Ontario Makes Historic Investment in Safe, Innovative Festivals and Events in Etobicoke – Lakeshore and West Toronto

Published on August 06, 2021

ETOBICOKE – The Ontario government is investing over $1.2 million to support festivals and events across Etobicoke – Lakeshore and west Toronto through the Reconnect Festival and Event Program, as well as additional funding to support events through the Celebrate Ontario Blockbuster Program.

This one-time funding increase for festivals and events – more than double the annual funding provided to the sector in the past – will ensure the long-term success of the festival and event sector while helping municipalities and organizations deliver innovative and safe experiences, whether virtually or in-person, that allow people to safely reconnect with their communities.

Christine Hogarth, MPP for Etobicoke – Lakeshore, announced today that the following local events are receiving funding support through the Reconnect Festival and Event Program:

  • $92,500 for Dino Holiday
  • $99,675 for The International Jerk Food & Music Festival (JerkFest)
  • $106,050 for CFTF Food Truck Market
  • $25,000 for DWN Dragon Boat Challenge
  • $224,600 for Toronto Caribbean Carnival
  • $45,350 for The Junction 2nd Annual Window Wonderland
  • $60,617 for Dream in High Park
  • $204,394 for Canadian International Air Show
  • $248,200 for the Bloor West Village Toronto Ukrainian Festival (25th Anniversary)
  • $141,830 for the Toronto International Dragon Boat Race Festival

“For more than a year, the pandemic has disproportionately impacted tourism and culture – two major industries that bring people together and our communities to life,” said Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries. “Increasing our annual support for festivals and events will give the sector a much-needed boost as we continue to deal with the effects of COVID-19. Our government is supporting organizations that are finding new ways to safely engage and reconnect Ontarians with their local communities while creating local jobs.”

The Reconnect Festival and Event Program was developed to help festival and event organizers adapt to new public health measures with virtual, drive-through and other safe offerings. The program directs support to events with innovative and safe experiences, while creating opportunities that encourage Ontarians to reconnect with the beauty and diversity of their communities in new ways.

The Celebrate Ontario Blockbuster program supports municipalities and organizations in Ontario that host large-scale, high-impact signature events that draw significant tourist attendance and increase tourist spending, increase Ontario’s profile through media and broadcast exposure and provide significant economic impact and legacy development for the province.

“Festivals and events like Dino Holiday, The International Jerk Food & Music Festival, and the CFTF Food Truck Market make important contributions to communities like ours, creating local jobs and boosting the local economy,” said Christine Hogarth, MPP for Etobicoke – Lakeshore. “I’m pleased the government is making this important investment through the Reconnect Festival and Event Program, giving us all the opportunity to experience what Ontario has to offer right in our own backyard.”


  • Tourism is a key economic driver in Ontario – in 2018, the tourism industry supported more than 390,000 jobs and generated over $36 billion of economic activity for the province.
  • Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, every $1 of provincial funding invested through Celebrate Ontario (the model for the Reconnect program) resulted in almost $21 of visitor spending. The impact of the 2021/22 Celebrate Ontario Blockbuster and Reconnect Festival and Event Program investment is estimated to generate over $1 billion in economic benefit across the province.
  • Reconnect Festival and Event Program funding may be used for eligible expenses such as programming and production, marketing, mobile applications and website development, and making sure health and safety measures are put in place to keep audiences safe.
  • 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.



2021 Reconnect Festival and Event Program Recipients

Celebrate Ontario Blockbuster Program

Roadmap to Reopen