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Local festivals and events receive funding to help with COVID recovery

Barrielicious, Talk Is Free Theatre, and Hey Bear Production's Virtual Songwriter Series will receive more than $150K
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The Ontario government is investing more than $7 million in 87 local and virtual events and initiatives through the Reconnect Festival and Event Program.

This funding will support the festival and event sector during COVID-19, while helping municipalities and organizations deliver innovative and safe experiences that allow people to reconnect with their communities.

Doug Downey, MPP for Barrie – Springwater – Oro-Medonte, announced today that the following initiatives in Barrie are receiving funding, totalling more than $150,000, through the Reconnect Festival and Event Program:

  • Barrielicious
  • Talk is Free Theatre Outdoor Festival
  • Hey Bear Production’s Virtual Songwriter Series

“Festivals and events like Barrielicious, the TIFT Outdoor Festival and the Virtual Songwriter Series make important contributions to communities like ours, creating local jobs, boosting the economy and giving us all the opportunity to experience what Ontario has to offer right in our own backyard,” said Doug Downey, MPP for Barrie – Springwater – Oro-Medonte.

“Now, more than ever, it’s important to support our local arts and culture community, as they find creative ways to help us connect to one another and enrich our daily lives.”

In total, the Reconnect program is supporting more than 100 events and initiatives across the province. The program was developed to help festival and event organizers adapt to new public health measures with virtual, drive-through and other safe offerings. Examples of funded events include reverse holiday parades with drive-by static floats, drive-in music concerts and movies, walking trails and light shows.

“The COVID-19 outbreak has had an unprecedented, devastating impact on arts, tourism and culture in the province – our sectors were hit first, hit hardest, and will take the longest to recover,” said Minister MacLeod.

“It is critical that our government continues to support organizations that are finding new ways to engage with and reconnect Ontarians, while preserving jobs and supporting local economies. The Reconnect Festival and Event Program will help support the economic and social recovery of communities across Ontario.”

The 2021 Reconnect Festival and Event Program will open on March 17, 2021.

Quick facts:

  • In December 2020, the government announced an investment of more than $3.4 million to support the first 27 recipients through the 2020 Reconnect Festival and Event Program.
  • Tourism is a key economic driver in Ontario, supporting more than 400,000 jobs and generating over $36 billion in spending.