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Sparking Something New: Six Winning Tourism Businesses Awarded Grants & Mentorship

By Cara Walsh
Zoom meeting screen capture of 2024 Spark Program finalists from Pitch 2

Peterborough & the Kawarthas Tourism, together with Tourism Innovation Lab, supporting local organizations to bring visitor experiences to market

[PETERBOROUGH, ON]: Six finalists who made winning pitches for the third intake of the Peterborough & the Kawarthas “Spark” Program were each awarded a $3,000 seed grant and mentorship to help them get started with their new tourism ideas.  

Now in its third year locally, the Peterborough & the Kawarthas “Spark” Mentorships & Grants Program doubled the number of finalists that will receive seed funds and support through the program. “Spark” is a collaborative partnership initiative between the Tourism Innovation Lab and Peterborough & the Kawarthas Tourism.

The 2024 Peterborough & the Kawarthas “Spark” Program winners are:  

  • Alex Grant, Lovesick Kayaking (Lovesick Kayaking instruction and tours)
  • Claudia MacDonald, Heritage Blooms UPick (Heritage Blooms UPick – Workshops)
  • Kelly Convery, Sanctuary Flower Fields (Sanctuary Flower Field Experiences)
  • Meaghan Kynock, muttmixx (Doggy Day Picnic)
  • Miriam Davidson, Rice Lake Arts (Rice Lake Arts: Where Art and Nature Meet)
  • Nikki Nelson, N2Adventures (Farm to Forest – A Local Food Experience) 

The program’s goal is to find, foster and support new tourism ideas, experiences and partnerships that will enhance current offerings, address gaps or challenges, motivate travel and longer stays, and increase year-round visits in the region.  

Shortlisted applicants to the “Spark” Program presented their new tourism ideas at virtual pitch sessions held on April 16 and 23. A judge panel of local partner representatives and a tourism innovator from outside the region selected the three winning applicants at each session.  

In addition to seed funds, mentorship and additional partner support, selected applicants gain access to a network of tourism innovators, entrepreneurs, and leaders across the province.  

For more information visit  


“The “Spark” Program allows us to continue to foster fresh ideas and elevate visitor experiences in Peterborough & the Kawarthas – and we’re so excited to double the number of “Spark” Mentorship & Grant recipients this year. When we work together with partners like the Tourism Innovation Lab we are able to enhance the region’s tourism landscape, creating a sustainable, vibrant and attractive destination for visitors to enjoy year-round,” said Joe Rees, Director of Tourism with Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development.

“We congratulate the third-round winners of the Peterborough & the Kawarthas “Spark” Program, and are excited to work with them to help develop new and exciting tourism offerings in the region” said Justin Lafontaine, Program Lead for the Tourism Innovation Lab.