Ontario Supporting Cultural Tourism and Local Events

Published on May 21, 2021

Government investment will strengthen local economies across the province

News Release

TORONTO – Ontario is providing more than $4 million to 54 cultural tourism organizations through the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund to help develop, promote and present high-quality, high-profile events that strengthen the economies of communities across Ontario.

Today, Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries announced the recipients from the latest rounds of funding.

“Ontario’s heritage, sport, tourism and culture industries were among the first and hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic – and will take the longest to recover,” said Minister MacLeod. “To support the province’s economic and social recovery, it is critical that our government continues to support organizations that are finding new ways to engage with and reconnect Ontarians, while preserving jobs and supporting local economies. Our investments through the OCAF program continue to deliver impressive cultural and economic benefits that help to strengthen our culture and tourism sectors in local communities across the province.”

The Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund (OCAF) has pivoted to support a variety of online events and experiences, ensuring culture and tourism experiences remain accessible across the province during the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival is celebrating its 25th anniversary by offering new ways for visitors to engage with the festival virtually on a redesigned website, with conversations, live presentations, video screenings, and photo essays throughout the month of May, and beyond.

OCAF continues to accept new applications for new events and offers flexibility regarding project timing and scope.

For more information on the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund and a full list of recipients, please visit the OCAF website.

Quick Facts

  • Since 2018, the government has provided more than $8 million to 111 organizations through the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund.
  • Cultural tourism events that receive support through OCAF have a big impact in communities across Ontario and range from large art and music festivals to smaller events that celebrate local culture and heritage.
  • The OCAF program offers an impressive return on investment. The funds are provided in the form of partially repayable loans and are directed towards the marketing and promotional costs of the new attraction or special event.
  • The 2021 Budget, Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy, brings total investments to $16.3 billion to protect people’s health and $23.3 billion to protect the economy. Ontario’s COVID-19 action plan support now totals $51 billion.


"Since the pandemic has affected the cultural sector dramatically and drastically, the OCAF board has felt strongly it is an important role for the fund to help with resilience and recovery. We are so pleased to be able to support events across Ontario, large and small, urban and rural, that will help Ontarians begin to celebrate arts and culture again, and that provide much needed jobs to artists, makers, producers and those engaged in the sector. OCAF is thrilled with the continued support from this minister and the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries in our work to support cultural tourism across the province."

- John D. McKellar
President and Board Chair, Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund