MORRISBURG – Over $7 million in funding was announced for the St. Lawrence Parks Commission today (July 18th) at Upper Canada Village by Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism, and Culture Industries Lisa MacLeod.
The announcement, $7.1 million for 2020, includes a $2 million operating grant for Upper Canada Village.
“Our sectors were hit first, the hardest, and will take the longest to recover,” MacLeod said at the announcement. “As our government moves forward with re-opening the province, we are proud to support numerous organizations that build up our unique communities and put our tourism industry on a path to recovery.”
Hit hard by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ontario’s tourism industry has been slowly re-opening during Stage Two and Stage Three of the province’s re-opening strategy. Upper Canada Village only re-opened July 1st with guided tours.
MacLeod said the focus for the time being is on domestic tourism.
“As we continue to contain the spread of COVID-19, we’ll be in a safer environment in the months to come,” she said. “We’re experiencing a triple threat, first and foremost as a public health crisis. As we started to see the rapid advancement of COVID-19 in our province we shuttered. We were shuttered for four months.”
MacLeod said the economic crisis is the second part of the triple threat the province is facing on re-opening and recovering jobs.
“The third crisis is the social crisis. We’ve all done a great job and a great deal of work to protect ourselves and one another over these past four months. We’re famous for saying ‘we’ll be together again someday soon’. And now as the province gradually re-opens, we’re allowed gatherings of 100 people outside. It’s important to remind people it is safe to get together providing we wear masks and socially distance.”
MacLeod said her mission in visiting UCV is to encourage people to visit their local attractions and local tourism industry. In addition, she said her visit was to renew a funding commitment with the ministry’s $7.1 million funding announcement to support operating activities at the SLPC.
“We recognize that things are not going to be the same for quite some time,” said MacLeod. “We want to make sure Pumpkinferno, if it doesn’t happen this year the way it was planned, will be able to survive and thrive in 2021.”
Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry MPP Jim McDonell said that “it’s a great day when you can show off some of our terrific tourist attractions to friends an colleagues.”
The funding announcement is on top of previous funding for localized tourism marketing that was provides to the province’s 14 regional tourism office marketing groups in June.
This story originally appeared in and was produced for the Morrisburg Leader.