Support for Tourism

Support for Tourism

The Ontario government is investing more than $8 million over the next three years to support cultural tourism in communities across the province. $2.4 million of this funding will be provided this year through the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund (OCAF) to help 40 arts, heritage and cultural organizations develop, promote and present high-quality, high-profile events that strengthen local economies and create good-paying jobs.

“Ontario’s cultural tourism events and attractions provide residents and visitors alike with unique experiences that create lifelong memories,” said Neil Lumsden, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. “The investments that our government is making through OCAF will help to bring these one-of-a-kind events to life, boosting local businesses, creating good-paying jobs and enabling audiences of all ages to experience the best that Ontario has to offer.”

Minister Lumsden announced the funding today at Theatre Aquarius in Hamilton, which received $60,000 to support its 50th anniversary season that runs from March 26 to June 16. Programming includes the world premiere production of Tom Wilson and Shaun Smyth’s “Beautiful Scars”, inspired by the book “Beautiful Scars: Steeltown Secrets, Mohawk Skywalkers and the Road Home” by Tom Wilson.

“We’re thankful to the Ontario government for the funding that it has provided to our organization through OCAF, which will enable us to expand our marketing efforts in our 50th season,” said Kelly Straughan, Executive Director of Theatre Aquarius. “We’ve assembled a world-class team led by Tom Wilson for the world premiere of his new musical Beautiful Scars, which has a deep connection to Hamilton. It’s a celebration of Indigenous identity that will resonate with theatregoers in the region and beyond.”

This year marks the 25th anniversary of OCAF, which has supported more than 900 events, festivals and exhibitions across Ontario since 1999 and attracted over 91 million attendees.

OCAF funds are provided as partially repayable loans, which enable even more projects to be supported. For every $1 that the Ontario government invests, $1.69 is in turn invested in cultural tourism.

“On behalf of the OCAF board, we thank the Ontario government for the support and confidence in this three-year renewal of the Fund,” said Mary E. Hofstetter, Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund Chair. “It will allow us to invest in more wonderful projects like the 50th anniversary of Theatre Aquarius and other great events happening across Ontario this spring, summer and fall.”

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