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Peterborough & the Kawarthas entrepreneurs awarded grants and mentorships to help SPARK new tourism ideas  

By Christine Drage
Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab Peterborough & the Kawarthas logo

Peterborough, ON – Six finalists who made winning pitches for 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.

The Peterborough & the Kawarthas “Spark” Mentorships & Grants Program is a collaborative partnership initiative between the Tourism Innovation Lab, Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development and Peterborough & the Kawarthas Tourism.

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.

Sixteen applications were received, with the top five from the City of Peterborough and the top five from the County of Peterborough being invited to present their new tourism ideas at virtual Pitch Sessions held this week. Judge panels of local partner representatives and tourism innovators from outside the region selected the six winning applicants.

The 2022 City of Peterborough “Spark” Program winners are:

  • Kassy Scott, Rare Escape
  • Polina Ratnichkina, Camping Equipment Rentals
  • Luke Farley, Big Top Productions (Buskers Fest)
City of Peterborough Spark pitch session with judges and winners

The 2022 County of Peterborough “Spark” Program winners are:

  • Sarah Heydon, The Pearly Acre (Bunkie Resort)
  • Jeremy Poulin, Red Mill Maple Syrup
  • Robyn Ivory Pierson, Indigenously Infused
County of Peterborough Spark pitch session with judges and winners

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.

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“It’s a privilege to work with these six local tourism innovators and our team looks forward to assisting and promoting these businesses as they grow.  We are excited by the prospect of supporting the development of new tourism products which will add more attractive options for visitors to our region,” said Joe Rees Director of Tourism, Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development.

“We congratulate the six 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. 



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

Christine Drage, Marketing & Communications Officer, Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development 705-872-6802,