Ontario Government Invests $8M in Cultural Tourism Event to Support Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund

The Ontario government is committing over  million for the next three years to bolster cultural tourism in communities throughout the province. This year,

The Ontario government is committing over $8 million for the next three years to bolster cultural tourism in communities throughout the province. This year, $2.4 million from this investment will be channeled through the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund (OCAF) to assist 40 arts, heritage, and cultural organizations in crafting, promoting, and hosting top-notch events. These endeavors aim to enhance local economies and foster employment opportunities with competitive wages.

Ontario’s cultural tourism events and attractions provide residents and visitors alike with unique experiences that create lifelong memories,” said Neil Lumsden, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. “The investments that our government is making through OCAF will help to bring these one-of-a-kind events to life, boosting local businesses, creating good-paying jobs and enabling audiences of all ages to experience the best that Ontario has to offer.”

Today, Minister Lumsden disclosed funding at Theatre Aquarius in Hamilton. The theater has been granted $60,000 to bolster its 50th-anniversary season, spanning from March 26 to June 16. Among its highlights is the debut of “Beautiful Scars,” a production by Tom Wilson and Shaun Smyth, inspired by Wilson’s book “Beautiful Scars: Steeltown Secrets, Mohawk Skywalkers, and the Road Home.

We’re thankful to the Ontario government for the funding that it has provided to our organization through OCAF, which will enable us to expand our marketing efforts in our 50th season,” said Kelly Straughan, Executive Director of Theatre Aquarius. “We’ve assembled a world-class team led by Tom Wilson for the world premiere of his new musical Beautiful Scars, which has a deep connection to Hamilton. It’s a celebration of Indigenous identity that will resonate with theatregoers in the region and beyond.”

This year commemorates the 25th milestone of OCAF, a steadfast supporter of over 900 events, festivals, and exhibitions throughout Ontario since 1999, drawing in excess of 91 million attendees.

OCAF disburses funds in the form of partially repayable loans, facilitating additional project support. For every $1 invested by the Ontario government, a subsequent $1.69 is channeled into cultural tourism.

“On behalf of the OCAF board, we thank the Ontario government for the support and confidence in this three-year renewal of the Fund,” said Mary E. Hofstetter, Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund Chair. “It will allow us to invest in more wonderful projects like the 50th anniversary of Theatre Aquarius and other great events happening across Ontario this spring, summer and fall.”