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Ontario Invests $8.4 Million in Cultural Tourism Events to Boost Local Economies

HAMILTON – The Ontario government has announced a substantial investment of over $8 million to bolster cultural tourism in communities across the province. The funding, spread over the next three years, aims to support 40 arts, heritage, and cultural organizations, providing them with the means to develop, promote, and present high-quality events.

A significant portion of this funding, totaling $2.4 million, will be disbursed this year through the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund (OCAF). This financial injection is expected to not only strengthen local economies but also create good-paying jobs.

Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Neil Lumsden, emphasized the importance of these cultural events in shaping unique experiences for residents and visitors. He highlighted the role of such investments in boosting local businesses and enriching the cultural fabric of Ontario.

The announcement took place at Theatre Aquarius in Hamilton, a recipient of $60,000 to support its 50th anniversary season. Theatre Aquarius plans to utilize the funds to expand its marketing efforts and present a world premiere production, “Beautiful Scars,” inspired by Tom Wilson’s book of the same name. Kelly Straughan, Executive Director of Theatre Aquarius, expressed gratitude for the government’s support, noting the significance of the production in celebrating Indigenous identity.

The Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund, celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, has supported over 900 events, festivals, and exhibitions since its inception in 1999, attracting over 91 million attendees.

Mary E. Hofstetter, Chair of the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund, thanked the government for its renewal of the fund, expressing enthusiasm for supporting more projects like Theatre Aquarius’ anniversary celebration.

OCAF offers support to events of varying scales, from large festivals to smaller local gatherings, promoting Ontario’s rich cultural heritage. The fund continues to accept applications, providing flexibility regarding project timing and scope.


The Ontario government’s investment in cultural tourism events is a significant step towards fostering economic growth and promoting cultural diversity across the province. By supporting a diverse range of organizations and events, this funding not only enhances the vibrancy of local communities but also enriches the experiences of residents and visitors alike. Initiatives like these underscore the government’s commitment to nurturing Ontario’s cultural landscape and positioning the province as a premier destination for cultural tourism.

Samantha Deschamps

Samantha Deschamps serves as the Queens Park Reporter, offering insightful coverage of provincial politics with depth and accuracy. With a keen understanding of legislative intricacies, Deschamps provides invaluable perspectives on matters affecting Ontario. For inquiries or feedback, contact Samantha at

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