Bowmanville’s Drive Festival to benefit from $43 million Ontario tourism program

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Published August 4, 2021 at 5:21 pm


A classic-to-exotic car event this September at Bowmanville’s Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP) is one of more than 400 festivals and events around Ontario to benefit from a $43 million investment by Queen’s Park.

The funding, announced at the Grand Bizarre in Toronto today, is more than double the usual funding provided by the Province for festivals and organizers in the sector, with the government hoping the injection of cash will help people “re-connect” with their communities.

“For more than a year, the pandemic has disproportionately impacted tourism and culture – two major industries that bring people together and our communities to life,” said Lisa MacLeod, the Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries. “Increasing our annual support for festivals and events will give the sector a much-needed boost as we continue to deal with the effects of Covid-19. Our government is supporting organizations that are finding new ways to safely engage and reconnect Ontarians with their local communities while creating local jobs.”

Applicants had to apply to the newly named Reconnect Festival and Event program – developed to help festival and event organizers adapt to new public health measures – to receive the funding. The program was called Celebrate Ontario prior to the pandemic.

There were six successful applicants from Durham Region, including the Drive Festival at the CTMP ($243,900), Movies in the Lot ($22,500) and the WILD Winter Festival of Lights ($110,239) in Clarington; Anne and Maude Tourism Route ($60,000) and Dino & Friends ($90,000) in Pickering; and Whitby’s Nights and the Lights Holiday Festival ($32,694).

The Drive Festival, which will be held September 10-12 at the track formerly known as Mosport, promises to be the premier event in Durham this fall. Billed as three days of “automotive nirvana,” Drive Festival will have manufacturer displays, a Hill Climb featuring a Ford GT40 and a vintage Ferrari from the Ford vs Ferrari movie, a Dream Car Speed Run, exotic supercars such as the 1,900 hp all-electric Pininfarina Battista, and test drive opportunities, with an off-road test track and a performance track with professional instructors.

Tourism is considered a key economic driver in Ontario. In 2018 the industry contributed 390,000 jobs and $36 billion into the economy.

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