Thompson Okanagan communities receive over $2.5 million to revitalize public spaces and enhance tourism experiences

News release

Image of live outdoor music event at night. Text reads: Thompson Okanagan communities receive over $2.5M to enhance tourism experiences

The Government of Canada is making investments across British Columbia to refresh community spaces, attract new visitors, and stimulate local economies

February 23, 2023 – Salmon Arm, British Columbia – PacifiCan

Safe and inclusive public spaces and dynamic tourism attractions are key to vibrant communities. They bring together people of all ages and abilities, in turn supporting businesses and boosting economic vitality. Throughout the Thompson Okanagan region of British Columbia, communities are welcoming back residents and visitors alike to enjoy new and improved public spaces and tourism experiences.

Today, the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada (PacifiCan), announced over $2.5 million in PacifiCan funding for 16 projects across the Thompson Okanagan. This includes $240,000 for two projects funded through the Canada Community Revitalization Fund and over $2.3 million for 14 projects funded through the Tourism Relief Fund.

Among these projects, the Salmon Arm Folk Music Society will receive $436,725 through the Tourism Relief Fund to support events in the region, including the Salmon Arm Pride Festival, Live Music Capital in BC, and Indigenous Music Festival, and develop a plan to enhance music-related tourism experiences. This funding will help expand local events into multi-day festivals showcasing local Indigenous culture, music and art – attracting thousands of domestic and international tourists. For the full list of projects, please see backgrounder here.

Upgrading infrastructure and building new public assets means British Columbians and visitors have better access to recreational programs and facilities. These projects grow economic opportunities, create jobs, and improve community wellness. Thompson Okanagan communities benefiting from today’s announcement include: Eagle Bay, Merritt, Keremeos, Blind Bay, Magna Bay, Kelowna, Vernon, Peachland and Armstrong.

Today’s funding announcement builds on the recent opening of PacifiCan offices in Kelowna and Cranbrook to help support economic development for British Columbians in the Southern Interior. With new officers living and providing service locally, PacifiCan is now more accessible to all communities in the region. 


“Amazing things are happening in the Southern Interior. The region is known for its world-class skill hills, wines and produce and is also home to a thriving tech community and innovative forestry and mining sectors. Investing in shared public spaces and tourism experiences will bring communities together, attract new visitors, and ensure that the Thompson Okanagan region thrives well into the future.”
- The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada

“As we move past the acute phase of the pandemic, Canada’s tourism sector is showing strong signs of growth. The Government of Canada’s investments in tourism over the last two years focused on the survival of our visitor economy. As we move to revival and the growth of the sector, we continue to provide targeted support to tourism businesses so they can keep delivering unforgettable experiences. A fully recovered and robust tourism sector is key to our government’s ongoing work in building an economy that works for all Canadians.”
- The Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance

“We are excited to announce PacifiCan’s commitment to supporting the growth and diversity of cultural events in the Shuswap community, including the Small Hall Concert series, the second annual Pride Festival Concert, and the creation of a new Indigenous Music Festival. These events celebrate the rich cultural heritage of the area, and provide a platform for talented artists to showcase their skills to a wider audience. PacifiCan’s investment in the Live Music Capital of British Columbia initiative will help ensure that the Shuswap remains a top destination for cultural events and tourism, while also helping to facilitate the production of high-quality events that attract visitors from far and wide.”
- David Gonella, Executive Director, Salmon Arm Folk Music Society

Quick facts

  • PacifiCan is the federal economic development agency dedicated to British Columbians. PacifiCan works with partners who are building innovative businesses, creating quality jobs, and supporting inclusive growth throughout British Columbia.

  • On November 16, 2022, PacifiCan opened new offices in Kelowna and Cranbrook, serving businesses and communities across the Southern Interior of B.C.

  • The Canada Community Revitalization Fund and Tourism Relief Fund programs launched in the summer of 2021.

  • The Canada Community Revitalization Fund provides $500 million over two years to help communities build and improve infrastructure, making public spaces safer, greener and more accessible.

  • The Tourism Relief Fund provides $500 million over two years to help tourism businesses and organizations adapt their operations to meet public health requirements, while investing in products and services to facilitate future growth.

Related products

Associated links


Haley Hodgson
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of International Development and Minister Responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada

Jillian Glover
Communications Manager

Page details

Date modified: