Every year, festivals and events in Ontario attract thousands of visitors, contributing millions of dollars in tourism-related revenue to support the provincial economy. Tourism events are a great way of demonstrating Ontario’s diversity, culture, and heritage. In 2017, the Government of Ontario provided funding through the Celebrate Ontario program to support 304 events/festivals to help drive economic development and tourism across the province.
Government grants are offered via the Celebrate Ontario program, which provides financial support to local public festivals and events to attract tourism activity within Ontario. The program provides up to $250,000 in funding. Ideal projects must help drive tourism in the region by making it easier for event organizers to offer new and improved experiences.
The program is accepting applications for tourism events until January 9, 2019.
Celebrate Ontario: Funding for Tourism Festivals and Events
Celebrate Ontario supports new tourism generating events and existing tourism-generating events. The program provides government grants to enhance and advertise local festivals/events that attract tourists and increase expenditures. By improving these events through funding, the Government of Ontario can help strengthen the province’s image in domestic and global markets.
Celebrate Ontario Applicant Eligibility Requirements
To be considered eligible for Celebrate Ontario funding, applicants must:
- Be federally or provincially incorporated;
- Be a for-profit, non-profit, municipality, or an Aboriginal organization; and
- Operate within the Province of Ontario.
Types of Projects Eligible for Celebrate Ontario Funding
To be eligible for Celebrate Ontario funding, projects must:
- Take place in Ontario and occur between April 1, 2019 and March 31, 2020;
- Be open and accessible to the public (cannot be targeted for a specific group or community); and
- Be an annual or biennial tourism festival or event.
What Project Costs Are Eligible for Celebrate Ontario Grants?
Projects funded by Celebrate Ontario should encourage increased tourist visitation and spending. The program will provide Ontario government grants to offset the following project expenses:
- Fees paid to artists, musicians, performers, celebrities, special guests, and speakers, including travel and accommodation and entertainment agencies;
- Fees paid for new programming and activities;
- Moveable Temporary Assets (Eg: stages and equipment)
- Fees paid for audio and visual support, technical and stage crews;
- New or improved visitor services;
- Eco-friendly services;
- Improved accessibility services;
- Targeted paid advertising (Eg: Broadcast or electronic);
- Distribution costs for printed materials (Note: All printing costs are ineligible for funding);
- Exterior ad space (Eg: Billboards and transit shelter spaces);
- Geo-targeted digital and social media advertising; and
- Marketing material translation costs.
Recent Celebrate Ontario Funding Success Stories
- Toronto Christmas Market: Funding helped this holiday event enhance its programming and attract new vendors. Attendance grew by approximately 40,000 people with 3% of the attendees being tourists;
- Calabogie Blues & Ribfest: Funding helped festival organizers to install an additional stage and contract five additional performers. Approximately 10,000 people attended with 50% of the attendees being tourists; and
- Supercrawl: Funding allowed the organizers to offer additional attractions and improve the event’s secondary stage. Approximately 200,000 people attended the three-day festival.
How to Apply for Ontario Tourism Funding
To get started with the Celebrate Ontario program, applicants must complete a series of steps prior to submitting an application package, including:
- Register for access to the Grants Ontario System;
- Create a new user account and ONe-key ID; and
- Discuss project with a Regional Advisor.
If a project provides a good fit for the program, candidates may be encouraged to submit an application package that includes recent financial statements, event budgets, schedules, and timelines. Successful applicants will be notified by a Regional Advisor in Spring 2019.
To discuss your upcoming event’s eligibility for the Celebrate Ontario program and learn how to optimize the application process, please contact Mentor Works.