The Ontario government is investing nearly $2 million in tourism and
culture funding to support Barrie as it recovers from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and attracts more visitors and creates more jobs.
Details were provided today by Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries who toured Innisfil’s Cooks Bay Marina, Friday Harbour Resort, and was joined by Minister Doug Downey, and MPP Andrea Khanjin at the MacLaren Art Centre.
“It is critical that we continue to support communities, such as Barrie and surrounding areas, as they recover from the impacts of COVID-19 and plan for the future,” said Minister MacLeod. “Our government’s investments in local tourism and culture across the province will help boost economies and strengthen communities so that, when it is safe to do so, they are ready to
welcome back visitors and once again highlight how Ontario offers the world in one province."
The Simcoe County museum will receive $70,507 of support through the Community Museum Operating Grant, 13 organizations will receive over $1 million of support through the Ontario Trillium Foundation, and 5 organizations will receive over $500,000 through the Reconnect Festival and Events program.
Talk is Free Theatre in Barrie received $77,700 through Ontario’s Resilience Fund as well as $95,000 through Ontario’s Reconnect Festival and Events Program, providing much needed funding to a local organization that contributes so much to the local arts sector.
“The significant funding support provided by the government for our local communities, will help ensure the continuity of events that help enrich our lives with innovate experiences, and allow us to connect with each other again,” said Doug Downey, MPP for Barrie – Springwater – Oro-Medonte. “This investment will help ensure these festivals and events are able to continue long
These investments will help communities support short- and long-term recovery planning amidst the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Ontario government will continue to work with the tourism and culture sectors to ensure that as communities gradually reopen, Ontario will be in the best position to welcome the world back to the province.
“When tourism can thrive, the whole community benefits through a ripple effect with more opportunities for employment and local businesses having an increase in shoppers and clientele”, said Andrea Khanjin, MPP for Barrie-Innisfil. “I am so pleased with our government's commitment to our local tourism industry and the economic recovery in our region.”
Tourism plays a critical role in the Ontario economy. Prior to the pandemic, it generated more than $36 billion in economic activity and supported approximately 390,000 jobs in Ontario.
Ontario’s visitor economy saw unprecedented losses in 2020 alongside business closures and increased unemployment. Tourism‐related industries experienced a total combined loss of 150,000 jobs between February 2020 and May 2021.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Ontario’s culture and heritage sectors contributed to the province’s double bottom line through strong economic growth and by supporting the essential cultural fabric that reflects the diversity and strength of Ontario’s communities. In 2018, these sectors generated $26.8 billion in economic activity – representing 48 per cent of Canada’s entire culture GDP – and 277,430 jobs.
As announced in the 2021 Budget, Ontario is investing more than $400 million over the next three years in new initiatives to support tourism, culture, sport and recreation sectors. This builds on investments of $225 million announced earlier, bringing the total support for these sectors to more than $625 million since the pandemic began.