Government of Canada invests nearly $6 million in community infrastructure and tourism to grow the economy in southwestern Ontario

News release

FedDev Ontario supports 26 projects in Windsor-Essex, Chatham-Kent and Sarnia-Lambton to enhance public spaces and attract visitors

February 24, 2023 – Windsor, Ontario

The historic main streets, shops, restaurants, attractions, wineries, and the beauty of the many local lakes, rivers and parks of southwestern Ontario are some of the best our country has to offer. The thriving communities that host these attractions should be celebrated for their culture and welcoming spirit. The Government of Canada is showing our support by ensuring they are able to rebound from the pandemic and position themselves for a strong future.

Today, Irek Kusmierczyk, Member of Parliament for Windsor–Tecumseh, on behalf of the Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), announced a total investment of nearly $6 million for 26 projects across Windsor-Essex, Chatham-Kent and Sarnia-Lambton. These investments, through the Canada Community Revitalization Fund (CCRF) and the Tourism Relief Fund (TRF), will ensure vibrant community spaces and tourism attractions that will keep visitors coming back year after year. A strong and inviting community will create jobs and grow their local economy.

Art Windsor-Essex hosted this exciting announcement, and received an investment of over $135,000 to create an innovative digital tourism art experience. This will attract visitors to downtown Windsor and showcase artworks from the gallery’s incredible collection. Developed in partnership with Moment Factory, the project has launched and will run until June 4, 2023.

Hackforge is receiving over $100,000 to develop inclusive tourism experiences by and for the region’s 2SLGBTQ2I+ community in southern Ontario through its Tourism Innovation Lab "Spark" Program.

An additional 24 community infrastructure and tourism projects are receiving support to aide in recovery from the pandemic, safely welcome back visitors and strengthen communities. For more information about the projects, please see the backgrounder. 


“The wineries, shops, and restaurants across southwestern Ontario draw in thousands of visitors from across the country. Our government is supporting Art Windsor-Essex, Hackforge as well as 24 other organizations in this region, so that they can continue to grow and thrive. Their hard work and dedication will lead to job growth and provide valuable and enjoyable experiences for everyone.” 
– The Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

“The investments for these 26 projects are helping southwestern Ontario communities and businesses welcome back tourists and prepare for a strong, resilient future.”
– Irek Kusmierczyk, Member of Parliament for Windsor–Tecumseh 

“Art Windsor-Essex (AWE) is grateful for the funds we received from the Government of Canada and FedDev Ontario. AWE is confident that the unprecedented digital art experience we are creating with this Tourism Relief Fund support will attract new audiences from both sides of the border. We are grateful to work with FedDev Ontario as a critical partner in our journey towards economic recovery.”
– Jennifer Matotek, Executive Director, Art Windsor-Essex 

"Thanks to the support of the Tourism Relief Fund, Hackforge and its Tourism Innovation Lab partners have developed and launched a 2SLGBTQ+ “Spark” Program to support new 2SLGBTQ+-led tourism experiences in southern Ontario."
– Justin Lafontaine, Program Lead, Tourism Innovation Lab, Hackforge

Quick facts

  • Art Windsor-Essex is home to nearly 4,000 works of art from some of Canada’s most exciting artists. Collecting since 1943, the gallery inspires growth using the power of art, hosting unique exhibitions and programs.

  • Hackforge is a Windsor-based not-for-profit focused on advancing the tech community in the region and enabling economic development initiatives. The organization leads the Tourism Innovation Lab program, a tourism development incubator with over 100 partners across Canada.

  • 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. 

  • 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 over $166 million in more than 185 projects in Windsor-Essex, Chatham-Kent, Sarnia-Lambton estimated to create over 2,800 jobs and maintain over 6,600 jobs.

  • Over the spring and summer 2022, more than $3.2 million was announced in support of 13 tourism and community infrastructure projects in Windsor and Sarnia-Lambton

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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