Investing in the Future of Ontario’s Tourism Industry

Government’s investment will support projects and experiences so that the province is well positioned for recovery from the COVID-19 outbreak

TORONTO – The Ontario government is investing $1.5 million through the new Tourism Economic Development Recovery Fund and offering promotional incentives at provincial attractions to help the province’s tourism industry and welcome back visitors after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, made the announcement during a fireside chat with tourism stakeholders at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre earlier today.

“COVID-19 has caused an unprecedented, devastating impact on the tourism industry. Our sectors were hit first, the hardest, and will take the longest to recover following COVID-19,” said Minister MacLeod. “This important investment through the new Tourism Economic Development and Recovery Fund will support Ontario’s tourism industry to ensure it is well positioned to re-emerge, grow and once more showcase how we offer the world in one province.”

The fund will support projects that develop innovative tourism products and experiences, drive private sector tourism investments, workforce development, and support tourism operators to learn more through tourism industry associations.

As the province works with the tourism industry to reopen destinations, agencies and attractions, Ontario is also thanking frontline workers and welcoming back visitors by offering special promotions or discounts at several of the province’s top tourist destinations. This summer, frontline workers can enjoy special rates or discounts at the following agencies and attractions:

  • Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) – Until August 16, 2020, frontline workers can sign up for a free Annual Pass providing access to all exhibitions and collection galleries for one year.
  • McMichael Canadian Art Collection (MCM) – Free parking and access to outdoor grounds is available every day to frontline workers until March 31, 2021.
  • Niagara Parks Commission (NPC) – Every Thursday, 2-for-1 admission to frontline workers at all Niagara Parks’ attractions, heritage sites and the Falls Incline Railway, as well as 10 per cent off all culinary and retail purchases until September 7, 2020.
  • Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) – Free general admission to the museum for frontline workers and three guests until August 30, 2020.
  • Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) – Free general admission to all essential healthcare and emergency workers, as well as 25 per cent off general admission to their guests. RBG is also offering 14-month memberships for the price of a 12-month membership to all essential health care and emergency workers until September 7, 2020.
  • Huronia Historical Parks – Complimentary admission to frontline workers on Fridays until September 6, 2020. General admission as of July 24, 2020 is $5 per person (plus tax); children under 12 are free.
  • Fort William Historical Park – Free admission opportunities for frontline workers to the site and the David Thompson Astronomical Observatory on Fridays until September 6, 2020.

Please visit or contact the listed agency/attraction websites for more information and promotional details.

“Frontline workers in hospitals, grocery stores, transit and many others across the province have been working tirelessly to keep Ontarians safe in the fight against COVID-19,” said Minister MacLeod. “I’m proud to support our agencies’ efforts to show appreciation for the hard work and dedication demonstrated by Ontario’s frontline workers during the COVID-19 outbreak.”

As the province continues to gradually reopen, Ontario’s agencies and attractions are implementing stringent measures to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone. Visitors are encouraged to review current COVID-19 updates before visiting attractions and are asked to respect health and safety guidelines to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Quick Facts

  • Tourism is a key economic driver in Ontario, supporting more than 400,000 jobs and generating over $36 billion in spending.
  • The ministry’s attractions and agencies promote economic growth and job creation by offering a range of educational, recreational, cultural and entertainment programs for residents and visitors.

Additional Resources

Picture of Isabelle Foley

Isabelle Foley

As Director of Member Success I strive to help members connect and get the most out of their chamber membership. I am an advocate for local businesses and passionate about spotlighting our community's success. Join the growth!


Stay up to date on the latest by subscribing to our newsletter

Related articles