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Celebrate Ontario Success Stories

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Celebrate Ontario Success Stories

Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport

Celebrate Ontario helps festival and event organizers to enhance their programming, activities and services so that they can draw more tourists and support more jobs in communities across the province. Success stories from 2017 include:

The TD Ottawa Jazz Festival featured critically acclaimed programming in 2017 and attracted a large number of tourists and visitors from Ontario and beyond, with an increased economic impact of $34 million. The festival's indoor shows were at capacity, and a record number of more than 100,000 people celebrated Canada Day and the nation's 150th anniversary with six free shows on July 1, 2017.

Redpath Waterfront Festival was a tremendous success in 2017. Local restaurants and businesses benefited greatly from the festival's enhancement project, which brought the World's Largest Rubber Duck to Toronto and attracted 750,000 attendees to its waterfront, of which 31 per cent were tourists. The economic impact of tourist expenditures and festival operations was $7.6 million, not including $16.5 million spent by local residents.

VELD Music Festival expanded its overall footprint and attendance in 2017, thanks to Celebrate Ontario support. Improvements were made to the production and overall guest experience by adding more shade structures, more on-site health and medical services and a hip-hop stage to the event. Performances by higher caliber artists from a wide array of genres helped attract an audience of more than 35,000 fans per day over two days -- an increase of almost 1,000 guests per day from the previous year.

The 2017 Country Music Fest ramped up its results on Manitoulin Island with support from Celebrate Ontario. Attendance records were shattered with almost 9,000 people attending each day. Dwight Yoakam attracted country music fans from Ontario and the U.S. Visitors stayed longer than ever before and enjoyed other attractions on the island such as boat tours, which sold out over the weekend.

2017 Capital Ukrainian Festival used its Celebrate Ontario support to diversify and upgrade its entertainment to attract new patrons from further afield. DakhaBrakha, one of Ukraine's most famous bands, was the festival's main attraction and helped to boost attendance to nearly 25,000, a festival record. Multicultural dance groups from around the world helped to diversify the festival's audience.

Ottawa Italian Week improved its appeal by enhancing its programming with the help of Celebrate Ontario to include more authentic and prominent Italian entertainment, such as Enrico Capuano, Michael Castaldo and Rio Scafone & the Rockabilly Revival. As a result, attendance in 2017 increased by 10 per cent over the previous year to almost 200,000 people.

Stratford Summer Music extended its 2017 programming to the new Market Square and the historic Allman Arena, resulting in an additional 12,450 visitors during its summer season. The high flying Les Tambours, a troupe of France-based drummers, attracted exceptional excitement and attendance.

Beaches International Jazz Festival expanded its offerings to include a new main stage at Toronto's Woodbine Park (Urban Music Stage) and a new youthful and diverse festival weekend. The Celebrate Ontario-funded enhancement, as well as the enhanced marketing initiatives, helped attract an influx of first-time attendees in 2017, as well a younger crowd.

Artfest Kingston welcomed an additional 5,000 visitors to its three-day arts and culture festival, a nine per cent increase that allowed new guests of all ages to actively engage in a myriad of family-friendly enhancements funded by Celebrate Ontario. Participating artists benefited as 58 per cent of Artfest visitors made at least one purchase at the festival. 

PumpkInferno featured 7,000 artistically carved pumpkins and attracted an impressive 75,000 visitors to Eastern Ontario -- more than the combined attendance levels for the previous two years. This tremendous success can be attributed to a perfect combination of weather over the event's five-week run, masterful artistry and the enthralling Ontario150 themes funded in part by Celebrate Ontario. A quarter of a million visitors have visited this award-winning event over the past six years, solidifying PumpkInferno as one of the finest shoulder season tourism events in eastern Ontario.

Mariposa Folk Festival developed a new Ontario-inspired village showcasing Ontario150 anniversary celebrations and a variety of Canadian entertainers with support from Celebrate Ontario. The festival had an increase in overall audience for the first time in several years, and people increased the length of their stay.

Festival de la Bine de Plantagenet had its most successful year for attendance and revenue since its creation in 2012. It attracted 6,100 visitors, 32 per cent more than projected by organizers. Fifty-three per cent of visitors were tourists, of which 25 per cent were from Québec. Two Celebrate Ontario-funded events were well received and drew crowds: La Place aux délices, a new culinary component of the festival, and the Championnat canadien d'hommes forts (Canadian strongman championships).

JFL 42 had the biggest and most successful year to date and included more high-profile events in larger venues. Celebrate Ontario funding helped to expand the ComedyCon series of the festival from a daytime series with 14 events to 28 in just one year. The festival attracted more than 23,000 tourists --a rise of 15 per cent in total attendance -- and had a revenue increase of 22.6 per cent from 2016. Celebrate Ontario funding also helped increase the star power of the festival by bringing in A-list headliners.

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