With its stunning landmarks and a rich culture, Ontario has long been seen as a world-class area for tourism. As a result, the province has generated a meaningful economic impact from tourism activities, such as events and attractions. In 2012, Ontario’s Ministry of Tourism, Culture, and Sport reported that visitors to the province spent over $22.3 billion and provided employment for nearly 300,000 Ontarians.
To increase the positive impact of tourism on the Ontario economy, the provincial government created Celebrate Ontario 2016, an Ontario government grant to increase tourism through the creation and marketing of regional, cultural, and entertainment events. Through this government grant funding, organizations can apply to receive, depending on the funding stream, up to $25,000 to $300,000 towards tourism event enhancement and marketing activities. Celebrate Ontario 2016’s current call for proposal for applications closes on November 4, 2015 at 5:00pm EST. Organizations interested in receiving government grant funding for tourism events held between April 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017 must apply by the deadline to be considered for funding this round of funding.
Celebrate Ontario 2016 Program Focus and Government Funding Amounts
Celebrate Ontario 2016 government grants can be used to enhance tourism projects and promote them through a variety of marketing projects. In particular, the Celebrate Ontario 2016 program seeks to:
- Improve event attendance;
- Increase tourism rates and tourism spending;
- Encourage visitors to stay in Ontario overnight;
- Increase quality and sustainability of the event; and
- Build upon Ontario’s tourism support throughout Canada and internationally.
To accomplish this, Celebrate Ontario 2016 will encompass two streams of funding for the improvement and increased marketing of tourism events within the province. Applicants to Celebrate Ontario 2016 can leverage both streams, including:
Activities which improve the quality, sustainability, and growth of tourism events may be eligible for this funding stream. Depending on the event’s operating expenses, varying amounts of funding will be provided.
Organizations hosting existing events can receive $50,000 to $300,000 in Ontario government grants. Funding amounts awarded are calculated from 50% of the enhancement project’s cash operating expenses or 25% of the event’s base cash operating expenses (whichever is less). Funding provided to organizations will be awarded based on the following operating expense thresholds:
- Less than $250,000 in operating expenses: maximum funding of $50,000;
- More than $250,000 but less than $1,000,000: maximum funding of $100,000; and
- More than $1,000,000 in operating expenses: maximum funding of $300,000.
Organizations hosting new events can receive 25% of their projected cash operating expenses, ranging from $25,000 to $150,000 in Ontario grant funding. Funding provided to organizations will be awarded based on the following operating expense thresholds:
- Less than $250,000 in operating expenses: maximum funding of $25,000;
- More than $250,000 but less than $1,000,000: maximum funding of $50,000; and
- More than $1,000,000 in operating expenses: maximum funding of $150,000.
Marketing activities which target tourists who stay overnight may be eligible for this funding stream.
- Marketing campaigns that are targeted towards Ontario residents living 100 kilometres or further from the event location may receive 75% of cash marketing costs. Existing tourism events can leverage up to $20,000 in marketing funding, while new events may access up to $10,000.
- Marketing campaigns targeted towards out of province visitors (i.e. other provinces/territories or countries) may receive 50% of cash marketing costs. Existing events can access up to $150,000 and new events may receive up to $75,000
Event Eligibility for Celebrate Ontario 2016 Government Grant Funding
To ensure your organization’s project is a good fit for the Celebrate Ontario 2016 program, consider the eligibility criteria for events:
Events which are eligible and may receive funding through Celebrate Ontario 2016 include:
- Events which occur in the Province of Ontario;
- Events which have an applicant organization in existence with legal status (by legislation or incorporation);
- Events which occur between April 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017; and
- Events which are open the broad public and do not require membership to attend.
Some events will not be deemed eligible for the Celebrate Ontario 2016 program. Those events include:
- Special interest events, or those which seek to recruit new members;
- Commercial events (such as trade shows and consumer shows);
- Symposiums, conferences, seminars, and conventions; and
- Anniversary events (such as Canadian and international holidays).
Eligible Expenses Provided through Celebrate Ontario 2016 Government Funding
A variety of expenses can be claimed for the Celebrate Ontario 2016 government funding application. These include:
Enhancement Projects – Eligible Expenses
Eligible organizations can claim project enhancement expenses, including:
- Fees paid to artists, musicians, performers, speakers, and celebrities;
- Fees paid for audio and visual support from stage crews;
- Moveable objects (such as tables, bleachers, tents, stages, sound, and lighting);
- Accessibility services;
- Site services (including security and shuttle busses); and
- Surveys, research, and economic impact reporting.
Marketing Campaign – Eligible Expenses
Eligible organizations can claim project marketing expenses, including:
- Paid and placement advertising (such as electronic or print advertising);
- Material distribution costs;
- Marketing material translation services;
- Email list purchasing;
- Geographically-targeted digital advertising; and
- Creative advertising development fees.
Apply for Celebrate Ontario 2016 Government Grants
Applications for Celebrate Ontario 2016 must be submitted no later than November 4, 2015. Those sent after the final submission date will be rejected. To ensure your organization is able to take advantage of this program by the end of Celebrate Ontario 2016’s call for proposal period on November 4, 2015, contact Mentor Works, the Canadian Government Funding Experts. Our knowledgeable team are ready to prepare your submission and help you receive funding for your 2016 tourism event.
Canadian Government Funding News and Events
To discover other Canadian government funding programs for your organization’s initiatives, register for Mentor Works’ weekly government funding newsletter and never miss an article. Organizations can also register for a free government grants and loans webinar, where a Canadian Government Funding Expert will discuss how to leverage funding for maximum impact. Want to connect with Mentor Works for more frequent government funding updates? Organizations and small business owners can connect with us through Twitter and LinkedIn.