Feb 19, 2021 | Festival and Event Industry Industry News
Funding will support local tourism initiatives as communities continue to struggle with COVID-19
The Ontario government is investing more than $7 million in 87 local and virtual events and initiatives through the Reconnect Festival and Event Program. This funding will support the festival and event sector during COVID-19 while helping municipalities and organizations deliver innovative and safe experiences that allow people to reconnect with their communities.
Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, was joined by His Worship John Tory, Mayor of Toronto, to make the announcement.
“The COVID-19 outbreak has had an unprecedented, devastating impact on arts, tourism and culture in the province – our sectors were hit first, hit hardest, and will take the longest to recover,” said Minister MacLeod. “It is critical that our government continues to support organizations that are finding new ways to engage with and reconnect Ontarians, while preserving jobs and supporting local economies. The Reconnect Festival and Event Program will help support the economic and social recovery of communities across Ontario.”
In total, the Reconnect program is supporting more than 100 events and initiatives, including:
- The Royal Agricultural Virtual Experience: Spring Edition, a virtual and live event showcasing the best in Canadian agriculture, food and equine sport
- Field Trip Life Launch, live and virtual performances to launch the return of the Field Trip and FieldTripLife.com festival
- Lights On Stratford, a winter lights festival illuminating heritage buildings, theatres, parks and storefronts in Stratford
- Hot Docs Podcast Festival, an online ticketed event showcasing popular podcasters
- Haunted Walk “Bubble Tours,” which include adapted in-person and digital ghost tours in Ottawa.
“The Reconnect program will play a vital role in our rebuilding efforts as a city, and will provide a sense of relief for many of our event organizers and community groups across the city. By providing event organizers this funding, we can feel more confident that they can come back stronger and better once the pandemic is over. As part of our rebuilding efforts, we will rely heavily on the events that were essential to the vibrancy and livelihood of our city. I want to thank Minister MacLeod and the provincial government for providing this funding and for demonstrating their commitment to rebuilding the arts, culture and tourism sector in Toronto,” said Mayor John Tory.
The Reconnect Festival and Event Program was developed to help festival and event organizers adapt to new public health measures with virtual, drive-through and other safe offerings. Examples of funded events include reverse holiday parades with drive-by static floats, drive-in music concerts and movies, walking trails and light shows.
The 2021 Reconnect Festival and Event Program will open on March 17, 2021.
- In December 2020, the government announced an investment of more than $3.4 million to support the first 27 recipients through the 2020 Reconnect Festival and Event Program.
- Tourism is a key economic driver in Ontario, supporting more than 400,000 jobs and generating over $36 billion in spending.