Entertainment

Ontario pledges $25M to give arts sector 'a fighting chance'

Ontario's cultural heritage minister announced a $25 investment in the arts sector on Tuesday, with $24 million will go toward arts organizations and $1 million to individual artists.

Goal to support sectors that 'will take the longest to recover, and were hit first' by COVID-19, says minister

The historic Winter Garden theatre in Toronto is seen empty. Ontario's cultural heritage minister has announced a $25 million investment to bolster the arts sector amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. (Katherine Holland/CBC)

Ontario's cultural heritage minister announced a $25 million investment in the arts sector on Tuesday, with $24 million going toward 140 arts organizations and communities.

The remaining $1 million will go directly toward individual artists, said Ontario Heritage Minister Lisa MacLeod. This funding will be distributed as grants, with details on eligibility to be listed on the Ontario Arts Council's website.

The funding comes amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic "to support the sectors that have been the hardest hit, will take the longest to recover, and were hit first," MacLeod said.

"Today I'm committed to ensuring that our artists, our creators, our dancers, our writers, our musicians, our painters, our visual artists have a fighting chance to be global leaders when this pandemic is over."

Lisa MacLeod, Ontario's minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, announced on Tuesday morning $25 million in financial support for the arts sector to offset COVID-19 losses. (CBC)

Some of the organizations receiving the most support are the Stratford Festival, the National Ballet of Canada and the Canadian Opera Company. 

Each has had to significantly limit and adapt its operations in the face of pandemic restrictions. The National Ballet of Canada and the Canadian Opera Company were forced to cancel their 2020/21 seasons early on in the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Yesterday, Stratford Festival organizers announced that the 2021 edition would take place under outdoor canopies, with the audience size limited to 100 people and in "socially distanced pods."

Ontario has continued to see the highest total COVID-19 cases in Canada, though active cases have declined in the past few weeks across the country. The province reported 1,023 new cases on Monday as nine public health units moved to different restriction tiers and two regions were moved back into lockdown. 

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