Miller Very Pleased To See Local Impact Of Ontario’s Historic Investment In Safe, Innovative Festivals And Events

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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. MPP Miller is pleased to see so many successful candidates from the riding receiving funding as part of this significant investment, totalling $1,229,865 within the riding.

Locally in Parry Sound – Muskoka, the funding recipients and events supported are as follows:

  • Township of Armour, Staycation In Almaguin – $18,800
  • Huntsville Festival of the Arts 2021/22- $140,000
  • Muskoka Chautauqua Arts & Culture Festival in Windermere Village – $113,500
  • Lake of Bays and Huntsville COC, Huntsville SnowFest- $54,575
  • Lake of Bays and Huntsville COC, Muskoka Winter Lights – $145,757
  • Bracebridge BIA, Fire and Ice Festival – $23,550
  • The Town of Bracebridge, Best of #TheBridge – $6,325
  • Bala Cranberry Festival – $82,881
  • FRC Marketing, Canada Day House Party 2021 – $91,500
  • Muskoka Tourism Marketing Agency, Oktoberfest Muskoka – $19,652
  • The Municipality of Magnetawan, Dinner and a Movie Series – $6,000
  • 42nd Annual Festival of the Sound – $172,000
  • Township of Georgian Bay, Honey Bee Festival – $205,675
  • Sandhill Nursery, Sandhill Fall Celebration – $149,650

“These events are crucial to the fabric of Parry Sound – Muskoka,” said MPP Miller. “Many of these events are hallmark events for our communities and attract visitors to our area in all seasons.  I’m pleased to see this funding support an array of entities including some of our Chambers of Commerce, Municipalities, non-profits, charities, volunteer-led initiatives and independent businesses.”

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 yesterday 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.

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