Ontario Supporting Safe, Innovative Festivals and Events in Markham-Unionville

Published on December 11, 2020

Funding will help people reconnect with their communities in new ways, support local economies



December 11, 2020

Markham-Unionville – The Ontario government is investing more than $3.4 million to support 27 local events and initiatives through the new Reconnect Festival and Event Program. These events are the first to be approved as part of this $9-million fund, created to help municipalities and organizations deliver innovative and safe experiences that allow people to reconnect with the beauty and diversity of their communities in new ways during COVID-19.

Billy Pang, MPP for Markham-Unionville, announced today that the following initiative in Markham-Unionville is receiving funding support through the Reconnect Festival and Event Program:


  • JLF Toronto 2020 (Virtual); Teamwork Arts (Canada) Inc.


“The pandemic continues to disproportionately impact tourism and culture – two major industries that normally connect us to each other and bring our communities to life,” said Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries. “It is critical that we support organizations that are finding new ways to engage and reconnect Ontarians with their local communities while creating local jobs. The Reconnect Festival and Event Program will help support the economic and social recovery of communities across Ontario.”

The new program was launched in October 2020, with funding available to help festival and event organizers adapt to new public health measures with virtual, drive-through and other safe offerings. To give organizations more time to develop new programming and submit applications, the Reconnect Festival and Event Program deadline will be extended by three weeks to December 22, 2020, at 5 p.m.

“Festivals and events like JLF Toronto 2020 (Virtual) make important contributions to communities like ours, creating local jobs, boosting the economy and giving us all the opportunity to experience what Ontario has to offer right in our own backyard,” said Billy Pang, MPP for Markham-Unionville. “I’m pleased that the government’s deadline extension will allow more organizers to apply for this funding, supporting a sector that will be critical to both our social and economic recovery.”

“As the world continues to experience extraordinary times and we embrace the new digital world, books, ideas and discourse are vital, as is the importance of bringing communities together through inter-cultural and diverse conversations. Teamwork Arts is extremely grateful to be a grant recipient of the Reconnect Festival and Event program for JLF Toronto 2020 uniting Ontarians with a global audience through this year’s virtual literature festival,” said Srinka Wallia, Director of Teamwork Arts Canada. 



  • To make the Reconnect Festival and Event Program accessible to more organizers, the government is waiving the minimum operating budget requirement.
  • Reconnect Festival and Event Program funding may be used for eligible expenses such as programming and production, promotion, mobile applications and website development, and implementation of health and safety measures.
  • Eligible events include reverse holiday parades with drive-by static floats, drive-in music concerts and movies, holiday tree lightings and New Year’s Eve displays that light-up iconic buildings.
  • Tourism is a key economic driver in Ontario, supporting more than 400,000 jobs and generating over $36 billion in spending.



Reconnect Festival and Event Program Recipients