Event organizers in Ottawa say they are shocked and disappointed by cuts to a provincial tourism grant known as Celebrate Ontario.
Glowfair, Jazz Festival, Ottawa International Busker Festival and the Canadian Tulip Festival are among the dozens of events that did not receive money through the grant program this year.
Christine Leadman who puts on Glowfair said she was gobsmacked when she learned she was not receiving funding – days before the festival begins.
“I’m not understanding the business model then, you know, you have to make commitments, you have to sign contracts for talent, for performers, for programming, for infrastructure,” Leadman said.
For the last four years Leadman said Glowfair had received between $80-thousand to 100-thousand dollars.
To make up for the loss Leadman said she was forced to cancel one of two stages scheduled for the event.
In a statement an official with the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport said there were 400 submissions for funding.
“We placed a significant focus on providing support to new and emerging events across the province. With this year’s Celebrate Ontario program, organizations that often struggle to locate funding, will now be provided with greater opportunities to hold events,” wrote Brett Weltman, Press secretary for Minister Michael Tibollo.
Weltman also said that 80 per cent of all indigenous and francophone events received support.
The changes amount to a loss of about $1-million for the capital region.
The Mayor also expressed disappointment at the timing of these cuts.
“Unfortunately at the last minute with no notice and in some cases retroactively (the government) cut the funding for festivals that have already taken place this year,” he said.
In 2018, Celebrate Ontario dispersed more than $20 to festivals around the province. This year $13 million was distributed.