In Niagara, Hamilton, Halton, Brantford and surrounding regions, tourism attractions and destinations like natural wonders, a captivating wine country and historical sites play a vital role in the region’s economy and cultural identity, promoting the unique heritage and natural beauty of the region. The Government of Canada understands the importance of the tourism sector and is committed to supporting communities as they build towards a strong future from coast to coast to coast.
During Economic Development Week, we are highlighting the important investments that have been made across Ontario to support the tourism industry. Between 2022 and 2023, the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) delivered nearly $140 million through the Tourism Relief Fund (TRF) to help tourism-oriented businesses and organizations across southern Ontario recover from the impacts of the pandemic and safely welcome back visitors.
“With an investment of nearly $140 million for the Ontario tourism sector, our government has been making smart investments that put people first and grow local economies that work for everyone. A new Federal Tourism Growth Strategy will keep this industry strong and support the vitality of communities small and large across the country,” said The Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario
As part of this investment, more than $20 million was delivered to 192 tourism businesses and organizations in Niagara, Hamilton, Halton, Brantford and surrounding regions, providing memorable experiences for visitors and positioning the region for success.
“It’s time for Canada’s tourism sector to push past reviving all the way to thriving. Our government’s investments in tourism over the last three years focused on sustaining and rebuilding the tourism ecosystem, promoting what we have and designing for the future. A fully recovered and robust tourism sector is key to our government’s ongoing work to build an economy that works for everyone. Together, we can make sure that Canada’s tourism sector is something that visitors and Canadians alike will celebrate and enjoy for generations to come,” said The Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance
For example, the Niagara Grape and Wine Festival received a non-repayable contribution of more than $75,000 to deliver the “Cool As Ice” gala kick-off event for the 2023 Icewine Festival in January. The event, hosted at the historic Niagara Parks Power Station, attracted more than 750 visitors, who enjoyed wine tastings, local cuisine, the sounds of the Niagara Symphony Orchestra, the Currents Light Show, and unique opportunities to experience the mist of the Niagara Falls.
TRF support also made a difference in the community of Dundas, where Shawn & Ed Brewing Co., a craft brewery, received more than $30,000 to make upgrades including adding a stage, sound system and lighting. As a result, the brewery was able to increase the number and quality of musical performances offered, showcase local talent and attract more visitors.
Also with this Government of Canada support, Tourism Partnership of Niagara (RTO 2) and Hamilton Halton Brant Regional Tourism Association (RTO 3) provided non-repayable contributions of up to $100,000 to tourism businesses and organizations in the region.
This included support for the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada, which received $100,000 through RTO3 to enhance visitor experience to the Adelaide Hunter Hoodless Homestead Museum in St. George. This included improvements to the museum’s exterior and grounds such as new signage, a pavilion, infrared heaters, stage equipment, outdoor seating, storage, parking lot renovations and additional bike racks.
“With this support for the Adelaide Hunter Hoodless Homestead, a National Historic site of Canada, we are able to offer better access to this historic gem, located in the Heart of Ontario. This funding provides additional, year-round, educational programs for both young and old alike and a must-see tourist destination for visitors both locally and internationally,” said Margaret Byl, President of the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada
These investments have been crucial in helping local businesses and organizations welcome more visitors and build stronger, more vibrant communities.