As we entered National Indigenous History Month yesterday, our hearts and prayers are with the people of Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation. The recent discovery of the remains of 215 children at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in BC is heartbreaking. One cannot come up with words to describe the horrific tragedies that took place at Indian Residential Schools across Canada. 

This discovery is beyond what most could ever imagine but it is a reminder that the First Peoples of Canada have faced hundreds of years of trauma and how dark those days actually were. For all those who never made it home, their families and communities, and to those who struggle today with the lasting intergenerational effects of Residential Schools, we at ITO, and all our partners stand with you. 

Standing together respectfully as good neighbours will be needed to begin the healing to mourn the beautiful spirits we’ve lost due to residential schools. We stand together with survivors and their families coping with lasting trauma. 

There is no better time to move forward together while supporting one another with love. As we write the next chapter of Canada’s history, honestly facing the truth of our past will allow us, our children, and generations to come, to learn and take action while supporting the First Peoples on their long healing journey from hundreds of years of tremendously tragic events. 

ITO will continue to honour and support our Indigenous relations, especially those affected by Indian Residential Schools in any capacity we can. 
Recognizing and Respecting the Grief of our Community

We want to recognize and respect the tremendous grief our community is feeling and welcome everyone to join our elders, traditional knowledge keepers, artists, chefs, drummers, and dancers in celebrating the resilience of our community throughout the month. National Indigenous History Month is our time to welcome and encourage all Canadians to join us in this journey of healing and learning. We encourage you to watch the opening SSIF virtual smudge with Elder Annie Smith St Georges as she offers her wisdom and lessons in history and a path forward. For those who need access to healing and emotional support resources, the National Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line is available 24hrs a day, 7 days a week at 1-866-925-4419.


Ontario Tourism & Travel Small Business Support Grant
The Ontario Tourism and Travel Small Business Support Grant portal is open for applications until June 25th, 2021. The grant provides one-time payments of $10,000 to $20,000 to eligible small businesses in the tourism and travel sector. 

This grant will support eligible small tourism and travel businesses that did not receive the Ontario Small Business Support Grant (OSBSG). To qualify, businesses must have fewer than 100 employees and demonstrate they have experienced a minimum 20 per cent revenue decline between 2019 and 2020. Small business owners can use the grant in whatever way makes the most sense for their business. For example, some businesses could use the support to pay employee wages, while others can use it to invest in their recovery. 

Important Update for Indigenous Applicants Without CRA Numbers
Thank you to the businesses and Indigenous Business Advisors who raised their concerns about this support program and relied on ITO and our partners at the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) to help advocate for change.  

Indigenous business owners do not require a CRA business number to apply for this one-time grant. Indigenous applicants without CRA business numbers can apply using the
dedicated application form that must be emailed or mailed in for processing and approval. 

Completed application forms can be emailed to:


Alternatively, they can be mailed to:
Ontario Tourism and Travel Small Business Support Grant c/o MEDJCT
56 Wellesley, 7th Floor
Toronto, Ontario
M7A 2E7

Indigenous businesses with CRA business numbers can choose to apply online by following the ‘APPLY NOW’ button below.


Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival

The Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival (SSIF) is a family-oriented multi-disciplinary arts festival that helps Canadians of all walks of life to recognize the enormous contributions that Inuit, First Nations and Métis peoples have made to Canada. This annual event truly represents the cultural diversity of our urban Indigenous community, with full participation of First Nations, Métis and Inuit artists, attracting over 40,000 visitors a year. This year’s SSIF commenced on June 1st and will continue to June 21st with virtual workshops and entertainment as well as drive-in movies, concerts and other exciting activities online and at a local Ottawa venue. Bringing together Indigenous artists, performers, educators, students, and community members to share knowledge and celebrate the diverse Indigenous cultures in Canada, SSIF is the perfect way to celebrate National Indigenous History Month.

SSIF Virtual Marketplace
Shop online for one-of-a-kind handmade items by Canadian artisans! The virtual marketplace features Indigenous products, jewellery, food items, artworks and more. Buy CDs and merchandise produced by and supporting Indigenous musicians participating in The SSIMAs. Register for workshops and have your special DIY box delivered. The SSIF virtual marketplace is the perfect opportunity to shop online for amazing Indigenous products. Summer Solstice Virtual Marketplace is produced in collaboration with Indigenous Tourism Ontario.
SSIF Culinary Workshops
For the second year in a row, Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival (SSIF) is offering plenty of fun-filled virtual chef-led culinary workshops for the whole family to enjoy! Check out the exciting workshops below for a night of scrumptious smoked elk ribs, pan seared pickerel, curried caribou or an Indigenous family meal of fish tacos:
  • June 6: Discover Traditional Teas with Chef Paul Owl
  • June 6: Curried Caribou Meal with Chef Trudy Metcalfe-Coe
  • June 13: Seared Rainbow Trout with Sweet Corn Succotash with Chef Joseph Shawana
  • June 20: Seared Venison Frenched Rack with Black & Blue Sweetgrass Sauce with Chef Billy Alexander
  • June 21: Homemade Fish Tacos with Hominy Corn Salsa with Chef Justine Deschenes
Join us in supporting the Indigenous chefs and foods by registering below!
The Bluecoat Box

2 days left to purchase your BlueCoat Box! Join Science North for an online evening of inspiration, entertainment, prize opportunities, and a chance to win a $10,000 grand prize!

Virtual Blue Coat Ball Date: Thursday, June 17, 2021
Virtual Blue Coat Ball Time: 7:00pm
Last Day to Purchase your Box: Friday, June 4, 2021

Celebrating the ever-evolving world of Indigenous innovation, this inaugural Bluecoat Box event is inspired by Science North and ITO’s latest special exhibition: Indigenous Ingenuity.

Through outreach efforts and inclusive programming, Science North has engaged with over 65 First Nations communities in Northern Ontario, with a target to significantly grow that reach. On June 17, 2021 at 7pm, Science North will bring together community members from Northern Ontario to celebrate and help Science North establish its new Indigenous Programming Fund. The experience provides participants with an exciting Bluecoat Box which includes:

  • Artisanal custom-roasted coffee beans
  • Specially selected wine
  • Smoked charcuterie
  • Custom charcuterie board
  • Gourmet hand-crafted chocolates
  • Local pure maple syrup
  • Additional surprise
All proceeds from the evening will support Indigenous Programming both at Science North and across Northern Ontario. Join us in supporting the growth of Science North’s Indigenous Programming Fund!


Stay at Home Order Expires

The Stay at Home order expired last night at midnight but all public health and workplace measures remain in place until we enter Step One of the Re-Opening plan. Presently restrictions are imposed on gatherings, businesses, services and activities, including:

  • Indoor gatherings limited to households only
  • Outdoor gatherings of up to 5 persons, subject to limited exceptions for essential retail
  • Limiting short term rentals to individuals in need of housing
  • Allowing Ontario Parks and campgrounds on public lands to be used for day-use only (limited exceptions)

Step One of the roadmap may begin after 60% of Ontario’s adults receive at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and if public health indicators, such as hospitalizations, ICU occupancy and new admissions and case rates indicate the province can safely move to this step of the roadmap. Based on current trends in key health indicators, including the provincial vaccination rate, the government expects to enter Step One of the Roadmap the week of June 14, 2021. The province will confirm closer to the expected start of Step One.

Step One will permit the resumption of more outdoor activities with smaller, well-managed crowds where risk of transmission is minimized. View the Roadmap to Reopen which includes restriction details for Steps One, Two and Three, 

Coming Soon…
Stay tuned for an exciting announcement next week about ITO’s Three Fires Collaborative Quest – a project for Indigenous inclusion in the collective tourism labour market.

      Indigenous Tourism Ontario
      1300 Hwy 540
      4 directions Complex Unit 4
      Aundeck Omni Kaning, Ontario

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