Government of Canada supports strong return of Oktoberfest and tourism recovery in Waterloo Region 

News release

FedDev Ontario invests over $2.4 million in Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest and 3 tourism projects to revitalize tourism sector and drive economic growth in Waterloo Region

October 7, 2022 – Kitchener, Ontario 

Each year Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest, Canada’s largest Bavarian festival in North America, attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors to over 40 family and cultural events in the Waterloo Region. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 and 2021 festivals were significantly scaled back to offer smaller and virtual events. The Government of Canada understands the important contributions of K-W Oktoberfest and tourism-dependent businesses and organizations to the local economy, and is committed to supporting the revitalization of the tourism sector.

Today, the Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), announced a total investment of over $2.4 million from the Government of Canada to support the full-scale return of K-W Oktoberfest and three projects in the tourism sector in Waterloo Region under the Tourism Relief Fund.

K-W Oktoberfest is receiving a non-repayable contribution of $1 million to expand the festival to take place over a one-month period (September 2 – October 15) and add new youth, inclusive and culinary events. These events include Kidtoberfest – three days of family events taking place over the Thanksgiving weekend and PRIDEtoberfest taking place on October 8. In addition, funding will support a new stage, accessible bleachers, new vendor huts and improved signage.    

An additional three tourism businesses and organizations in the Waterloo Region are receiving over $1.4 million to safely welcome back visitors and prepare for future growth. Project details can be found in the backgrounder.

Quotes

“Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest is a significant event for the Waterloo region, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors and providing economic benefits to the entire community. The Waterloo Region is home to many wonderful attractions and today’s investment in Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest and three local organizations is ensuring our local tourism sector has the support it needs to continue welcoming visitors for years to come.”
– The Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

“The Canadian tourism sector continues to be one of the most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. We will work with businesses and organizations through these challenging times, ensuring they get support to innovate in their products and services as well as to grow and thrive, all while keeping safety as the top priority. The Tourism Relief Fund helps businesses adapt to welcome back guests safely. It also feeds into a broader strategy to help the sector recover from the pandemic and build an economy that works for everyone. The Canadian economy will not fully recover until our tourism sector recovers.”
– The Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance

“Oktoberfest is back in person and we couldn’t be more thrilled! This event gives Kitchener-Waterloo a unique opportunity to get together and celebrate the culture in their communities. We are pleased to be supporting this edition! Congratulations to the organizers, volunteers, dancers, musicians and artists. Enjoy!”
– The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage

“On behalf of the Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest board of directors, I would like to thank the Government of Canada and FedDev Ontario for their contribution to the festival and community through the Tourism Relief Fund. Oktoberfest is a community festival and we strive to contribute to the economic well-being of the community through job creation and tourism. We look forward to helping revitalize the tourism sector in Waterloo Region!”
– Allan Cayenne, President, Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest

Quick facts

  • Since 1969, K-W Oktoberfest has welcomed visitors to the Waterloo Region to celebrate Bavarian culture. This year’s events take place from September 2 – October 15 and include the return of the annual Thanksgiving Parade, Festhallen experiences across the region celebrating Bavarian food and entertainment, and community, family and charitable events.    

  • An additional investment of $99,800 for K-W Oktoberfest, allocated through Canadian Heritage’s Building Communities through Arts and Heritage program, is supporting local artists and performers, and is also helping with promotional, production and incidental expenses for volunteers.

  • The Government of Canada’s $500-million Tourism Relief Fund is 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-focused projects. FedDev Ontario is delivering nearly $120 million of the Tourism Relief Fund across southern Ontario. 

  • Since 2015, FedDev Ontario has invested nearly $230 million in almost 200 projects in  Kitchener-Waterloo, estimated to create over 10,000 jobs and maintain over 30,000 jobs.

Associated links

Contacts

Edward Hutchinson
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario
Edward.Hutchinson@feddevontario.gc.ca

Media Relations
FedDev Ontario
feddevontariomediarelations-relationsmedias@feddevontario.gc.ca

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Website: www.FedDevOntario.gc.ca

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