Government of Canada creates economic growth with an investment of over $2.7 million in women-led tourism projects in southern Ontario

News release

FedDev Ontario supports tourism recovery with investments in 14 women-led organizations

November 17, 2022 – Nepean, Ontario 

Women-led businesses are essential to a growing economy and the creation of good jobs in southern Ontario. Though they often face unique challenges, their determination and hard work ensures their success. The Government of Canada is committed to helping women entrepreneurs in the hard-hit tourism sector grow and flourish so they can become important contributors to a strong economy.

Today, the Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), announced a total investment of over $2.7 million for 14 women-led tourism businesses, through the Tourism Relief Fund, to develop unique experiences and enhance their offerings to attract visitors and strengthen their communities. This investment into the potential of women-led businesses will be a key driver towards a growing economy that works for everyone.

The announcement was hosted by Indigenous Experience’s Mādahòkì Farm, which received a non-repayable investment of $750,000 to revitalize, modernize and renovate the farm and gardens. This Indigenous women-led tourism destination is located on 165 acres in Ottawa’s Greenbelt and provides unique agritourism, farm-to-table culinary experiences, and authentic cultural experiences from an Indigenous perspective. With this support, Mādahòkì Farm will construct and install a four-season venue to host agriculture and culinary tourism events, and undertake improvements to make their facilities more accessible and inclusive. The project will also provide a year-round permanent Indigenous Marketplace for Indigenous artists, creators, and farmers, and a permanent home for endangered Ojibwe Spirit Horses.

With Women’s Entrepreneurship Day taking place on November 19, this investment highlights the Government of Canada’s continued support for women entrepreneurs, and commitment to making investments to help women-led businesses grow and succeed. Successful women entrepreneurs create good jobs and contribute to a growing local economy. For more information about the women-led tourism projects receiving support, please see the backgrounder


“The Government of Canada is investing in the potential of women-led businesses so they can grow, thrive and create good jobs. With investments through the Tourism Relief Fund, FedDev Ontario is providing women-led tourism operators, like Mādahòkì Farm, with support to attract visitors, which will lead to more local business and an economy that works for everyone.”
– The Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

“The COVID-19 pandemic has severely affected businesses in the tourism industry, especially women entrepreneurs who are a key component of our economic development in the Ottawa region. The Government of Canada’s investment of $2.7 million in women-led tourism projects will help us rebuild our tourism industry while continuing to improve gender equality.”
– Chandra Arya, Member of Parliament for Nepean

“When COVID hit, our social enterprise Indigenous Experiences was at risk of losing everything as we relied heavily on international tourism. With the support of the Tourism Recovery Fund, we were able to build an even brighter future for our organization, re-developing an impressive 164-acre farm in Ottawa's greenbelt into Mādahòkì Farm, which means "to share the land."  In one year, our small but impressive team of Indigenous women leaders has created an exciting venue that is already welcoming student groups, local residents and domestic and international visitors and supporting over 50 small Indigenous businesses.” 
– Trina Mather-Simard, Founder and Executive and Artistic Director, Indigenous Experiences 

Quick facts

  • In October 2021, Indigenous Experiences launched a new tourism experience in Ottawa’s Greenbelt called Mādahòkì Farm. The Farm hosts a series of Indigenous events celebrating the seasons; Sīgwan (Spring), Tagwàgi (Autumn) and Pibòn (Winter) and the annual Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival. 

  • For over 25 years, Indigenous Experiences has been presenting Indigenous Peoples culture, history, food, and arts through invited performers, festivals, special events, national, and international conferences and in-class presenters for elementary school students. The organization is designated as a Destination Canada Signature Experience.

  • 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. A minimum of $50 million of the Fund has been allocated to support Indigenous-led or Indigenous-focused projects. FedDev Ontario is delivering nearly $120 million of the Tourism Relief Fund across southern Ontario. Applicants with events and activities happening between November 2022 and March 2023, can now apply for support through the Tourism Relief Fund in southern Ontario.   

  • Since November 2015, FedDev Ontario has invested more than $70 million in over 200 Indigenous-led and influenced projects.

  • Since November 2015, FedDev Ontario has invested more than $490 million in over 300 women-led projects, creating over 11,600 jobs and maintaining over 10,500.

Associated links


Edward Hutchinson
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

Media Relations
FedDev Ontario

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