McGuinty Government Doubles Funding to Promote Economy-Boosting Festivals and Events



    57 Events In Communities Across Ontario Supported Last Year

    TORONTO, Dec. 20 /CNW/ - The McGuinty government is doubling the funding
available for economy-boosting festivals and special events to promote tourism
throughout the province, Tourism Minister Peter Fonseca announced today.
    "The McGuinty government recognizes the importance of tourism to
communities across the province," Fonseca said at the Sony Centre for the
Performing Arts, which is currently hosting Irving Berlin's White Christmas,
one of 57 crowd-pleasing events the Celebrate Ontario program supported in
2007.
    The new $10 million in funding for Celebrate Ontario is part of the
government's $30-million investment to expand the Ministry of Tourism's
successful promotion and marketing campaign in Canadian and international
markets. The funding was first announced in the Fall Economic Statement on
December 13.
    Celebrate Ontario will now offer two categories: smaller, emerging
events, which will be eligible for up to $100,000 in funding and larger,
signature events, which will be eligible for up to $400,000. The program will
also for the first time extend funding to new events. The deadline for funding
applications is February 4, 2008.
    All information about the program, application guide and forms can be
found online at www.tourism.gov.on.ca/english/festivals and
www.tourism.gov.on.ca/french/festivals.
    "The McGuinty government's generous investment in Ontario's festivals and
events is a timely present for the holiday season," said Larry Blundell,
President, Festivals and Events Ontario. "This funding is a great boost for
our rural areas which get a much needed economic boost from festivals and
events."
    "We are thrilled with the success of White Christmas so far," said Dan
Bambrilla, CEO of the Sony Centre. "Thanks to the funding provided by the
Ontario government, we were able to expand our marketing efforts in
Southwestern Ontario. As a result, our ticket sales have been very strong."

    
    This year, Celebrate Ontario provided more than $4 million to enhance
festivals and events, including:

    -   Festival of Lights, in Ingersoll, which runs until the first week of
        January 2008
    -   Irving Berlin's White Christmas, playing at the Sony Centre for the
        Performing Arts in Toronto until January 5, 2008
    -   Apple Fest, in Brighton, which ran from September 28-30, 2007.
    

    "By extending funding for Celebrate Ontario, we are giving residents and
tourists many more reasons to visit, explore and enjoy our province
year-round," said Fonseca. "I can't think of a better way to celebrate the
season and celebrate Ontario."
    The government is proposing further steps to support growth and increased
jobs in Ontario's film and television sector. Effective for labour
expenditures incurred after December 31, 2007 and before January 1, 2010, the
Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit would increase to 35 per cent from
30 per cent, and the Ontario Production Services Tax Credit would increase to
25 per cent from 18 per cent. These proposed enhancements would provide an
additional estimated $50 million in financial support in 2008-09.

    
    Disponible en français
                            www.tourism.gov.on.ca

              For more information visit: www.tourism.gov.on.ca


    Backgrounder
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          MCGUINTY GOVERNMENT CELEBRATES ONTARIO WITH A $10 MILLION
                     INVESTMENT IN FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
    

    The McGuinty government is providing $10 million to enhance festivals and
events across the province through the 2008 Celebrate Ontario program. The
funding is part of the Ontario government's $30 million investment in tourism,
announced in the Fall Economic Statement on December 13. Celebrate Ontario

    Celebrate Ontario

    2008 will help enhance and market new or existing festivals and events in
the province.
    This year, the program is divided into two tiers: smaller, emerging
tourism events, which will be eligible for up to $100,000, and larger,
signature festivals and events, which will be eligible for up to $400,000,
with additional funding of up to $100,000 to complete an economic impact
assessment.
    Up to 85 per cent of the program funding will be used for new programming
enhancements and up to 15 per cent to support the marketing and promotion of
the new enhancements.
    Eligible applicants include private enterprises, registered
not-for-profit organizations, municipalities and other authorities, and First
Nations in the Province of Ontario.
    All information about the program, application guide and forms can be
found online at www.tourism.gov.on.ca/english/festivals and
www.tourism.gov.on.ca/french/festivals.

    Contact:
    Gary Wheeler
    Ministry of Tourism
    416-325-8391

    
    Disponible en français
                            www.tourism.gov.on.ca
                   www.tourism.gov.on.ca/english/festivals
    




For further information:

For further information: Alicia Farrow, Minister's Office, (416)
325-4543; Gary Wheeler, Communications Branch, Ministry of Tourism, (416)
325-8391

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