Weekly Activity Reports - June 2016

June 24, 2016

  • A partnership between Tourism Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma University is continuing to bear fruit. First, some background: several years back, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie, through its accommodation partners, purchased a portable basketball floor. Housed and primarily used at Algoma U's George Leach Centre, the floor has been utilized to attract many major basketball events to the city, including the 2011 OCAA Men's Basketball Championships, the Harlem Globetrotters and several provincial high school basketball championships. Algoma University recently acquired a new basketball floor, which was actually built and used in February's 65th NBA All-Star Game at the Air Canada Centre. The acquisition was made possible with support from Tourism Sault Ste. Marie and will be used to attract future basketball events - and visitors - to the community.
  • This week, a member of the SSMEDC's Business Development team met with the owner of a local wood products manufacturing company. The entrepreneur is looking to expand his business operation to ramp up production and increase its product offerings, which will ultimately create jobs in Sault Ste. Marie. The SSMEDC is now assisting the owner with developing a business plan and accessing funding sources for the growth project. This type of activity falls under the Corporation's Business Retention and Expansion Program. Under the initiative, SSMEDC staff undertakes a consultation process to gather intelligence and develop strategies to address the needs of their clients. The program assists dozens of companies each year in their expansion projects. In 2015, for example, it helped generate over $16 million in community investments.
  • This week, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie hosted and toured a visiting travel writer, Bryen Dunn. While here, he biked along the John Rowswell Hub Trail, rode the Agawa Canyon Tour Train, went fly fishing in the St. Mary's River and visited a number of other attractions. Stories from his visit will appear in various travel publications and websites in the coming weeks. Hosting these types of familiarization tours is a key component of Tourism Sault Ste. Marie's marketing efforts. In 2015, the organization facilitated 10 of these tours for visiting travel writers, wildlife photographers, television shows and other media personnel. This activity led to nearly $500,000 in unpaid marketing for the community. Tourism Sault Ste. Marie typically generates these types of opportunities by attending industry events like Rendezvous Canada and Canada Media Marketplace.\
  • The SSMEDC is hosting a business education and training session next week. Going Global - Exporting Success is taking place at the Delta Sault Ste. Marie Waterfront Hotel on Wednesday, June 29 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. The session is designed to inform business owners on exporting opportunities and best practices. It will feature expert speakers from the Canada Ontario Export Forum, Northern Ontario Exports and Global Growth. Participants will also have a chance to discuss export strategies and researching export markets, learn about free exporting resources and programs, and learn the secrets to growing an export business. This is a free event. To register for the session, visit www.eventbrite.ca/e/going-global-exporting-success-tickets-25796688590.

June 17, 2016

  • The SSMEDC assists businesses ranging from hundreds of employees to one-person operations. As an example of the latter, the Corporation's Business Development team is now working with Michael King. The local entrepreneur recently started Tar Kings, a company that provides driveway sealing and other home maintenance services. Before opening the firm, the SSMEDC helped Michael with business planning, cash-flow analysis and other matters. Supporting entrepreneurs in their startup and expansion plans is a core activity of the Corporation. Between 2010 and 2015, SSMEDC activity led to 194 business startups and expansions, which created or retained over 1,700 jobs. Examples include JD Aero, China Steel, Canadian Bank Note, Northern Chiropractic & Physiotherapy, SIS Manufacturing, Boniferro Millworks, Evolution Deck, and Guy's B & R CSN Collision Centre.
  • This week, a Great Lakes cruise ship docked on the Sault Ste. Marie waterfront near the Roberta Bondar Marina. The Pearl Mist (formerly named Columbus) is slated to stop here a total of 10 times this summer. Carrying more than 200 passengers, the luxury vessel will bring over 2,000 visitors to the community during the next few months. This will inject a significant amount of direct visitor spending into the local economy. Why are the Pearl Mist and other cruise ships docking here year-after-year? Part of the reason is that 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 goal of both organizations is to work with cruise liners and tourist operators to attract luxury vessels to the region. Mission: accomplished.
  • This week, the SSMEDC was the title supporter for the June Take 5 event from the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce. Attracting dozens of business owners and professionals, the networking forum was held at the Delta Waterfront Hotel. This type of endeavour falls under the SSMEDC's outreach activity. The Corporation used the June Take 5 event to promote its recently-opened Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship and its small business support programs. Speaking of outreach activity, the SSMEDC facilitated an information session last week from Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium. The event featured a keynote speaker who presented to local entrepreneurs on new programs designed to help businesses improve their productivity and management practices.
  • The 2016 CAN/AM President's Cup VIP Poker Run has partnered with Big Brothers Big Sisters Sault Ste. Marie. Taking place August 5 to 7, the event will bring massive offshore-style, v-bottom and catamaran race boats from around the world to the local waterfront. During the last day, fans can participate in the "Ride of a Lifetime" and, for a fee, take a spin on one of the vessels. All proceeds will go to Big Brothers Big Sisters Sault Ste. Marie. With staging at the Roberta Bondar Marina, the weekend event will feature a public open house on Friday. The following day, competing boats make five stops along the St. Mary's River to collect a card and, when they return to the Sault's downtown, the best poker hand wins. Expected to draw hundreds of participants and fans, the 2016 CAN/AM President's Cup VIP Poker Run was secured by Tourism Sault Ste. Marie.

June 10, 2016

  • The Ontario Nurses' Association held its June Provincial Coordinators Meeting in Sault Ste. Marie this week. Taking place at the Delta Sault Ste. Marie Waterfront Hotel, the three-day conference attracted about 150 registered nurses, nursing students and allied health professionals from across the province. While here, the delegates took part in educational seminars and also gave back to the city by undertaking four community service projects to improve the lives of local Aboriginals. The Ontario Nurses' Association June Provincial Coordinators Meeting was made possible with assistance from Tourism Sault Ste. Marie. The organization works to secure and support conferences, sports tournaments and special events, with the ultimate goal of attracting visitors and visitor spending to the community.
  • As one of its many business development activities, the SSMEDC supports current and aspiring entrepreneurs. Each year, the corporation facilitates a number of training seminars and information sessions designed to teach and inspire. For example, last week, Startup Sault and the SSMEDC hosted a new event called Startup Talks, featuring local business owner and developer Joe Ruscio. During the session, the entrepreneur discussed his 24-year-and-counting career, including the many challenges and how he overcame them. Today, Joe has ownership in more than 15 companies, including an accounting firm and hotel, which employ hundreds of people. The Startup Talks took place at the SSMEDC's recently-opened Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship in the Machine Shop, with over 30 entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs in attendance.
  • Following the SSMEDC's annual meeting this week, three community leaders joined the organization's volunteer Board of Directors: lawyer Paul Skeggs, entrepreneur Frank O'Connor, and retired City Finance Commissioner Bill Freiburger. Also at the annual meeting, SSMEDC Past President Greg Punch retired from the Board following 14 years of service. Another longtime Board member, Albert Giommi, retired earlier this year. The SSMEDC is a non-profit organization governed by a Board of Directors consisting of business and community leaders who commit thousands of hours annually to the corporation's governance and administration. With recent changes, the Executive Committee now consists of: Robert Reid (President), Don Mitchell (Past President), Terry Rainone (1st Vice-President), Donna Hilsinger (Secretary) and Lori Naccarato (Treasurer).
  • Over the past several years, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie has been working to grow ridership on the Agawa Canyon Tour Train, the community's number one travel generator. The organization now handles all marketing activity around the attraction. It also handles a few operational functions. For instance, following a competitive bid and review process, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie selected Santini's Bistro at The Tech to provide catering services on the Agawa Canyon Tour Train. The goal is to provide a more wholesome experience for riders and, ultimately, grow the passenger base. Last year, thanks to Tourism Sault Ste. Marie's solid marketing campaign, the attraction drew 30,000 visitors for the first time since 2007. The Agawa Canyon Tour Train will begin daily runs on June 21 and continue until October 10.

June 3, 2016

  • Tourism Sault Ste. Marie is making a community bid to host the 2018 Ontario Winter Games. The four-day event is expected to attract between 2,700 and 3,500 visiting athletes, coaches and staff, along with around 500 family members and friends. Ultimately, the 2018 Ontario Winter Games will inject more than $2 million of direct visitor spending into the host city economy, plus millions more in indirect and induced benefits. As one of its core activities, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie works to attract and support major events that draw visitors to the community. Between 2010 and 2015, the organization's activity generated 197,231 visitor days and $28.8 million in direct visitor spending.
  • As one of its many business development activities, the SSMEDC markets the City's industrial land. The Corporation also helps facilitate industrial land transactions between the Municipality and private sector. For instance, the SSMEDC recently received three separate offers from three companies seeking to purchase parcels on Yates Avenue, which contains 60 acres of City-owned industrial land ready to be developed. The offers were made by a construction business, recycling company and landscaping firm, all of which are looking to expand their operations. The submissions are currently being reviewed by the City's Legal Department.
  • Last week, the first-ever RBC-NOA SSM Bear Pit was held at the Delta Sault Ste. Marie Waterfront Hotel. The business pitch event is similar to CBC's Dragon's Den reality television show. Four local technology-based companies were featured: Digital Grounds Inc. (Gentroo), Heuristext Inc., North Origin Games Inc., and Veracity Asset Management Group Inc. The SSMEDC was a proud partner of the RBC-NOA SSM Bear Pit. The Corporation was represented on the pre-selection committee. As well, early event meetings were held at the SSMEDC's recently-opened Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship.
  • May 29 to June 4 is Tourism Week at Ontario Travel Information Centres across the province. The annual event is a kickoff campaign for the beginning of the summer travel season, which is especially important for Sault Ste. Marie. At the loal Travel Information Centre adjacent to the International Bridge, a number of activities are taking place throughout the week. As it has in previous years, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie is taking part in the event. The organization is a longtime partner of the Sault Ste. Marie Travel Information Centre.