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Ontario investing in Dufferin-Caledon festivals and events through the Reconnect Festivals and Events Program

August 23, 2021

Dufferin-Caledon: MPP Sylvia Jones is pleased that five festivals and events in Dufferin-Caledon have been selected to receive $386,288 in funding through the Reconnect Festivals and Events program.

Funding for Festivals and Events in Dufferin-Caledon include:

Organization Event Name Event Date Eligible Funding
Downey’s Farm Market Sunflower Trail Aug 13-29 2021 $22,000
Rodeo Management Group RAM Rodeo Jul – Oct 2021 $232,550
Theatre Orangeville 2021 Summer Series Jul – Sep 2021 $66,988
Downey’s Farm Market Christmas at the Farm Nov – Dec 2021 $39.250
Town of Orangeville Summer Concert Series Aug 20 -28 2021 $25,500

“This is an important investment for the tourism and culture sector in Dufferin-Caledon,” said Jones. “The support from the reconnect festivals and event program is allowing organizations and businesses to recover and relaunch events and activities that we have all missed during the pandemic.”

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.

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.

Quick Facts

  • 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.

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