Weekly Activity Reports - July 2016

July 29, 2016

  • Is the Sault an ideal location for an airplane painting company to set up shop? The SSMEDC thinks so and is gathering evidence to support its position. The organization received funding from the Federal Government to undertake a business case. The goal: pinpoint the benefits an airplane painting firm would get from locating here. This initiative began last year when SSMEDC and Airport Development Corporation attended the National Business Aviation Association convention. The aim was to generate business leads. While at the event, the local officials met with a number of firms, including aviation painting companies. A pitch was made to have these businesses set up an operation in the Sault, which is home to JD Aero, the MNR and Sault College aviation program. Given the aviation cluster and growth potential, the Sault Airport is partnering with the SSMEDC to attract businesses.
  • Four area First Nations signed a unity pact with the Port of Algoma this week. Batchewana First Nation, Garden River First Nation, Mississaugi First Nation and Thessalon First Nation were involved in the ceremony, which took place near the Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site, the same spot where the Robinson-Huron Treaty was ratified in 1850. The pact speaks to the shared vision amongst area First Nations and the Port of Algoma. Specifically, it highlights a common understanding of the need to protect nature while generating economic diversification to support a brighter future and quality of life. A number of dignitaries and groups took part in the ceremony, including the SSMEDC, which has been working with Port of Algoma officials for several years on advancing the transportation infrastructure redevelopment project.
  • Though general economic uncertainty looms, the Sault's GDP is expected to rise by 0.7% this year, followed by 0.9% in 2017. That's the forecast from a recent Conference Board of Canada report: www.conferenceboard.ca/e-library/abstract.aspx?did=8091. An uptick in the transportation and warehousing sector, along with growth in non-residential construction, is expected to lead local GDP growth. Output in the construction sector is poised to rise by 0.8 per cent in both 2016 and 2017. A number of major public sector development projects are taking place, including the new bridge plaza, campus rebuild at Sault College, and major renovations at the former Alexander Henry and St. Basil high schools. The local section of the Conference Board report was commissioned by the SSMEDC, which requires qualified, third-party economic analysis of the community to formulate its short and long-term activities.
  • The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, visited Sault Ste. Marie on Wednesday. The representative of the Canadian monarch met with a number of community groups, including City Council and the SSMEDC. While here, she also toured the SSMEDC's recently-opened Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship in the Machine Shop of the former St. Marys Paper site. During the visit, representatives from Tourism Sault Ste. Marie even had an opportunity to show the Lieutenant Governor some local attractions, such as the Ermatinger - Clergue National Historic Site and Heritage Discovery Centre, Art Gallery of Algoma, and Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre.

July 22, 2016

  • Another cruise ship - new to the area - docked on the Sault Ste. Marie waterfront this week. The M/V Victory 1 was moored in front of the Roberta Bondar Pavilion on Wednesday. Carrying around 180 passengers, the luxury vessel is slated to stop here a total of five times between now and the end of September. Meanwhile, on Thursday, another cruise ship, The Pearl Mist docked here. This vessel generally carries more than 200 passengers and is slated to stop here 10 times this summer. Why are these and other passenger vessels coming here so often? Ian McMillan, Executive Director of Tourism Sault Ste. Marie, is the former Chair of Cruise Ontario and a current member of the Great Lakes Cruising Coalition. The organizations work with cruise liners and tourist operators to attract luxury vessels to the region.
  • Sixty companies in the downtown core took part in a recent business outreach initiative. The goal was to create and retain jobs by increasing the number of firms receiving support to start or expand. This program is the result of a joint partnership between the SSMEDC, Community Development Corporation and District Social Services Administration Board. The three agencies offer enterprise support programs. They partnered together to cross-promote their services to downtown businesses. Under the initiative, a Marketing & Business Development Coordinator conducted outreach activity and referred 14 companies to a program offered by one of the three service organizations. Along with referrals, the business outreach initiative also included a survey, which was successful at generating data on things like trends, barriers and needs.
  • Hockey Canada released the game schedule for the 2016 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge this week. It's available online at http://www.hockeycanada.ca/en-ca/National-Championships/Men/World-U17/2016/Schedule-Results. Taking place October 28 to November 6 at the Essar Centre and John Rhodes Community Centre, the tournament will feature eight teams from around the globe and attract hundreds of visitors to the community. While offering outstanding competition for local fans, the event will also provide a significant financial boon for Sault Ste. Marie. For instance, the 2014 tourney in Nova Scotia generated $3.8 million in total economic activity, with $2.6 million occurring in the host community. With such benefits, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie partnered with the City of Sault Ste. Marie to successfully bid on the 2016 event.
  • The SSMEDC coordinated a showcase for Summer Company firms this week. Participants of the young entrepreneur program operated display booths at Station Mall. The forum allowed the owners to market their products and services. Funded by the Province of Ontario, Summer Company is administered in the region by the SSMEDC. The program provides grants and training to assist students in opening a business. This year, 18 firms were started: Fresh Kicks 4 Less, Secret Sip Coffee Club, NSMZ T, Virgil Business Solutions, D's Lawncare and Maintenance, Inspired deSIGNS, Halle Nails, PetSitter Plus, KC Firewood, Country Store Ice Cream Parlour, Mazzuca Basketball Academy, Amethyst Artistry, Technic Computer Services, Touchdown Media, Northern Equine Massage Therapy, Bold Noize, Tristan's Hardwood Products, and JDBR Services.

July 15, 2016

  • A key component of economic development is facilitating partnerships. Case in point: last year, the SSMEDC and Port of Algoma sent representatives to the Highway H2O Conference in Toronto. The annual forum brings together members and partners of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway System for education and networking. At the event, the local delegation connected with Vince D'Amico, from the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, a non-profit organization responsible for the safe and efficient movement of marine traffic in regional waterways. As a follow up to the meeting, Mr. D'Amico was in Sault Ste. Marie this week to engage with the SSMEDC and other community groups to generate additional partnerships. This means more profile and more prospects for the Port of Algoma, a game-changing infrastructure project.
  • A cycling trail between the Sault and Sudbury is on-schedule to be fully open to bicycle enthusiasts next year. With the development nearing completion, the Lake Huron North Channel route is now part of the Waterfront Regeneration Trust, a non-profit organization that supports a bicycle trail that stretches more than 1,600 kilometres across the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. Members of the Waterfront Regeneration Trust recently toured and assessed the Lake Huron North Channel route, and they gave the trail a resounding two thumbs up. When complete, the bike route will attract visitors while also increasing the quality of lives for area residents. Given the benefits to the community, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie was instrumental in leading the development of this initiative and remains a main partner in the infrastructure project.
  • Shaw TV recently shot a segment on a couple SSMEDC Summer Company clients. Tianna Rice owns Northern Equine Massage Therapy, an equine massage therapy business. Nicholas Kowaleski owns Technic Computer Services, an in-home computer repair firm. Administered by the SSMEDC, Summer Company provides grants and training to assist students in starting a seasonal business. This year, 18 youth in the Sault area enrolled in the program, which is funded by the Province of Ontario. Meanwhile, the SSMEDC has a longstanding partnership with Shaw TV. Each year, the Corporation works with the cable channel to produce communications segments on clients, events, programs and services. The Shaw TV story on 2016 Summer Company clients will air on channel 10 this week and is now available online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xE4srSRwTsA.
  • The Agawa Canyon Train Tour is in full gear. As it has in the past several years, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie hired four Train Tour Travel Ambassadors this year. Currently working on the attraction, the position is responsible for engaging riders to tell them about the city and region, along with the many other things to see and do while they are visiting. The overall goal is to extend their stay in Sault Ste. Marie. The Train Tour Travel Ambassadors also provide high-quality customer service to give riders a first-class experience. As well, the workers conduct ongoing surveys to help Tourism Sault Ste. Marie better understand visitors and provide a good demographic profile for future marketing efforts. The organization is responsible for all promotional duties related to the attraction, which drew over 30,000 riders in 2015 for the first time in eight years.

July 8, 2016

  • Around 2,800 visitors are in Sault Ste. Marie this week for a major conference. Taking place July 6 to 10 at the Essar Centre, the 2016 Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses Convention is generating more than 11,000 visitor days and injecting over $1.6 million of direct visitor spending into the local economy, along with millions more in indirect economic activity. The city last hosted this conference some 20 years ago. Tourism Sault Ste. Marie worked with the Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, local Jehovah's Witnesses members, and its industry partners on securing and coordinating the 2016 event. Working with external groups and community partners to attract major conferences and sports tournaments is a core activity of the Tourism Sault Ste. Marie team, whose goal is to attract visitors.
  • This week, a member of the SSMEDC's Business Development division met with four aspiring young entrepreneurs. Ranging between the ages of 20 and 30, the youth are enrolled in the YMCA's Strategic Community Entrepreneurship Projects program. The SSMEDC provides training, mentoring and general assistance to support this and many other entrepreneurship initiatives in the Sault Ste. Marie area. Youth business development is one of several focuses of the Corporation's Business Development team. Among its many functions, the division also works to support industrial clients with their growth projects and to attract external business and investment to the community. The overall goal is to create and retain jobs, generate investment, and increase the tax base in Sault Ste. Marie.
  • Earlier this year, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie secured the 2016 CAN/AM President's Cup VIP Poker Run. Taking place August 5 to 7, the event will bring massive race boats from around the world to the local waterfront. During the last day, fans will be able to participate in the "Ride of a Lifetime" and, for a fee, take a 20-minute spin on one of the vessels. All proceeds will go to Big Brothers Big Sisters Sault Ste. Marie. Ride tickets, or ride and accommodations packages, are now available for booking on the Tourism Sault Ste. Marie Online Reservation System at www.saulttourism.com/packages/package-details/?pkg=PKRN. Established in 2011 as the first of its kind in Northern Ontario, the web-based portal has grown in bookings year-over-year since, with more than $1 million in sales in 2015.
  • The SSMEDC recently hosted a training and networking session for the Sault's Women In Business group. The event took place at the SSMEDC's recently-opened Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship in the Machine Shop of the former St. Marys Paper site. During the session, attendees heard from four expert speakers on best practices in enterprise. Along with the training component, attendees also had an opportunity to meet with each other to develop partnership opportunities. Thirty business owners and professionals took part in the event. Hosting this type of training and networking forum falls under the SSMEDC's outreach activity. Each year, the Corporation coordinates dozens of educational events designed to build a more prosperous business community in Sault Ste. Marie.

July 1, 2016

  • This summer, 18 youth in the Sault Ste. Marie area started businesses with the support of a young entrepreneur program. Summer Company is administered in the region by the SSMEDC. Funded by the Province of Ontario, the program provides grants and mentoring to assist students between the ages of 15 and 29 in starting a seasonal business. The 2016 Summer Company participants in the Sault area are: Fresh Kicks 4 Less, Secret Sip Coffee Club, NSMZ T, Virgil Business Solutions, D's Lawncare and Maintenance, Inspired deSIGNS, Halle Nails, PetSitter Plus, KC Firewood, Country Store Ice Cream Parlour, Mazzuca Basketball Academy, Amethyst Artistry, Technic Computer Services, Touchdown Media, Northern Equine Massage Therapy, Bold Noize, Tristan's Hardwood Products, and JDBR Services.
  • Last week, Sault Ste. Marie hosted ICEMAN 2016, the International Conference on Community Engaged Education for the North. The biannual forum, which alternates between Northern Ontario and Australia, is a joint effort by the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM), Flinders University School of Medicine and the Teaching for Health Equity Network. Featuring learning and collaboration, this year's event drew 350 delegates from medical schools around the world. Tourism Sault Ste. Marie assisted the regional planning committee on facilitating ICEMAN 2016. The three-day event injected more than $150,000 of direct visitor spending into the local economy. Says Dr. Roger Strasser, Dean and CEO of the NOSM: "Sault Ste. Marie is a wonderful place. We've felt so welcome here and it's been the best place in the world to host this conference.
  • This week, the SSMEDC released the June edition of The Pulse, its bimonthly newsletter. The issue included stories on the opening of the Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship, the Corporation's 2015 activity and results, a major summer conference that's drawing 2,800 visitors to the city, an Emmy nomination for a travel documentary shot in the Sault area, and an SSMEDC client who recently unveiled his comic book that was commissioned by the band Iron Maiden. The Pulse contains economic development stories and is meant to keep funding partners, clients and the public informed of the SSMEDC's programs and activity. The Pulse is one of many corporate communications methods used by the SSMEDC. To view the archive of newsletters, weekly activity reports and news stories, visit www.sault-canada.com/en/aboutus/stayconnected.asp.
  • The SSMEDC's Corporate Services division generated a story on Sault Ste. Marie that appears in the current issue of Bear Country, the in-flight magazine of Bearskin Airlines. The publication is primarily read by passengers and clients of the regional air carrier. The Sault Ste. Marie article focuses on the many recreational opportunities available in the city and surrounding area during the summer months. Every year, the SSMEDC generates dozens of these types of marketing and promotional opportunities. They're designed to attract business, visitors, investment and general positive attention to Sault Ste. Marie. To view the summer 2016 issue of Bear Country, visit http://reader.mediawiremobile.com/BearskinAirlines/issues/104065/viewer.