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Bright Ideas Wanted to Grow the Visitor Economy in Peterborough & the Kawarthas

By Cara Walsh
Blue and yellow graphic with the text: Peterborough & the Kawarthas: What's your new tourism idea - we can help you get started with grants and mentorships. Apply by March 19, 2024 Inset photo of Scott WIlliams, owner of Wildflower Bakery and 2023 Spark Program Winner.

“Spark” Mentorships & Grants program opens third intake to support local tourism innovation

Peterborough, ON – Local businesses, entrepreneurs, creatives, and artists are being encouraged to bring forth their new tourism ideas – and receive the support needed to turn them into a reality – through a third intake of the “Spark” Mentorships & Grants Program.

The “Spark” program, now in its third year locally, provides selected applicants with a $3,000 grant, industry mentorship, and additional partner support to help them launch their new tourism idea. Past recipients in Peterborough & the Kawarthas included agritourism & culinary experiences, camping equipment rentals, a bunkie resort, Indigenous experiences, a farm venue, as well as an immersive maple syrup experience.

Individuals, small businesses, non-profits, and community groups are encouraged to apply for their new tourism ideas until March 19, 2024. Following a juried review process, finalists will be invited to a virtual Pitch Session where three winners will be selected.

Apply by March 19, 2024

The goal of the program is to find, foster and support new tourism ideas that will enhance current offerings, address gaps in the market, and motivate longer stays and increase year-round visits to the region. The Peterborough & the Kawarthas “Spark” Program is led by the Tourism Innovation Lab in collaboration with Peterborough & the Kawarthas Tourism, a division of Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development (PKED), and the official Destination Marketing Organization for the City of Peterborough and Peterborough County. This program complements a full suite of programs and services offered by PKED to support local businesses as they start, thrive and grow in the region.

An online information session will take place on February 29. Individuals are encouraged to learn more about the “Spark” program by visiting


Peterborough & the Kawarthas Tourism

“We’re inviting individuals, community organizations and small business owners – particularly those in the local creative community – to present their great ideas for dynamic new experiences, products and services that visitors can enjoy in our communities,” said Joe Rees, Director of Tourism for PKED. “This successful collaboration with the Tourism Innovation Lab allows us to tap into local passion and talent to grow our economy – we can’t wait to hear what ideas come forward this year!”

Tourism Innovation Lab
“We are inspired by the creativity, passion and innovative spirit of our past Peterborough & the Kawarthas “Spark” Program winners, and are excited to support new tourism ideas and entrepreneurs in the region,” said Justin Lafontaine, Program Lead, Tourism Innovation Lab. 



Cara Walsh, Marketing & Communications Officer – Tourism, Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development, 705-872-1705, 

Justin Lafontaine, Program Lead, Tourism Innovation Lab, 416-712-8819,