Event Photo

The CEDC Tourism Event Fund provides financial support to tourism events that demonstrate a capacity to attract out-of-town visitors and generate overnight stays at accommodation properties collecting the Municipal Accommodation Tax (MAT) in Thunder Bay.


The objectives of the CEDC Tourism Event Fund are to support events that:

  • Attract out-of-town visitors for overnight stays in the City of Thunder Bay.

  • Generate overnight room nights at local accommodation properties collecting the Municipal Accommodation Tax (MAT).

  • Drive significant economic benefit for the tourism and hospitality industries, and the City of Thunder Bay overall, from the spending of out-of-town visitors attending the event.

  • Provides positive regional, provincial, national, or international exposure that enhances the profile and visibility of the City of Thunder Bay as a place to visit for sport, culture, business and leisure travel.

Program Streams
• Corporate or Conference Event
• Festival or Cultural Event
• Sport Event

 Program Definitions

A tourism event is defined as a meeting or convention, sport championship or tournament, festival, concert, corporate or social gathering that attracts visitors from out-of-town for overnight stays in the City of Thunder Bay and promotes the city in a positive manner.

An out-of-town visitor is defined as a person who travels from out-of-town from over 80 kilometres away and stays overnight in Thunder Bay.

An accommodation property is a hotel, motel, BnB, Air BnB, hostel, cabin, or other fixed roof accommodation that collects the Municipal Accommodation Tax in Thunder Bay.


Mountain Biking

Event Eligibility

The CEDC Tourism Event Fund will fund a maximum of $50,000 or 25% of the total event budget (whichever is less).

The minimum requirements for the fund are that the event must generate a minimum of 50 visitor days and 25 room nights at accommodation properties collecting the Municipal Accommodation Tax in Thunder Bay. The number of visitor days, room nights, and economic impact are key criteria used to determine funding.

If your event is close to obtaining the outlined 50 visitor days and 25 room nights please contact us (detail below) as the event may still be considered for limited funding.  

Blockbuster Event Eligibility

Events deemed to be a blockbuster event are eligible for funding above the maximum of $50,000 and will be evaluated on a case per case basis. A blockbuster event meets the below criteria:

 Blockbuster Criteria

  • Has provincial, national or international significance to attract out-of-town visitors

  • Has an event budget of 1 million dollars or more

  • Obtains 2500 room/nights (or more) at accommodation properties collecting the Municipal Accommodation Tax (MAT) in Thunder Bay

  • Generates 5000 or more visitor days

  • Economic impact of $2 million dollars or more

Applicant EligibilityGuitarist

The applicant must be a Canadian legal entity with both not-for-profit and for-profit entities being eligible to apply. 

Legal entities can only submit two applications per calendar year, multi-year applications are welcome.

Applicants are encouraged to apply 90 days prior of the event occurring if requesting $50,000 or less, and 120 days prior if requesting over $50,000.


Evaluation considerations that will impact the Tourism Investment Committee’s decision on your application include the below funding criteria:

 Tourism Investment Committee Funding Criteria
  • Alignment with Tourism Thunder Bay values of
    • Expand and improve year-round visitor experiences through an increased focus on destination development
    • Increase the economic impact of tourism through enhanced visitor attraction and retention strategies
    • Supporting Indigenous tourism development and promotion
  • Number of visitor days (number of visitors x event days)
  • Number of room nights
  • Event economic impact as calculated by CEDC staff using STEAM
  • Effectiveness of the marketing plan to attract out-of-town visitors
  • Media coverage and earned media value to promote Thunder Bay as a future host for events and further promote Thunder Bay as an overall place to visit.
  • Event seasonality and timing
  • Event uniqueness and appeal
  • Community business impacts such as if the event has visitors out in the community to support attractions, businesses, and other activities beyond the hotel room or event venue.
  • Opportunity for event growth and future events
  • Financial viability of the event
  • Significance of the event and ability to attract visitors

The greater the number of visitor days, room nights and economic impact the increased potential funded amount.

Additional Funding Considerations

The CEDC Tourism Event Fund is a discretionary program with a limited funding allocation. In some cases, an event may meet all program criteria but may not be approved for funding as other events may more effectively meet the criteria. In all cases, events are encouraged to show a profit and become self-sustainable.


 APPLY NOW – Short Form Application

Applicants submit a short form application to CEDC Tourism Thunder Bay staff who will conduct a preliminary assessment on the event to determine if it will meet all eligibility requirements for a tourism event such as out-of-town visitors and room nights.

Application intake is continual throughout the year.

Click on the link below to briefly tell us about your event and how it will attract visitors to Thunder Bay 

Corporate and Conference Events – Short Form Application – CEDC Tourism Event Fund

Festival or Cultural Events – Short Form Application – CEDC Tourism Event Fund

Sport Events – Short Form Application – CEDC Tourism Event Fund

Completed short form applications will be submitted by email to CEDC staff for review.

 Long Form Application

If the requirements are met in the short form application, CEDC staff will email the applicant the long form application. This application will be used to apply to the Tourism Investment Committee (TIC) for funding. During this process, applicants are encouraged to work with the CEDC team to ensure application completeness.  CEDC staff can assist with reaching out to accommodation properties and setting up a booking code.


 Eligible and Ineligible Expenses

Eligible Expenses
• Marketing and advertising (to out-of-town markets)
• Venue expenses
• Local transportation
• Event performers/speakers (relating to key note speakers, headliners)
• Production costs (rental equipment)
• Capital enhancements relating to the event
• Hosting fees for events considered blockbusters (see above – event eligibility)
• Other expenses deemed eligible that attract visitors or enhance the visitor experience

Ineligible Expenses
• Alcohol
• Prizes and awards
• Salaries for event organizers
• Tangible personal property
• Online event delivery
• Food expenses
• Accommodation rentals

 Tourism Investment Committee Meetings

When the long form application is considered complete by CEDC staff it will be added to the agenda for the Tourism Investment Committee (TIC) for review and evaluation. The applicant may be required to provide a brief 5 minute presentation of the application to the committee and answer any questions the committee may have.

The TIC will review all funding applications and can approve funding requests up to $50,000. The TIC is generally scheduled to meet on a monthly basis on the second Wednesday of the month. If the amount requested is over the $50,000 then the TIC will refer the application with its recommendations to the Board of Directors of the Thunder Bay CEDC for final approval.

 Decision on Funding Request

Funding decisions will be communicated to the applicant within two weeks of the committee meeting concluding.

Applications approved for funding by the Tourism Investment Committee (TIC) or the CEDC Board of Directors (BOD) will require the applicant to enter into a legal funding agreement with the Thunder Bay CEDC. The agreement will provide provisions on how funding will be paid out, the reporting requirements, and potential payback of funds once the event is complete.

In all cases, there will be a 50% holdback of funds contingent on a final report and evaluation metrics being met. 

 Marketing the Event

Approved applicants will have the opportunity to meet with the Tourism Thunder Bay marketing team to discuss the marketing plan to attract out-of-town visitors and other opportunities to promote the event using the Tourism Thunder Bay brand, website, tourism event calendar and social media channels.

 Final Reporting

The applicant must submit a final report within 90 days of the event concluding. The CEDC staff will email the applicant a final report template for completion which includes:

  • An actual profit and loss income statement for the event
  • A summary of the out-of-town visitors, applicants will explain how they were able to track visitor numbers, which could include documentation of ticket sales, event registration, team rosters, survey results, etc.
  • A list of where out-of-town visitors stayed while in Thunder Bay. The list should provide a breakdown of the number of visitors and number of room nights for each accommodation property. Including a justification or verification for the numbers.
  • A summary of the scope of media coverage and exposure the event generated.
  • An explanation of the legacy and/or benefit of hosting the event provides for the City of Thunder Bay and the potential for hosting future events.

The final 50% holdback will be paid out based on the evaluation of the metrics submitted in the final report. If the evaluation metrics are met, the final 50% holdback will be released. If the evaluation metrics are not met, the applicant will not receive the final holdback.

Contact Us:

Kirsten Kabernick
Tourism Program Coordinator
T: 807-632-3289
E: Kirsten.Kabernick@thunderbay.ca

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