FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Aug. 4, 2021
SIMCOE – The Ontario government is investing nearly $50 million to help festival and event organizers deliver innovative and safe experiences that allow people to safely reconnect with their communities. This one-time funding increase – more than double the annual funding provided to the festival and event sector in the past – will ensure the long-term success of the festival and event sector.
Locally, the funding recipients are:
Norfolk County Agricultural Society $50,000
Lighthouse Festival Theatre $155,954
Norfolk’s Concert Connection $162,500
“These large venues are important economic drivers in our area and have a track record of attracting travellers,” said Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett.
Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, was joined by Michael Thompson, Chair of the Economic and Community Development Committee, City of Toronto to provide details about the announcement today at the Grand Bizarre in Toronto.
“For more than a year, the pandemic has disproportionately impacted tourism and culture – two major industries that bring people together and our communities to life,” said Minister MacLeod. “Increasing our annual support for festival and events will give the sector a much-needed boost as we continue to deal with the effects of COVID-19. Our government is supporting organizations that are finding new ways to safely engage and reconnect Ontarians with their local communities while creating local jobs.”
The government is providing $43 million to support 439 festivals and events through the Reconnect Festival and Event Program, representing a record number of supported events in the program’s 14-year history.
The Reconnect program (known as Celebrate Ontario prior to the COVID-19 pandemic) was developed to help festival and event organizers adapt to new public health measures with virtual, drive-through and other safe offerings. This ensures support is directed to community-based events with safe, innovative experiences, while creating opportunities that encourage Ontarians to reconnect with the beauty and diversity of their community in new ways.
This investment also includes $6 million to Celebrate Ontario Blockbuster events. The Celebrate Ontario Blockbuster program supports municipalities and organizations in Ontario to host large-scale, high-impact signature events that draw significant tourist attendance and increase tourist spending, increase Ontario’s profile through media and broadcast exposure and provide significant economic impact and legacy development for the province.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, every $1 of provincial funding invested through Celebrate Ontario (the model for the Reconnect program) resulted in almost $21 of visitor spending. The impact of the 2021/22 Celebrate Ontario Blockbuster and Reconnect Festival and Event Program investment is estimated to generate over $1 billion in economic benefit across the province.
- Tourism is a key economic driver in Ontario – in 2018, the tourism industry supported more than 390,000 jobs and generated over $36 billion of economic activity for the province.
- Reconnect Festival and Event Program funding may be used for eligible expenses such as programming and production, marketing, mobile applications and website development, and making sure health and safety measures are put in place to keep audiences safe.
- As announced in the 2021 Budget, Ontario is investing 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.
For more information, contact MPP Toby Barrett at 519-428-0446 or [email protected]