With five big events on this weekend, Ottawa’s summer festival season is in full swing.
With the Franco-Ontarien Festival, Westfest, Italian Week’s Ferrari Festival, the Carnival of Culture and the Dance Festival all happening this weekend, it’s easy to see why Ottawa is increasingly becoming known as a city of festivals.
“We have 44 festivals, special events and fairs within our group members and everything from music, art, culture, dance and film to sports and all aspects of entertainment,” said Ottawa Festivals executive director Barbara Stacey.
June, July and August are the most active months for festivals. “Some of them are community based and give a more local focus, but some really draw from the tourism side,” Stacey said.
“It adds to the richness … and quality of life in Ottawa. There’s more to do than you ever imagined.”
Festivals also employ residents, provide volunteer and community involvement opportunities and bring tourism dollars into the city.
In 2007, Ottawa’s 7.8 million visitors had an economic impact of $2.2 billion, said Misty Wade Hovey, communications co-ordinator for Ottawa Tourism.
According to the group’s most recent festival study, about 1.5 million people attended 21 festivals in 2003, Hovey said.
Of those people, one million were local residents, 120,000 people were from just outside the city and 345,000 people were from more than 80 kilometres away.
Because visitors who come here for festivals tend to stay overnight, it has a ripple effect, Hovey said. “The industry truly does benefit.”