ntario, British Columbia, Quebec and Alberta led the way in number of top metros among all metro areas with New Plant Database-qualified projects.
When it came down to a simple corporate project tally according to New Plant criteria, it was no accident that Ontario and Alberta led the way with three areas each among our Top 10 Canadian Metros (and ties). Here is a brief rundown of what got those cities to the top.
The key attribute of the metro area is that it encompasses what the Province of Ontario has identified as 25 different urban growth centers. Major projects from Sanofi-Pasteur
, Québec-based engineering firm SFB Anapharm
and Q9 Networks
highlighted the year for this vibrant North American business and culture capital.
The City of Toronto Economic Development Office alone reported overall project activity (including non-New Plant qualifying projects) of more than C$1.5 billion, creating 1,532 new jobs.
The most European of North American cities, Montréal's recent project attraction track record includes a C$765-million investment from Petro-Canada
; a $454-million, 1,000-job investment by video game company Ubisoft
and a C$122-million, 750-job project from SAP Labs
As described in the Québec Spotlight in this issue (p. 680), Ubisoft is ubiquitous in Montréal and throughout the province. Key to the metro's success are its wealth of high-quality universities, Aeroports de Montréal and growing areas like Laval and Boucherville.
The city is much more than a jumping-off point to oilsands riches and mega-projects. It's the kind of metro area that welcomed projects in the past year from General Dynamics Land Systems Canada
(for work on Canadian Forces' light armored vehicles), Gilead Sciences
, and Dell Canada
, whose new customer service center, announced in 2004, opened at double the originally projected employment, with more than 1,400 employees.
That said, it's energy that energizes Edmonton, in the form of 10 oilsands upgrader projects being built between now and 2015 that will involve between C$40 billion and C$70 billion of investment and up to 4,000 workers per project at peak construction. Much of those projects' spinoff economic impact will accrue to Edmonton.
Québec City, Québec
Driven by projects from the likes of Becton Dickinson
, the Québec City area may be one of the most under-appreciated – or at least under-recognized – municipal regions in all of Canada. Offering bilingual capabilities and a cosmopolitan environment not that far removed from Montréal's, the area also benefits from corporate growth in areas like Levis, Ste.-Foy and St.-Romuald. For more, see the Top Groups citation below.
When Westinghouse President Herbert Rogge, in a 1954 speech to the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, first coined the term "Golden Horseshoe" to describe the industrial development future of the land wrapping around Lake Ontario's westernmost corner, he called Hamilton that horsehoe's "forward cleat."
Also encompassing the City of Burlington, the Hamilton metro area won the race for a number of projects over the past year, including the largest biodiesel production facility in Canada from BIOX Canada
, an oil processing facility from Bunge
, a utility transformer servicing facility from GE
, a contact center from BPO provider Minacs
and a new facility in Ancaster Industrial Business Park from Burlington Stamping
Much of the credit for Hamilton's performance can be attributed to the work of the city's economic development and real estate division, headed by Neil Everson, which this spring created an Industrial Land Division charged with, among other duties, the expedited servicing of the city's business parks, including the nearly complete North Glanbrook Business Park, whose 680 acres could see up to 12 million sq. ft. of development.
This summer, Natural Resources Canada and McMaster University signed an MOU to relocate the CANMET Materials Technology Laboratory to Hamilton, in order to take advantage of proximity to the heart of Ontario's automotive, steel and other metals industry expertise.
The Kitchener metro area's GDP growth rate is forecast to surpass Ontario's rate and Canada's rate through 2011, thanks to a strong research and corporate base and one of the most aggressive regional brand organizations in North America: Canada's Technology Triangle (CTT).
In addition to being home to the prestigious University of Waterloo (known for, among other programs, its economic development courses), the area is also home to Research In Motion
, the maker of the Blackberry, which expanded yet again in 2006 by adding another 250 employees and investing more than C$10.4 million. The company now has 23 facilities in Waterloo. Other major projects came from Mazak Corp.
, satellite systems maker Com Dev International
and Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada
New studies on the region's value-added profile in manufacturing as well as detailed representation of foreign company operations in its footprint have helped CTT make its case even stronger. Significant programs to aid downtown and brownfield redevelopment also do their part.
Halifax, Nova Scotia
As documented in these pages earlier this year, financial services have been a great financial service to the Greater Halifax region, helping drive the economy of a city and an entire province.
In this city's case, 1,200 is the magic number: It's the number of jobs at Research in Motion
's new technical support center, and at the new locations of five financial services firms (Citco
Logistics is another strength of the city, which is now working to be a hub of the transload business. Armour is constructing a facility, following up on the 90,000-sq.-ft. transload facility just opened by Consolidated Fastfrate in early 2007. Halifax is looking at related opportunities in the air cargo sector.
Known for its headquarters operations, Calgary is also a distribution hub for Western Canada. So noted industrial REIT First Industrial in opening a new office there earlier this year. The city is situated at the intersection of the Trans-Canada and CANAMEX highway systems, with extensive rail infrastructure and proximity to the Port of Vancouver. Why is First Industrial interested? "The region has approximately 110 million square feet of industrial space, and an overall industrial occupancy rate of 98 percent."
Port expansions in Vancouver and Prince Rupert, B.C., only figure to increase the industrial distribution facility development in the Calgary metro.
Prince Edward Island
This city on an island province home to 138,000 people in its entire territory gives new dimension to the expression "all economic development is local."
Prince Edward Island Business Development, headquartered in Charlottetown, saw substantial investments in places like Summerside and Stratford, but Charlottetown was the major focus of facility investment, with a new facility from Novartis Animal Health
, as well as two facilities from financial services firm Invesco
and HR outsourcing firm Ceridian
that together represent 400 new jobs and more than C$14 million in investment.
St. John's, Newfoundland
Not only is this city the easternmost in all of North America, it is also positioned next door to the oil fields of the Grand Banks, giving validity to its claim as "a new Energy Capital" servicing the offshore industry. The metro is home to more than 350 supply and service firms, and boasts a national designation as a Center of Ocean Excellence. Maritime and fisheries industries continue to operate, however, illustrated by the recent C$5-million investment by Baader-Canpolar Inc.
, maker of high-tech fish and poultry inspection equipment.
According to a major projects inventory published earlier this year by the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, almost $8.4 billion in major capital spending is planned or underway in the province. As both the provincial capital and an industrial hub unto itself, St. John's is a major beneficiary of that wealth of activity.
The jumping-off point for Canada's economic ties to the Asia Pacific, Vancouver's project inventory is stuffed with major infrastructure and venue projects related to the Winter Olympic Games of 2010. While many of those projects do not count for New Plant Database purposes, their construction will accrue to the benefit of all companies looking to grow in this metro known worldwide for its quality of life and its high frequency of public-private partnership.
Among recent corporate investments was a C$39-million expansion by Canadian Autoparts Toyota
(CAPTIN) in the town of Delta. Among infrastructure projects are multiple port expansions amounting to C$608 million in investment and a long-term expansion at Vancouver International Airport valued at C$1.8 billion.
All of the above dovetail nicely with the debut this spring of a new Asia Pacific Initiative by the province's Ministry of Economic Development, designed to further B.C.'s stature as "Canada's Pacific Gateway." Vancouver is the cultural and headquarters front door.
This summer, Microsoft
announced it would open a Canada Development Center in Vancouver in part because it was exactly such a launch pad (and welcome center) to the world. Expected to employ as many as 900 people in the next two years, it will open this fall.
Home to the University of Lethbridge, this city takes advantage of its situation several hours closer to the U.S. border than Calgary and its proximity to agricultural industries. Recent growth signs include a 400-job customer care center expansion from Convergys
and the hiring of 400 staff members per year over the next four years by Caterpillar remanufacturer Finning Canada
is building a biodiesel plant in Lethbridge. BFuel Canada Corp.
has proposed one too. Kyoto Fuels Corp.
announced this summer it would construct yet another, expected to supply fuel derived from animal fat, waste greases and vegetable oils to western Canada and the northwest U.S. by the end of 2007. While volume will be 33 million liters per year to start, company leaders see great things on the horizon for their complex and the region at large.
"We envision the initial biodiesel plant as a foundation for a much larger operation with production levels in the hundreds of millions of liters in a relatively short timeframe," said Jeff Arsenych, chairman of Kyoto Fuels. "The raw material availability and supportive policies of the provincial government makes Alberta an attractive center for biodiesel production."
Top Canadian Groups
Designed to recognize the power of local economic development in creating jobs and an enhanced quality of life, our Top Canadian Groups competition features several per capita measures derived from New Plant Data.
Below we report on the winners, presented in alphabetical order.
Town of Ajax, Ontario
Serving a population of just over 90,000, the town's economic developers saw their biggest win during the period examined in the form of a C$94-million distribution center for Loblaw
's that will eventually employ 800. That center, as well as others from companies such as Olympic Wholesale
, highlight the city's role as a logistics hub for southern Ontario.
Situated just east of Toronto and at nearly the exact halfway point of the province's southern boundary along Lake Ontario, the city's outlook from the big city's outskirts is strong, driven in part by a new parcel of industrial property.
"The Carruthers Creek Employment lands are 1,000 acres of prime serviced and serviceable lands appropriate for prestigious industrial development, particularly in the manufacturing, automotive, plastics and technology sectors," writes Luisa DaRocha, manager of economic development for the city. "It is the largest release of prestigious employment property in the history of Ajax."
Going against the general trend, the Ontario Municipal Board in May reversed a previous decision to allow 150 acres of similar property to be rezoned for residential development. "We want high-quality, high-paying jobs in Ajax," said Mayor Steve Parish of the decision. "In order for this to be achieved, we need to remain steadfast in our decision to protect our employment lands. There is no alternative. Anything less will jeopardize the quality of life of our residents."
Edmonton Economic Development Corp., Alberta
You know it's a banner year when your economic development organization leads all comers nationally in total project investment and investment per capita. That's what Edmonton's New Plant performance in 2006 accomplished.
Facilitating that accomplishment are programs like EEDC's "Grow Edmonton" business retention program, its "Edmonton Workforce Connection" resource for employers and marketing efforts that included recent labor recruitment campaigns to three European countries. In interviews during 2006 with leaders of 221 existing companies, EEDC found that 46 percent planned to expand their facilities, 62 percent planned to expand employment and none planned on exiting the region.
The metro's energy-driven energy was further enhanced in late July when global energy industry equipment company Schlumberger announced it would expand in Edmonton Research Park with the establishment of its sixth global R&D center. Helping the two-building, 200-job project come to fruition was the transfer of two land parcels from the city to the economic development corporation, which will lease the land to Schlumberger Canada
. The park is also home to the city's new biotech business development center.
Greater Halifax Partnership, Nova Scotia
Among the Partnership's programs helping this Atlantic Canada city achieve the Top Metro status above is its financial services sector strategy. That sector is represented by 2,600 firms in the finance,
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, which among other features includes links to past Site Selection
coverage of Canadian projects and territories.
insurance and real estate sectors in Greater Halifax, employing some 14,000 people, or 6.7 percent of the labor force.
Central to the city's continuing success is the Partnership's SmartBusiness initiative, a face-to-face business interview program that has included 1,300 consultations with companies since its launch in 2004. In a recent column, Partnership Vice President Brad Smith gave feedback from this program credit for helping the provincial legislature pass its "Better Regulation" initiative in 2005. Among its goals is decreasing regulatory paperwork by 20 percent by 2010.
The Partnership is also all about regionalism, most recently inking an agreement with sister organization Blue Water Business Development Corp. to help foster more joint economic development opportunities in the rural areas of the Greater Halifax municipality. The Partnership signed a similar collaboration agreement in November 2006 with Nova Scotia Community College, in order to "gain ground on labor shortages and increase economic growth in Greater Halifax."
Economic Development Lethbridge, Alberta
The city's several new biodiesel projects explain why EDL is co-sponsor of the Southern Alberta Alternative Energy Partnership program. The agency also has developed a comprehensive quarterly economic trends and indicators report, and is active in recruitment of foreign workers and foreign students. The agency also features a business investment profile in Chinese prominently on its Web site. And it promotes a detailed program for connecting job seekers to jobs, derived from interviews with area employers for its 2007 job projection survey.
One corporate project in the city may do its part to aid a province-wide challenge: BCT Structures
in May announced the launch of construction on its C$10-million plant, which will employ 200 in the manufacture of transportable work-force accommodations.
The Corporation of the City of Mississauga, Ontario
Long known for its pro-business environment, this suburb of Toronto located next door to Pearson International Airport saw 11,000 new jobs created in the period examined. Counting projects above and beyond those that qualified for New Plant Database, the year's total came to more than C$2.3 billion in capital investment, going a long way toward helping Greater Toronto secure the top Top Metro spot.
Among recent projects were new Canadian headquarters for Talecris Biotherapeutics
and Gilead Sciences Canada
, as well as new industrial operations from Maple Leaf Foods
, Canam Steel Works
and Downsview Kitchens
and major office moves from Citigroup
, Petro Canada
and Bell Canada
The city's economic development team went on a mission to China in April of this year. It was just one of many ongoing programs, some in concert with the Greater Toronto Marketing Allilance, to emphasize the city's strengths in biopharma, ICT, financial services and aerospace & automotive. Other recent accomplishments include earning the honor as Canada's safest city for the seventh year in a row, exceeding in 2006 the C$1-billion mark in building permits for the 10th year in a row; numerous honors recognizing the city's robust financial status; and research and marketing honors from IEDC and provincial economic developers.
Montréal International, Québec
In April, this agency launched the ICT Cluster of Greater Montréal, or TechnoMontréal. Like other programs the agency pursues (such as the InVivo Montréal program launched in 2002), TechnoMontréal is closely allied with the province's goals and programs, including "An Innovative, Prosperous Québec," designed to increase support for research and innovation in the province.
Montreal International is a public-private partnership that is only 11 years old. In 2006 overall, it helped attract C$622 million and 3,500 new jobs to the metro area. Those included several headquarters of international organizations, including the International Secretariat for Water, UNESCO's Institute for Statistics and the International Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.
Major infrastructure investments from institutions like McGill University, Sherbrooke University, Concordia University and the city's port and airport are going a long way toward making one of the nation's most livable big cities ready to be lived in and worked in by even more than its current 3.7 million people.
Pole Québec Chaudiere-Appalaches, Québec City region, Québec
Simon Doyon, vice president, promotion and investment prospecting
Québec in 2006 launched ACCORD, an acronym that in English means "Concerted Action for Regional Development Cooperation." The program includes 12 major projects representing some $1 billion in investment, including the $250-million NeuroCite in Québec City, a private complex of industrial and university research in neurosciences that aims to attract 20 international biotech and TI companies over 10 years.
The city attracts more than C$500 million in R&D investments each year. Québec City will celebrate its 400th anniversary in 2008. Close to $1 billion in infrastructure and beautification projects.
Enterprise Saint John, New Brunswick
With its Atlantica Center for Energy program, launched in 2005, Enterprise Saint John has helped catapult this former shipbuilding area of 124,000 people into an energy hub for the province, the region and the nation as a whole, even as it's seen some of its work force co-opted by the similarly booming energy scene in western Canada. If the agency has its way, some of those workers might be returning.
There is over C$3 billion worth of energy projects under way there, ranging from new nuclear- and gas-fired power generation to a major upgrade at the Irving Oil
refinery and a new $850-million LNG terminal from Canaport
, a partnership between Irving and Spanish energy firm Repsol
. Irving is contemplating investing up to C$7 billion in a second refinery. JD Irving's holdings represent other strata of corporate facility investment in Saint John too, including a $75-million Irving gypsum plant and upgrades at the company's tissue, pulp and paper operations.
There is balance to the Saint John economy however, highlighted by its growing reputation for ICT operations and a sharp increase in cruise ship tourism. Infrastructure improvements include a C$300-million waterfront upgrade and a $50-million intermodal terminal from NB Southern Railway and JD Irving.
Thanks in part to Enterprise Saint John's work, the average number of people employed in the metro has risen by 18.3 percent since 1996, to 62,000.
Economic Partnership, Ontario
Anybody who thinks Atlantic Canada and Alberta have the monopoly on the energy sector hasn't been to Sarnia lately. In addition to new projects recently from Suncor
's refinery and a related project from Air Products Canada
, Shell Canada has announced it has a 40-person team working on C$50 million worth of pre-development and front-end engineering for a possible new oil refinery that could process up to 250,000 barrels a day, using feedstock from the oilsands.
Oil is not all however: Sarnia is home to a just-announced $300-million solar power station from California-based OptiSolar
. The Partnership is working with Lambton College on a two-year fuel cell demonstration program, following on their collaboration on a new advanced materials engineering lab. And the city's Sarnia Research Park has worked with the University of Western Ontario to establish a masters program in engineering with a concentration in chemical and biochemical engineering.
As for hard infrastructure assets, improvements to ramps on the international crossing at Blue Water Bridge to Port Huron, Mich., are now under way, which should greatly facilitate truck movement. International traffic through Sarnia-Lambton has doubled in the past decade.
Economic Alliance, Ontario
Among the projects the Alliance has fostered on the northern boundary of Greater Toronto have been a new aluminum foundry from MAPCAN
, a recent engine plant expansion by Honda
, and projects from Poravor North America
, Joe Johnson Equipment
and Royal Woodworking
that will cumulatively lead to 180 new jobs.
The group has recently done a major upgrade to its Web site, and has also helped establish economic development divisions in two of the South Simcoe municipalities, which include the Adjala-Tosorontio, Bradford West Gwillimbury, Innisfil and New Tecumseth.
The area's traditional strengths in food, manufacturing and plastics have led to an average per capita income of C$44,257 in this area of 103,925 residents.
An Ambitious Agenda – New Brunswick Premier Graham seeks
nothing less than 'transformational change' for his province.
New Brunswick Premier Shawn Graham, left, traveled to Atlanta recently to meet with Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue.
ew Brunswick Premier Shawn Graham issued a challenge to his province in Atlantic Canada when he took office in October 2006: become economically self-sufficient by 2026.
Almost one year later, Graham is putting more teeth into that challenge by aggressively pushing his three-pronged platform of education, energy and economic development.
In an exclusive interview with Site Selection
, Graham outlined his "transformational change" initiatives that he claims are necessary if New Brunswick is to wean itself from Ottawa.
"Economic development is the key to self-sufficiency for New Brunswick by the year 2026," the premier says. "Our goals are to become a more populous province and a more prosperous one."
Graham wants to add 100,000 people to the province of 749,168 citizens over 20 years. To do that, he must first stop the exodus of residents across the border, and that means creating more jobs.
Secondly, he aims to substantially grow his economy's $25.2 billion GDP (Canadian) and reduce the number of "transfer payments" – or government subsidies – from Ottawa. "Our goal is to become less dependent on Ottawa and become a net contributor to the federal government, not a net importer of federal funds," he says. "We need to change the way we do business. We need the people to feed that supply chain."
So far, most of Graham's job-creation efforts have centered around the energy industry, which is robust in New Brunswick. The province produces the gasoline that powers six of every 10 vehicles in Massachusetts and provides 90 percent of the heating oil in Maine.
"We are targeting petrochemical companies, alternative energy firms, hydrogen fuel cell technology, tidal power and wind-power companies," says Graham. "On the high-tech side, we will target advanced metal-working and tubing manufacturers, aerospace and defense."
The energy push is paying off. New Brunswick took a step Aug. 1 toward development of a new nuclear power plant. Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd.
and a group of private firms were selected by the provincial government to study the feasibility of what would be New Brunswick's second nuclear reactor.
Team CANDU New Brunswick will study the market potential for a new CANDU ACR-1000 reactor that would be located on the same site as the Point Lepreau power plant near the city of Saint John.
The study will take about six months. If approved, the reactor could be on line before the end of 2016, create 4,000 construction jobs and add 500 permanent jobs.
"It further cements New Brunswick's growing position as an energy hub on the Eastern Seaboard and could be yet another catalyst toward our goal of self-sufficiency by 2026," the premier said in a press release following the announcement.
Graham also tells Site Selection
that he is moving forward with plans to build a second oil refinery – the first one constructed in North America in two decades – and a liquefied natural gas terminal.
are working together to develop the LNG receiving terminal at Irving Canaport in Saint John, about 65 miles (105 KM.) from the U.S. border. The terminal would have three 160,000-cubic-meter LNG tanks and a throughput capacity of one billion cubic feet of natural gas per day. The terminal would supply markets in Eastern Canada and New England.
Graham struck another blow for New Brunswick's energy sector June 26 when he and the governor of Maine announced an agreement to create a second power line across their borders.
The premier says projects like these are essential to the infrastructure of Atlantic Canada and a large swath of northeastern North America.
"These projects establish New Brunswick as a manufacturing hub," he says. "Why not locate your next plant in your closest trading partner? With the stability of a secure energy supply, we are an attractive location for American companies."
Part of a new generation of leadership in Atlantic Canada (at age 38, he is the oldest premier in the region), Graham supports initiatives aimed at growing the province's high-tech work force.
"The knowledge sector in New Brunswick had zero people 20 years ago. Now, it has more than 30,000 people," he notes. "Rogers Communications has invested $109 million into the province's telecommunications infrastructure. This makes us a perfect location for back-office business processing, banking, e-learning services, simulation and gaming, and what I like to call safe near-shoring."
Graham hopes to establish New Brunswick as a global leader in the emerging field of electronic patient records. "This field involves more efficient tracking of patients through the health-care system," he explains. "We can monitor the movement of patients and prescription drugs. We have been working on this for four or five years. We can help people with diabetes through remote patient monitoring."
When asked for his advice to corporate executives located elsewhere around the world, Graham said they could expect a more personal approach to business recruitment from his office.
"You will get a phone call from the premier if you are an executive at a company considering an expansion project in New Brunswick," he promised. "We are a small province and we can adapt quickly to meet the needs of a company. It is my goal to show everyone that we are open for business once again."
– Ron Starner
Site Selection Online – The magazine of Corporate Real Estate Strategy and Area Economic Development.
©2007 Conway Data, Inc. All rights reserved. SiteNet data is from many sources and not warranted to be accurate or current.