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Indigenous Sports Tourism Strategy for Ontario


Indigenous Tourism Ontario (ITO) is the province’s first and only dedicated Indigenous tourism organization. We are a membership-based non-profit whose mission is to support Ontario’s Indigenous tourism owners and operators by providing meaningful financial, marketing, and industry guidance, and to advocate on their behalf with government and regional industry bodies. We are recognized by the Chiefs of Ontario (COO), and Government of Ontario organizations and ministries for our work therein.

Our primary mandate is to improve the economic conditions of Indigenous Peoples through tourism by providing support, resources, guidance, and advocacy work.


Sports Tourism is one of the largest and fastest-growing sectors in the tourism industry across the globe, and Ontario is no exception. According to a 2019 report from the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance and Sport Tourism Canada, sports tourism was labelled the fastest-growing segment of the tourism industry in Canada, totalling $7.4 billion in annual spending by domestic and international visitors. Prior to the pandemic, Indigenous Tourism was the fastest growing sector in Canadian tourism, with real GDP in Ontario’s Indigenous tourism sector growing from $622 million in 2017 to $654 million in 2019*, so it’s a logical next step to look into where these two high-growth sectors overlap.

As sector advocates, ITO has identified the need for a Sports Tourism Strategy for Ontario that specifically incorporates Indigenous ways of knowing, being, and doing, and addresses the needs and realities of Indigenous communities both urban and rural. Developing a comprehensive, scalable framework for establishing guidelines and processes that will serve as a product development resource for Indigenous sports events and activities of all sizes and types.


Over the past year, ITO has begun to engage in sport tourism events: last October we provided logistical and marketing support for two First Nations communities with a pair of Toronto Maple Leafs Alumni Association games; and this past March we supported the 49th Annual Little Native Hockey League (LNHL) tournaments in Mississauga, ON. These first steps into the sports tourism arena were a massive success and reaffirmed our belief that this is an area that needs to be further investigated and developed. ITO views fiscal investment within Indigenous workforces and entrepreneurship, as acts of

Reconciliation and empowerment, and we need an equally passionate team of sector experts to partner with us and bring this important work to fruition. You should have extensive experience working with Indigenous peoples and the knowledge and understanding of regional protocols; you should also be well-versed in Sports Tourism, with a keen ability to analyze current trends.


Show us that you are plugged into current trends by reflecting on the variety of sports tourism opportunities and how they can be leveraged to benefit First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples across the province.

Submissions are open to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous applicants, however, we do strongly encourage those who are Indigenous (51% or more) to apply. We are open to outside-the-box thinking and approach, and welcome your creativity.

Your submission will be scored based on the following criteria:

Sector Expertise and Relevant Education: 40%

Research Methodology & Project Work Plan: 20%

Budget & Schedule: 20%

Past Experience & References: 20%


In a single PDF document, please include the following:

  • Cover letter to introduce your organization/business; describe what makes you uniquely qualified to address the needs of the strategy and its intended audience
  • A detailed work plan that includes project deliverables & research methodology
  • Estimated cost of services and a detailed project timeline
  • Examples of past work that demonstrate capabilities as well as the technical skills required to complete the project, and proven successes with similar organizations and/or projects
  • Team bios (please keep them succinct and relevant to this project) and references

Deadlines: Submit your proposal to our Vice President of Operations, Sherry Mayer, via email: by 5 PM, August 31st, 2023.

Funding for the commission of this strategy is made possible by the generous support of Indigenous Services Canada. As per the parameters of the funding agreement, the final approved strategy must be completed by March 31, 2024.

* 1.pdf

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