Minister McMahon Announces OCAF 2017 Funding

News Release

Ontario Boosting Cultural Tourism in Communities Across the Province

Showcasing Ontario’s Arts and Culture and Supporting Local Economies

Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport

Ontario is supporting 45 art and cultural events that celebrate the province’s rich culture and heritage, attract visitors and grow local economies.

Eleanor McMahon, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, made the announcement today at Ryerson University’s Ryerson Image Centre, which will host exhibits for the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival–the world’s largest photography event. With support from the province, this year’s festival will feature Canadian photography at over 200 exhibitions across the Greater Toronto Area and is expected to attract over one million visitors.

Examples of other projects being funded through the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund (OCAF) include:

  • Franco-Fête 2017, a festival that celebrates Ontario’s francophone culture with performances in the Ottawa region.
  • The Confederation Plays, in Toronto, which explore the history of confederation through four key figures: John A. Macdonald, Louis Riel, Wilfred Laurier and Chief Big Bear.
  • A Taste of Greece, a cultural event in London that features traditional Greek dancing and music, including several traditional dance troupes from communities across the province.
  • The Stars and Thunder International Fireworks and Music Festival in Timmins. The eight-day event will include daily musical performances by Indigenous, French and English artists. An international fireworks competition will wrap up the festivities each night.

The Fund helps strengthen cultural tourism, which boosts local economies, creates jobs and draws visitors to communities across the province. This year’s recipients also feature initiatives that commemorate Ontario’s 150th anniversary and are expected to attract an attendance of approximately four million people.

Supporting local economies through cultural tourism is part of the government’s plan to create jobs, grow the economy and help people in their everyday lives.

Quick Facts

  • Ontario is providing over $2.8 million to 45 arts and culture organizations this spring and summer, to market and promote their unique events and exhibits and bring visitors to communities across the province.
  • The Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival received a $180,000 investment from the OCAF fund and $235,000 from Ontario’s Celebrate Program.
  • Since 2013, the government has invested nearly $7.8 million through OCAF, which has resulted in over $15 million in support to cultural tourism in Ontario.
  • Culture is one of Ontario’s fastest growing sectors. Culture contributes more than $25 billion to Ontario’s economy and supports almost 280,000 jobs.

Additional Resources


Eleanor McMahon

“Through the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund, our government is supporting a variety of exciting events across the province that showcases our art, culture and heritage. As we celebrate our 150th anniversary, events like these remind us of how incredible this province is, how much we have to be proud of, and what we can accomplish when we come together.”

Eleanor McMahon

Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport

“OCAF is proud to help present so many exciting festivals, events and exhibitions this spring and summer across Ontario. From ambitious projects celebrating Ontario’s 150th anniversary, to new celebrations, OCAF continues to be passionately committed to making extraordinary events happen that draw new visitors to our province.”

John McKellar

Chair, Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund

“Every year thousands of people come out to celebrate the launch of the Festival, and this year we are pleased to have it at Ryerson University. There will be many exhibitions to see, the pond will be tented, and there will be a significant student presence and a night for all to celebrate photography and our great cultural community. Ryerson will also serve as a festival hub to help guide our audience of over 1 million visitors and our over 180,000 tourists from around the world.”

Darcy Killeen

Executive Director, CONTACT