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Ontario snowmobiling a billion-dollar economic powerhouse: report

Ontario's winter wonderland trails generate billions of dollars in the economy annually.

'The Economic Impact of Snowmobile Trails in Ontario' survey based on expenditure data from the 2022-2023 season from the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) breaks down those figures.

"This study reaffirms our position that Ontario's winter tourism economy runs on snowmobiling," said Ryan Eickmeier, OFSC CEO.

"The economic impact of our snowmobile trails is especially important to rural and northern Ontario, and the contributions our volunteers make every year is truly remarkable," Eickmeier said.

At a glance:

  • Snowmobiling-related economic activity for Ontario: $3 billion to $6 billion annually
  • Expenditures by OFSC snowmobile trail riders: $1.48 billion
  • Full-time jobs supported by OFSC snowmobile trails: 9,307
  • Taxes generated by OFSC snowmobile trails: $538 million

This 2023 report shows the provincial network of over 30,000 kilometres of OFSC-prescribed snowmobile trails is one of Ontario's most valuable recreational assets.

As a volunteer-led, not-for-profit association with 181 member organizations, the OFSC manages these premier snowmobile trails, which connect snow-belt communities while providing enjoyable and environmentally sustainable riding experiences for Ontarians.

The new study found that in the 2022-2023 season, expenditures by snowmobilers riding OFSC snowmobile trails increased to $1.48 billion, up from $843 million in 2019.

In turn, these 2022-2023 expenditures resulted in an estimated $3 billion of snowmobiling-related economic activity for Ontario.

Meanwhile, snowmobile trails directly supported 9,307 full-time jobs in 2022-2023 while generating $538 million in taxes across three levels of government: $239 million in federal taxes, $258 million in provincial taxes, and $41 million in municipal taxes.

Despite low snow conditions in some locations last winter, the $3 billion of 2022-2023 economic activity is almost double that reported in two previous studies: $1.6 billion in 2019 and $1.7 billion in 2014.

The new study estimates that OFSC snowmobile trails have the potential to generate a total annual economic impact of between $3 billion and $6 billion in any given season, dependent on factors such as weather.

For the first time, the study also assessed the total monetary value that OFSC snowmobile club volunteers contribute to Ontario's economy as more than $16.4 million annually.

The OFSC retained Harry Cummings & Associates (HCA) to assess the impact of snowmobile trails during the winter of 2022-23, using the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport's Tourism Regional Economic Impact Model. Top Stories

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