One month after pulling funding from several events and festivals throughout southwestern Ontario, including Peel Region, the province announced last week that it would be boosting support for local events through a $2 million funding package.
The announcement was made prior to the Toronto Caribbean Carnival last week, with tourism and culture minister Lisa MacLeod onhand to talk about the grants, which will be delivered through the Celebrate Ontario program. “Every dollar invested through Celebrate Ontario results in almost $21 of visitor spending,” said Minister MacLeod.
“This year’s program received a strong response and we’re ensuring each budgeted dollar supports as many community festivals and events as possible.” Grants from the Celebrate Ontario program have benefited a variety of local festivals, including the recent Cheers Caledon event, which received a $21,346 grant from the program last year.
The funding boosts will see different amounts distributed to different regions, with the following breakdown: West: $545,162 North: $80,103 East: $757,403 Central: $716,282 In a statement, McLeod said that the funding will help festival and event organizers enhance programming, activities and services so that festivals and events can offer new experiences, reach new audiences and support local jobs.
“Festivals and events help create and support jobs, grow the economy and offer Ontario residents and tourists another reason to explore our wonderful province,” the statement read. The province has already announced that funding would be given to several Ottawaand London-based festivals who previously saw their grant amounts pulled, with additional announcements set to be revealed in the coming weeks. In total, the province is investing $17 million in the program to support more than 270 festivals and events.
Tourism is an important economic driver, supporting more than 390,000 jobs and generating over $34 billion of economic activity in the province, according to a recent statement from local officials. Since 2014, the province’s tourism sector has experienced year-on-year increases in tourism receipts of over six per cent.