Weekly Activity Reports - November 2015

November 27, 2015

  • Earlier this month, Essar Steel Algoma sought protection under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA). In reaction to the firm's restructuring, and the impact it's having on Sault Ste. Marie, the SSMEDC established the Essar/CCAA Community Response Committee. The group is working on short and long-term solutions to support Essar Steel Algoma, its workforce, pensioners and creditors, along with the community in general. The committee includes representatives from the area's economic development, employment and social services agencies, such as the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, FedNor, Ministry of Training Colleges and University, City of Sault Ste. Marie, Employment Solutions, Chamber of Commerce, Sault College, Algoma Workforce Investment Corporation, Business Development Bank of Canada, Community Development Corporation, and Innovation Centre.
  • At Monday's City Council meeting, an Economic Development Fund (EDF) application from the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre was approved by Council. The $100,000 Municipal investment is expected to lever additional funding of $900,000 from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation and $150,000 from the Ontario Trillium Foundation. The centre's $1.15-million expansion project is slated to create 13 jobs and help increase visitation levels to the community. The EDF is a Municipal fund established annually by City Council. The SSMEDC Board of Directors provides due diligence on EDF applications and makes recommendations to Council. This week's Bushplane Centre funding is a prime example. Meanwhile, in light of this expansion, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie will be partnering with the centre to undertake joint marketing initiatives.
  • Every year, the SSMEDC team assists dozens of current and aspiring entrepreneurs with their business startup and expansion projects. One recent example is Ken Belanger, a retired National Hockey League player who currently owns and operates KBX Hockey Club. His company offers specialized training for hockey skaters, goaltenders, lacrosse and ringette players, and other athletes. Its sports training facility, which currently employs four people, features an indoor synthetic ice shooting lane and circuit training area. To help get off the ground, KBX Hockey Club received a $125,000 investment from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation, it was announced last week. The SSMEDC supported the business in its startup and assisted the owner with developing government funding applications.
  • Tourism Sault Ste. Marie is seeking to hire a Coordinator of Partnership and Marketing. This position is responsible for the administration of marketing partnerships with private sector companies, cooperative development of brochures and website content, and government and regional website maintenance. As well, the Coordinator of Partnership and Marketing is responsible for the daily operation of Tourism Sault Ste. Marie's online reservation system, which is the first of its kind in Northern Ontario and has seen considerable growth in recent years. This is a one-year contract position that's filling in for an employee who's going on maternity leave in the new year. The deadline to apply is Monday, December 7 at 4 p.m. To view the full job posting, or for additional information, visit www.sault-canada.com/en/aboutus/ssmedcjobs.asp.

November 20, 2015

  • In the spring of 2017, Festivals & Events Ontario (FEO) will be holding its 30th annual conference in Sault Ste. Marie. The city was selected from among a shortlist of four municipalities throughout the province. Tourism Sault Ste. Marie helped secure the event for the community. The 2017 FEO conference is expected to attract well over 300 festival and event professionals from across Ontario. While generating a significant economic impact for the Sault Ste. Marie economy in terms of visitor spending, the forum will also allow the community to be showcased to industry representatives as a great place to host future festivals and events. The FEO annual conference features a major tradeshow marketplace, an awards ceremony and numerous showcase entertainers. More information will be available in the coming weeks.
  • The SSMEDC works with business clients at every stage of development. In many cases, the relationship is long-lasting. For example, Northern Chiropractic & Physiotherapy opened in 2013. The company is owned by Dr. Jason Bradford, a chiropractor, and Matt Chlebus, a physiotherapist. To help establish the firm, they used the services of the SSMEDC, which assisted the entrepreneurs in a number of startup matters, including securing grants from senior levels of government. Today, with a growing patient list, Jason and Matt are moving to a new, larger facility at 683A Great Northern Road, where they hope to be operating from early in the new year. They're also looking at expanding their workforce. Given the past success that came from working with the SSMEDC, the owners are again utilizing the Corporation's services to assist in the expansion.
  • For the past year, the SSMEDC has been a member of the Project Management Team with the Port of Algoma. The transportation infrastructure initiative has the potential to be a lever for economic development and significantly alter the region's economy. To help drive this project forward, the SSMEDC and Port of Algoma sent representatives to the 2015 Highway H2O Conference this week. The annual forum brings together members and partners of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway System for learning and networking. Dan Hollingsworth from the SSMEDC and Anshumali Dwivedi from Port of Algoma attended the event to build strategic relationships with other port facilities and learn best practices from transportation industry leaders. These connections are now generating new opportunities for cargo and industrial growth for Sault Ste. Marie.
  • This week, Sault Ste. Marie had the privilege of hosting the 2015 Northern Ontario Tourism Summit. Taking place at Quattro Hotel and Conference Centre, the forum was facilitated by Tourism Northern Ontario and Nature & Outdoors Tourism Ontario. The steering committee, which planned and facilitated the event, was led by Tourism Sault Ste. Marie. Held November 16 to 18, the summit brought together industry representatives from across the region for education and networking opportunities. As well, the forum provided an opportunity for Northern Ontario tourism organizations in the public, private and non-profit sectors to discuss and plan joint initiatives. Approximately 400 delegates attended the three-day event, which generated an economic impact of roughly $200,000 in direct visitor spending for the local economy.

November 13, 2015

  • The PBS television show Travelscope recently aired an episode on visitor attractions in the Sault area. The U.S. public broadcasting channel is transmitted to 82% of American homes. Simply put, the Travelscope episode will generate significant marketing exposure for the Sault. How did this opportunity come about? Ian McMillan, Executive Director of Tourism Sault Ste. Marie, attended the Canadian Media Marketplace last year. While there, he met with officials from Travelscope and learned they were looking to film a six-part series on Canada. Ian discussed the beauty of his hometown to the show's producers, who later made a commitment to shoot three episodes in Northern Ontario, with one focused on the Sault. This promotional opportunity was also made possible with support from the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation.
  • So far in November, the SSMEDC has provided area tours and general information to five visiting doctors who are looking for a place to practice. The Corporation is a longtime supporter of the community's physician recruitment efforts. Over the past several years, the SSMEDC has met with - and given tours to - several dozen medical professionals, many of whom made subsequent commitments to practice here. The goal of this activity is to attract investment and create jobs while increasing the quality of life for citizens. Says Christine Pagnucco, Manager of the Sault Ste. Marie Physician Recruitment & Retention Program: "The support we have received from the SSMEDC team over the years has gone a very long way in helping to attract doctors to the city. We look forward to continuing to work together in the months and years to come."
  • Tourism Sault Ste. Marie is pleased to welcome its new Manager of Sport Tourism and Special Events. Alana Kenopic was recently hired for the position. In this role, she'll be working with partner organizations to secure and support major sports tournaments and other events that draw visitors to the community. Alana joined the SSMEDC team in October 2014 in a contract role as Coordinator of Meetings and Conventions. With recent staffing changes, and following a competitive hiring process, an opportunity arose to have her stay with the organization in another position. Between 2008 and 2014, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie, working with its community partners, secured or supported 392 sports tournaments and conferences. This activity attracted well over 70,000 visitors and injected $33.7 million of direct spending into the local economy.
  • Last week, at the 2015 Business Awards from the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce, SSMEDC Board member Donna Hilsinger received the Paul Dalseg Award. The honour recognizes a businessperson who has demonstrated exemplary interest in the community and, in doing so, has made an outstanding achievement or contribution to the Sault. Donna is a longstanding leader in the tourism and arts sectors. She's General Manager of Algoma's Water Tower Inn & Suites and volunteer President of the Algoma Fall Festival. As well, Donna is the past Chair of Tourism Sault Ste. Marie and currently serves as Secretary on the SSMEDC's volunteer Board of Directors. Also at the Chamber Awards last week, the SSMEDC-sponsored Environment Award was presented to the City of Sault Ste. Marie in recognition of the Municipality's green initiatives.

November 6, 2015

  • With 13,500 tons of road salt offloaded, Wednesday marked the first shipment - unrelated to steel - for the Port of Algoma. For successes like this to be repeated en mass, the public harbour will need to be redeveloped to meet the needs of growing cargo and industrial opportunities. For that, capital investments are required. The Port of Algoma, along with its community partners including the SSMEDC, are working toward this goal and looking to capitalize on the Sault's strategic location. The SSMEDC has been working with company officials for several years on developing business opportunities for the harbour. Says Anshumali Dwivedi, CEO of the Port of Algoma: "Our partnership with the SSMEDC has been very productive. They have been a fantastic resource, and their assistance has been - and continues to be - very much appreciated."
  • Tourism Sault Ste. Marie recently hosted a familiarization tour for representatives from the Coaches Association of Ontario. The non-profit organization, which provides support and recognition for coaches, is looking at facilitating a SuperClinic Program in the Sault in October 2016. In preparation for next year's event, the visiting reps toured a variety of sports facilities, including the Northern Community Centre, Sault College, Essar Centre, George Leach Centre, John Rhodes Community Centre, and Community First Curling Centre. Supporting and securing events like the SuperClinic Program, which draw visitors to the city, is a main activity of Tourism Sault Ste. Marie. Between 2008 and 2014, the agency attracted 392 tournaments and conferences, which drew well over 70,000 visitors and infused $33.7 million of direct spending into the local economy.
  • The SSMEDC is set to roll out Invest Sault Ste. Marie. Funded by all levels of government, the targeted marketing and business development project aims to grow new and existing business opportunities and attract international investment to the community. To help deliver the initiative, the SSMEDC is now looking to hire a Manager of Trade, Investment Attraction and Community Marketing. Candidates have until November 13 to apply. For more details, visit www.sault-canada.com/en/aboutus/ssmedcjobs.asp. This position is made possible with funding from the Federal and Provincial Governments. Securing these types of investments from senior levels of government is a common occurrence for the SSMEDC, which levers its core funding from the Municipality at rate of 2:1 to deliver programs and projects on behalf of the community.
  • Every year, the community welcomes thousands of travellers from around the world. To pay homage to the people, businesses and groups responsible for bolstering the city's visitor-friendly reputation, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie hosted its 13th annual Tourism Awards last night. The event honours the industry's best and brightest. The 2015 Tourism Sault Ste. Marie Awards winners are: Michael Burtch (Tourism Award of Excellence), Quattro Hotel and Conference Centre (Business of the Year Award), SSM Ontario Travel Information Centre Staff and Thomas Breen from Quality Inn & Suites Bay Front (Customer Service Award), Brenda McEwen & Asima Vezina from the 2015 Ontario Regional Synchronized Skating Championship (Tourism Ambassador Award), and Rebecca Savage (Student Hospitality Management Award and $500 Scholarship).