Ontario Supporting Local Festivals and Events

Published on October 08, 2020

Government investment will help promote creative and safe programs during COVID-19

October 8, 2020

Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries

TORONTO - Ontario is investing $9 million through the new Reconnect Festival and Event Program to support municipalities and event organizers during COVID-19. This funding will be used to maintain public safety requirements and allow people to reconnect with their communities through online, drive-through and other innovative experiences. Organizers will be developing creative programs such as virtual Remembrance Day events, reverse holiday parades with drive-by static floats, drive-in music concerts and movies, holiday tree lightings and New Year's Eve displays that light-up iconic buildings.

Details were provided today by Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries at Ontario Place.

"COVID-19 has had an unprecedented and devastating impact on our local festivals and events," said Minister MacLeod. "This important investment through the new Reconnect Festival and Event Program will continue to support Ontarians as they reconnect and experience all their local communities have to offer."

Funding may be used for eligible expenses such as programming and production, promotion, mobile applications and website development, and implementation of health and safety measures.

The application period for the Reconnect Festival and Event Program runs from October 8 to December 1, 2020.

Quick Facts

  • The Reconnect Festival and Event Program is open to organizers with a minimum $50,000 operating budget and the capacity to safely reconnect Ontarians with their communities.
  • Tourism is a key economic driver in Ontario, supporting more than 400,000 jobs and generating over $36 billion in spending.
  • This year, through Celebrate Ontario, the government invested $9.75 million to support more than 250 festivals and events in communities across the province, including Blockbuster events.


"In a truly difficult year, the Santa Claus Parade has been more focused than ever on bringing holiday experiences to families. Programs like this funding could help us adapt and reimagine ourselves, until we can be back on the street in front of millions again in the future. In the meantime, the support of our sponsors, partners and government would ensure that Santa will still come to town."

- Clay Charters
President & CEO, The Original Santa Claus Parade

"COVID-19 continues to have a disproportionate impact on live entertainment and local culture, creating ongoing challenges for the artists that bring our communities to life. It is critical that we continue to innovate, finding and funding new ways of engaging and supporting Ontario's arts and culture sectors. At MusicTogether.ca we welcome the Minister’s announcement of new funding for festivals and events. "

- Raja Khanna
CEO & Co-Founder, Dark Slope, Founding Team Member of MusicTogether.ca

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