The feds launched a $100-million program to help fund festivals and tourism events across Canada yesterday.

And while the Marquee Tourism Events Program hasn’t specified which events will benefit, Ottawa — which is known for its breadth of events — is hoping to get a piece of the pie.

Festivals are an important part of Ottawa’s cultural identity as well as the economy, said Ottawa Tourism’s Jantine Van Kregten.

The program, which brings $100 million to events over two years, begins this year and ensures marquee tourism events receive the support they need to help them have a successful 2009 season.

In addition to the one-time funding being provided immediately for summer 2009 events, there are two main funding streams: For significant events that have an established international presence and an overall attendance of at least 250,000 visitors; and for smaller events with a minimum overall attendance of 50,000 visitors that either have an international presence or are proposing to develop one with program support.

Ottawa has many festivals that might be eligible, including Winterlude and the Canadian Tulip Festival, said Van Kregten.

“Events such as Winterlude and Ottawa Race Weekend and the Bell Capital Cup bring significant money into the community,” said Van Kregten.

Visitors “stay in hotels, eat in restaurants and visit our attractions,” she said.

Even smaller festivals that don’t bring in as many tourists “add to the quality of life and adds to the number of things we can promote to our visitors,” she said.

“Marquee tourism events play an important role in bringing Canadians together and attracting international visitors,” said Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism) Diane Ablonczy in a press release. “This investment supports the business development needed to help encourage and grow the visitor economy.”

• Ottawa welcomed approximately 7.8 million visits in 2007, which brought $1.3 billion into the city’s economy.

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