The Celebrate Ontario program is helping festival and event organizers enhance their programs, activities and services to attract more tourists and increase visitor spending, including:
Jazz on The Mountain at Blue, a three-day event at Blue Mountain Village features free concerts and ticketed shows by both established and up-and-coming artists. The festival, which began in 2013, reported two-thirds of overnight festival goers stayed in Blue Mountain Village and that 77 per cent drove from more than 100 kilometres away.
The Ottawa Folk Festival has successfully implemented projects with support from Celebrate Ontario to expand the festival and attract a larger audience from both regional and tourist markets. Attendance grew from 2,500 in 2010 to 54,455 in 2014. The number of visitors from 40 kilometres away or more has grown from 500 to 11,799 in the same time period, with 82.2 per cent of visitors citing the Folk Festival as one of the main reasons for their trip.
Kirkland Lake Homecoming has grown from a small community-based event into a large-scale production that attracts people from across Ontario. Marketing efforts are focused on encouraging people who have lived in Kirkland Lake to come back and reconnect with friends and family for one week a year. As a result of this success, an investment group is building a new hotel in the community.
The Toronto Christmas Market is a 17-day outdoor street market that celebrates the sights, sounds and scents of Christmas. Held at Toronto’s Distillery District, this event has experienced massive growth and has greatly exceeded all projected attendance figures. The organization has a goal to reach an annual attendance of 500,000 in the next 10 years.
The Tall Ships 1812 Tour, a pan-provincial event held in 2013, drew 16 Tall Ships to 15 Ontario ports for War of 1812-themed Tall Ships events. An economic impact study estimates the event attracted more than 1 million visitors with many attending multiple days, resulting in an estimated 680,000 attendees, including approximately 222,000 tourists. Celebrate Ontario Blockbuster funding helped event organizers secure the Tall Ships Tour and develop complementary on-land programming.