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Media release: Ottawa Tourism Announces Funding Support for Marquee Festivals

Lower-than-anticipated funding poses risk for tourism-generating festivals

OTTAWA, September 8, 2023 – As the tourism industry recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, festivals and events face a new hurdle in their recovery as a result of significantly lower-than-anticipated funding amounts announced as part of Experience Ontario, the new iteration of the Province of Ontario’s annual festival funding program. Yet, festivals are a crucial part of our city’s economic recovery. When visitors are attracted to Ottawa through major festivals and events, there are economic benefits for local businesses and the community as a whole.

In response, Ottawa Tourism, with the support of the City of Ottawa and the Ottawa Festival Network, is launching one-time emergency funding support for marquee festivals that qualify and have a proven track record of bolstering tourism in our city. The objective is to fill this funding gap and ensure eligible Ottawa festival organizers don’t suffer financial losses that may put their festivals’ existence at risk.

“Tourism improves the quality of life of the whole community,” says Michael Crockatt, President & CEO of Ottawa Tourism. “In our recently released Destination Stewardship Plan, we stated our support for major festivals and their ability to have significant community impact. This is exactly what our emergency funding support for marquee festivals aims to accomplish.”

“Ottawa is known as a festival destination, not only by attendees, but by artists, vendors, and organizers alike,” says Mayor Mark Sutcliffe. “This funding initiative is a commitment to making Ottawa a more accessible hub for marquee festivals.”

“Festivals across the province were hit extremely hard by the pandemic, and most are still recovering from it – Ottawa is no exception,” says Lee Dunbar, Interim Executive Director of the Ottawa Festival Network. “We’ve seen time and time again that festivals are important and we need to protect that part of Ottawa’s identity.”

Qualifying marquee festivals can contact Ottawa Tourism at for details.

About Ottawa Tourism

Through its values of inclusivity, trust, collaboration, and innovation, Ottawa Tourism pursues its vision to be one of Canada’s most visited, sustainable, vibrant, and appealing urban destinations, as well as the tourism authority for key economic development and city-building decisions in Ottawa. Before the pandemic, the industry welcomed an estimated 11 million visitors annually and generated $3 billion in economic output.

For more information, please contact:

Jérôme Miousse
Director, Public Affairs

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