Here's What the New Hotel Tax Could Help Fund in Mississauga

The City of Mississauga recently announced that it’s investing a total of $3.6 million ($3,675,205.17, to be exact) in funding to community groups, arts groups, heritage groups and festivals/celebrations through the 2018 Culture and Community Grants Program.

"The City is making investments to develop local talent and inspire new programs and services which meet community needs. The grants directly contribute to the overall well-being of our city," said Paul Mitcham, commissioner of community services. "Residents can access a variety of activities and events that complement City programs. Funding also ensures community organizations are accountable and sustainable in providing these services."

Approved by council, the grants support not-for-profit community projects, programs and services in the following areas:

  • Arts and Culture/Culture Projects: $1,739,477
  • Cultural Festivals and Celebrations: $774,500
  • Community Grants and Multi-Year Agreements: $1,161,205.17

The city says the grants will be used to further develop programs and services to “advance the appreciation and participations of arts and culture within the city.”

Ideally, this will mean more opportunities for residents to explore artistic events, galleries, musical performances and other festivals around Mississauga in 2018. And while the initiatives are designed to enhance the city’s art scene, they’re also geared towards increasing tourism.

As for which organizations received funding, the city invested in the Art Gallery of Mississauga, the Mississauga Arts Council, Visual Arts Mississauga, the Living Arts Centre, the Mississauga Symphony Orchestra and more. Organizations that received funding from the grant programs had to conform to specific criteria. They had to specialize in performing arts, visual arts, arts and culture service or heritage.

The funding also applies to major festivals, such as Carassauga, the Bread and Honey Festival and the Mississauga Waterfront Festival.

The current grants budget amount was approved in 2017, however councillors are thinking of more ways to increase the budget and provide more funding to established and emerging organizations and festivals in 2019.

Interestingly, the upcoming hotel tax (Municipal Accommodation Tax) was brought up as a revenue option.

"We're looking at music tourism, arts tourism, all of that is now within our reach that it really wasn't before, because there wasn't any funding for it. So we have a great opportunity here," said Ward 9 Councillor Pat Saito

"We will be collecting in some form the hotel tax, and it is intended to be used for tourism related items. Once we have put together the Tourism Master Plan and have determined where we want to go over the next 12-18 months, a lot of these activities and grants could be funded though the tourism tax, through the hotel tax, and come off the tax base. And that's a very positive thing for us as we're moving into the 2019 budget, and that's what the funding is intended for," she said.

Saito mentioned providing more criteria when approving applications for grants, including reviewing organizations in terms of how they will contribute to tourism. Cultural events that bring in more people from outside of Mississauga may be favourable for the upcoming grants program. For organizations and festivals that have received a grant amount for 2018, they may be provided with a questionnaire to determine where participants are coming from and if the event contributed to local tourism.

It’ll be interesting to see what develops going forward.

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