3. Ajax, Brock, Clarington, Oshawa, Pickering, Scugog, Uxbridge, Whitby 1
Message from Regional Chair
Message from Kathy Weiss
Strategies & Studies
Marketing & Promotion
Boards & Committees
Planning and Economic Development Department
Economic Development and Tourism Division
Outside Canada: 001-905-668-7711
Brian Bridgeman, MCIP, RPP
Commissioner, Planning and Economic Development
Kasia Chojecki, Ec.D, CEcD
Manager, Strategic Initiatives
Manager, Agriculture and Rural Affairs
Kathy Weiss, Ec.D, CEcD
Director, Economic Development and Tourism
Robert Nolan, Ec.D, CEcD
Manager, Investment Attraction
TABLE OF CONTENTS
4. Durham Region, Ontario Canada | Annual Activity Report 20152
Message from Roger Anderson, Regional Chair and CEO
In 2015, Durham Region generated a buzz of activity. At the centre of industry-specific events, business missions and
familiarization tours, as well as celebrations of entrepreneurship, arts, culture and tourism—Durham remains the clear
choice for investment.
Our land, location, people, infrastructure and balanced living boasts a highly skilled labour force, diverse economic
base, superior quality of life and competitive business costs. We offer real-estate investors, developers and business
leaders the winning combination of attractive land prices, available labour force and transportation connections.
Through the efforts of our Economic Development and Tourism Division, our region continues to gain global
recognition as a premier destination that attracts and retains entrepreneurs, innovators, visitors and residents.
I invite you to explore and invest in Durham Region, and take advantage of the opportunities our dynamic
communities have to offer.
Message from KathyWeiss, Director, Economic Development andTourism
The Region of Durham’s Economic Development and Tourism Division celebrated many new achievements in 2015,
including exciting progress in our foreign direct investment strategy with China; the first annual Durham Region Film
Festival, designed to build upon the growing success of the film and television industry in Durham; our first Chinese
investment with Hans Steel Canada; and successful familiarization tours with delegates from across Latin America.
Our team of skilled economic development and tourism professionals works diligently to facilitate and advance
Durham Region’s efforts for continued economic growth, job creation and revitalization throughout our key sectors:
advanced manufacturing, agri-business, digital technology, energy and tourism.
This report will highlight how the Economic Development and Tourism Division continues to establish Durham Region
as an ideal place to live, invest and grow a successful business.
5. Ajax, Brock, Clarington, Oshawa, Pickering, Scugog, Uxbridge, Whitby 3
The Division consists of four business units:
Investment Attraction, Agriculture and Rural Affairs,
Strategic Initiatives, and Tourism. Each business unit
is responsible for promoting and enhancing different
aspects of the region’s diverse business, recreational
and cultural environment.
One of the key goals of the Investment Attraction
unit is to attract new foreign direct investment to
the Region of Durham. The unit is also responsible
for building international relationships and raising
awareness of Durham’s many opportunities in key
international markets such as China, Brazil, the
European Union and the United States. The unit
organizes global investment missions, responds to
inquiries and welcomes international delegations
visiting the region.
Agriculture and Rural Affairs unit focuses on local
agri-culture, agri-food industries and the wide range
of support networks in the Region. The unit collab-
orates closely with partners and local stakeholders
to promote awareness and investment in rural com-
munities and the agricultural sector.
The Strategic Initiatives unit works with stakeholders
and partners on activities that assist in the growth and
development of the business community. The unit is
responsible for critical projects, as well as providing
key services that support economic development.
These include tracking economic performance metrics,
collecting data, providing statistics and marketing
support. The unit also focuses on programming for
The Tourism unit works with local organizations and
stakeholders in the tourism and hospitality industries
to promote Durham as a great, four-season destination.
The team works to market the region’s many tourist and
sporting attractions, recreational facilities and cultural
events to provincial, national and international travellers.
Durham Region is generating a
good deal of interest provincially,
nationally and around the world,
with a wide range of initiatives and
activities designed to maximize
growth and development in key
sectors of the economy. Investment
missions, innovation and
entrepreneurship, cultural events,
sports and recreation, and
a business-friendly environment
are all key ingredients in the growth
and prosperity of the region.
The Economic Development and Tourism Division, a
part of the Region’s Planning and Economic Develop-
ment Department, works to facilitate development
across the urban and rural communities that make up
the Regional Municipality of Durham. The Division’s
objectives are to help create job opportunities,
encourage private sector investment, bring tourists
and visitors to the region’s facilities and attractions,
and to expand the non-residential tax base.
6. Durham Region, Ontario Canada | Annual Activity Report 20154
and met with local officials and business leaders.
At the end of this very successful exchange, officials
from Wuxi New District, along with the Mayor
of Oshawa signed a letter of intent to establish
a“Friendship Cities”relationship between their
respective municipalities. The two pledged to
continue and expand bilateral co-operation, trade
and investment, as well as exploring cultural and
| Hans Steel Canada Investment
One example of the success of continuing trade
missions has been the establishment of the Hans
Steel Canada manufacturing facility in Uxbridge.
The company, a part of the Qingdao Wuxiao Group
based in China, makes steel structures such a power
transmission and telecommunications towers.
Hans Steel, which had previously established a site in
Niagara, came to Durham Region in 2014 to explore
possible new sites. Economic Development staff
worked with the Township of Uxbridge, and helped
the company select a suitable property - a 85,000
square-foot facility (7,897 square metres). Plans are
underway to expand it by another 35,000 square
feet (3,251 square metres). The company will initially
employ about 20 people.
| Film Festival
The first annual Durham Region Film Festival brought
fun and excitement—not to mention a touch of
movie magic—to the region in September.
This exciting initiative was designed to build on the
growing success of the film and television industry in
Durham. The region has played a part in well-known
TV productions such as Fly Away Home, Carrie, Nikita
and the very popular Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town.
Organized by the Durham Region Film Office, the
film festival drew on the support of a sub-committee
of local film industry professionals, volunteers and
sponsors, and featured programming support from
the ReelWorld Film Institute.
The Region of Durham’s foreign direct investment
(FDI) strategy to reach out to China is starting to
show exciting progress in establishing relationships
with investors and business development leaders
in that rapidly growing country. Two missions to
China were undertaken by Regional officials in 2015,
and a delegation from Wuxi New District, in Jiangsu
Province, travelled to Durham in late November. These
efforts led to a“Friendship Cities”agreement between
the Region of Durham and Wuxi City – a significant
milestone that raises the profile of Durham in this
important region of China. Last fall, trade officials
from Wuxi New District, a growing region bordering
on Wuxi City, came to Durham, and toured key sites
7. Ajax, Brock, Clarington, Oshawa, Pickering, Scugog, Uxbridge, Whitby 5
Local film production was estimated to have brought
more than $26 million to the region in 2015, and
TriBro Studios has announced plans to bring a major
production facility to Pickering.
| Harvest Picnic
The Regional Municipality of Durham, through the
efforts of many volunteers, made it into the record
books for the world’s longest picnic table.
This took shape at Whitby’s Victoria Fields in August,
as the Durham Harvest Picnic kicked off the Durham
Festival. Officially measuring 136.61 metres (448.19
feet) long, the impressive piece of outdoor furniture
beat the previous Guinness World Record by a
decisive 16.28 metres (53.41 feet).
Built by volunteers working with Habitat for Humanity
Durham and other partners, the world’s longest picnic
table was capable of seating more than 500 people at
once. After the official verification of the table’s eye-
popping length, volunteers, participants and guests
put the new record holder to good use by sitting
down to a well-deserved community lunch. After the
event, volunteers took apart the record-setting table
and the lumber was donated to Habitat for Humanity,
to aid in the framing of four townhouses in Oshawa.
| Pan Am Games Familiarization Tour
Building on the excitement generated by the 2015
Pan Am and Parapan Am Games, the Region of
Durham, working closely with the Durham Economic
Development Partnership (DEDP), organized a
highly successful familiarization tour of the region
for delegates from across Latin America. More than
20 representatives from various businesses and
intermediaries enjoyed site visits and discussions
with leaders in economic development, business,
education, recreation and other sectors in Durham.
The three-day tour included seating at a preliminary
men’s baseball match at the President’s Choice Ajax
Pan Am Ballpark; a guided tour of Algoma Orchards in
Clarington; and networking receptions at Nestleton
Waters Inn in Scugog, Axalta Coating Systems in Ajax,
and Parkwood Estate in Oshawa.
As a showcase for the region, the tour and subsequent
follow-up meetings helped to introduce visitors
to the potential of Durham Region and the
opportunities available for business development
and partnerships. Economic development staff are
building relationships across the Americas, working
with the Brazil-Canada Chamber of Commerce, the
Colombian Trade Commission and growing contacts
in Argentina, among others.
The three-day event opened at the Regent Theatre in
Oshawa with a screening of The Messenger, produced
by Durham’s own Joanne Jackson, who hosted a
lively and entertaining Q&A session with audience
members after the show. This was followed by a
spectacular mix-and-mingle evening attended by
the public, as well as local and provincial dignitaries,
well known actors and actresses, film distributors, and
representatives from the Ontario Media Development
Corporation and the Toronto Film Office.
Day two moved to the Docville Wild West Movie
Set in Newcastle, and featured screenings of three
motion pictures, followed by panel discussions with
the artists behind the projects. On the final day, three
more features were screened, including Chicanery, a
highly innovative film created entirely on an iPad.
During the day, between the screenings, the public
was invited to get a taste of film production by acting
as crew members on set, as more than 60 students
from Durham College’s Media, Art and Design
program made a“movie-in-a-day.”Film production
demonstrations included auditions, the use of
drone cameras and stunt performances from the
Durham Improv and Acting Studio and Suckerpunch
Productions. In the Kids Zone, children had a chance
to meet Durham’s own former child stars Sophia and
Jacob Ewaniuk (stars of Covert Affairs and Rookie Blue,
among many others).
8. Durham Region, Ontario Canada | Annual Activity Report 2015 76
| Lead Generation
Missions to key international markets to promote
Durham Region’s value proposition to potential
investors continue to generate new investment
inquires. In 2015, the Investment Attraction business
unit received and responded to 172 investment
inquiries. The majority of these enquiries came from
potential investors in regions previously visited by
Durham staff. Other sources of inquiries included
pan-regional partnerships such as the Ontario
Clean Technology Alliance and the Greater Toronto
The Investment Attraction team
works closely with municipal and
regional partners, in co-operation
with provincial and federal
governments and agencies, to
promote the many advantages
of investing in Durham to priority
markets around the world. In 2015,
the team focused its efforts on
three priority areas:
Providing excellent service and information to
potential investors who have made contact and
submitted inquiries to the Region.
Planning, managing and conducting missions to
key international markets in order to make contacts
in priority sectors and build recognition of the
Hosting delegations from foreign governments and
business organizations, and ensuring that they have
a positive experience as well as learning first-hand
about the advantages of investing in Durham.
Investment inquiries by source and quarter
(Year End 2015)
ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT24
LOGISTICS & DISTRIBUTION6
PROFESSIONAL SERVICES 16
ALL OTHER SECTORS 6
Q2 Q3 Q4
12530 41 22 32
165 4 2 5
2222 0 0 0
94 2 1 2
9. Ajax, Brock, Clarington, Oshawa, Pickering, Scugog, Uxbridge, Whitby 7
The Investment Attraction team
frequently has the opportunity to
welcome delegations from other
jurisdictions, who come to Durham
to see first-hand what the region
has to offer.
These missions usually consist of government and
trade officials, as well as established companies
and investors looking for growth and development
opportunities. Many of these missions develop from
relationships that the Region establishes during
missions overseas, while others stem from inquiries
received by staff, or in response to marketing
Ice fishing with the new Chinese Consul General:
In February, the Region introduced a group of
45 Chinese officials, business leaders and media
representatives including the new Consul General,
to the delights of ice fishing on Lake Simcoe.
Familiarizing Chinese delegation with Durham
agriculture: The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture,
Food and Rural Affairs selected Durham Region to
showcase the province’s strength in agriculture and
agri-business for a delegation of 10 Chinese business
people and government officials.
Welcoming visitors from Latin America for the Pan
Am Games: In July, the Region held a familiarization
tour for 21 delegates from Latin America.
Hosting a European food magazine editor:
Regional staff welcomed the editor of Food Marketing
& Technology, the leading European trade publication
for executives in the food industry, as part of Ontario’s
Food Cluster program. The tour included food produc-
tion and processing facilities, as well as the Centre
for Food at Durham College, and resulted in a feature
article about the region in the magazine.
Xinjiang Industrial & Commercial Delegation:
In October, the Region discussed bilateral economic
co-operation with a delegation of officials from the
Xinjiang Department of Industry and Commerce and
a company from that region.
Zibo Functional Ceramics Company:
In November, the Region hosted a delegation of
officials and two companies specializing in industrial
ceramics from Zibo, one of the Region’s three
friendship cities .
10. Durham Region, Ontario Canada | Annual Activity Report 20158
Wuxi Municipal People’s Government:
In November, five senior officials from Wuxi, China,
visited the region for two days. The City of Oshawa
and Wuxi New District signed a friendship agreement
to strengthen business and cultural ties.
Yichun Municipal People’s Government:
In November, the Vice Mayor of Yichun led a
delegation to Durham Region to explore bilateral
opportunities between Durham and Yichun.
Chang Ping District Business:
In November, a business delegation from Chang Ping,
a Friendship City, came to Durham looking to further
expand co-operation and exchanges with the Region.
In addition, the Region welcomed the Ontario Ministry
of Economic Development Employment and
Infrastructure (MEDEI) and the Ministry of Research
and Innovation (MRI) for a one-day familiarization
tour for the Toronto-based staff and 25 of the
Ministry’s International Investment Development
Representatives (IIDRs). They chose Durham Region
to build on the team’s knowledge of the province and
help them to better sell Ontario (and Durham) in their
In October, the mission to Brazil focused on making
contacts and promoting partnerships in the digital
media and technology sectors. This successful
mission included meetings in Rio de Janeiro, Porto
Alegre and the major industrial city of São Paulo. Staff
made contact with a number of potential investors,
intermediaries and government officials. The Region
has already hosted one Brazilian company interested
in investing in Durham, while another six have also
During the same month, the Durham Economic
Development Partners (DEDP) also participated in
the annual CoreNet Global event in Los Angeles,
California. This annual show brought together 2,500 of
the most influential corporate real estate professionals
from around the world, and represented a valuable
opportunity for Durham to raise its profile among
these key influencers.
Overseas missions to promote Durham as an
investment location were a key priority for the
Investment Attraction team in 2015. The team
undertook 11 missions to international markets to
identify and engage with potential investors. Two of
these missions were undertaken to establish contact
with overseas investment facilitators—such as site
selectors, commercial realtors, accountants and legal
professionals—who advise their local clients when
they are considering international growth and are
looking for the best possible sites.
In 2015, Durham took part in two missions to China,
five to major industry events in the United States, two
to Germany, and one each to France and Brazil.
In March, the Region took part in a program co-
ordinated by the Economic Developers Council of
Ontario (EDCO) along with other Ontario communities
in a major international real estate and logistics event
held in Cannes, France, known as MIPIM. With 2,445
exhibitors from 89 countries, the show attracted
well over 21,000 visitors. Regional staff and officials
held meetings with 12 international property
developers, and the Regional Chair participated in an
international mayors think tank.
11. Ajax, Brock, Clarington, Oshawa, Pickering, Scugog, Uxbridge, Whitby 9
| 2015 Investment Missions
| 2015 Missions to Investment Facilitators
The largest North American trade show for the electric power generation and transmission industry, with 11,700 attendees
from 67 countries, and over 480 exhibitors.
China Investment Mission
Meetings were held with 17 potential investors including three follow-up meetings with companies that had been met
previously, and three business incubators to discuss working relationships with Durham’s innovation centre, Spark Centre.
SAE World Congress conference and trade show for automotive industries. The Region partnered with the Automotive Centre
of Excellence (ACE). Over 12,000 attendees, and over 190 exhibitors.
National Association of Broadcasters show, for filmed entertainment and the development, management and delivery of
content. It featured 1,700 exhibitors, 103,000 attendees, with 26,300 international visitors from over 130 different countries.
The world’s leading trade fair for food processing, food packaging and food safety. Over 1,500 suppliers from 49 countries,
and 45,000 visitors from 137 countries.
China Investment Mission
Focused on government relations and business development with meetings in Nanjing, Wuxi, Zibo, Qingdao and Hong Kong.
Delegation met with 15 potential investors, including five follow-up meetings and a visit to a recent Chinese investor in
Durham Region. Also, included meetings with three Chinese incubators.
Brazil Investment Mission
Mission was focused on the digital media and technology sectors and included meetings in Rio de Janeiro, Porto Alegre and
São Paulo, concentrating on incubator and business accelerator partners.
European trade fair for packaging, technology, processing and logistics, with 1,500 exhibitors and had more than 43,000 visitors. 10 5
Food Process Expo
Biennial trade show brings together every market of the food industry to showcase the newest developments in processing
technology, with 914 exhibitors from more than 75 countries; total combined attendance of 19,670.
MISSION SHOW DETAILS LEADS PROSPECTS
North America’s leading association for corporate real estate and workplace professionals, service providers, site selectors and
economic developers. Durham hosted a private reception for invited guests.
Bringing together the most influential international property players from all sectors, and attended by 21,400 individuals, with
2,445 exhibiting companies from 89 countries and 4,800 investors.
12. | BACD
The Business Advisory Centre Durham (BACD) is a
not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing the
small business sector in Durham Region. The BACD
works directly with entrepreneurs and small business
owners, providing one-on-one consultation, helping
to navigate through the process of setting up a new
business, and hosting seminars and workshops on
effectively managing and growing a small business.
Durham Region plays a key role in
supporting and promoting small
business, entrepreneurs, and start-ups
in the creation of new jobs andthe
growthoftheeconomy. Durham offers
an environment that is friendly
and welcoming to innovation, and
provides a remarkable range of
services to support and encourage
the small business sector.
In 2015, the fourth annual Durham Region Business
Count identified that business growth occured in
the preceding 12 months. The region is home to
7,409 small businesses employing 10 or fewer people.
Altogether, this small business sector directly
accounts for more than 30,000 jobs.
Durham’s communities received recognition for
entrepreneurship and small business support. Profit
Guide Magazine selected both Whitby and Ajax to
be in the top eight Canada’s Best Places for Business
and Futurpreneur Canada, a non-profit corporation
working with young business people, recognized
Whitby as the country’s top entrepreneurial hot spot.
Durham Region, Ontario Canada | Annual Activity Report 201510
13. Ajax, Brock, Clarington, Oshawa, Pickering, Scugog, Uxbridge, Whitby 11
| Spark Centre
Spark Centre provides a range of support services
to help in the start-up and growth of innovative
small businesses in the technology sector in Durham
and Northumberland County. Spark provides a
fertile ecosystem in which students, researchers,
entrepreneurs and investors come together to share
ideas, inspire one another and collaborate to bring
innovative ideas to life.
Spark provides start-up services, such as business
planning, product development and creating
marketing strategies. It can help start-ups explore
the world of grants, funding and investment, and
even provides operational support in such areas as
planning for growth, manufacturing and distribution.
Spark is funded by the Region of Durham, the Ontario
Ministry of Research and Innovation and MaRS, a not-
for-profit corporation dedicated to commercializing
publicly funded research and technologies.
34 ADVISORY HOURS
6.13MCLIENT FUNDING ACHEIVED
136 SEMINAR ATTENDEES
PUBLIC & PRIVATE
The BACD is funded by the Region of Durham and the
Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Trade
and Employment. It is part of the Ontario Network of
14. Durham Region, Ontario Canada | Annual Activity Report 2015
Spark Centre’s third annual Ignite competition
attracted a total of 73 applications from technology,
innovation or invention-based start-up companies.
Applications were assessed based on innovative focus,
rapid scalability to a large market and having a strong,
committed team willing and able to benefit from
Competitors in three categories—Student
Entrepreneur, Young Entrepreneur and General
Entrepreneur— first attended “Pitch School” where
they learned how to make a strong and compelling
case in 60 seconds.
After the first round, 26 of the applicants went on
to the Central Pitch Competition to make three-
minute pitches to the Ignite Power Panel. At this
stage, Durham Electro Optics was chosen as Student
Entrepreneur for a device that allows LED light to
transmit data, and was awarded $5,000. Two young
entrepreneurs and three general entrepreneurs
were selected to go on to the finals and attended
Boardroom Bootcamp, where they learned how to
make powerful and effective 20-minute pitches.
In the final competition, Inventing Future Technology
Inc. (IFTech) won the Young Entrepreneur Award, and
Sound Options won in the General category. Each was
awarded $25,000 and will be given free office space at
the Spark Centre’s head office. They will also join the
Thrive Accelerator Program and receive advisory and
IFTech is an innovative leader in wearable sensory
feedback technology—devices that sense and track
body and limb position and motions in order to
interact with computer gaming or other systems.
The company’s first product is called ARAIG—As Real
As It Gets—a gaming suit that provides the wearer
with virtual immersion in a gaming, training or virtual
Sound Options is a company that designs accessible
and innovative treatment for a chronic condition
suffered by many patients called tinnitus, or “ringing
in the ears.” The company’s treatment involves the
custom assessment of each patient’s tinnitus, and the
design of “sound therapy” that will reduce or reverse
the changes in the brain that produce the ringing
sensation. The sound therapy is then incorporated
into recordings of popular music that the patient can
enjoy while being treated.
Durham Region, Ontario Canada | Annual Activity Report 201512
15. Ajax, Brock, Clarington, Oshawa, Pickering, Scugog, Uxbridge, Whitby 13
| Building Business Forum
Notable entrepreneurs and business professionals
from across north Durham came together to share the
secrets of their success at the fourth annual Building
Business Forum, held in Beaverton in October.
Hosted by the Economic Development Committees
of Uxbridge, Brock and Scugog, in partnership with
the Region of Durham, the half-day event was well
attended by more than 130 members of the business
community. Key speakers inspired the audience with
real-world examples of how to build a successful
business in north Durham. The event is designed
for local business professionals to provide mutual
support, to make connections, and to learn about
| Do It In Durham
Do It In Durham is a week-long celebration of
innovation, small business and start-ups held in
November during Global Entrepreneurship Week
(GEW). GEW is the world’s largest celebration of
business innovators and job creators who launch
start-ups and run businesses that bring ideas to life,
drive economic growth and expand human welfare.
During one week each November, GEW inspires
people everywhere through local, national and
global activities designed to help them explore
their potential as self-starters and innovators and to
connect them with fellow businesses. These activities,
from large-scale competitions and events to intimate
networking gatherings, connect participants to
potential collaborators, mentors and even investors—
introducing them to new possibilities and exciting
Do It In Durham evolved through discussions with
a number of organizations in Durham. The initiative
provides a forum for small businesses and local
innovators to network, be inspired, and connect
with potential partners, mentors and investors.
More than 50 events were held throughout the
region, featuring success stories, practical advice on
starting and running a business, and an introduction
to the many support systems and resources available
in the region. Participants learned first-hand that the
region is primed for business, and that they too can
do it in Durham.
16. Durham Region, Ontario Canada | Annual Activity Report 201514
Activities include identifying potential new events
across the country and reaching out to organizers,
promoting the region through online and social
media channels, assisting in securing local facilities
and arranging media coverage. In addition, Sport
Durham provides a range of back-up support for
events—everything from recruiting local volunteers;
setting up information booths for participants;
and providing information on restaurants, hotels,
shopping and local attractions.
Successes in 2015 include a diverse range of events:
• The Ontario Basketball Association U10 Girls Provincial
Championships brought 40 teams to Durham and an
estimated $600,000 in new spending.
• Ontario Basketball U17 Boys Provincial Championships
saw 60 teams from across Ontario come to Durham,
and an estimated $1.4 million boost to the local economy.
• Retaining the Ontario Fencing Association Champion-
ships in the region, by working with the Ontario Fencing
Association (OFA) to help develop a secondary event
and by providing services such as volunteer recruiting.
• The Spartan Race, which brought 10,000 racers to
Clarington’s Brimacombe Ski Resort (and is scheduled
to return in 2016).
• The Ontario Lacrosse Festival, a 10-day event that
brought more than 55,000 visitors to Durham, including
10,436 players and coaches, and is estimated to have
generated $5.5 million in economic impact.
All of these efforts were recognized in 2014, when
the Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO)
named Sport Durham a runner-up at the Annual
Economic Development Marketing Awards.
Sport tourism is fast becoming
a key component of economic
development in the region.
Initially created as a pilot project in 2013 to focus the
Region’s efforts to promote sporting events of all
kinds, the Region has shown remarkable success and
progress in this area. Led by Sport Durham, attracting
new events and building on the success of the wide
range of competitions and tournaments that already
make Durham home, is a priority.
The sport tourism industry generates well over $5
billion per year in Canada, according to figures from
the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance. Sport Durham
estimates that events brought to the region in 2015
contributed upwards of $15 million to the region’s
economy last year.
Sport Durham plays a key role promoting, facilitating
and co-ordinating sporting events in the region
through partnerships with sports organizations,
facilities, local municipalities and representatives of
the hospitality industry.
17. Ajax, Brock, Clarington, Oshawa, Pickering, Scugog, Uxbridge, Whitby 15
Film Television Digital Media Analysis:
A report with recommendations for attracting
economic activity to Durham, capitalizing on existing
assets and current filming activity, as well as providing
a plan for the Region to support sector growth.
Investment Attraction Strategy :
A plan designed to make Durham Region the choice
for new investment by marketing its assets on an
A plan created to advance agri-culinary tourism
in Durham Region. Recommended activities are
scheduled to commence in 2016.
The Economic Development
and Tourism Division actively
supports a variety of initiatives
and activities aimed at attracting
foreign direct investment,
enhancing the ongoing viability
of agriculture and rural areas,
promoting Durham as a tourist
destination and strengthening the
broader economy of the region.
This includes actively supporting
and implementing existing studies
Durham Region Agricultural Strategy:
A vision and guiding principles that identify key
actions supporting the growth and viability of the
agriculture and agri-food industry in Durham.
Vibrant North Durham Plan 2013-2018:
A five-year plan to implement economic development
thinking, processes and projects in north Durham
(Brock, Scugog and Uxbridge).
STRATEGIES & STUDIES
18. Durham Region, Ontario Canada | Annual Activity Report 201516
MARKETING & PROMOTION
A number of key pieces have been translated into
German, Mandarin and Portuguese to serve the
Region’s key markets of Germany, China and Brazil.
| Farmers of Durham Region
A new video was launched in 2015 to showcase the
agricultural sector in the region. The six-minute
video called Farmers of Durham Region is designed
to educate the public about the important role of
agriculture in daily life. It looks at the wide array of
crops produced, the innovative technologies in use,
the world-class post-secondary agricultural programs
available and the leading role that Durham farmers
play in developing sustainable agricultural practices.
The program celebrates the highly skilled farmers and
many others working in the sector to keep farming
in the forefront of Durham’s 21st century economy.
It also serves as an important investment attraction
tool, helping potential investors learn about the
region’s agriculture sector and its very substantial
support services industry. The video also serves as an
educational resource for students. It is available on
the Region’s corporate YouTube channel at
Effective marketing and
promotion are crucial to
generating awareness of
Durham Region’s investment
opportunities in global
markets. They are also
vital for increasing tourism
activity and attracting visitors
to the area.
The Economic Development and Tourism staff have
developed a suite of marketing collateral to promote
and market Durham as a great place to work, live and
play. The collateral pieces range from publications
focusing on key sectors strengths, statistics and
demographics, to featured investment projects, site
selector tools, tourism activities and destinations.
The materials are supplemented by an economic
development-focused website and dynamic videos
that are updated on a regular basis with current
21. Ajax, Brock, Clarington, Oshawa, Pickering, Scugog, Uxbridge, Whitby 19
recognize organizations for their efforts in promoting
and marketing their communities for investment
attraction and tourism opportunities.
The 2015 Ontario Economic Development Marketing
Awards took place at the Economic Developers
Council of Ontario (EDCO) Annual Conference in
Toronto. These awards recognize organizations
in their efforts in promoting and marketing their
communities for investment attraction and tourism
EDCO is the country’s largest provincial economic
development association that offers this program,
as well as professional development opportunities
throughout the year. There are close to 600 members
from the private and public sectors.
There were more than 115 entries judged. The
competition also allows communities from across
Ontario the opportunity to compare their economic
development and tourism initiatives with other
The Economic Development and Tourism Division
received Honourable Mention in the Public-Private
Partnership category for the Durham Region Film
In 2015, Durham Region
received recognition for
and community partnership
efforts in Ontario and Canada.
At the 2015 Economic Developers Association of
Canada (EDAC) Marketing Canada Awards, the
Region was awarded first place in the Special Website
category for the Durham Innovation & Technology
Portal (ditp.ca). DITP is a collaborative project with
the Spark Centre, and it promotes Durham Region’s
digital technology sector with a focus on attracting
EDAC is Canada’s national organization of economic
development professionals with a membership of
over 1,000 members, from both the private and public
sectors. The Marketing Canada Awards competition
is open to organizations that promote and market
Canadian provinces, territories, regions, cities, towns
and areas, with an aim to improve the economic
well-being of Canadians.
The Marketing Canada Awards took place at the
EDAC annual conference in Whitehorse. These awards
22. Durham Region, Ontario Canada | Annual Activity Report 201520
culture through free events taking place in all eight
area municipalities in Durham. Participants had
the opportunity to explore their creativity and
to experience many different forms of creative
expression through the work of local artists,
musicians, writers, historians, artisans and creative
people in every imaginable field. Fifty-five projects
from Durham Region were registered for the three-
day event in September. These ranged from print
making at the Bowmanville branch of the Clarington
Public Library, to Words of the Season with the
Writers’ Community of Durham Region and a behind-
the-scenes introduction to the Espressivo Singers of
Oshawa. Additional events included a studio tour,
open houses, and a drumming circle – there was
something for every age and every interest.
| Durham Festival
The Durham Festival was held in August as a
celebration of creativity and culture in the region.
Events ranged from an outdoor performance of
Hamlet, a disco party, celebrations of local food,
food trucks, dragon boat races and a bike ride to
raise money for the United Way. With local artists
and artisans in the spotlight, kids’ events, a water-ski
show and fireworks to wrap it all up, the festival was
enjoyed by residents and visitors alike. Coinciding
with the end of the very successful Pan Am and
Parapan Am Games, the festival brought an estimated
22,000 visitors to explore the Durham waterfront
and rural communities. The Durham Festival was
a collaboration of Durham Tourism, the eight area
municipalities and Central Counties Tourism.
| Farm Connections
Durham Farm Connections is a three-day educational
program designed to give Grade 3 students in the
region an opportunity to learn about agriculture
and to be a “farmer for a day” through hands-
on demonstrations by local farmers. About 1,145
students attended the April event held in Brooklin
Staff host and support a number
of events throughout the year to
add value to Durham’s business
leaders. These range from training
opportunities, information sessions
and sector specific events.
| Culture Days
Culture Days is a national program held annually
to encourage Canadians to participate in the
cultural life of their communities. Durham Tourism
invited residents and visitors to celebrate arts and
23. Ajax, Brock, Clarington, Oshawa, Pickering, Scugog, Uxbridge, Whitby 21
that was organized by more than 120 local volunteers.
Students from 48 area classes and their teachers
visited eight different farm stations, where they
learned about beef and dairy cattle, pigs, sheep,
egg production, different crops, vegetable farming
and land stewardship. Local farmers provided short
presentations to students and answered questions
at each station.
An open house, attended by more than 1,100 members
of the public, gave visitors a first-hand look at local
farming. This exceptionally popular program meets
the requirements of Ontario’s curriculum and has won
awards including the Ontario Premier’s Award for
Agri-Food Innovation Excellence. Farm Connections
also includes a high school science program focused
on agricultural research and technology.
| Tourism Summit
The fourth annual Durham Tourism Partnership
Summit, held in March at the Royal Ashburn Golf
Club in Whitby, showcased future directions for
the region’s tourism industry. The event featured
keynote speakers who addressed face-to-face
communications and how to satisfy tourists by
providing well-crafted experiences. Local leaders
and tourism officials provided updates and
briefings on industry initiatives and programs,
and stressed that new opportunities can be
created when individual tourism and hospitality
operators collaborate in the planning and delivery
of an all-around visitor experience. Presented by
Durham Tourism and Central Counties Tourism,
the successful event brought together more than
150 participants from the tourism and hospitality
industries in the region.
24. Durham Region, Ontario Canada | Annual Activity Report 201522
• Supporting local workforce development initiatives
like the Labour Shed Analysis and educator tours with
Durham Workforce Authority (DWA), Durham College,
University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT),
Trent University, etc.
• Establishing partners for specific events and sessions
aimed at strengthening key sectors including Business
Improvement Areas in north Durham, boards of trade
and chambers of commerce, as well as a number of
agriculture related groups and organizations
(Formerly known as the GTMA)
The Region of Durham will soon be part of a new and
larger marketing agency dedicated to bringing direct
foreign investment to the entire Greater Toronto
Area. The new agency will include Durham, Halton
and York Regions, along with the cities of Toronto,
Mississauga, and Brampton, and the town of Caledon.
It will represent a region of 7,100 square kilometers
and 6.2 million people. “Newco” as the agency is
called until a formal name and branding strategy are
finalized, is expected to receive provincial and federal
funding, and will have a much wider reach than any
Newco was incorporated in July, with an interim Board
of Directors composed of area municipal and business
leaders, including Pickering’s Mayor. A working group
of development officials from area municipalities and
regions is studying issues of strategy and operating
models, governance for the new body, and the
development of a unique name and brand. It will
build on the work of the Greater Toronto Marketing
Alliance, which will wind up operations in mid-2016.
Partnerships and collaborations are
an essential part of any successful
economic development activity. The
Region’s staff frequently work with
and support various community
groups, through partnerships that
support economic development
initiatives, research and data
collection, as well as provide
communities and businesses access
to programs, data and information
These partnership include, but are not limited to:
• Promoting Durham internationally by collaborating
with the Durham Economic Development Partnership
(DEDP), Greater Toronto Marketing Alliance (GTMA),
Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO),
Automotive Centre of Excellence (ACE), Ontario
Clean Tech Alliance (OCTA), and Ontario Automotive
Communities Alliance (OACA) amongst others.
25. Ajax, Brock, Clarington, Oshawa, Pickering, Scugog, Uxbridge, Whitby 25
leading-edge technologies, best practices and research
in Ontario. In 2015, Regional staff joined the Spark
Centre and other local partners to promote regional
assets and connect with others in the industry by
bringing back the Spark Zone to the show.
The Spark Zone featured nine companies ranging
from wearable technology to 3D printing and social
engagement platforms. These included: Blancride, EV
Fern, IFTech, iApotheca, National ProStaff, MobileXCo,
Seriously Fun Games, Tiko 3D and Zambah.
This year, Spark Centre hosted a“Drop Your Pitch”
contest where entrepreneurs from around the
conference floor pitched for a chance to win $500.
The winner was Hardcover Hookup who walked
away with the prize.
Durham Economic Development
The DEDP is a partnership and a collaborative
working group made up of economic development
representatives from each of Durham Region’s eight
area municipalities and Regional staff, executing
strategic work plans that support economic growth
and prosperity in the Region of Durham. The DEDP’s
economic development top priorities include:
• Investment attraction.
• Business retention and expansion.
• New initiatives/policy.
The DEDP encourages collaboration between
the municipalities and the Region on issues of
mutual interest, such as investment attraction and
development, as well as local business retention
and expansion. Members often participate in joint
activities and initiatives including familiarization tours
of Durham Region.
Ontario Centres of Excellence
OCE Discovery brings together more than 2,600 of the
best and brightest minds in industry, academia, the
investment community and government to showcase
26. Durham Region, Ontario Canada | Annual Activity Report 201524
• Culinary Tourism Steering Committee
• Culture Days Task Force and Advisory Committee
• Durham Agricultural Advisory Committee (DAAC)
• Durham College Agricultural Program Advisory
• Durham Farm Connections
• Durham Farm Fresh (DFF)
• Durham Home and Small Business Association
• Durham Immigration Portal
• Durham Strategic Energy Alliance (DSEA)
• Durham Tourism Leadership Team
• Durham Trails Committee
• Durham Workforce Authority (DWA)
• Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO)
• Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO)
Board of Directors
• Economic Development Advisory Committees
• Economic Developers Association of Canada (EDAC)
• Film Television and Digital Media Advisory Committee
• Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Alliance
• Greater Toronto Marketing Alliance (GTMA)
• Greenbelt Cycling Committee
• Greater Toronto Area Agricultural Action Committee
• Local Diversity and Immigration Partnership Council
• Ontario Automotive Communities Alliance (OACA)
• Ontario Clean Tech Alliance (OCTA)
• Ontario By Bike Cycle Tourism Planning Committee
• Pan Am Parapan Am Organizing / Host Committees
• Regional Pan/Parapan Am Partner Committee
• Scugog Economic Development Advisory Committee
• Spark Centre Board of Directors
• Sport Durham Advisory Committee
• Sport Management Program Advisory Committee at
• TO2015 Municipal Forum
• Uxbridge Economic Development Advisory Committee
• Waterfront Trail Regional Partners Group
The Division’s priority is to lead,
facilitate and advance Durham
Region’s efforts for continued
economic growth, job creation
and revitalization. Staff work with
local and international agencies
and industries promoting Durham’s
assets and strengths, and sit on a
number of boards and committees.
• Ajax- Pickering Board of Trade’s (APBOT)
Government Relations Committee
• Beaverton 180 Downtown Revitalization Committee
• Brock Economic Development Advisory Committee
• Business Advisory Centre Durham (BACD)
Board of Directors
• Business Improvement Associations (BIAs)
– Port Perry, Uxbridge
• Central Counties Tourism Board of Directors
• Chambers of Commerce – Beaverton,
• Clarington Agricultural Advisory Committee
BOARDS & COMMITTEES
28. Durham Region, Ontario, Canada
605 Rossland Rd. E., Whitby, ON L1N 6A3
Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this publication at the time of writing (2015); however, the programs referred to and
the data cited are subject to change. All figures are in Canadian dollars unless otherwise noted.
Durham Region, Ontario, Canada
605 Rossland Rd. E., Whitby, ON L1N 6A3