Weekly Activity Reports - February 2014

February 28, 2014

  • Meetings and conventions attract visitors who inject money into the local economy. In an effort to increase the number of such events held in the community, the SSMEDC's Tourism Sault Ste. Marie division is hosting an information session with area partners on Wednesday. The forum, to be held at the Iron Club restaurant, will include individuals from the tourism industry, area businesses and government organizations. The goal: work together to host more events and establish Sault Ste. Marie as THE conference destination.
  • The SSMEDC and Innovation Centre are working on a joint project to explore the feasibility of establishing a shared data services facility in Sault Ste. Marie. If developed, the complex would house data storage for companies and organizations from around the world. Following a competitive process, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank (NGKF), a global leader in real estate services, was selected to assess the feasibility of developing such a facility. Do Sault Ste. Marie's competitive advantages, including low cost real estate and post-secondary facilities, make the community a prime location for this initiative? The market assessment from NGKF will find out.
  • Two film productions are scheduled to be shot here next month. One is a feature movie, while the other is a pilot episode of a television show. When a film shoot comes to town, the SSMEDC acts as a facilitator between the production and the City of Sault Ste. Marie for any Municipal services that may be required or any issues that may come up. With SSMEDC assistance, several movies have been shot here in the past few years, including Collaborator, Irvine Welsh's Ecstasy, Edwin Boyd, Pride of Lions, Foxfire, Swearnet, The Story of Luke, and Masked Saint. The SSMEDC is now finalizing a Film Policy, which will help streamline the process of shooting movies and other productions in Sault Ste. Marie.
  • The SSMEDC's bi-monthly newsletter, The Pulse, was released earlier today. The digital publication is meant to provide citizens, City Council and other partners with an overview of the Corporation's activity. The document is sent digitally to about 3,000 recipients. If anyone asks you what the SSMEDC does or what kind of impact the organization has on Sault Ste. Marie, The Pulse is a good document to reference, since it provides a look into more of our day-to-day activity.

February 21, 2014

  • Earlier this week, the SSMEDC took part in a meeting in Sudbury, where the six "Enterprise Centres" in the region discussed and laid out a plan to promote an upcoming youth entrepreneurship program. The new program, set to be announced in the spring by the Province of Ontario, will be administered in the Algoma region and Chapleau by the SSMEDC. Stay tuned for updates on this exciting new program.
  • Curling is the talk of the town - and country - as of late. And rightfully so. The Sault's very own, Team Jacobs, won the gold medal in Olympic men's curling earlier today. The sport runs deep in Sault Ste. Marie. In fact, the community is hosting the 2014 National College (CCAA) Curling Championships next month and, earlier this year, we hosted the 2014 Provincial Women's Curling Championships. As well, the Sault hosted the 2010 National Women's Curling Championships (Scotties). All three events, which have brought - or will bring - hundreds of visitors to our community, were bid on or supported by the SSMEDC's Tourism Sault Ste. Marie division, in partnership with local champions like the Soo Curlers Association and Sault College.
  • Yesterday, the SSMEDC took part in the 2014 Immigration Forum from the Local Immigration Partnership (LIP). The event brought together 200 newcomers and service providers for a full day of learning and idea sharing. Facilitated by the City of Sault Ste. Marie, the LIP includes 52 partner organizations from across the community. The goal: help attract newcomers and assist them with settlement and integration needs once they arrive. The SSMEDC is a member of the LIP. The Corporation provides entrepreneur and business development support for any newcomers who might need it.
  • The City and SSMEDC are leading a working committee of stakeholders impacted by the announced cancellation of the ACR's Sault-to-Hearst passenger rail run. The committee has retained the services of BDO Canada, which will be undertaking an economic impact assessment of this key transportation line. Set to be complete in the coming weeks, the assessment will be used to make the case to the Federal Government that the passenger service is well worth investing in. The SSMEDC is also developing a website to keep the stakeholders and general public informed of the committee's activity and general updates as they occur.

February 14, 2014

  • Earlier today, the SSMEDC, along with Skate Canada and the City of Sault Ste. Marie, announced that the community is hosting the 2015 Ontario Regional Synchronized Skating Championships. Taking place next year at the Essar Centre from Feb. 13 to 15, the event will bring about 1,200 skaters from across the province here for three days, which will inject more than $500,000 into the local economy. And since most skaters will be bringing at least one parent or fan with them, the economic impact will likely be well over $1 million.
  • The Federal Government recently announced it's cutting a $2.2-million subsidy to CN's Algoma Central Rail line between the Sault and Hearst. As it now stands, the ACR will cease operation on April 1, 2014. Since this will have a significant impact on the communities and businesses serviced by the link, along with tourist lodges and cottagers on the route, the SSMEDC is working with other stakeholders to keep the line operating in the short-term while a longer-term solution is found. Yesterday, the SSMEDC and City hosted an initial stakeholder meeting to form a Working Committee and get the ball rolling.
  • On Tuesday, the SSMEDC took part in a Youth Engagement Forum. The event brought together more than 100 young people, along with representatives from youth service providers like the SSMEDC. Discussions centred around how to best engage youth, and various action items were identified to move forward with. Not only did the SSMEDC directly participate in the forum, we were also instrumental in organizing the event and assisting with logistics.
  • Last weekend, the SSMEDC toured a visiting husband and wife, both doctors, around the area. Thanks, in part, to the tour, the couple is very interested in practicing medicine in Sault Ste. Marie. In fact, it looks like their decision is a toss-up between here and another Northern Ontario community. Finger's crossed! The SSMEDC usually conducts a couple dozen of these physician recruitment tours every year.