In celebration of Small Business Week, B.C. small businesses receive $1.2 million to enhance tourism experiences across the province

Government of Canada making investments across British Columbia to attract new visitors, expand tourism offerings and stimulate local economies

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, small businesses – from coffee shops to campgrounds – played a critical role in sustaining communities across British Columbia. Small businesses in the tourism sector were especially hard hit, yet continued to serve as the lifeblood of local economies, offering British Columbians much-needed reprieve.

Today, at the start of Small Business Week, the Government of Canada is celebrating small businesses that helped the B.C. tourism industry make a remarkable recovery. The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada (PacifiCan), announced over $1.2 million in PacifiCan funding to 11 projects led by small businesses in the B.C. tourism sector.

The investments will help these small businesses recover from the pandemic and provide new experiences for visitors and residents alike. From funding new festivals, supporting old favorites and providing tourists with brand new ways to experience British Columbia, PacifiCan is helping small businesses across the province grow stronger than ever.

One of the resilient small businesses benefiting from this funding is Vancouver Foodie Tours. Known for offering award-wining culinary tours, the COVID-19 pandemic forced Vancouver Foodie Tours to pivot their business to focus on delivery, providing customers with contactless shipping on products from a variety of Granville Island merchants. With a $50,000 investment from PacifiCan, Vancouver Foodie Tours will relaunch their Granville Island and Gastown tours with enhanced health and safety measures and introduce a new food tour showcasing the influence of West Coast Asian cuisine across Greater Vancouver.

Other projects funded include:

  • Relaunching the Richmond Night Market and West Coast Women’s Show
  • Building camping sites in the Callaghan Valley in Whistler
  • Offering new food-tasting and bus tours in Greater Vancouver
  • Organizing Crankworx, a 10-day mountain bike festival in Whistler
  • Launching a new Halloween festival in Burnaby
  • Upgrading Pacific Coastal Cruises’ offerings on the coast of B.C.

This funding is provided through the Government of Canada’s Tourism Relief Fund. The Fund provides $500 million over two years to Canada’s regional development agencies, including PacifiCan, to help tourism businesses and organizations adapt their operations to meet public health requirements and invest in products and services to help them grow.


“During Small Business Week, we are celebrating the resilience of small- and medium-sized businesses across British Columbia. With these investments, the Government of Canada is supporting B.C.’s tourism sector, helping those hit hardest emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever. From launching new festivals and tours to reinvigorating old favorites, these investments will help small businesses showcase the dynamic experiences B.C. has to offer – for locals who know them well and visitors who are discovering them for the very first time.”

–  The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada

“I started this company in 2010 out of a passion for food, people and storytelling, and receiving this support from PacifiCan means that my business can return to what it does best – offering authentic culinary experiences to visitors from around the world. This funding means re-launching our award-winning tours, preserving the health and safety of our guests and offering new tour experiences highlighting some of Greater Vancouver’s best-kept culinary secrets.” 

– Michelle Ng, President and Founder of Vancouver Foodie Tours

Quick Facts

  • PacifiCan is the Government of Canada’s regional economic development agency dedicated to British Columbia.
  • The Tourism Relief Fund helps position Canada as a destination of choice by:
    • empowering tourism businesses to enhance or create new tourism experiences and products to attract more local and domestic visitors, and
    • helping the sector reposition itself to welcome international visitors, by providing the best Canadian tourism experiences we have to offer the world.
  • Eligible applicants include tourism entities that cater mainly to visitors, such as:
    • businesses
    • not-for-profit organizations, such as tourism associations, and
    • band councils or other Indigenous organizations and cooperatives.

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Backgrounder: In celebration of Small Business Week, B.C. small businesses receive $1.2 million to enhance tourism experiences across the province

Today, the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada (PacifiCan), announced an investment of over $1.2 million through the Tourism Relief Fund for eleven projects, located throughout British Columbia.

The projects announced include:

Vancouver Foodie Inc.

This funding will allow Vancouver Foodie to relaunch, enhance and develop new food-tasting tours in Greater Vancouver focusing on West Coast Asian cuisine.   

Ocean Light II Adventures Ltd.

This funding will help Ocean Light II Adventures to upgrade a small passenger vessel, the Afterglow I, to enhance health and safety features. 

Encore Exhibitions Inc.

This support will help Encore Exhibitions to revive and expand the West Coast Women’s Show in Abbotsford.           

Iskwew Air Inc.

This funding will allow Iskwew Air to acquire an additional plane and expand direct air service between Vancouver International Airport and Qualicum Beach Airport, while building linkages to Indigenous tourism operators throughout Vancouver Island through travel packages and partnership promotion.

Canadian Wilderness Adventures Ltd.

This support will allow Canadian Wilderness Adventures to build tent and glamping sites, washrooms and a water filtration system for visitors to the Callaghan Valley near Whistler.

Bestcan Tours Inc.

This funding will allow Bestcan Tours to purchase an additional bus to accommodate more tourists, scale-up tour operations and improve the visitor experience.

Firework Productions Ltd.

This support will allow Firework Productions to re-establish and promote the annual Richmond Night Market, a key attraction in the community and the largest night market in North America.     

Pacific Coastal Cruises & Tours Ltd.

This funding will allow Pacific Coastal Cruises to modernize and upgrade their coastal cruiser and develop agreements with local tourism operators to launch cruising operations along the coast of B.C.

Vancouver Royal Tours.

This support will allow Vancouver Royal Tours to purchase a shuttle van to accommodate more visitors, scale-up tour operations and modernize the visitor experience.

Crankworx Events Inc.

This support will allow Crankworx Events to organize and host a 10-day mountain bike festival and competition in Whistler.

Tourism Burnaby

This funding will allow Tourism Burnaby to run a new Halloween themed festival throughout the month of October, drawing visitors to Burnaby and supporting local small businesses.

SOURCE Pacific Economic Development Canada

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