Government of Canada supports Stratford Festival, tourism and community infrastructure

News release

July 5, 2022 – Stratford, Ontario

FedDev Ontario invests over $11 million to support the Stratford Festival and seven tourism and community infrastructure projects in the Stratford area

The Stratford Shakespearean Festival of Canada (Stratford Festival) is an annual, multi-stage festival that runs from April to November. As Canada's largest theatre festival, it welcomes hundreds of thousands of tourists to Stratford each year. Showcasing everything from classical to contemporary plays, with an emphasis on Shakespeare, this festival is an important economic driver for the region. Its cancellation in 2020 and shortened season in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a significant loss of revenue for the local Stratford economy. The Government of Canada is committed to revitalizing major events and festivals and the hard-hit tourism industry, while strengthening communities and local economies.

Today, the Honourable Helena Jaczek, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), announced a non-repayable investment of more than $11.3 million to support the recovery and future growth of the Stratford Shakespearean Festival of Canada, and seven tourism and community infrastructure projects in the region.

An investment of $10 million for the Stratford Festival, provided through the Major Events and Festivals Support Initiative (MFESI), is enabling the Festival to recover from the impacts of the past two years and return to its pre-pandemic scale, positioning it for strong and resilient growth. As a result of this investment, the Stratford Festival will operate at four indoor venues, extend its season and produce a total of 10 plays, five of which are funded through this investment. This support will result in positive economic impacts for the Stratford-area tourism and hospitality sectors.

In addition, over $1.3 million, through the Tourism Relief Fund (TRF) and the Canada Community Revitalization Fund (CCRF) was announced for seven projects that will enhance community infrastructure or help tourism entities and communities safely welcome back visitors in the Stratford area, including The Little Prince Cinema, who received nearly $100,000 to expand operations to establish a new microcinema facility, which will include two screening rooms. Full project details can be found in the backgrounder.


"The Stratford Festival, tourism businesses and community spaces are vital to the local economy and the quality of life for residents and visitors in Stratford. They generate significant revenue for local businesses and create jobs across the region. Today's investments will help the Stratford Festival, the tourism sector and the entire community continue their recovery and growth, and protect jobs."

– The Honourable Helena Jaczek, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

"The Stratford Festival is Canada's largest theatre festival and one of southern Ontario's marquee events. With the FedDev Ontario support announced today, festival goers and the other tourism and community spaces will bring back to vibrancy in the city."

– Peter Fragiskatos, Member of Parliament for London North Centre

"The support announced today will help the Stratford Festival and seven community infrastructure and tourism projects recover from the pandemic, support the local economy in Stratford, and position for future growth. This investment will help these organizations bounce back, ensuring Stratford remains a destination of choice for tourists and theatre lovers alike."

– Arielle Kayabaga, Member of Parliament for London West

"The Stratford Festival is grateful for this much-needed financial support. This funding enabled a limited outdoor season in 2021, which brought 34,000 people to Stratford. This year it allows us to double the number of performances that will bring close to 320,000 people to Stratford. This will have a significant economic impact and support job creation. Directly and indirectly, it will help artists, arts workers, business owners and others in the business, arts, and tourism sectors who suffered from the cancellation of our 2020 season."
– Carol Stephenson, Past Chair of the Stratford Festival Board of Directors

"This funding from FedDev Ontario couldn't have come at a better time. Not only did we survive the pandemic, but we have flourished, in our own small way. This financial support through the Tourism Relief Fund means we can look forward to not just surviving, but expanding our little project! A prospect we had heretofore only dreamed of. There are no words to express our gratitude."

– Leigh Cooney, Founder, Little Prince Cinema

Quick facts

  • Founded in 1953, the Stratford Shakespearean Festival of Canada generates over $140 million in economic activity each year for Stratford and the surrounding areas.

  • The Little Prince Cinema was designed and built in 2019 by Leigh Cooney, alongside several friends, family members, filmmakers, artists, and the local community. The cinema holds the world record as the smallest cinema and operates as a social enterprise, with a community-before-profits model.

  • With a national budget of $200 million over two years, the Major Events and Festivals Support Initiative (MFESI) supports major Canadian festivals and events that have been hit hard by theeconomic impacts of COVID-19 to adapt and enhance their activities as the economy recovers. The program is delivered in southern Ontario by FedDev Ontario.

  • The Government of Canada's $500-million Tourism Relief Fundis helping tourism-oriented businesses and organizations recover from the pandemic and prepare for future growth, with a minimum of $50 million of the Fund allocated to supporting Indigenous-led projects or Indigenous focussed projects.FedDev Ontario is delivering nearly $120 million of the Tourism Relief Fund across southern Ontario.

  • With a national investment of $500 million over two years, the Canada Community Revitalization Fund supports projects that build new community infrastructure and revitalize existing assets, bring people back to public spaces safely and stimulate local economies. This includes $139 million for projects in southern Ontario, delivered by FedDev Ontario.

  • Since 2015, the Government of Canada, through FedDev Ontario, has invested almost $19 million in 20 projects in Stratford, that are estimated to create and maintain over 2,500 jobs. This builds on previous $370,000 in FedDev Ontario support for the Stratford Festival.

Associated links


Monica Granados
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

Media Relations
FedDev Ontario

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