Province announces event and festival assistance

HELPING HAND Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Lisa MacLeod was in Belleville on Thursday to announce a $9 million assistance program for events and festivals. (Desirée Decoste/Gazette Staff)
JASON PARKS

STAFF WRITER

Ontario’s Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries was in Belleville Thursday to tout her government’s plan to provide a boost to festivals and events impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.The Honourable Lisa MacLeod joined Bay of Quinte MPP Todd Smith at Belleville’s Empire Theatre to announce their government is launching the application process for the Reconnect Festival and Event Program, a new $9-million initiative to help municipalities and event organizers safely reconnect people to their communities through online, drive-through and other innovative experiences.

“COVID-19 has had an unprecedented and devastating impact on our local festivals and events,” said Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries. “This important investment through the new Reconnect Festival and Event Program will continue to support Ontarians as they reconnect and experience all their local communities have to offer.”

Funding may be used for eligible expenses such as programming and production, promotion, mobile applications and website development and the implementation of health and safety measures. This funding will be used to ensure public safety requirements are met, while developing creative programs such as virtual Remembrance Day events, holiday parades with drive-by static floats, drive-in and live streamed music concerts and movies, holiday tree lightings and New Year’s Eve displays that light up iconic buildings.

“Our government recognizes the important contributions that festivals and events make toward our regional economy,” said Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte. “I am pleased that we are supporting local event organizers in creating safe, innovative experiences that help reconnect people with their communities and provide a positive economic impact during this unprecedented time.”

The application period for the Reconnect Festival and Event Program runs from Oct. 8 to Dec. 1, 2020.