Tourism has had a profound impact on Ontario’s reputation as one of the most economically successful, culturally diverse, and geographically beautiful regions on earth. By hosting large-scale tourism events, Ontario has an opportunity to bring long-term improvements and sustain this reputation.
The Government of Ontario provides grants for events, festivals, and cultural organizations that host these types of large-scale events. This funding for event bidding and hosting fees is giving tourism event organizers the ability to secure high-profile events that lead to Ontario’s long-term tourism success.
Celebrate Ontario Blockbuster funding only supports large-scale tourism events with expenses in excess of $1 million. Smaller events requiring funding to enhance or market the event may wish to apply for Celebrate Ontario (less than $1M operating budget).
The 2016 version of Celebrate Ontario Blockbuster launched in January 2016 and will support Ontario tourism events throughout the year. Applicants should consider applying to the program no later than 4 months prior to Blockbuster events.
Celebrate Ontario Blockbuster: Program Objectives
Tourism events must demonstrate how Ontario government funding will be leveraged to:
- Increase the frequency and expenditures of tourists;
- Increase Ontario’s international profile; and
- Develop Ontario’s economy and legacy.
Ontario tourism funding will be provided to organizations for the purposes of (1) event bidding, and (2) event hosting.
Event Bidding Stream
Many large-scale international events require that interested hosts submit a bid to secure hosting rights. There is no limit on funding that may be provided through this stream, given an applicant has a sufficient rationale for the request.
Event Hosting Stream
The delivery of one-time events can be a labour-intensive, costly process. For event organizers, finding financial opportunity in the hosting of events is the critical aspect of whether to host an event or not. Through the Event Hosting stream, applicants may receive up to 20% of the cash operating budget in Ontario tourism grants. There is no maximum on the amount of funding an applicant can receive, however operating expenses must be in excess of $1 million.
Types of Events Eligible for Celebrate Ontario Blockbuster
Blockbuster events are large-scale gatherings that:
- Attract significant domestic and international media exposure;
- Draw domestic and international tourists;
- Have cash operating expenses of at least $1 million; and
- Do not recur annually within Ontario. Must either be a one-time event or an event that changes destination every year.
For example, an event that would qualify for Celebrate Ontario Blockbuster is the Pan Am games. Events like these have a large operating budget, move from destination to destination, and require bidding to acquire event hosting rights.
Celebrate Ontario Blockbuster: Applicant Eligibility
Two types of applicants are eligible to receive Celebrate Ontario Blockbuster tourism funding. They include:
- Ontario municipalities that have identified hosting large-scale tourism events as part of their overall tourism strategy; and
- Ontario businesses and not-for-profit organizations (NFPs) that have identified event management or hosting as a primary function.
Applicants must demonstrate the organizational capacity, technical ability, and fiscal prudence to host a large-scale Blockbuster event.