May 28, 2021 – Cornwall, ON
Tourism across Eastern Ontario is essential to the vitality of the region and contributes significantly to Canada’s economy. From its extraordinary waterfront to vibrant downtowns to Indigenous cultural tourism attractions, the region has historically brought in millions of annual visitors.
Today, Marie-France Lalonde, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (FedDev Ontario and Official Languages), announced a non-repayable FedDev Ontario investment of $750,000 to support the tourism industry in communities across Eastern Ontario.
With a $500,000 investment, Regional Tourism Organization #9 (RTO #9) is providing non-repayable contributions of up to $20,000 to local tourism-oriented businesses. These contributions are supporting local businesses with adapting and eventually re-opening, by providing financial support for activities such as space renovations and retrofits, purchase of equipment fixtures and personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as support for technology and digitization. The project is in partnership with the City of Brockville, the United Counties of Leeds Grenville, Frontenac County and Lennox and Addington, the Bay of Quinte, the 1000 Islands CFDC and the Frontenac CFDC. Once completed, it is expected to support more than 60 businesses and maintain 135 jobs.
1000 Islands Tower, an iconic attraction in the heart of Southeastern Ontario, received funding to help cover PPE expenses, signage for social distancing and a timed ticketed entry system for the safety of visitors and staff.
With a $250,000-investment, the Cornwall and Area Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Cornwall and Counties CFDC, the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, the City of Cornwall, the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne Economic Development and l’Association canadienne-française de l’Ontario established a similar fund. This project is expected to support more than 40 businesses and maintain 50 jobs once completed. With support from First Nations collaborators, the project is also providing targeted support to Indigenous-led businesses.
With this support, Stonehouse Vineyard in Alexandria, was able to renovate its patio space, allowing for safer space to welcome guests.
The Government of Canada is working to support these businesses and communities by helping to maintain jobs and prepare the tourism sector for a strong comeback in the future.
“Canada’s tourism industry has been among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. We have been there for the tourism sector since the beginning of the crisis and are proud to be supporting businesses and communities in Eastern Ontario as they prepare to safely welcome visitors when they are able to do so.”
– The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario
“Eastern Ontario’s tourism industry is a major contributor to the region’s economy. This FedDev Ontario investment is helping about 100 tourism-centred businesses in Eastern Ontario remain strong, rebuild and adapt their operations to keep future visitors safe and prepare for a more resilient future.”
– Marie-France Lalonde, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (FedDev Ontario and Official Languages)
“The COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging across all sectors of the economy, and particularly tough for our region’s tourism sector. This investment is delivering financial support to local tourism-dependent businesses, helping the sector to adapt and protect nearly 200 jobs.”
– Mark Gerretsen, Member of Parliament for Kingston and the Islands
“Here in the Bay of Quinte area, tourism-centred businesses are among those that have felt the hardest impacts of the pandemic. Support from the projects announced today is helping them find ways to return to business safely, while supporting 185 jobs in Eastern Ontario.”
– Neil Ellis, Member of Parliament for Bay of Quinte
“RTO 9 was pleased to be able to administer these funds on behalf of FedDev Ontario. This funding has helped many businesses continue to operate until we start to see a recovery in the tourism industry.”
-Bonnie Ruddock, Executive Director of Region 9 Regional Tourism Organization
“As business leaders, we are all painfully aware of the pandemic’s impact on all our businesses, but in particular, those in the tourism sector. The Cornwall and Area Chamber of Commerce is thrilled that the federal government has made funding available to help our tourism entrepreneurs and not-for-profits across Akwesasne, Cornwall and SDG.”
– Shannon Lebrun, President of the Cornwall and Area Chamber of Commerce
“We, the owners of the 1000 Islands Tower, appreciate very much being able to reach out to RTO #9 for any questions and potential funding. We received funding to cover some of the additional expenses incurred due to Covid-19. Our attraction is located 500 meters from the U.S. Border and we rely heavily on U.S. as well as international tourists. Without this grant we would not be able to invest in new equipment for timed, ticketless entry.”
– Konrad & Heidi Linckh, Owners, 1000 Islands Tower
“We are a small, family-owned and operated tourism business. To continue to operate our winery and vineyard in 2020, we needed to renovate our patio to allow for physical distancing and offer a safe and welcoming space for guests. Not only did this grant help us with costs, but it also made us feel supported by the community.”
– Joanne Pratt, Stonehouse Vineyard
There are over 7,000 tourism-oriented businesses in the regions served by RTO #9 and the Cornwall and Area Chamber of Commerce.
The investments in the Cornwall Area Chamber of Commerce and RTO #9 are part of $5.35-million in support for similar projects to help the tourism sector across Eastern Ontario, which are anticipated to support 480 businesses in the region.
Since November 1, 2015, FedDev Ontario has invested over $165 million in nearly 500 tourism-related projects. This includes over $90 million for over 320 Regional Relief and Recovery Fund projects.
In October 2020, FedDev Ontario announced a non-repayable investment of $500,000 to support the tourism industry in Prince Edward County, and in September 2020, a $1 million non-repayable investment for the Kingston Economic Development Corporation to support the tourism industry’s recovery in Kingston and Gananoque.
Subject to parliamentary approval, Budget 2021 proposes $500 million over two years through the Tourism Relief Fund for local tourism businesses to adapt their products and services to public health measures, recover from the pandemic and position themselves for growth; and $200 million over two years to support major festivals and events. Subject to Parliamentary approval, these measures will be delivered by the regional development agencies, including FedDev Ontario in southern Ontario.