Ontario gives festivals, events $49 million to help pandemic recovery

Lisa MacLeod Ontario's Minister of Tourism, Culture, and Sport attends Ontario Premier Doug Ford's daily briefing in Toronto on Monday, June 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Ontario is giving festivals and events across the province an additional $49 million to help the hard-hit sector through the pandemic.

Culture Minister Lisa MacLeod says COVID-19 has disproportionately affected the tourism and culture industries, and the investment will help organizations that are finding new ways to safely operate.

Most of the money is going to 439 festivals and events through the Reconnect Festival and Event Program, developed to help organizers adapt to public health measures, through steps such as hosting virtual or drive-through events.

They can put the funding toward programming and production, marketing, mobile applications, website development, and implementing health and safety measures.

The Celebrate Ontario Blockbuster program is getting $6 million to help municipalities and organizations host large-scale events that draw a lot of tourists.

The government says that before the pandemic, every dollar of provincial funding through the program resulted in nearly $21 of visitor spending.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 4, 2021.