Weekly Activity Reports - November 2016

November 25, 2016

  • Winter is coming. Please don't shoot the messenger. On a plus note, there's another option to get away this season. Sunwing Airlines, which has offered flights from the Sault to Punta Cana for several years, added Jamaica to its local destination list. The announcement was made this week by the Airport Development Corporation, which is working to increase traffic at the Sault airport. The SSMEDC and Airport Development Corporation are longtime partners. In 2007, they attracted JD Aero, an aircraft maintenance and overhaul firm. In 2008, they landed Sunwing. In 2011, they attracted Porter Airlines. In 2015, they secured investments to undertake an airport expansion project. More recently, the SSMEDC and Airport Development Corporation formed a partnership to develop the airport site with additional industrial and commercial components.
  • Over the past couple of weeks, Pyewacket was filmed in the Sault. The movie stars Laurie Holden, who appeared in four seasons of the AMC zombie apocalypse series The Walking Dead. Pyewacket director Adam MacDonald, who starred in the hit Canadian television show Rookie Blue, is now wrapping up the local shoot. When a movie production comes to town, the SSMEDC provides assistance to the visiting crew. In particular, the Corporation's Business Development team supports the production in setting up in the city and maneuvering through the Municipal approval process. Over the past several years, a wide variety of films have been shot here, including Remember (Christopher Plummer, Martin Landau), Collaborator (David Morse, Martin Donovan), Breakout (Brendan Fraser), and Compulsion (Heather Graham, Carrie-Anne Moss).
  • The Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, recently released a report titled Closing the Tourism Gap: Creating a Long-Term Advantage for Ontario. The publication highlights the importance of the tourism sector on the local and provincial economy. It also underscores a significant tourism opportunity gap when compared to international growth rates, along with some action items on what can be done to bolster the sector and close the gap. Tourism Sault Ste. Marie was heavily involved in the consultation of the report. The organization acted as a local and regional industry representative during the information-gathering process. To view Closing the Tourism Gap: Creating a Long-Term Advantage for Ontario, visit http://ssmcoc.com/files/images/News/Closing%20the%20Tourism%20Gap-ssmcoc.pdf.
  • This week, during the 2016 Ontario Tourism Summit, Ian McMillan, Executive Director of Tourism Sault Ste. Marie, moderated a keynote session. Featuring expert panelists, the focus was on growing indigenous tourism. With many travellers seeking an authentic and quality aboriginal cultural and tourism experience, this is one of the fastest-growing segments of the province's tourism sector. Given the community's rich aboriginal history, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie and its partners are working with area First Nations to develop tourism products. Tourism Sault Ste. Marie is also fostering visitor products focused on the iconic Group of Seven artists. Simply put, Aboriginal and cultural tourism is a key focus locally, which is why a Tourism Sault Ste. Marie representative was invited to be a part of the keynote session at this year's Ontario Tourism Summit.

November 18, 2016

  • Last weekend, Sault College hosted the 2016 National Cross Country Championships of the Canadian Collegiate Athletics Association. Held at Crimson Ridge Golf Course, the competition attracted more than 220 runners from 38 schools across the country. With coaches, officials and parents, the total visitor draw was around 300, which left a significant economic impact on the local economy. Tourism Sault Ste. Marie worked with Sault College on securing this year's CCAA National Cross Country Championships. Attracting major events is a main focus of Tourism Sault Ste. Marie. Between 2008 and 2015, the organization secured or supported 417 conferences and sports tournaments. This activity drew more than 70,000 visitors and injected over $35 million of direct visitor spending into the local economy. These events also generated a significant amount of indirect and induced economic activity for the community.
  • To attract investment and generate leads for local businesses, the SSMEDC represented the community last month at MINExpo International, the world's largest mining tradeshow. Sault-based NorPro Security & Investigations was one of several area companies that took part in the forum. "Attending MinExpo opened up new opportunities for us in the mining sector as it relates to security," said NorPro owner Brad Gregorini. "The support we received from the SSMEDC cannot be underestimated. They assisted us in every business-to-business meeting, and we are currently examining two major opportunities." Area participation at MINExpo was made possible with support from FedNor and Ministry of Northern Development and Mines. The SSMEDC attended the event with fellow members of Ontario's North Economic Development Corporation, a regional partnership funded by senior levels of government.
  • On Wednesday, StartUP Sault hosted a screening of Generation Startup. Held at The Tech, more than 50 entrepreneurs and other guests attended. The documentary follows six entrepreneurs as they embark upon the startup journey in Detroit. The film gives a glimpse of what it is really like to build a company while also showing how a city can rebuild and reinvent itself. The goal of the local screening was to inspire and engage the Sault's entrepreneurs. After the documentary was played, a panel discussion took place involving a number of community representatives, including Mayor Provenzano, the SSMEDC's Andrew Ross and Angela Bruni, Rory Ring from the Chamber of Commerce, Innovation Centre's Heather Lewis, Karen Senecal from the Community Development Corporation, and Nevin Buconjoc from the SSMEDC and StartUP Sault . The SSMEDC, which is a key community partner of StartUP Sault, helped facilitate the event.
  • The Tourism Sault Ste. Marie Facebook page was given some very nice kudos this week. With its more than 24,000 likes, the @SaultTourism site helped Sault Ste. Marie rank first overall out of 321 cities in Ontario in a survey published November 15 by Redbrick Communications. The report compared municipal social media activity across the province. The ranking is excellent news for the community and speaks volumes to the efforts of the Tourism Sault Ste. Marie team, which has made social media a key visitor marketing platform, particularly in recent years. View the Tourism Sault Ste. Marie Facebook page at www.facebook.com/SaultTourism/. To view the Redbrick Communications municipal social media survey, please visit www.redbrick.ca/assets/file/resource/SMS-Infographic-2016-FINAL.pdf.

November 11, 2016

  • Noront Resources, a Canadian-based mining company, is looking to build a ferrochrome processing facility. The alloy is used in the production of stainless steel. Hearing of the opportunity, the SSMEDC reached out to company officials. Last week, Noront reps, including President and CEO Alan Coutts, visited the Sault. The SSMEDC toured the officials to various sites and presented them with the competitive advantages of setting up shop here, including multimodal transportation opportunities, close proximity to manufacturing facilities and other potential partners, access to skilled labour, and government incentives. The SSMEDC generates many of these types of leads annually. Some of them - such as JD Aero, Canadian Bank Note, Arauco/Flakeboard, Ellsin Environmental and Agero - pan out, which leads to businesses being established here. Some opportunities do not pan out. So is the nature of economic development.
  • This week, Sault Ste. Marie was home to Aboriginal Business Match (ABM) East 2016. Held at the Machine Shop from November 7 to 9, the business-matchmaking forum connected 75 Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal companies and decision makers from across the country. A number of local firms took part in the event, including McDougall Energy, GHD, T&T Promotional Products, Great Lakes Power, BDO Canada, N-Sci Technologies, and Pinchin Ltd. Held in locations throughout eastern Canada, ABM East is designed to generate business opportunities for participating companies. Given the trade, investment and partnership benefits to Sault-based firms, the SSMEDC joined forced with Garden River First Nation and Mississauga First Nation to host the technology-facilitated tradeshow. Tourism Sault Ste. Marie also worked with conference organizers to secure ABM East 2016 for the community.
  • The SSMEDC presented a $1,300 cheque to the Soup Kitchen Community Centre on Monday. The funds were from contributions made by participants who attended Bridges to Better Business 2016. The event is hosted annually by the SSMEDC. It attracts current and aspiring entrepreneurs for an evening of learning and networking. Featuring a keynote presentation from former Dragons' Den adviser Sean Wise, this year's forum drew nearly 200 participants, the largest crowd in the history of the local event. Held October 19 in the Machine Shop, the organizing partners for Bridges to Better Business 2016 included the Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship, BDC, Province of Ontario, Chamber of Commerce, Startup Sault, Innovation Centre and Community Development Corporation. The Soup Kitchen Community Centre serves between 1,500 and 2,000 meals per month. In addition, the charity offers various programs and services.
  • This year proved to be one of the best in recent history for attraction visitations, cruise ship traffic and other tourism statistics. To recognize the people, businesses and organizations responsible for bolstering the community's visitor-friendly reputation, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie hosted its 14th annual Tourism Awards last night at Algoma's Water Tower Inn & Suites. The event honours the industry's best and brightest. The 2016 Tourism Sault Ste. Marie Awards winners are: Kim Forbes (Tourism Award of Excellence), Quality Inn & Suites Bay Front (Business of the Year Award), Tim Jin Suen- Front Desk/Reception at Algoma's Water Tower Inn & Suites (Customer Service Award), Sault Ringette Club (Tourism Ambassador Award), and Sandy Toole (Student Culinary Management Award and $500 Scholarship). The runner ups for Customer Service Award were Tanya Powe from Days Inn & Suites and John Doncaster from Holiday Inn Express.

November 4, 2016

  • An SSMEDC business client is attending the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair this weekend in Toronto. Christian Lowe, owner of Paramount Saddlery, along with his partners, will be showcasing the company's product line at the 10-day event. For more than 20 years, the business has been producing custom-made, English-style equestrian saddles. Located on Allen's Side Road, Paramount Saddlery is one of only three firms in Canada operating in this highly-specialized field. Christian is a former client of the SSMEDC. A few years ago, the Corporation's Enterprise Services team assisted him with financial analysis and business planning to help the company growth. Christian also took part in a 2015 panel discussion on business opportunities and challenges at Bridges to Better Business, an annual learning and networking forum hosted by the SSMEDC. For more information on Paramount Saddlery, visit www.paramountsaddlery.ca.
  • Motor coach tourism traffic has been increasing in the Sault over the past couple years. In 2015, more than 150 bus tours carrying over 8,000 passengers from South Korea, Japan, the U.S. and Canada came here. The main focus of these group trips is the Agawa Canyon Tour Train and Group of Seven-themed excursions. Results for 2016 will be available in the coming months, though early reports have it being the best year yet for motor coach travel. Why the uptick? Tourism Sault Ste. Marie markets the community to tour operators around the world. Last week, for instance, a representative from the organization attended the Ontario Motor Coach Marketplace in Niagara Falls. The forum attracted more than 250 global tour operators. Tourism Sault Ste. Marie presented the Agawa Canyon and Group of Seven itineraries, which were very well received. This is expected to lead to even more motor coach tours coming here next year.
  • Earlier today, Ian McMillan, Executive Director of Tourism Sault Ste. Marie, dropped the ceremonial opening puck during one of the final games of the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. He and members of his team have been assisting organizers and Hockey Canada in facilitating the tournament all week. This event was secured last year by Tourism Sault Ste. Marie, in partnership with the City of Sault Ste. Marie. It attracted hundreds of visitors to the community. And with the semi-final and final games broadcast on national television, there are promotional benefits for the Sault as well. Attracting major events is a main focus of Tourism Sault Ste. Marie. Between 2008 and 2015, the organization secured or supported 417 conferences and sports tournaments. This activity drew more than 70,000 visitors and injected over $35 million of direct visitor spending into the local economy.
  • On Monday, the SSMEDC released the September/October 2016 edition of its bimonthly newsletter, The Pulse. The digital publication includes short articles on the Corporation's business clients, results generated for the community and other activity. The SSMEDC newsletter is sent electronically to approximately 1,500 recipients. Of those, roughly 45% open the email, and just under 20% click through to at least one story. These statistics are well above average for email marketing and communications campaigns. The Pulse has been published since October 2008. View the archive online at: www.sault-canada.com/en/aboutus/newsletter.asp. The SSMEDC uses a number of corporate communications methods to reach a wide audience. Social media and Weekly Activity Reports, for example, highlight some of the team's more day-to-day functions. To view this content, visit www.sault-canada.com/en/aboutus/stayconnected.asp.