Jennifer McLaughlin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Whitchurch-Stouffville is receiving over $900,000 in federal funding for two tourism and community infrastructure projects.
Markham-Stouffville MP Helena Jaczek made the funding announcement in Civic Square on August 24. At the time, she was the minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (Fed Dev Ontario). She has since been promoted to public services and procurement minister.
“We know that modern, attractive community spaces and a robust tourism sector not only make the lives of the residents better through connectedness and physical activity, but they also help attract visitors and drive economic activity in the region,” Jaczek said.
“This is why our government created the Tourism Relief Fund and the Canada Community Revitalization Fund,” she added.
FedDev Ontario distributes federal funding to programs throughout the province to strengthen communities with infrastructure improvements and to support the recovery of the tourism industry as it rebounds from the pandemic.
More than $340,000 will fund significant enhancements to support local economic activity and draw visitors. Projects will include the installation of nine sidewalk cafes, two public parkettes, and a community stage downtown.
The funding will also allow for the revitalization of the Memorial Park bandshell and the sculpture walk, plus enable the Stouffville Holiday Market, introduced last year, to become a permanent annual event.
The enhancements will benefit more than 120 businesses and draw thousands of new visitors annually, increasing the downtown’s vibrancy and economic activity.
“With the funding of our dynamic downtown project, local businesses and the arts community alike will benefit from enhanced events and event spaces,” said the Mayor of Whitchurch-Stouffville, Iain Lovatt.
He added that a fully accessible playground “will ensure children of our community and abroad of all abilities can play and have fun in a safe environment.”
The town is receiving approximately $560,000 to construct the playground in Memorial Park.
“We are tremendously thankful to minister Jaczek and FedDev Ontario for their support and this generous funding,” Lovatt stated. It also “supports the continued efforts to remove barriers and enhance our programs locally. Our shared goal is to make the town’s events and activities more accessible and inclusive to our diverse and growing community.”
He confirmed that in the last four years, the town of Whitchurch-Stouffville has received more than $8 million in federal funding for various projects.
Photo: Minister Helena Jaczek (centre) with Mayor Iain Lovatt and Shannon Jaffer (manager responsible for town events, heritage and theatre) at Civic Square after the funding announcement.