Ottawa Festivals and Events Celebrate Funding Announcement

Ontario Minister of Tourism, Monique Smith, visits “Canada’s Festival Capital” to announce recipients of the province’s increased Celebrate Ontario funding program

Monique Smith, Minister of Tourism, was in Ottawa Wednesday to announce that fifteen Ottawa festivals, special events and fairs will receive more than $1.4-million as part of Ontario’s $11-million investment throughout the province.

In front of a full house of representatives from the festival, tourism and business community, Smith stated that the Province was investing $11-million for 2009, a $2-million increase over its commitment in 2008, because, “Our government recognizes the economic impact that festivals and events have on local communities throughout the province. By enabling community events to improve their product, we are helping them reach new audiences, create more jobs and generate more economic activity.”

“This announcement from the Government of Ontario is great news for area festivals,” states Julian Armour, President of Ottawa Festivals, “This announcement and the recent announcement from the Federal Government both show a strong recognition of the tremendous economic and community impact generated by festivals.”

“Festivals are important economic engines and we need people to know how important they are to the economy,” Smith said. During his opening remarks, Noel Buckley, President of Ottawa Tourism echoed these sentiments stating that, “Festivals are key demand generators for the Ottawa tourism industry.”

“Celebrate Ontario funding helps us to improve our programming and keep a competitive edge in the tourism marketplace,” says Hitomi Suzuta, President of Ottawa Folk Festival, “It’s not only an investment in our festival, it’s an investment in the many local businesses that rely on the visitors we draw.”

In fact, the numbers can be staggering. The Ottawa Festival Visitor Impact Study found that the total economic activity in Ottawa attributable to just 21 of the region’s more than a hundred events was almost $94-million, supporting over 1,100 full-year jobs and returning more than $5.5-million to the local municipal tax base, $14-million to federal coffers and $12-million to the province.

While referring to the area as “Canada’s Festival Capital,” Smith said that the announcement was being made in Ottawa, “Because it is a place of festivals,” mentioning that no matter the season, “There is always something going on.” She went on to praise the diversity of events that range from cultural and ethnic celebrations to sporting events and major international festivals, “Everyone is covered in Ottawa.”

This diversity is reflected in the list of funding recipients of Celebrate Ontario funding from Ottawa that includes The Canadian Tulip Festival, Ottawa Dragon Boat Race Festival, TD Canada Trust Ottawa International Jazz festival, Rideau Canal Festival, Ottawa Folk Festival, Festival franco-ontarien 2009, Ottawa International Writers Festival, Festival des Sucres 2009, Ottawa International Animation Festival, Ottawa International Children’s Festival and Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest.