If necessity is the mother of invention, then survival may be the mother of reinvention. It’s fascinating to reflect on the evolution of so many communities in Eastern Ontario.
Take Cornwall. Seems to me the city as once best known for the pervasive stench that accompanied its industrial economy. It was a blue-collar town of hard-working folks who often found themselves at the mercy of the ups and downs of the economic cycle. It’s amazing to see the transformation. Now, Cornwall is about to welcome one of the largest tourist attractions the region has ever seen. It’s home to a giant logistics and distribution facility belonging to one of the world’s biggest companies. And it continues to push into areas such as agritech, with a view to sustainability and climate change.
The story of Smiths Falls is also inspirational. Many of us remember the huge blow the town was dealt with the closure of the Hershey facility. Then, hope glimmered on the horizon with the arrival of the cannabis industry, surely one of the “new economy’s” shining stars.
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Well, that hasn’t turned out quite the way anyone would have liked. Still, with the Hershey experience under its belt, the town has built a resilience and tough-mindedness that’s hard not to admire. Indeed, town officials seem to welcome the opportunity to open their community to new and different businesses, knowing they have the ability to weather whatever comes their way.
Then there’s Kingston. It’s a city that has led a somewhat privileged life thanks to the academic component. However, it’s fascinating to watch how it is bringing together players large and small that will be instrumental in the evolution of the electric vehicle market.
In the process, Kingston is carving a niche for itself in what is destined to become a major ecosystem in the province. What a productive blend of private, public and academic smarts. In many ways, each of these communities is learning from the past, seeing into the future and identifying what will drive their economies. So kudos to the planning and development officials that are making it happen.
TRANSPORTATION & LOGISTICS
One thing that remains constant across Eastern Ontario is an intricate web of transportation and logistics. From air to water and from rail to road, we were all reminded of the importance of these functions when we desperately needed them to keep going during the pandemic.
When you get your head around it, it’s easy to see how even one small glitch in the system can have a huge ripple effect. In some form or other, transportation and logistics have written the history of the region and will certainly shape its future. We hope you enjoy our deep dive into this important sector — one that is unexpectedly rich in advanced technology and sustainability — in this issue of EOBJ.
COMPANIES TO WATCH
Finally, it’s always a joy to shine a spotlight on some of the awesome businesses that call Eastern Ontario home. Our “Companies to watch” feature captures just a few of these businesses; ones that have caught our eye, although there are numerous others.
All told, the innovation, creativity and sheer doggedness that is omnipresent in this region bode well for a prosperous future, no matter the economic cycle.
In this newest issue of the Eastern Ontario Business Journal newsmagazine, readers will find an invaluable resource for insight into the region’s industries and many areas of growth, as well as spotlights of businesses and entrepreneurs making their mark and our list of 2023 Companies to Watch. Covering business from Kingston to Russell, spanning the Ottawa Valley and St. Lawrence River, EOBJ is an insider’s guide to this unique region and its business landscape, crucial for every community leader, executive, entrepreneur or resident. From housing and manufacturing to tourism and the arts, this newsmagazine contains exclusive, curated content for those who live, work, and play in Eastern Ontario.