For immediate release – 25 January 2013

Ontario Trillium Foundation provides funding to help develop the Headwaters region as a centre of equine excellence

The Hills of Headwaters Tourism Association is delighted to be the recipient of funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation — one of 425 not-for-profit and charitable organizations in the province that will receive funding to help build healthy and vibrant communities.

The $119,000 funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation has been awarded to the Tourism Association to increase the capacity of the collaborative to promote the Headwaters region as a centre of equine excellence in the province of Ontario, thereby strengthening the local economy.  Funding from the Foundation will allow the Association to hire a project coordinator and begin the process of marketing the equine opportunities available in the region.

The presentation from the Ontario Trillium Foundation took place on Friday, January 25th at the Best Western Orangeville.  On hand for the presentation were Dufferin-Caledon MP David Tilson, Dufferin-Caledon MPP Sylvia Jones, Ontario Trillium Foundation representative Richard Fearon, Council members from the Town of Caledon and Dufferin County, representatives from Dufferin.biz, as well as members of the Tourism Association’s Board of Directors and the Headwaters Equine Leadership Group.

“My compliments go out to the Hills of Headwaters Tourism Association. This regional equine initiative will play a vital role in ensuring the local success of the upcoming 2015 Pan Am Games,”  said David Tilson MP for Dufferin-Caledon.

Recognizing the important contribution of the equine sector to the economy of the Headwaters region, the Hills of Headwaters Tourism Association has facilitated the formation of a Headwaters Equine Leadership Group (HELG), made up of equine industry leaders, municipal partners and community stakeholders.  According to Ross Millar, Chair of the Headwaters Equine Leadership Group, “the funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation will help support our vision to position the Headwaters region as a centre of equine excellence in Ontario (and indeed the world), and to support, grow and advocate for this vital sector of our regional economy – which is the mandate and vision of our HELG committee”.

According to Lucille Roch, Acting Chair of the OTF Board of Directors, “OTF invests for impact in the community”, and supports groups “making the most of investments through partnership, collaboration and inclusive programs”.

“I am pleased to see the Hills of Headwaters Tourism receive this Ontario Trillium Foundation grant. The money will benefit the Headwaters region and the partnerships that have been formed to promote our community as a centre for equine excellence,” said Sylvia Jones, MPP Dufferin-Caledon.

Ron Munro, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Tourism Association acknowledges that the concept of collaboration is the basis for the equine initiative:  “the leadership group is a collaborative initiative of regional stakeholders who are committed to the importance of the equine sector in Headwaters”.  Mr. Munro suggested that this framework of collaboration is a model that can be utilized for other sectors across the region, with the ultimate goal of ensuring that our communities are strong, viable and sustainable.

The funding announcement from the Ontario Trillium Foundation comes on the heels of a highly successful destination development conference and equine forum held by the Tourism Association in late October of 2012.  At that conference, keynote speaker John Nicholson, the Executive Director of the Kentucky Horse Park commended the work being done by the Headwaters Equine Leadership  Group, and encouraged them to continue positioning the power of the horse as a strong driver for economic development and a way to ensure the vibrancy of rural communities in Headwaters.

As a result of the conference in October, many equine and community partners have expressed an interest in joining the project in a variety of capacities.  The Headwaters Equine Leadership Group will be following up to get their further input and will offer opportunities for interested parties to get involved in helping shape the direction of this exciting initiative.

The equine events of the TO2015 Pan/Parapan American Games are coming to Headwaters in 2015 at the Caledon Equestrian Park, and we are excited to welcome the world to our doorstep for this exciting event.

The Ontario Trillium Foundation will provide significant support to this important work, and will ensure that Headwaters is recognized as Ontario’s horse country throughout Canada and the world!

The Hills of Headwaters Tourism Association and the Headwaters Equine Leadership Group acknowledge the support of the Town of Caledon, County of Dufferin, Town of Mono, Town of Shelburne, Town of Erin and Dufferin.biz, who have supported our work on this initiative, and gratefully thank the Ontario Trillium Foundation for their generous support of this regional community equine collaborative.

A leading grantmaker in Canada, the Ontario Trillium Foundation strengthens the capacity of the voluntary sector through investments in community-based initiatives. An agency of the Government of Ontario, OTF builds healthy and vibrant communities.

  • For more information about the Hills of Headwaters Tourism Association, visit www.headwaters.ca   
  • For more information about the Ontario Trillium Foundation, visit www.otf.ca

Press Conference – OTF Headwaters Equine Initiative

Please direct media inquiries to:

Michele Harris, Executive Director, Hills of Headwaters Tourism Association (michele@headwaters.ca)

Ross Millar, Chair, Headwaters Equine Leadership Group (rmillar@bell.net)