North Bay has had a rocky relationship with Celebrate Ontario, but hope may be on the horizon as the organization announced today that applications are now being accepted for the Celebrate Ontario 2019 program.
Celebrate Ontario is a program that gives grants to festivals and events of all sizes to attract tourists, create jobs and support the local economy.
There has been much frustration in the past as this city got passed over while Sudbury, represented by Liberals, raked it in.
In 2016, then in opposition, Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli hand-delivered a letter to then Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Michael Coteau demanding to know why North Bay failed again to get any grant money from Celebrate Ontario.
"I’m dismayed that I am once again writing to ask you to clarify the reasons why, for the second consecutive year, the Celebrate Ontario funding application submitted by the City of North Bay’s Summer in the Park Committee was denied," Fedeli wrote.
In 2017 Mayor Al McDonald was disappointed as Sudbury got $264,500 to North Bay's $19,698.
The event did get $50,000 this year.
Now the shoe appears to be on the other foot, with Fedeli being the province's finance minister.
“Tourism is a key contributor to our local economy, and we have many great events that draw thousands of visitors to Nipissing each year,” said Fedeli today in a news release.
“Festivals and events drive tourism, support tens of thousands of jobs in Ontario and generate millions of dollars in revenue. They are made even better with the support of Celebrate Ontario, which enhances the tourist experience, and gives everyone a great reason to discover Ontario,” said Michael Tibollo, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport.
To help reduce red tape and the administrative burden on our many community partners and organizations, Ontario has streamlined the application process to make it easier for organizers to apply for funding.
Now the question appears will North Bay have a summer celebration at all?
Mayor Al McDonald has said Summer in the Park is done.
The deadline to apply for Celebrate Ontario 2019 is January 9, 2019.