Minister Joly announces support for tourism in the Niagara Region

News release

Over $1.2 million for six projects to enhance the region’s Indigenous, year-round, rural and culinary tourism opportunities

August 20, 2019 – Niagara, ON 

Tourism is a rapidly-growing sector that showcases Canada’s culture, diversity, natural beauty and unique experiences to the world. It generates significant economic benefits across the country and supports one in ten jobs. The Government of Canada is investing in our tourism sector to grow the economy, empower our communities and promote Canada as a world-class destination.

Today, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie, wrapped up a two-day tour in the Niagara Region, during which she announced more than $1.2 million to support six local tourism initiatives, alongside Vance Badawey, Member of Parliament (Niagara Centre), and Chris Bittle, Member of Parliament (St. Catharines). These investments are made through FedDev Ontario’s Canadian Experiences Fund (CEF), which supports the creation, improvement or enhancement of tourism products, facilities and experiences.

On August 19, Minister Joly, MP Badawey and MP Bittle visited Niagara Oast House Brewers, located in historic Niagara-on-the-Lake, to announce support for the region’s wine, food and craft beverage industry. The announcements included:

  • up to $250,000 for the Grape Growers of Ontario to coordinate and host the International Cool Climate Wine Symposium in 2020, which will showcase the region’s wines and local foods to over 600 delegates from around the world;
  • up to $50,000 for the Corporation of the City of St. Catharines to develop and launch “GoSip Niagara”, a website dedicated to promoting the Niagara Ale Trail and expanding Niagara Region's craft food and beverage industry; and,
  • up to $34,160 in funding for The Exchange Brewery to establish Sourpalooza, Niagara’s first and only sour beer and local food festival, as an annual event.

Today, Minister Joly, MP Bittle and MP Badawey visited FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre and announced funding of up to $175,000 for the Corporation of the City of St. Catharines. This funding will support two annual Celebration of Nations Indigenous Arts Gatherings, as well as 20 Indigenous-focused performances and films, helping the local Indigenous community to showcase their creativity, traditions and history, while growing tourist attendance and engagement in Niagara.

Minister Joly then travelled to Welland with MP Badawey to visit the Welland Canal—one of the world’s greatest man-made wonders. There she announced funding of up to $500,000 for the Corporation of the City of Welland to create a year-round tourist destination located along the waterway. The Minister also announced up to $200,000 for the Corporation of the City of Port Colborne to enhance H.H. Knoll Lakeview Park to better accommodate special community, regional, and national events, including the Canal Days Marine Heritage Festival.

Government support for these projects will boost local economic growth, while allowing Canadians and visitors to Canada to experience Niagara’s rich cultural heritage and discover—or rediscover—all that Niagara has to offer.

These announcements are in line with Canada’s new tourism strategy, unveiled by Minister Joly in May 2019: Creating Middle Class Jobs: A Federal Tourism Growth Strategy


“Niagara is rich in history, character and spectacular geography that draws visitors from across Canada and around the world. These investments will enable local businesses and organizations in the Niagara Region to develop facilities and experiences that will attract even more visitors year-round. This will help our communities reap the benefits of the global tourism boom to diversify their economies and create good jobs for middle-class families, while showcasing Niagara’s features to the rest of Canada and the world.”
– The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie

“Innovation doesn’t only happen in big cities; it happens in all regions of Canada. That’s why our regional development agencies play an important role in helping businesses and organizations turn their innovations into economic growth and good jobs for Canadians. Through the Canadian Experiences Fund, our government is investing in the development of our tourism sector and the economic potential of our vibrant communities.”
– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

“St. Catharines and the Niagara region are renowned across Canada for all that our tourism industry has to offer. It’s exciting to see the opportunities that the Canadian Experiences Fund will provide in Niagara and in particular, I’m pleased that the Government of Canada is contributing to ensure to the Celebration of Nations continues to grow in St. Catharines.” 
– Chris Bittle, Member of Parliament for St. Catharines

“Niagara is well known around the world for it’s spectacular wine, food and landscape. With this funding, Niagara can continue to innovate and explore avenues to attract new visitors and stimulate our economy. The Canadian Experiences Fund creates opportunities for our local communities to expand and capitalize on tourism in Canada.”
– Vance Badawey, Member of Parliament for Niagara Centre

Quick facts

  • The Niagara region attracts around 13 million visitors annually, and these visitors support approximately 40,000 hospitality and tourism industry workers.

  • Tourism represents more than two percent of Canada’s gross domestic product and supports more than 1.8 million jobs in Canada.

  • The new federal tourism strategy will create more than 54,000 jobs in Canada and increase economic benefits by over 25 percent.

  • The Canadian Experiences Fund (CEF), a two-year fund delivered by regional development agencies, helps Canada's tourism sector innovate and grow by providing targeted investments based on regional priorities.

  • Regional development agencies are one of Canada’s four flagship platforms supporting innovation, along with the Industrial Research Assistance Program, the Strategic Innovation Fund and the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service.

  • Approved funding is subject to the terms of a contribution agreement.

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Jeremy Ghio
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

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