Column: B.C.: an event hosting destination

Did you know more than 100 sport events are hosted across the province each year?

Did you know that currently, more than 100 sport events are hosted across the province each year or that B.C. hosts more than 30 major cultural festivals and events annually?

B.C. is truly a world-class event hosting destination. From our prestigious mountain ranges that push west from The Rockies, to the beautiful spectrum of forestry, rivers, parks, trails and abundant landscapes across our province — it is the people that live within arm’s reach of nature’s richness that fill each region with so much culture, history and hospitality.

In support of a five-year hosting strategy to support communities and organizations that make our province the destination of choice for sport and cultural events — our government recently announced a $250,000 one-time funding opportunity through EventHostBC. This funding encourages small events that strengthen volunteer capacity for event hosting through the province.

Eligible non-profits are invited to apply for up to $5,000, awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, distributed to B.C.’s six tourism regions. The funding will assist in multiplying events and creating new ones that are currently ineligible for other provincial government funding.

As the minister who is responsible for community, sport and cultural development in the province — I am looking forward to having this new five-year hosting strategy capitalize on the international exposure, building on the economic success received during the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games and the recent Winter Games.

I am also pleased that our government will spend more than $60 million on artists, arts and culture organizations again in 2015-16.

EventHostBC grant applications and eligibility guidelines can be found online at: http://www.cscd.gov.bc.ca/arts_culture/EventHostBC.htm.

Coralee Oakes is the MLA for Cariboo North and is the Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development.