On the heels of announcing plans to make Ontario Place a major city attraction in Toronto, the provincial government has released details on a $49 million grant fund supporting 439 festivals and events in the province this year.
The richly funded program falls within the 2021 Ontario budget that promised to spend more than $400 million over the next three years in new initiatives to support tourism, culture, sport and recreation sectors. This builds on investments of $225 million announced earlier, bringing the total support for these sectors to more than $625 million since the pandemic began.
The rationale behind the grant fund is that tourism is a key economic driver in Ontario. According to provincial data, the tourism industry supported more than 390,000 jobs and generated over $36 billion of economic activity for the province in 2018.
The ‘Reconnect Festival and Event Program’ funding may be used for eligible expenses such as programming and production, marketing, mobile applications and website development.
A Live Nation's Budweiser Stage program, TIFF, 99.3 Country FM’s 2021 radiothon, Afro Carib Fest online, Burl’s Creek Boots & Hearts festival, Canadian Music Week’s ‘Virtual Warm-Up’, North Bay’s Capitol Centre Bluesfest, West Gwillimbury’s Carrot Fest, Country Music Week, Leamington’s Hogs for Hospice, Kingston’s Rib Fest, St. Catharines’ Niagara Grape & Wine Festival, Ontario Sports Hall of Fame’s induction ceremony and community celebration, the Peterborough Musicfest, Toronto’s Soul in the City, Markham’s Jazz Festival, TD Ottawa’s Jazz Festival, Ottawa Bluesfest, the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, Mariposa Satellite Concerts, and Ottawa’s Capital Ukrainian Festival are approved for grants ranging between $5,000 and $250,000.
Separately, the Ontario government has announced $6.4 million for improved community, culture and recreational infrastructure in Eastern Ontario and the Niagara region.