, Curtia Wright, Danielle Hyde, Hyedie Hashimoto, Yasaman Mehrsa and more!

Year: 2021

Services: Public Art Management, Creative PlacemakingMain Street Recovery


Canadian artists and designers paid for their work


Business Improvement Areas supported


Cities represented across Ontario


New app integration


We believe that Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) are the heart of our communities. Expanding on the success of last year’s Main Street Art Challenge and in partnership with RBC Royal Bank, STEPS is working with 26 BIAs across Ontario this summer to implement placemaking initiatives as part of their main street recovery strategy. From creative coaching and hiring local artists to create new public artwork, to implementing innovative ways to safely engage with the artworks with an upcoming launch of an interactive app, I HeART Main Street is helping BIAs foster trust and a sense of community through challenging times. 

Supports include:

  • Pro-bono creative placemaking and public art services
  • Connections to multidisciplinary artists and creatives
  • Artist fee subsidies
  • Audio-visual documentation
  • Promotional tools and public programming

Stay tuned as public artworks are installed all summer long in communities near you! Follow @stepspublicart and #MainStreetArtChallenge for the latest updates and announcements.

Experience I HeART Main Street Virtually!

New this year is the launch of an app via the STQRY platform to capture all of the public art projects across Ontario! Through this app, visitors can experience the installations virtually, plan walking tours around installation sites, learn more about the participating BIA communities, and meet the local artists involved. This app is currently in development. More information about how to download the app coming soon.

Awards and Recognition

Through the presenting partnership of RBC Royal Bank, STEPS will provide prizes at the end of the summer to recognize participating BIAs who demonstrate ingenuity, creativity and a commitment to community engagement. Prizes will be awarded by a committee composed of local cultural and business leaders and will include a combination of monetary and in-kind support to realize future main street placemaking initiatives.

I HeART Main Street, presented in partnership with RBC Royal Bank, is generously supported by the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative funded by the Government of Canada, Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, and the City of Toronto.
The Canada Healthy Communities Initiative funded by
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