Some of Ottawa's favourite festivals will have plumper pocketbooks after the province announced the recipients of a festival and events funding program in the capital Wednesday.
Eighteen area festivals, including the Canadian Tulip Festival, the Ottawa International Children's Festival and the Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival will be sharing $1.5 million as a part of the $11-million 2009 Celebrate Ontario program.
"Festivals are important economic engines and we need people to know how important they are to the economy," said Ontario Tourism Minister Monique Smith.
Smith said she was pleased the funding was announced in Ottawa "because we have such a broad range of festivals." No matter the season, "I always think of Ottawa as a place of festivals."
Ontario is home to over 2,500 festivals and events, said Smith.
"From the Tulip Festival to the Schrieber (Heritage) Days in Schreiber, Ont., our festivals allow us to proudly say, ‘There's no place like this.'"
The increase in funding in 2009 has allowed for twice as many festivals to be supported than last year, Smith said.
Out of 514 applicants, 224 events were chosen for funding. Of those, 29 events were first-time festivals, Smith said.
The support for festivals ranges from $5,000 to $300,000.
Festivals "fill our restaurants, hotels and bed and breakfasts," said Ottawa-Vanier MPP Madeleine Meilleur.
They also create and sustain jobs, added Ottawa West-Nepean MPP Jim Watson.
"Celebrate Ontario funding helps us to improve our programming and keep a competitive edge in the tourism marketplace," said Hitomi Suzuta, president of the Ottawa Folk Festival's board of directors.
Ottawa's big recipients include the Canadian Tulip Festival, the TD Canada Trust Ottawa International Jazz Festival and Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest, which each receive $300,000, while others include Festival des sucres ($17,250), Le Festival de la CURD ($67,500), the Ottawa International Writer's Festival ($73,500), the Vietnamese Cultural Festival ($12,600), the Odawa Festival of Aboriginal Culture ($12,750), the Ottawa International Children's Festival ($75,000), Festival Franco-ontarien ($53,250), Summer Solstice Aboriginal Arts Festival ($33,000), the Ottawa Dragon Boat Race Festival ($41,250), Rideau Canal Festival ($75,000), Ottawa Folk Festival ($61,350), Russell Fair ($30,000), Multicultural Festival ($5,021), Festival Asia ($32,400) and the Ottawa International Animation Festival ($18,750).