The Town of Bracebridge has received $32,745 from the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport as part of its Reconnect Ontario 2022 program.
Town officials say the money will go towards “enhancing” the annual Festival of Lights that serves as the kick-off to the holiday season in downtown Bracebridge.
Specifically, officials say the money will be used for “substantial” seasonal lighting upgrades in Memorial Park and the expansion of entertainment and activities. During the festival, officials continue, thousands of people travel downtown to enjoy the light display, live entertainment, and specialized holiday shopping.
Officials say planning is underway for this year’s festival with an anticipated start date of mid-to-late November.
The Bracebridge Business Improvement Area (BIA) is receiving $26,899 from the same fund to go towards the return of the Fire & Ice Festival. The event has not been held since 2019 because of the COVID-19 but BIA officials are planning for its return in 2023.
“I’m looking forward to Bracebridge’s Festival of Lights and the return of the Fire & Ice Festival this winter,” Bracebridge Mayor Rick Maloney. “Thanks to the Reconnect Ontario program, these events will receive the extra funding they need to return stronger than ever. Residents and visitors will receive a wonderful winter experience, while our local economy and tourism sector will benefit from the positive economic impact as we continue to recover from COVID-19.”
The provincial fund provides municipalities and organizations money to host “large-scale, high-impact” events that “provide significant economic impact and legacy development for the local community and increases local tourism,” according to provincial officials.