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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
A Downtown Transformation

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 pdf (Facade Map Update, 2019) (3.48 MB) with commercial uses are eligible.
  • Only those applications which satisfy the town's downtown urban design standards ( pdf see here (1.63 MB) ) 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 ( pdf See here (5.54 MB) 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 Form (860 KB)

pdf Facade Map , 2019 (3.48 MB)

Facade Program Presentations:

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

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

pdf Facade Economic Impact Report Feb 22, 2018 (612 KB)

pdf Facade Society Update Feb 22, 2018 (1.12 MB)

pdf Final Facade Society Presentation to Council - November 15, 2018 (1.86 MB)

pdf 2019 September Facade Presentation to Communities in Bloom Symposium (3.05 MB)


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

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