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Wednesday, October 5, 2022
Shaw gets $6 million COVID relief grant from federal agency
Shaw's executive director Tim Jennings.
Shaw's executive director Tim Jennings. Supplied

The Shaw Festival is getting a huge cash injection of more than $6 million from the federal government to help in its recovery from COVID restrictions over the past two years.

The grant, “a non-repayable investment” according to the government, will help the Shaw return to its pre-pandemic scale with 13 shows, a new concert series, and its Fairground and Shawground events.

“This investment will create a positive ripple effect across the Niagara region’s tourism and hospitality sectors, strengthen southern Ontario’s position as a tourism destination of choice and position the Shaw Festival for strong growth,” the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario said in announcing the money last week.

The pandemic forced cancellation of the Shaw’s 2020 season and the 2021 season was significantly reduced due to closures and capacity restrictions, said the agency, known as FedDev Ontario.

The news was welcomed by Tim Jennings, the Shaw’s executive director.

“We cannot thank the federal government enough for this much-needed support as we move through our 60th season, the largest and longest in our history,” Jennings said.

“It is our intent to come back to our pre-COVID-19 attendance and economic impact levels as quickly as possible and this investment will help us do that.”

Helena Jaczek, the minister responsible for FedDev Ontario, said major festivals, such as the Shaw are important to the local economy.

“The Shaw Festival attracts millions of visitors to the Niagara region annually, creating both revenue and jobs across the community,” she said.

“Today’s investment will help the Shaw Festival once again bring quality performances, visitors and economic opportunity to the region.”