February 19, 2016 – Oshawa Mayor John Henry kept a focus on the positive developments in the past year in his annual address to the over 200 business leaders in attendance at the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce Mayor’s Annual State of the City Address.
The event, hosted by BMO Bank of Montreal for the 24th consecutive year, was held February 18 the Quality Hotel & Conference Centre.
The Mayor began his address by thanking the Chamber members and volunteers for their contributions to the success of the city [Oshawa] and the Region and for their confidence and investment in Oshawa.
“Oshawa’s strong business community has been integral to the growth and expansion of Oshawa,” said Mayor Henry. “Thanks to the many years of support and investment of our local businesses, Oshawa has matured from its humble automotive beginnings to an emerging leader in key economic sectors and to a world-class city poised for continued growth.”
Mayor Henry reported that Oshawa is taking advantage of every new growth opportunity in emerging sectors with the Maintenance Facility in Whitby, a $859 million dollar project, in the works to the west and to the east, Ontario Power Generation’s $12.8 billion Darlington Refurbishment project which includes 8800 jobs bringing the unemployment down to 6.4%, far below the national rate of 7.2%.
Mayor Henry noted that Oshawa is the only community in Durham Region and Eastern GTA that offers all modes of transportation to service business. “Whether it is access to the Toronto marketplace or eastern seaboard, Oshawa provides access and connections for all levels of business to move people and products,” he stated, using the example of Triad Metals located on Farewell Avenue who is taking advantage of the Port of Oshawa services for shipping metal for their operations.
“Oshawa is open for business and supports global outreach as well as internal outreach to ensure that every business that wants to locate or expand in Oshawa is supported as much as possible. Oshawa's unique partnerships are key to continuing to attract new businesses and investment to our city,” commented Mayor Henry.
Collaboratively, Oshawa businesses, education institutions, research facilities and partners create innovative products and new opportunities for entrepreneurs and businesses, as well as furthering the city's economic growth. A few 2015 examples include: Oshawa Clinic’s partnership with UOIT researchers to test the efficiency of the clinic's new automated process for vital signs data; GM’s Canadian Engineering Centre hiring 100 software and control engineers to research and develop the connected car and green vehicle technologies; Oshawa PUC Energy Services (OPUC) partnered with Tabuchi, Panasonic and the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization of Japan to bring a Solar Energy Management pilot to Oshawa – the first in Canada.
On an international level the City of Oshawa’sunique partnerships are key to continuing to attract new businesses and investment to our city. In 2015, the city welcomed delegations from Cuba, including the Ambassador of Cuba to Canada; senior Chinese officials from Wuxi New District of the People’s Republic of China; the Japanese Consul General and the Italian Consul General at the opening of Stoeger Canada and Ambassadors from Brazil, Pakistan, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Sweden and the United States.
The address also focused on Oshawa opening doors for new start-ups. “Today, Oshawa is fast becoming known as a city that opens doors for, and is shaped by, new start‐ups,” Henry stated. Noting that for over 100 years, Oshawa has been built by entrepreneurs like Colonel Sam to the Lovell’s, Peacocks and Mackie’s just to name a few.
Some of the Oshawa-based start-ups that have made headlines for their innovative products are; Gaming ‘As Real As It Gets’; IFTech’s high-tech, wireless multi-sensory suit; HONK mobile app; Evolution of Carpooling – BlancRide's mobile app; The Future of 3D Printing – Tiko 3D launched a Kickstarter campaign in spring 2015; and KARIBU Solar Power designs, bringing affordable Solar Power to Africa.
In closing, the Mayor challenged business owners, community leaders and residents to “share your stories with us from your business awards and milestones to the inspiring people and actions that make you proud to call Oshawa home. Together, through our collective stories and successes, we will ensure Oshawa’s bright future and continue to shine worldwide.”