Brockville festival organizers had double the reason to celebrate today as Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes MPP Steve Clark made two funding announcements on behalf of Michael Tibollo, Ontario’s Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport.
Clark was joined at the tall ship Black Jack by Brockville Mayor Jason Baker and festival committee members as he announced the Big River Festival will receive $116,843 through Celebrate Ontario, while the Tall Ships Festival Weekend presented by Proctor and Gamble is receiving $40,000 through the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund (OCAF).
The Tall Ships Festival Weekend is the highlight of the week-long Big River Festival, which runs from August 23 to September 1.
“The Big River Festival and the Tall Ships Festival Weekend will bring tens of thousands of people to our community and have a huge impact on our economy right across the region,” said Clark. “I’m so pleased that our government is providing this funding to enhance the experience for visitors and to support the hard-working volunteers who make these special events happen.”
“On behalf of the City of Brockville, I would like to personally thank Ontario’s Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport and MPP Steve Clark for the major contribution to the Big River Festival in its inaugural year to support the creation of a new, yearly summer festival that will encourage tourism in Brockville,” said Mayor Jason Baker.
“Our committee is thankful for the continuing support from MPP Clark and the provincial government. This funding will help us provide visitors with an unforgettable experience,” said Brian Burns, chair of the Tall Ships Festival committee. “From having your picture taken in front of a six-foot Canadian dime, to exploring the Bluenose II mobile exhibit and deck tours on the Canadian iconic Bluenose II, the Tall Ships Festival in Brockville is sure to be the highlight of your summer.”
In addition to the Big River Festival, the following local events will receive Celebrate Ontario funding:
- Kemptville Live Music Festival from July 18-21: $88,000
- 1000 Islands Regatta in Brockville from June 28 to July 1: $27,433
- Music on the Dock series at the Thousand Islands Playhouse in Gananoque from July 28 to August 5: $12,213
- South Grenville Bluegrass Festival in Spencerville from August 13-18: $6,301
“Our government recognizes the important contributions festivals and events make to our region’s economy,” said Clark. “I am pleased we are supporting these events as they continue to draw visitors from across Ontario and around the world to Leeds and Grenville. They enhance our quality of life and provide a positive economic impact to our community.”
Celebrate Ontario supports festivals and events of all sizes, helping them reach new audiences, improve the programs for visitors, benefit local economies and create new jobs. According to past recipients, every dollar invested through Celebrate Ontario results in almost $21 of visitor spending.
The Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund, meanwhile, aims to increase cultural tourism in the province by assisting cultural organizations to promote, market and present one-off or first-time events.
“Arts, culture and heritage organizations are important to our local quality of life and essential to our tourism economy. This support from OCAF will help the Tall Ships Festival Weekend enhance its programming and provide activities that give local residents and visitors alike new ways to experience our river culture that is so much a part of our past, present and future,” said Clark.
- Ontario is investing over $13 million in over 250 festivals and events in communities across the province through Celebrate Ontario.
- The latest data from 2016 indicates that tourism supported nearly 390,000 jobs and generated over $34 billion of economic activity in Ontario.
- The tourism industry is one of the world’s fastest-growing industries.
- The tourism sector has experienced year-on-year increases in visitor spending of nearly six per cent.
- In 2016, 12.9 million visitors participated in cultural activities in Ontario and spent a total of $7.7 billion on the trips that brought them to the province.
- Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund investments are partially repayable loans. This means that repayments replenish the Fund and allow OCAF to invest in even more projects.
- Culture is one of Ontario’s fastest-growing sectors, employing over 270,000 people and contributing over $25 billion annually to Ontario’s economy.