Celebrate Ontario Provides $20M in Tourism Grants to Local Festivals

Celebrate Ontario Government Grants for Tourism Festivals

Celebrate Ontario is an Ontario government grant intended to offset a portion of costs related to hosting large-scale events which increase tourism. Each year, the province supports first-time and recurring events that demonstrate the ability to draw attendees from inside and outside Ontario.

The provincial government is investing over $20 million in tourism grants through Celebrate Ontario, which will support 328 festivals and events this year.

With its significant contribution of over $20 million, Celebrate Ontario 2018 is supporting more festivals and events than any other year the program has been active. Although the funding application period is now closed for events taking place in 2018, event organizers (with projects like those included below) can begin preparing an application for next year.

Celebrate Ontario Festivals and Events Success Stories

The Province of Ontario recently announced 328 recipients of Celebrate Ontario festivals and events funding. Some of the notable events that will receive Ontario government funding this year include:

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How Celebrate Ontario Funding is Used

The primary function of Celebrate Ontario government grants is to help event organizers increase attendance and grow events year-over-year. Last year, through Celebrate Ontario 2017, many festivals were able to build on previous successes. Some examples include:

  • VELD Music Festival ($285,000): Celebrate Ontario tourism grants supported improvements to the production and overall guest experience by adding more shade structures, on-site health and medical services, and a hip-hop stage. This resulted in over 35,000 fans attending per day, an increase of 1,000 guests per day from the previous year.
  • TD Ottawa Jazz Festival ($294,400): Government funding for tourism supported Canada’s 150 celebration with six free shows. The event expanded its geographic reach, with visitors from inside and outside of Ontario bringing the show to full capacity at a record attendance of more than 100,000. This resulted in an economic impact of $34 million.
  • JFL42 Toronto’s Comedy Festival ($258,750): Celebrate Ontario funding helped expand the ComedyCon series of the festival from 14 events to 28 in one year. The support also allowed for higher-profile guest performances and larger venues. This led to a 15% increase in attendees, including over 23,000 tourists, and 22.6% growth in revenues from the previous year.

Ontario Government Funding for Tourism Initiatives

Celebrate Ontario is an annual tourism funding grant that helps Ontario festivals and events expand their geographic reach and enhance their programs, services, and activities. The program provides funding to make it easier for event organizers to improve and deliver new experiences that attract additional tourists from inside and outside of Ontario and increase visitor spending.

The program provides up to 25% coverage to a maximum $150,000 in funding for new events and up to 50% coverage to a maximum $300,000 in funding for existing events.

Three types of events qualify for Celebrate Ontario tourism grants:

  • Celebrate Ontario Single Year: This stream supports new or existing tourism events with marketing initiatives and program enhancements that increase tourist visitation and spending, leading to improved festival sustainability.
  • Celebrate Ontario Multi Year: This stream supports new or existing tourism events with marketing initiatives and program enhancements that increase tourist visitation and spending, leading to improved festival sustainability. Only tourism events with cash operating expenses of at least $1 million may apply.
  • Celebrate Ontario Blockbuster: This stream supports bidding and hosting costs for major one-time events, or events that do not recur annually in Ontario, but are hosted by venues nationally and internationally.

Please Note: Application intake for Celebrate Ontario 2018 is currently closed, however, it’s expected that the program will re-open in Fall 2018 for 2019 event proposals.

Be notified when Celebrate Ontario 2019 is open for applications by registering for Mentor Works’ Government Funding Snapshot™ newsletter.

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