In our continued efforts to provide accountability for the operating investments made in the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation (SSMEDC), here’s another edition of our Weekly Activity Report:
· Tourism Sault Ste. Marie, a division of the SSMEDC, recently entered into a strategic partnership with Porter Airlines. The Toronto-based air carrier will be featuring easily-purchased two-and-three-night getaways that focus on Sault area attractions, such as the Agawa Canyon Train Tour and Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre. The packages will be promoted through the company’s web portal, online route map, social media, sales landing page and other marketing channels. For the consumer, it will highlight Porter’s air fares and show how easy it is to get from downtown Toronto to the Sault in just over an hour. The airline, which is based out of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, has the same partnership with all the Northern Ontario communities it serves, including Sudbury, Timmins and Thunder Bay. The cooperation agreement is made possible by the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation.
· A local young entrepreneur and SSMEDC client is trekking ahead with a new business. James Mergaert recently started ThinkSpace Home Renovations. The firm specializes in designs, construction and maintenance, and is available to support its customers at every stage of their home renovation project. Before opening his business, James first enrolled in Starter Company. The youth entrepreneurship program is administered in the region by the SSMEDC’s Business Development team. Funded by the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure, Starter Company provides mentoring, training and potential access to funding for youth between the ages of 18 and 29, who are not returning to school, to start or grow a business. ThinkSpace Home Renovations is one of several area firms to successfully make its way through Starter Company. The program was unveiled by the Province of Ontario last year.
· The Group of Seven gained international fame by painting landscapes in the Algoma region in the 1920s and 30s. Today, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie is capitalizing on this brand and using it to attract visitors. A two-day excursion developed by the SSMEDC division is now being offered. It includes stops at the Art Gallery of Algoma, Ermatinger-Cleargue National Historic Site and Agawa Canyon. On the tour, visitors view original Group of Seven works and locations, learn about the painters, and even take part in a tutorial by a professional artist. Over the past several months, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie and its partners have been busy promoting the Group of Seven excursion to group travel companies around the world. With this effort, eight tours with between 30 and 40 visitors each are booked this summer and spring, essentially selling out the inaugural 2015 season. The first group tour experienced this expedition last week.
· Ever have a dream within a dream? This summary is sort of like that. The SSMEDC’s Weekly Activity Report, which you are currently reading, is now reaching a much larger audience. To offer citizens a further look into its daily activity, the Corporation is publishing and archiving the reports on its website. The initiative is designed to add another level of accountability for investments made in the SSMEDC. Available at www.sault-canada.com, the reports are one of many communications methods used by the Corporation that are meant to keep citizens informed of its activity while also promoting programs and services. Other initiatives include a Twitter page, newsletters, Shaw TV and other video segments; Annual Reports; routine press releases and web stories, MOU Reports to City Council, public information sessions, and stories found in various print and online sources.