Ontario Supporting Tourism and Culture in the GTA

Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport

Funding will protect jobs and maintain operations at six of Ontario’s most popular tourist destinations

TORONTO – The Ontario government is providing a one-time investment of up to $27 million to support the continued operation, maintenance and capital needs of six major tourism and cultural institutions in the Greater Toronto Area. This funding will protect jobs while ensuring their financial stability during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Details were provided today by Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries.

“Like so many of the province’s heritage, sport, tourism and culture industries, provincial attractions have been among the first and hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic – and will take the longest to recover,” said Minister MacLeod. “That’s why I am proud that our government is providing significant support so these cultural institutions can continue to meet their financial obligations, protect jobs and make the repairs and renovations needed to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Once it is safe to do so, these agencies and attractions will be ready to welcome the return of guests from around the globe, and highlight why Ontario offers the world in one province.”

The government will be providing financial support to the following ministry agencies and attractions:

  • The Metro Toronto Convention Centre will receive up to $9.6 million in stabilization funding for operating costs.
  • The Royal Ontario Museum will receive up to $9.5 million in stabilization funding to support museum operations, as well as $300,000 for capital repairs.
  • The Ontario Science Centre will receive up to $4.35 million in stabilization funding to support the ongoing operation of their facilities, as well as $890,000 for capital repairs.
  • The McMichael Canadian Art Collection will receive up to $1.2 million in stabilization funding for operating costs, as well as $50,000 for capital repairs to support maintenance of the gallery and grounds.
  • The Art Gallery of Ontario will receive $705,000 to support critical infrastructure upgrades to the building’s cooling, heating and ventilation systems, as well as the installation of touchless washroom devices.
  • The Royal Botanical Gardens will receive $430,000 for infrastructure projects that will increase the safety of visitors and staff by reducing the spread of COVID-19.

While ministry agencies and attractions in the Toronto area are temporarily closed in accordance with the Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health guidelines, many offer free virtual tours and interactive learning opportunities for all ages. Please visit their respective websites for more information.

Quick Facts

  • In total, the government is investing up to $62.8 million to support 11 attractions across the province with emergency stabilization funding and funding for capital repairs and renovations to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
  • Ontario’s Action Plan: Protect, Support and Recover sets out a total of $45 billion in support over three years to make available the necessary health resources to continue protecting people, deliver critical programs and tax measures to support individuals, families and job creators impacted by the virus, and lay the groundwork for a robust long-term economic recovery for the province.
  • The government is building on earlier relief to provide a total of $13.5 billion in direct support for families, workers and employers, in addition to $11.3 billion in cash flow support.


“We would like to thank Minister MacLeod, and the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries for their continuous support throughout the pandemic. The Metro Toronto Convention Centre is recognized as Canada’s top-performing convention centre by measurement of economic impact, gross revenues and profitability. This financial support will ensure that the MTCC maintains critical operations, including public service for the City of Toronto as a COVID-19 vaccination site for the remainder of this year. We look forward to the day we can gather, invite the world back to Toronto and to our safe facility.”

– Jan Dymond
Chair, Board of Directors, Metro Toronto Convention Centre

“The investment by the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries will support the economic sustainability of the ROM. It is deeply appreciated. In these challenging times, this support allows the ROM to continue to do its vital work of inspiring our communities to engage in art, culture and nature while playing an important role in helping build a strong and vibrant Ontario. We are looking forward to reopening our doors as soon as we can safely do so, and welcoming visitors back to our galleries with an exciting lineup of 2021 exhibitions and programs.”

– Josh Basseches
Director & CEO, Royal Ontario Museum

“We are grateful for the ministry’s continued support and investment in the Ontario Science Centre. This funding will go toward delivering innovative science experiences, both virtually and in person. We cannot wait to welcome visitors back to the Ontario Science Centre when it is safe to do so. But in the meantime, we are engaging with visitors through a wide variety of programming online, including fun activities, do-it-yourself experiments, livestreamed events and curriculum resources.”

– Paul Kortenaar
CEO, Ontario Science Centre

“As with many facets of our society, the arts sector has been deeply impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The new funding announced by the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries will directly support the maintenance of the gallery, grounds and collection, allowing the McMichael to continue to deliver on its commitment to provide Canadians with an oasis of calm in turbulent times. Now more than ever, Canadians are looking to the arts for an outlet to relax, reflect and rejuvenate. The McMichael will continue to respond by offering our visitors opportunities to safely engage with the art of Canada through our exhibitions, programs and educational outreach, and to enjoy our beautiful grounds.”

– Ian Dejardin
Executive Director, McMichael Canadian Art Collection

“The Government of Ontario is a vital and longstanding partner to the AGO. This investment is critically important to our infrastructure and to our mission of presenting great art, engaging our audiences across the province and providing extraordinary learning experiences. This year, the funding is even more necessary as we work to serve the people of Ontario safely in innovative ways during this unprecedented time. We support this timely investment for our cultural tourism sector in order to stabilize and accelerate socio-economic recovery from the pandemic.”

– Stephan Jost
Michael and Sonja Koerner Director, and CEO of the Art Gallery of Ontario

“Support from the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries allows Royal Botanical Gardens to continue its mission of safely connecting people, plants and place during these challenging times. Now more than ever, the need is critical for Ontarians to find respite in nature, for both physical and mental well-being, and Royal Botanical Gardens is committed to providing a safe destination for people from all walks of life to immerse themselves in diverse programming, learning experiences, and inspiring landscapes. This funding is integral to the continued success of Ontario’s tourism and culture sector and as spring approaches, we look forward to welcoming the world to the Gardens as it emerges in full bloom.”

– Nancy Rowland
CEO, Royal Botanical Gardens

SOURCE  Province of Ontario

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