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WOW! 2009, What A Year For Networking

WOW! 2009, What A Year For Networking

2009 was once again extremely busy for the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce, with close to 2500 business people attending the over 60 events and meetings throughout the year. An army of close to 100 volunteers organized events, researched and discussed issues affecting the business community. The events ranged in size from 10 to 12 at Lunch and Learn to over 260 at our Business Excellence Awards. Membership in a tough economy held with over 1,100 entrepreneurs, managers and corporate executives on the Chamber Who’s Who list.

Networking kicked off in February with over 120 attending the annual Parkwood Tasting Evening hosted by Neal & Mara and CIBC. March saw a revamped and exciting Challenge return after a five year sabbatical. Close to 160 laced up their bowling shoes and honed their driving skills at NEB’s Fun World. Besides the great networking, the participating teams vied for the $1,500 in Charity of Choice prize money. The winning team was Autoworkers Community Credit Union and their charity of choice was Credit Counselling Services of Durham. Photo Caption: 2009 Chamber President Dave Hare (left) and 2005 President Keith Miller, pose for a picture at Chamber Corporate Challenge held at NEB’s Fun World in March 2009. These two friends were in competition for “The Challenge Cup” as The Killer B’s and The Killer Bunny’s.

In May, the Chamber hosted a Toronto Argonauts Fantasy Football Camp at UOIT.and who could forget the 23rd Annual Golf Day – the rain came down and the over 160 golfers and sponsors headed for cover. The event was a networking success and thanks goes to our lead sponsors Johnston Inc. and the Oshawa Harbour Commission and the over 60 sign and silent auction sponsors.

Cruisin’ into August the Chamber’s 5th Annual Autofest Kick-Off party hosted by Syvan Development had over 200 members line up on the patio for a special lunch from Buster Rhino’s; a visit with the Argo’s; and a chance to look at some pretty snazzy street rods.  Photo Caption: The 5th Annual Autofest Media launch BBQ, held on the Chamber Patio in August 2009, drew over 200 chamber members and car buffs to get a look at some classic car history. 

 With fall came the 1st Chamber Curling Funspiel sponsored by VIA Rail, Petley-Hare Insurance Brokers and CRCS. Eight teams took to the ice at the Oshawa Golf & Curling Club to vie for $500 in Charity of Choice prize money. Gord Bartley’s winning team donated the cash to the Durham Region Cancer Society. Photo Caption: Janice O’Neil (left) and Susan Jantzi were on fire at the Curling “Fun” Spiel held at the Oshawa Golf & Curling Club in November 2009. This “Pretty In Pink” team consisted of Andi Kelsey, Susan Caswell, Susan Jantzi and Janice O’Neil.


Closing out the year the annual Christmas networking social, sponsored by OMS, was hosted in the Officers’ Mess of the Ontario Regiment. Over 130 enjoyed the networking and each attendee brought along a special gift of food or toys which was given to the Simcoe Hall Settlement House. A good time was had by all.

Women In Business first introduced seven years ago, featured three dynamic speakers in 2009:  Isabelle Roberts, owner of B.R.I.C. Engineered Systems; Kristi Honey, owner of Summit Group Software and Durham College Alumni of Distinction; and Joanne Burghardt, Editor-in-Chief Metroland Durham Region. In addition to the monthly Business for Breakfasts and Lunch & Learns, the Chamber developed the Durham Professional Advisory Group which brings in speakers monthly on topics of interest to the financial, accounting, legal and insurance markets from across the Region.

In September, the 14th Annual Business Excellence Awards took place and the recipients of the prestigious Business Excellence Awards were: “Business Excellence“– NEB’s Fun World, Oshawa, and Bowmanville Zoological Park, Bowmanville; “Civic Pride” – Auto Workers Community Credit Union, Oshawa; “Innovative Technology” – Algoma Orchards Ltd., Bowmanville; “New Enterprise” – Strut Nouveau, Oshawa and Mr. Richard Halenda, Halenda’s Fine Foods, Oshawa, was named “Business Person of the Year”. The event emceed by Ms. Linda Buckner, host of CBC’s Dragons’ Den included a special “100 Mile Dinner” theme at the Holiday Inn and had all the “Pomp and Circumstance” that has come to be expected at this Gala event. 

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 second DEPC Report as a follow up from the Durham Economic Prosperity Conference it co-coordinated in November of 2008. In June it once again weighed in on the harbour issue, calling on the federal government to create a Canadian Port Authority for Oshawa.

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. In September the Chamber hosted a special roundtable with Minister of State for the Federal Economic Development Agency, Gary Goodyear.

During 2009 the Chamber tackled issues of concern to our Region and community, hearing from politicians at all levels including Regional Chair Roger Anderson, Oshawa Mayor John Gray, Ontario Minister of Revenue John Wilkinson on HST, and Federal Minister of Industry Tony Clement at special luncheons and breakfast sessions.  The Chamber also brought in experts on issues of the day, hearing from individuals like Glenna Carr, Chair of Atomic Energy Canada Limited, Rear-Admiral Davidson, Royal Canadian Navy, to learn about the Navy of Today and Tomorrow and John Wright, Vice President of Ipsos Reid.

As part of its advocacy work provincially and federally the Chamber challenged and garnered the support of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce on its resolution calling for a Nuclear Energy Strategy for Canada.  In November the Chamber once again wrote Premier McGuinty and Prime Minister Harper urging the governments to act, stating that indecision on the part of government is destroying opportunities for Canada to create jobs in the Nuclear Industry.

The Chamber is a business of information – collecting it and sharing it with the 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 14th year of publication, Oshawa Visitor’s Guide in its 8th 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 to revamping its website, the Chamber added two new communication features, the monthly eNews bulletins – eNews Business Matters and eNews DEPC, both designed to keep the business community informed about the changing business climate.

Moving into the next decade the Chamber remains committed to changing with the times and continuing to provide positive leadership by providing services, and promotion of business opportunities in support of its members.