Funding for festivals, drive-in concerts and movies

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 Tourism and Culture, was at Stackt Market to announce the first recipients of the new Reconnect Festival and Event Program and the Tourism Economic Development and Recovery Fund.

“This pandemic continues to disproportionately impact tourism and culture – two major industries which were hit first, the hardest, and will take the longest to recover,” MacLeod said. “It is critical that we support organizations as they adapt and find new ways to engage and reconnect Ontarians with their local communities while creating local jobs. Through the Reconnect Festival and Event Program and the Tourism Economic Development and Recovery Fund, our government’s investments will help support the economic and social recovery of communities across Ontario, making sure we are well positioned to re-emerge stronger, and once again showcase how Ontario offers the world in one province.”

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.

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 make the Reconnect Festival and Event Program accessible to more organizers, the government is waiving the minimum operating budget requirement. 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.

The first 27 events and initiatives receiving support through the Reconnect Festival and Event Program:

Event Name Organization Name Location Funding
2021 Winter Oh Canada Eh? Dinner Musical Totally Legit Productions Inc Ottawa $210,550
A Country Christmas at Saunders Farm Saunders Farm Inc. Ottawa $94,750
Airshow London presents SkyDrive Airshow London London $50,000
Aurora’s Winter Series The Town of Aurora Aurora $40,175
Bench Winterfest Bench Brewing Lincoln $64,074
Bluffs Winter Wonderland Roadshow Events Toronto $44,100
City View Drive-In Concert Series Maya Corp Toronto $253,000
Downey’s Christmas at the Farm Downey’s Farm Market Ltd Caledon $50,500
Enchanted and the Festival of Lights Belleville Downtown District BIA Belleville $27,607
From Ontario, With Love BT/A Advertising Provincewide (Online) $950,000
Hamilton Winterfest 2021 City of Hamilton-Tourism and Culture Division Hamilton $25,500
Haunted Walk “Bubble Tours” Adapted Tour Programs and Virtual Events Haunted Walks Inc. Ottawa $55,000
Illuminate Downtown Guelph Downtown Guelph Business Association Guelph $100,220
Illusionarium Starvox Exhibits Inc. Toronto $325,000
JLF TORONTO 2020 (VIRTUAL) Teamwork Arts (Canada) Inc. Provincewide (Online) $24,950
Lights On Stratford Stratford Tourism Alliance Stratford $146,000
Live At The Drive-In Skware Eyes Collaborative Hamilton $68,575
Love Kingston Tourism Kingston Kingston $95,700
Moksha Canada’s Afro-Caribbean Festival Moksha Canada Foundation Vaughan $19,400
Muskoka Winter Lights Huntsville/Lake Of Bays Chamber of Commerce Huntsville $290,300
Ontario Place Outdoor Cinema Ontario Place Corporation Toronto $130,985
Riverfest Elora Presents: ICE JAM at the Elora Mill Riverfest Elora Centre Wellington $43,500
SOM Return to Live Burlington’s Sound of Music Festival Inc. Burlington $27,550
The Essentials The Bentway Conservancy Toronto $78,000
The Dino Festival THEMUSEUM Kitchener $74,238
The Winter Experience at Mountsberg The Halton Region Conservation Authority Hamilton $116,625

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