Ontario Boosting Tourism through Festivals and Events

Province Supporting Over 300 Festivals and Events, Creating Jobs and Vibrant Communities.

Ontario is investing in a record number of festivals and events to boost the growing tourism sector, create jobs and offer residents and tourists more reasons to discover and explore the province.

Daiene Vernile, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, was joined by Cristina Martins, MPP for Davenport, at the Theatre Centre, home of the Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival, to announce the recipients of Celebrate Ontario 2018. The Festival is receiving funding to support six more nights of comedy and to develop a mobile app to connect with audiences through social media, as well as provide event schedule and line-up information.

This year, the province is supporting 328 festivals and events, the highest in the history of the program, that celebrate Ontario’s diversity, heritage and culture.

Support from Celebrate Ontario helps festival and event organizers enhance programming, activities and services so that festivals and events can offer new experiences, reach new audiences and support jobs in their communities.

Boosting tourism through festivals and events is part of Ontario’s plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.


  • Ontario is investing more than $20 million in the Celebrate Ontario 2018 program to support 328 festivals and events, the highest number in the history of the program.
  • In 2018/19, the Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival is receiving $39,000 in funding through Celebrate Ontario.
  • Every year, festivals and events support tens of thousands of jobs in Ontario and generate millions of dollars in revenue.
  • Past recipients’ data shows that every $1 of Celebrate Ontario funding triggers $21 in visitor expenditures.
  • The program recognizes the importance of rural and northern festivals and events across Ontario, which plays a vital role in local economies. This year, 198 festivals and events receiving support will take place in rural or northern areas, and will showcase the diverse traditions that make these communities so unique.
  • Tourism is an important economic driver, supporting nearly 400,000 jobs and generating over $32 billion of economic activity.
  • As part of the commitment made in Ontario’s Strategic Framework for Tourism and Tourism Action Plan, the government improved the Celebrate Ontario program to further streamline the application process, focus on results and improve alignment to better support communities across Ontario.


“Our government’s continued support for festivals and events is an investment in the livelihood of communities all across Ontario. Festivals and events are powerful economic drivers and play an important role in bringing communities together. Our diverse events give visitors and Ontario residents a reason to visit, discover and experience the riches of this wonderful province.”
 — Daiene Vernile, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport


“This government recognizes that festivals and events play a significant role in growing the tourism industry and creating vibrant communities. Through Celebrate Ontario, events like the Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival and BIG on Bloor can enhance their programs, activities and services, which positively impacts the local economy and contributes to our social well-being as people gather to enjoy shared experiences.”
 — Cristina Martins, MPP for Davenport


“Support from the Celebrate Ontario program has been pivotal to The Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival’s growth. It has allowed us to take risks on big-impact programming and deliver a more vibrant and exciting festival experience to our audiences. In 2018, the Festival plans to welcome more than 5,000 audience members, with 15 per cent being visitors to Toronto. That growth would not have been possible without investment from Celebrate Ontario.”
 — Paul Snepsts, Executive Director and Festival Producer, Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival


Ben Ellis
Minister’s Office

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