Ontario Wraps Up 150th Year with Legacy of Community Engagement
Province Celebrated Milestone Year with Over 2,000 Events and Initiatives
Community engagement was at the heart of Ontario's 150th anniversary celebrations, with more than 2,000 events and initiatives that built pride, celebrated inclusivity, promoted innovation and opportunity and boosted local economies.
Throughout 2017, the province supported 698 community groups, municipalities, Indigenous communities and other organizations in marking the 150th anniversary, generating unique social, economic or cultural impacts and legacies. Highlights include:
- Ontario hosted the third Invictus Games which featured more than 550 competitors from 17 nations competing in 12 adaptive sports. The Games were the largest to date and generated $42.2 million in economic impact for local communities. Thousands of spectators cheered on competitors, packing into sold-out events such as wheelchair rugby, wheelchair basketball and the closing ceremony.
- Though three community grant programs, Ontario supported 648 organizations in marking the milestone year by investing in celebration, youth and infrastructure programs meaningful to local communities.
- The ONtour Concert Series stopped in 24 communities across the province, showcasing the province's talent, creativity and diversity by featuring 63 Ontario-based musical artists and entertaining more than 112,000 music-lovers of all ages.
- SESQUI, with its innovative 360° film, HORIZON, generated more than $15M in economic impact in Ontario through its seven-community cinematic dome tour and its additional tour to another five communities. The project also created other legacies, such as new expertise in Ontario's immersive media sector, and innovations in filmmaking.
Engaging communities and boosting economic activity are 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.
- A Place to Stand became the unofficial Ontario anthem for a new generation, with more than 70,000 Youtube views and thousands more plays on SoundCloud and Spotify and at events, concerts and class recitals throughout the year.
- The province took another step towards reconciliation by supporting more than 100 application-based projects and major initiatives that were Indigenous-led, had a strong Indigenous focus or showcased Indigenous culture, heritage and traditions.
- Through the Ontario150 Community Capital Program, accessibility improvements were supported at 61 community facilities across the province, helping to meet increasing demands for service.
- The Re-greening Ontario initiative distributed 16,000 white pine seed pods – each containing 10 seeds for Ontario’s official tree – with the potential to one day generate up to 125,850,000 kg of offset carbon.
“Celebrating Ontario’s 150th anniversary over the past year has been just as much about building toward our shared future as it has been about reflecting on our history. At the heart of Ontario150, we’ve been celebrating our diversity and continuing to build a fairer, better province. Throughout 2017, it’s been my honour to join with young and old across Ontario, marking the people, places and events that have shaped our province and supporting the great work that’s being done to create a more prosperous, inclusive and creative Ontario for generations to come.”
“Ontario’s 150th anniversary proved to be an exciting year of growth, prosperity and inclusion. Through more than 2,000 Ontario150-supported events and initiatives, people across the province have taken the opportunity to reflect on our past and contemplate the present. The legacy of Ontario150 will continue on as we build on the ongoing creativity and innovation that uniquely defines this great province.”
“Ontario’s sesquicentennial has been the ideal occasion to put the spotlight on SESQUI’s landmark film HORIZON, through which thousands of people across the province experienced unique Canadian moments through a magical cinematic tour. As just one Ontario150-supported program, we were proud to play a part in bringing Ontarians together in communities large and small, from Windsor and Ottawa to Temagami and Thunder Bay.”