"The end of a calendar year is a time for reflection on the year past. As I look back on 2017, I’m struck by how much we accomplished. It was a busy year for my ministry and we achieved a lot together. That is why I am thrilled to share with you some highlights from this year.
Through strategic investments and strong partnerships, we made wonderful strides in our tourism, culture and sport sectors.
After launching our first-ever Culture Strategy in 2016, we took significant action on the strategy’s goals to strengthen the arts and culture sector in our province. Our government enhanced its commitment to artists and arts organizations by pledging $50 million in additional funding over the next four years to the Ontario Arts Council. On top of that, we launched a fund to bring more Canadian books into Ontario classrooms, introduced a new fund to support Indigenous communities, cultures and ways of life, and invested in some of Ontario’s cultural gems, like the Stratford Festival to help them rebuild the Tom Patterson Theatre.
We boosted Ontario’s tourism offerings with the continuing transformation of Ontario Place, moving forward with plans to revitalize the iconic site into a vibrant, year-round, waterfront destination for everyone to enjoy. Our government also invested more than $19 million to support over 300 festivals and events.
To make communities and attractions more bike friendly, we made investments in cycling infrastructure at 11 of the Ministry’s agencies and attractions. Along with the Ministry of Transportation, we also announced the $93 million Ontario Municipal Commuter Cycling Program.
This year we hosted multiple successful sporting events, like the North American Indigenous Games and Invictus Games, which showcased the talent of Ontario athletes on the international stage. In addition, we added a new seniors stream to our Ontario Sport and Recreation Communities fund to encourage more seniors to get involved in sport and recreation!
Through the Ontario150 program, we supported more than 2,000 events and initiatives to mark the 150th anniversary of our province. Over 200 sports facilities, parks, seniors centres, and community spaces have been renovated, repaired or retrofitted through Ontario150 investments. These changes brought in more than 30,000 hours of additional availability to the families and communities that they serve.
Please accept my sincere thanks and appreciation for your invaluable support to our ministry. I look forward to our ongoing collaboration in 2018. Together, we can continue to build a province that is filled with fairness and opportunity."
All my best,
Eleanor McMahon, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport