PROVINCIAL UPDATE: Investing in Ontario’s Tourism Industry During COVID-19

Published December 3, 2020

TORONTO – The Ontario government is investing nearly $4.4 million to support the long-term sustainability of the province’s vital tourism industry. This funding will help deliver innovative, safe experiences, like virtual festivals and events, and support tourism operators as they deal with the impacts of COVID-19. 

Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, was at Stackt Market in Toronto today to announce the first recipients of the new Reconnect Festival and Event Program and the Tourism Economic Development and Recovery Fund. 

Through the Reconnect Festival and Event Program, Ontario is investing more than $3.4 million to support 27 local events and initiatives. These events are the first to be approved through the program, which was launched in October 2020. This funding will support festival and event organizers as they adapt to new public health measures with virtual, drive-through and other safe offerings. 

The Ontario government is also investing more than $912,000 in 14 initiatives through the Tourism Economic Development and Recovery Fund. The $1.5-million fund is an application-based, cost-sharing program designed to provide funding for projects that encourage the development of innovative new tourism products, support tourism investment or build the capacity of Ontario’s tourism industry. Applications are being accepted on an on-going basis. 

Quick Facts

  • The Reconnect Festival and Event Program is a $9-million fund. Eligible events for the Reconnect Festival and Event Program include reverse holiday parades with drive-by static floats, drive-in music concerts and movies, holiday tree lightings and New Year’s Eve sky light displays.
  • To give organizations more time to develop new programming and submit applications, the Reconnect Festival and Event Program deadline will be extended by three weeks to December 22, 2020, at 5 p.m.
  • To make the Reconnect Festival and Event Program accessible to more organizers, the government is waiving the minimum operating budget requirement.

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