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Reconnect Festival and Event Program Awards $3.5M to 27 Events in Ontario

Last October, we posted a blog titled Reconnect With Local Travel: Funding for Ontario’s Festivals and Events with an overview about a government funding program which announced an investment of $9 million towards the creation of safe and social community events to take place in Ontario. The Ontario-based events had to have taken place between August 2020 and March 2021 since the incurred expense deadline was March 31, 2021. With nearly $3.5 million in total spending, the first 27 funding recipients have been announced.

The Reconnect Festival and Event Program has highlighted 27 successful recipients that received a combined $3.5M in funding for their safe and local events in Ontario.

Mentor Works is here to report on the 27 successful Ontario projects which received funding from the Reconnect Festival and Event Program to deliver local tourism experiences that encouraged Ontario residents to travel safely, or explore options from the safety of their homes, and rediscover the diversity of their province.

Local community events create jobs, relieve isolation by providing social interaction, and help tackle serious mental health concerns such as anxiety and depression.

Ontario Reconnect Festival and Event Program Recipients

Of the promised $9 million budget for the program, a total of $3,468,994 (nearly $3.5 million) has been invested and awarded to 27 Ontario events and initiatives that occurred before the end of March 2021.

The projects that received funding support through the Reconnect Festival and Event Program are listed as follows by alphabetically-ordered location in Ontario.

Aurora, Ontario

The Town of Aurora received $40,175 for their Aurora’s Winter Series event which took place on November 30, 2020 and converted Ontario Place’s West Island into an outdoor winter site that included a Christmas Market, light displays, amusement rides, ice skating, and more.

Belleville, Ontario

The Belleville Downtown District BIA received $27,607 for their Enchanted and the Festival of Lights event which was available from November 20, 2020 to January 4, 2021 and featured an outdoor route of holiday lights, local shopping, dining, selfies in a giant Santa chair, free pedicab rides, and free tours of the light displays.

Burlington, Ontario

Burlington’s Sound of Music Festival Inc. was awarded $27,550 for their Sound of Music Return to Live events which broadcasted two live stream concert shows of Walk Off The Earth and Monster Truck with Helix in December 2020 and March 2021.

Caledon, Ontario

Downey’s Farm Market Ltd received $50,500 for their Downey’s Christmas at the Farm event which was open from November 21 to December 23, 2020 and included a 45-minute capacity visiting time where local children could meet Santa, partake in Christmas activities, and visit farm animals.

Centre Wellington, Ontario

Riverfest Elora received $43,500 for their Riverfest Elora Presents: ICE JAM at the Elora Mill which was a winter event, a spin-off to their popular summer event, that happened on March 7, 2021 and featured outdoor musical headliners the Arkells, alongside other Canadian acts Rich Aucoin and Legato Vipers.

Chatham-Kent, Ontario

Four Diamond Events was awarded $62,695 for The Armoury in Lights Drive-In Experience event where over 5,000 people were able to safely social distance from their cars and enjoy an interactive, visual drive-through lights show that was available daily from December 14 to 20, 2020.

Guelph, Ontario

The Downtown Guelph Business Association received $100,220 for their Illuminate Downtown Guelph event which was an outdoor and virtual event that showcased festival lights in Guelph and across Canada from December 17, 2020 To January 7, 2021.

Hamilton, Ontario

The City of Hamilton’s Tourism and Culture Division received $25,500 for the Hamilton Winterfest 2021 event that took place between January 29 and February 15, 2020 and offered fun, interactive winter events for adults and kids alike.

Skware Eyes Collaborative was awarded $68,575 for their Live At The Drive-In event which featured Canada’s largest drive-in concerts with dates in September and October of 2020.

The Halton Region Conservation Authority received $116,625 for The Winter Experience at Mountsberg event from December 26, 2020 to February 21, 2021 that offered guests an outdoor illuminated walk through the woods with music.

Huntsville, Ontario

The Huntsville and Lake of Bays Chamber of Commerce received $290,300 for their Muskoka Winter Lights which provided funding for the city to light up their community streets from December 2020 to February 2021.

Kitchener, Ontario

THEMUSEUM was awarded $74,238 for The Dino Festival which featured an interactive learning experience for kids and adults through a Dinosaur Drive-Thru at Bingemans that ran from October 10 until October 25, 2020.

Kingston, Ontario

Tourism Kingston received $95,700 for their ongoing Love Kingston Marketplace campaign which includes several initiatives that provide additional space and programming for businesses to expand operations, and for residents to dine, shop, move, play, and engage outdoors while following health and safety guidelines. 

Lincoln, Ontario

Bench Brewing received $64,074 for their Bench Winterfest community event.

London, Ontario

Airshow London was awarded $50,000 for their annual Airshow London presents SkyDrive event which took place August 17-19, 2020 and advertised itself as “Canada’s original socially responsible and physically distant air show.”

Ottawa, Ontario

The Haunted Walks Inc. received $55,000 for the Haunted Walk “Bubble Tours” Adapted Tour Programs and Virtual Events program which allowed guests to experience Halloween-focused activities in October 2020.

Saunders Farm Inc. was awarded $94,750 for their A Country Christmas at Saunders Farm event that took place from November 27, 2020 to January 2, 2021 and offered socially distanced mazes, hayrides, Christmas displays, and more activities for families to enjoy.

Totally Legit Productions Inc. received $210,550 towards the 2021 “Winter Oh Canada Eh?” Dinner Musical which provided guests with a two-hour show featuring all-Canadian music from maritime folk songs to modern pop.

Provincewide (Online)

Teamwork Arts (Canada) Inc. was awarded $24,950 for the annual Jaipur Literature Festival which happened virtually from November 27-29, 2020 to showcase Canadian talent and embrace international voices.

BT/A Advertising received $950,000 for the From Ontario, With Love event which was a virtual community campaign to spread hope throughout Ontario during challenging times.

Stratford, Ontario

The Stratford Tourism Alliance received $146,000 for their Lights on Stratford event which provided the community with festive lights for the city while featuring local artists and talent.

Toronto, Ontario

Roadshow Events received $44,100 for the Bluffs Winter Wonderland festival which was a drive-thru experience including decorated paths, a chance to see Santa’s house, and also leave a letter for Santa upon leaving.

The Bentway Conservancy was awarded $78,000 for their “The Essentials: Art and Urban Recovery” panelist event that highlighted the work of local artists and organizers on October 21, 2020.

The Ontario Place Corporation received $130,985 for the Ontario Place Outdoor Cinema which ran, and continues to run, open air cinema showings of popular movies for all different ages.

Maya Corp received $253,000 for their City View Drive-In Concert Series events which featured drive-in versions of popular movies, art shows, concerts, and other live experiences on a massive stage with the Toronto skyline in the background.

Starvox Exhibits Inc. was awarded $325,000 to host a socially distanced live magicians event called the Illusionarium. The event has been postponed and is now taking place from May 21 to early June, 2021. 

Vaughan, Ontario

Moksha Canada Foundation received $19,400 for the Moksha Canada’s Afro-Caribbean Festival which offered free admission to all for a virtual event celebrating and showcasing Afro-Caribbean culture in September of 2020.

Government Funding for Ontario Businesses 

To learn more about government grant and loan programs available for businesses located in Ontario, visit the Mentor Works Ontario Funding Directory.

Stay up to date with all things government funding by signing up for our free Weekly Funding Newsletter, or feel free to register for a free upcoming webinar related to your industry, activity, region, or interests.

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