During 2011 the Chamber staff, with the assistance of its volunteer ambassadors and events committee, organized over ninety networking events and committee meetings throughout the year ranging in size from 10 to 12 attendees at a Lunch and Learn to over 300 attending the Annual Mayor’s Luncheon. The Chamber boardroom saw a wide variety of people come through the doors to attend over 30 meetings for members and government agencies. Membership, in the recovering economy grew 1.8% with over 1,125 entrepreneurs, managers and corporate executives on the Chamber Who’s Who list.
In January the Chamber kicked off its networking year with three sold out events. First up was the President of General Motors of Canada, Kevin Williams, speaking at a breakfast held at the Quality Hotel & Conference Centre Oshawa. Next was the luncheon held at the Oshawa Golf & Curling Club, sponsored by VIA Rail, where Durham Regional Chair Roger Anderson gave the Chamber his yearly update and challenged the Ministry of Transport to get on with the 407. To wind up the month, a Women in Business luncheon was held at Fazio’s Restaurant with Judy Best of Home Instead Seniors Care as the keynote speaker. The monthly Lunch & Learn series kicked off in January and was an extremely high energy event and a great networking tool.
Moving into February the Annual Tasting Evening at Parkwood, The R.S. McLaughlin Estate hosted by Neal Mara, Barristers & Solicitors was once again a huge success and a great networking event. Winding up the month, Mayor John Henry’s Inaugural Address to the business community sponsored by BMO Bank of Montreal, held at Tosca Banquet Hall & Conference Centre drew a record audience of over 300.
March saw the return for a third year of the “Challenge”, sponsored by Johnson Insurance Inc. and held at NEB’s Fun World; it was once again sold out and a huge success. The Challenge Champs, “The Feztastics”, from the Oshawa and District Shrine Club, presented a cheque to Shriners Hospital for Children for $1,500.00 on behalf of the Challenge. The Chamber’s new member orientation JumpStart program launched in March and has been a tremendous success. It is a monthly program held at the Chamber and open to everyone: members, employees and potential members.
On a sad note the Chamber lost three valued friends of the Greater Oshawa Chamber in 2011: Fred Ball, Fred Diamond and Frederic ‘Fred’ Thornley. For over forty years Fred Ball (Past President 1971–1972) maintained active participation in the Chamber and was always there to lend a hand. Fred Diamond (Past President 1985 and long time member) was a big part of the Chamber’s history. Fred Thornley (Board of Directors from 2006 to 2010) was a 15 year Chamber member and is remembered as a “great friend” always ready with a good joke or helping hand. All will be missed.
April started off with the Spring Marketplace 2011 held at Octaviens – Best Western Durham. Over 140 attended and enjoyed delicious appetizers and great networking with over 45 business displays. The Women in Business networking luncheon, with Vanessa Benedict of Scotia McLeod as guest speaker, was held at Boston Pizza and was a huge success.
Along with the May monthly Lunch and Learn and Business for Breakfast, who could forget the 25th Annual Golf Day—the only day in May it didn’t rain! When the sun came out, over 160 golfers and sponsors enjoyed a great day of networking. Thanks goes to the Chamber’s lead sponsors Johnson Insurance Inc. and the Oshawa Harbour Commission and the over 60 sign and silent auction sponsors.
In June the Chamber hosted, in partnership with the Durham Region Association of Realtors, a breakfast on Helping Businesses Breakdown the Accessibility Barriers. The speaker from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce was on hand to help Chamber members transition to the new rules and regulations surrounding the Accessibility Act. The new customer service standards apply to all people, businesses and organizations that provide goods or services either directly to the public or to other businesses or organizations and have one or more employees. All organizations must be in compliance by January 1, 2012
In August the Chamber’s 7th Annual Autofest Kick-Off BBQ hosted by Syvan Developments had over 200 Chamber members and guests get a look at some snazzy street rods while networking and enjoying lunch provided by Halenda’s Fine Foods.
With September came the Chamber’s Business Excellence Awards and the Municipal Election Debates. The recipients of the prestigious Business Excellence Awards were: Dan Carter, Dan Carter Productions of Oshawa – “Business Person of the Year”; This Week Newspapers of Oshawa – “Business Excellence”; Don & Son Building Supplies of Oshawa – “Business Excellence”; Independent Project Managers of Oshawa – “Civic Pride”; and Barnies Ltd. of Oshawa – “New Enterprise”. The event, held at the Quality Hotel & Conference Centre in Oshawa, was emceed by Chamber of Commerce Past President and TV personality Don Pitman, and it had all the “pomp and circumstance” that has come to be expected at this Gala event.
To wrap up the month the Chamber partnered with the Durham Region Home Builders’ Association, the Durham Region Association of Realtors and Durham Radio to help get the electorate informed of the issues in the upcoming Provincial election. Candidates from all three ridings participated in Oshawa Debate 2011 that was broadcast live on 1580 CKDO Radio and 107.7 FM.
In October, the Fall Marketplace 2011 saw 38 exhibitors and over 100 Chamber members attend the event hosted by the Quality Hotel & Conference Centre. The October Women in Business Luncheon was hosted by Mexico Lindo Oshawa, with guest speaker Brenda Kelly, Vice President, Greeley Containment & Rework sharing her experiences to a sold out crowd.
In early November, 48 curlers slid onto the ice at the Oshawa Golf & Curling Club for the Chamber’s 3rd Annual Curling FUNspiel, sponsored by Petley-Hare Insurance Brokers and CRCS Disaster Kleenup. Twelve teams were vying for the $500 in Charity of Choice prize money. The winning team of Fred Tippins, Caroline Vysma and Cris Douglas of CRCS Disaster Kleenup and Rebbca Gillespie of Investors Group donated the prize money to Epilepsy Durham.
In mid November the Durham Economic Prosperity Committee of the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce was pleased to partner with the Greater Toronto Marketing Alliance (GTMA), the Organization of Candu Industries (OCI) and Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME) to host a Nuclear New Build luncheon with keynote speaker, Patrick Lamarre, Executive Vice President SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. Mr. Lamarre discussed the future of Candu Energy Inc., the advantages of nuclear power, and why we need a home grown solution for a new build in Ontario.
Closing out the busy year, the December Annual Christmas networking social, sponsored by Ontario Motor Sales, was hosted in the Officers’ Mess of the Ontario Regiment. Over 140 enjoyed the evening of networking while listening to the Salvation Army Band and enjoying some excellent hors d’ouvres sponsored by Halenda’s and Bunny’s Catering. Attendees were encouraged to bring along a special gift of food or toys and the Chamber is happy to report that THREE trips with Bob’s Chevy Equinox were needed to take the items to Simcoe Hall Settlement House to help over 1,200 families in need.
Throughout the year the Chamber tackled some popular and some not so popular issues in its quest to affect change, and it continues to advocate for the Highway 407 extension across Durham Region. In March the Chamber released its third DEPC Report as a follow up from the Durham Economic Prosperity Conference (DEPC) it co-coordinated in November of 2010. In a presentation in April to the Nuclear New Build Hearings the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce reaffirmed its long standing support for the application for Darlington’s New Build.
As part of its consultation process, in the spring, the Chamber hosted a meeting with Oshawa City Council to discuss issues of importance to the local business community and co-hosted a Provincial election debate in the fall. In November the Chamber hosted a special luncheon on Nuclear Energy. As part of its advocacy work the Chamber continues to challenge the provincial and federal government. At the Ontario Chamber of Commerce Annual General Meeting your Chamber had the delegates give unanimous support to re-affirmation of its position on the completion of Highway 407 to 35/115.
The Chamber is a business of information—collecting it and sharing it with its members and the business community. As part of this information service, last year the Chamber once again, produced four long standing publications: Durham Relocation Guide which celebrated its 16th year of publication, Oshawa Visitor’s Guide in its 11th year of publication, Chamber Membership Directory & Buyer’s Guide and its monthly business paper Business Matters—which combined had an annual distribution of over 95,000.
In addition, the Chamber continued with two monthly eNews bulletins—eNews Business Matters and eNews DEPC, both designed to keep the business community informed about the changing business climate.
For more information on networking events, advocacy issues or publications review this website.