Monday, June 21st was National Indigenous Peoples Day (NIPD), a day for all Canadians to celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding contributions made by First Nations, Inuit and Metis people in Canada.

We encourage you to continue celebrating Indigenous culture as NIPD passes, by planning your next trip to an Indigenous-owned lodge, visiting an Indigenous-owned restaurant to experience a taste of something new, or booking an Indigenous cultural tour to explore the beauty and history of this land of sparkling lakes! Tourism is a great way to learn about the culture and history of the people who first called this land home.

ITO continues to recognize and honour the 215 children found at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in BC. 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 journey to healing and everlasting prosperity. 

There is no better time to move forward together while supporting one another with love. To explore Ontario’s authentic Indigenous experiences, visit
Indigenous ExperienceOntario.ca


2 Days Left to Apply:
Ontario Tourism & Travel Small Business Support Grant
REMINDER: The Ontario Tourism and Travel Small Business Support Grant application deadline is coming up this Friday, 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. 

Indigenous Applicants Without CRA Numbers
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. Indigenous businesses that do have CRA business numbers can choose to apply online by following the ‘APPLY NOW’ button below.
IMPACTING OUR FUTURE: Ontario’s Indigenous Tourism Economic Study

Indigenous Tourism Ontario (ITO), along with MDB Insight, has launched a new Economic Study to understand the effects of COVID-19 on the Indigenous Tourism industry in Ontario. The information collected in this study will be vital for the recovery of the industry, as ITO will use the findings to advocate on your behalf. ITO, along with our partners and members will continue to work towards understanding our present to honour our past, while growing for the future.

We need your participation.
From June 21st – July 30th you may be randomly selected to participate in a survey by phone or email. The survey should take no longer than 15 minutes to complete. To thank you for your time, the first 200 businesses to complete the survey will receive a $15 Tim Horton’s gift card compliments of the ITO team. In turn, the information from the survey will be used to help secure support for operators, recovery funding and to plan future Ontario Indigenous tourism development activities. ITO respectfully invites you to participate in the Impacting Our Future project. Your input will be invaluable to the project. If you have any questions, please contact Leni Brem, Director of Operations, Indigenous Tourism Ontario at 


2021 Ontario Tourism Summit

Whether in person or online, register for this year’s Ontario Tourism Summit (OTS21) and join tourism professionals from around the province to gather, share, and collaborate in rebuilding Ontario’s tourism industry. 

Date: October 26, 2021 – October 27, 2021
Location: In-person components will be held at Brookstreet Hotel (525 Legget Dr, Kanata, ON K2K 2W2)

This year’s summit is all about Respect, Collaboration and Rebuilding our future. OTS21 is an excellent opportunity to recognize all the innovation within Ontario’s tourism sector. This year the Summit is back to normal programming with full-day interactive activities for in-person and virtual audiences to network together.
Skode Program Winners!

Congratulations to the Indigenous Tourism Skode Program winners!

Thrive Tours (Northern Ontario Indigenous Cultural Experiences & Tours), Amanda Cora & Brad Robinson
Nwewnan Sasaang (Nwewnan Sasaang Boat Tours), Minogiizhgad
Simpers Fishing Charters and Guided Hunts/Tours (Year Round Hands-On Experiential Indigenous Programming), Steve Simpson Jr.

Each winner will receive $5000, mentorship, plus additional ITO, OTIL and partner support to help take their Indigenous tourism initiatives and businesses to the next level. We look forward to working with all of them to support the development of exciting new Indigenous tourism experiences and offerings in Ontario. Stay tuned for updates on their progress. 

Thank you to our review jury, pitch session judge panel and program partners FedDev Ontario, Ontario Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, TD Bank Group, Canadian National Railway Company and Summer Solstice Indigenous  Festival for making the Skode Program possible.
How to be Featured in ITO’s
Consumer Confidence Campaign
Job Opportunity: Program Administrator, ITO

Indigenous Tourism Ontario is currently looking for an Indigenous Business Advisory (IBA) Program Administrator to join our team. The Program Administrator will be responsible for coordinating ITO’s training and capacity building programs under the 3 Fires Collaborative Quest project. This role is also responsible for the coordination and recruitment of ITO members into the program. The ideal candidate is a self-starter who has exceptional organizational and communications skills. The position will work remotely.

To apply, please email your resume to Kimberly Gorgichuk at
kgorgichuk@indigenoustourismontario.ca by Friday, June 25th. 
Job Opportunity: Teaching Position, Lakehead University

Lakehead University, Thunder Bay Campus, invites applications for Contract Lecturers in the Department of Outdoor Recreation, Parks and Tourism (OPRT). Applications are requested to teach multiple courses including OUTD 3715: Indigenous Tourism. OPRT program is accepting applications until all positions are filled. 
View the full listing and what to include in your application here.

To apply, please email your electronic application to 


Canada – US Border Closure
The Canada-US border closure has been extended to July 21st. There is an enormous amount of pressure being applied from concerned businesses, communities, industries and most importantly the tourism sectors across Canada to get the border open now and for Government to share their plan as soon as possible so that businesses can plan. The Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) continues to call on the federal government through the Open The Border campaign. Visit www.openuscanborder.ca to find out how you can participate.
Tourism Economic Recovery Ministerial Task Force
Final Report Release
The Tourism Economic Recovery Ministerial Task Force have produced a report with recommendations for the tourism industry and to learn about key areas for economic recovery. Top 10 recommendations of the Task Force:
  1. Emphasize safety in everything we say and do
  2. Give Ontarians an incentive to get out of the home and make new local memories
  3. Encourage and excite Ontarians to experience Ontario through New “Yours to Discover” days
  4. Provide increased stability and opportunities to tourism businesses and organizations
  5. Bring back conventions and business events to Ontario
  6. Make it easier for people to find the package, products and destinations that suit their budgets, schedules, and needs
  7. Reduce the amount of time tourism businesses spend on red tape so they can spend more time delivering unforgettable experiences
  8. Make Nature and Outdoor experiences part of the province’s solution to physical and mental health challenges
  9. Create “bite-sized” mobile and scalable experiences during the transition period to a full re-opening
  10. Showcase the best of Ontario through packaged itineraries and trails
Read more about the key areas of recovery and how to move forward in the full release here


Summer Solstice Festival North
This past Saturday, June 19, 2021, was the highly anticipated Summer Solstice Festival North (SSFN)! Telling the story of Indigenous Ontario, and lighting up the sky with 200 drones, SSFN’s biggest event was the drive-in show. This COVID safe event included activities offered by its sister event Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival (SSIF), providing a wonderful opportunity for Canadians of all walks of life to celebrate Indigenous cultures and recognize the enormous contributions that Inuit, First Nations and Métis peoples have made to Canada.

Read the coverage by CTV News 
Indigenous Ingenuity
Virtually Premiered on
National Indigenous Peoples Day
Check out this video to watch the virtual premiere of Indigenous Ingenuity: Timeless Inventions brought to you by ITO and Science North!

Science North and ITO celebrated National Indigenous Peoples Day on Monday with a virtual premiere of its latest exhibition, titled Indigenous Ingenuity: Timeless Inventions. This unique online experience gave visitors the opportunity to explore several Indigenous inventions through the lens of science, showing how the ingenuity of First Peoples continues to influence our society today. From the traditional methods of harvesting maple syrup to ingenious methods of fishing, this entertaining one-hour program includes a glimpse of the Indigenous Ingenuity exhibition, appearances by Indigenous performers, vignettes showcasing Indigenous science and innovation, and special guest speakers. Science North hopes to welcome visitors to experience Indigenous Ingenuity once the province moves into stage three of its reopening plan sometime mid-summer.

Read the coverage by Toronto Star
New Tech Expands Possibilities in Indigenous Tourism

Indigenous Tourism Ontario has been at the forefront of cutting-edge technological advances long before the pandemic highlighted the need for the melding of technology and cultural tourism. The genesis of the grassroots organization dates back to the 2000s but has really solidified its programming since 2018.

Forced to explore different methods of meeting the needs of their membership and to increase and diversify businesses’ revenue streams, ITO began a journey into product development that includes high-tech solutions like virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Relatively new, VR technology is often thought of as part of the gaming space. VR can also allow users to engage with and experience peoples, places and cultures in a whole new way. 

Read the full SAY Magazine article here

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

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