Government of Canada investment of over $20 million supports tourism recovery in Niagara, Hamilton, Halton, Brantford and surrounding regions

News release

Over 190 projects supported to enhance recreational facilities, parks and trails to attract visitors to region

May 26, 2023 – Hamilton, Ontario

In Niagara, Hamilton, Halton, Brantford and surrounding regions, tourism attractions and destinations like natural wonders, a captivating wine country and historical sites play a vital role in the region's economy and cultural identity, promoting the unique heritage and natural beauty of the region. The Government of Canada understands the importance of the tourism sector and is committed to supporting communities as they build towards a strong future from coast to coast to coast.

During Economic Development Week, we are highlighting the important investments that have been made across Ontario to support the tourism industry. Between 2022 and 2023, the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) delivered nearly $140 million through the Tourism Relief Fund (TRF) to help tourism-oriented businesses and organizations across southern Ontario recover from the impacts of the pandemic and safely welcome back visitors.

As part of this investment, more than $20 million was delivered to 192 tourism businesses and organizations in Niagara, Hamilton, Halton, Brantford and surrounding regions, providing memorable experiences for visitors and positioning the region for success.

For example, the Niagara Grape and Wine Festival received a non-repayable contribution of more than $75,000 to deliver the "Cool As Ice" gala kick-off event for the 2023 Icewine Festival in January. The event, hosted at the historic Niagara Parks Power Station, attracted more than 750 visitors, who enjoyed wine tastings, local cuisine, the sounds of the Niagara Symphony Orchestra, the Currents Light Show, and unique opportunities to experience the mist of the Niagara Falls.

TRF support also made a difference in the community of Dundas, where Shawn & Ed Brewing Co., a craft brewery, received more than $30,000 to make upgrades including adding a stage, sound system and lighting. As a result, the brewery was able to increase the number and quality of musical performances offered, showcase local talent and attract more visitors.

Also with this Government of Canada support, Tourism Partnership of Niagara (RTO 2) and Hamilton Halton Brant Regional Tourism Association (RTO 3) provided non-repayable contributions of up to $100,000 to tourism businesses and organizations in the region.

This included support for the Federated Women's Institutes of Canada, which received $100,000 through RTO3 to enhance visitor experience to the Adelaide Hunter Hoodless Homestead Museum in St. George. This included improvements to the museum's exterior and grounds such as new signage, a pavilion, infrared heaters, stage equipment, outdoor seating, storage, parking lot renovations and additional bike racks.

These investments have been crucial in helping local businesses and organizations welcome more visitors and build stronger, more vibrant communities.


"With an investment of nearly $140 million for the Ontario tourism sector, our government has been making smart investments that put people first and grow local economies that work for everyone. A new Federal Tourism Growth Strategy will keep this industry strong and support the vitality of communities small and large across the country."
– The Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

"It's time for Canada's tourism sector to push past reviving all the way to thriving. Our government's investments in tourism over the last three years focused on sustaining and rebuilding the tourism ecosystem, promoting what we have and designing for the future. A fully recovered and robust tourism sector is key to our government's ongoing work to build an economy that works for everyone. Together, we can make sure that Canada's tourism sector is something that visitors and Canadians alike will celebrate and enjoy for generations to come."
– The Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance

"Niagara, Hamilton, Halton, Brantford and surrounding regions are well known for our world class destinations, including cultural activities, recreation trails, beaches, local theatres and wineries and vibrant main streets. Investments in over 190 tourism projects have helped businesses and organizations in these communities to welcome visitors from near and far to festivals and public spaces while strengthening the region's local economy."
– Vance Badawey, Member of Parliament for Niagara Centre

"These funds were a game-changer for the Niagara Grape and Wine Festival. Not only did the Festival enjoy a sold out event, we were able to highlight over 35 local wineries and chefs, the Niagara Symphony Orchestra, the exciting Niagara Parks Power Station and a series of local performance artists. It has set us up for much future success."
– Dorian Anderson, Executive Director, Niagara Grape & Wine Festival

"The Tourism Relief Fund has helped us to recover from the COVID shutdown and we are now back stronger than ever! With support through the Tourism Relief Fund, the upgrades to our facility have truly made a difference and have made us a go to destination for great beer and entertainment!"
– Ed Madronich President and Co-Founder, Shawn & Ed Brewing Company

"With this support for the Adelaide Hunter Hoodless Homestead, a National Historic site of Canada, we are able to offer better access to this historic gem, located in the Heart of Ontario. This funding provides additional, year-round, educational programs for both young and old alike and a must-see tourist destination for visitors both locally and internationally."
– Margaret Byl, President of the Federated Women's Institutes of Canada

Quick facts

  • Niagara Grape and Wine Festival is Canada's oldest and largest wine festival that hosts three festival series annually – the Icewine Series in January, the Summer Series in June and the Fall Series in September. This celebration of wine, local food and Niagara culture welcomes more than 125,000 guests each year.

  • Shawn & Ed Brewing Co. is a craft brewery owned and operated by long-time friends, Shawn and Ed. and located in the historic Dundas Curling and Skating Rink.

  • Founded in 1897, the Federated Women's Institutes of Canada is a national organization that coordinates the activities of the provincial Women's Institutes to support women's personal growth, health and wellness.

  • FedDev Ontario delivered nearly $140 million of the Tourism Relief Fund across southern Ontario, including $76.5 million in support for southern Ontario's 11 Regional Tourism Organizations and Indigenous Tourism Ontario (ITO). As part of this investment, ITO received $3.5 million and has delivered $2 million to support 23 Indigenous-led tourism projects across southern Ontario and fostered connections between Indigenous tourism operators and Regional Tourism Organizations (RTOs) in the region.

  • In Budget 2023, the Government of Canada proposed a $108-million investment over three years as part of a Federal Tourism Growth Strategy to support growth, investment and stability in Canada's tourism sectorSubject to parliamentary approval, this support, to be delivered by Canada's regional development agencies including FedDev Ontario, will help ensure that our tourism industry can continue to be a driver of good jobs and vibrant communities across Canada.

  • Since 2015, the Government of Canada, through FedDev Ontario, has invested over $260 million in more than 385 projects across Niagara, Hamilton, and surrounding area, estimated to create over 2,400 jobs and maintain over 7,000 jobs.

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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