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Shaw Festival impacts provincial economy to the tune of $106.6M

Study shows annual theatre festival as powerful provincial economic driver 

 Media Release #10

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, May 2, 2011 …In addition to commemorating its 50th season, the Shaw Festival also celebrates its contribution, not only to the local regional economy, but to the greater Ontario economy. A study conducted by Enigma Research Corporation has concluded that the annual Niagara-on-the-Lake-based theatre festival generated $106.6 million for the province of Ontario in 2010. 

“Since its inception, the Shaw Festival has always been proud to be an integral part of the economic health of Niagara-on-the-Lake and the Niagara region”, stated Colleen Blake, Executive Director of the Shaw Festival. “This economic study clearly acknowledges The Shaw’s significant contribution to the vigour of this province’s economy as well.”

“A nine-figure impact is absolutely massive compared to most events or attractions in Canada,” according to Michael Harker, senior partner with Enigma Research. “The Shaw Festival is unique since the vast majority of attendees are from outside the region and more importantly, the event attracts the types of tourists who stay at upscale accommodations, enjoy shopping at boutiques and visit additional attractions in the area before returning home. These factors make the Shaw Festival an economic powerhouse for the region.”

A powerful regional and provincial economic force, The Shaw’s 2010 performance season impacted the health of many area businesses in the Niagara-area tourist destination. The continued draw of the Shaw Festival for both Canadian and American tourists translated into a $106.6 million economic impact for the province of Ontario, confirming that The Shaw continues to be a significant provincial economic driver. The Shaw Festival attracted an estimated 262,000 visitors during its 2010 season; supported the equivalent of 1,107 full-year job equivalents in the Niagara region; and generated $27.2 million in tax revenue at all levels of government.

Shaw Festival visitors spent over $42.8 million on regional accommodations, dining, winery visits and other tourism-related experiences.

“This study confirms what the Niagara-on-the-Lake hospitality sector has always recognized,” said Sue Murray, President of Niagara’s Finest Inns. “The Shaw Festival attracts an upscale consumer who wants to stay in the town and enjoy the diverse quality products that Niagara has to offer.”

The economic study was conducted by Enigma Research Corporation, an internationally known research firm, as a requirement of the federal government’s Marquee Tourism Events Program. The federal program contributed $2.6 million toward The Shaw’s $27 million budget in 2010.

The numbers snapshot:

The Shaw Festival contributed $75.4 million locally and $106.6 million to Ontario’s economy in 2010. Additionally in 2010, the Shaw Festival is attributed with:

  • $43.7 million to the GDP of the local economy
  • 88% of attendees were international and/or travelled more than 80km
  • 1,107 local full-year job equivalents
  • 412 year-round volunteers
  • $27.2 million in taxes generated for all three levels of government


In the spirit of Bernard Shaw, the Shaw Festival provokes the mind and stirs the soul through a theatre experience so compelling that, year after year, ever-broadening groups of artists, audiences and supporters are drawn to our work in Niagara-on-the-Lake and beyond.

Please visit our website at www.shawfest.com/news for other Shaw Festival media releases. For more information, or to download images from our image bank to accompany this release, members of the media may contact:

Odette Yazbeck 
Public Relations Director 
905-468-2153 or 1-800-657-1106 ext. 2222                   

Jenniffer Anand
Public Relations Coordinator
905-468-2153 or 1-800-657-1106 ext. 2224

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