Small Town Living with Big Economic Development Opportunities

Share this Article

Having it all in Simcoe County

Simcoe County offers it all for companies of any size in a range of sectors, including automotive, life sciences and medical technology, food processing, aerospace, and technology.

Just 45 minutes north of Toronto, Simcoe County is a world away. In addition to lower costs of business, tremendous infrastructure and excellent access to markets, it offers an unparalleled quality of life and world-renowned outdoor recreation.

Simcoe County is close enough to be powered by the economic engine of the country in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) but far enough away to offer an entirely different pace and lifestyle. Businesses leave the congestion, high land costs and soaring development charges of the GTA behind when they head north to Simcoe County, but they still have all the advantages of being located in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, one of the fastest-growing regions in North America.

The region is home to 526,000 people and is expected to grow by 50 per cent by Newcomers are drawn by great jobs, the allure of starting a business, competitive housing prices, great schools and health care, beautiful scenery, and an enviable balance of work and play.

Having it all is entirely possible in Simcoe County.

There is a true open-for-business attitude in Simcoe County, which is investing in infrastructure and economic development that will make the County a premier destination for investment in Ontario. With a focus on attracting new business while supporting existing companies, world-class products and services are produced in Simcoe County across a wide range of sectors.

The County has created an online inventory of commercial and industrial land opportunities, and fostered a range of collaborative organizations, bringing together business and educational leaders at all levels to drive the economy forward.

“The County is developing vibrant, healthy and sustainable communities by creating an environment that attracts, grows, and supports new and existing businesses and helps them to succeed,” said County of Simcoe Warden George Cornell. “We continue to pursue exciting new opportunities and work with our partners across all sectors to make Simcoe County Ontario’s premier location to live, play, and do business.”

Simcoe County Open for Business

Simcoe County is Ontario’s gateway to the north. It is comprised of 16 member municipalities, along with the cities of Barrie and Orillia.

The county is well served by 400-series and arterial highways and rail service connected to Canadian and U.S. markets, along with the Lake Simcoe Regional Airport, an ideally situated 24/7 airport offering commercial port of entry for both passengers and freight, enabling connectivity across Ontario and globally. Simcoe County provides tremendous access to markets where 11 million people live within a 200-kilometre radius and more than 130 million people are within 800 km’s (500 miles).

Companies of all sizes have access to a wealth of employment lands in Simcoe County, along with competitive land and development costs, and favourable tax rates.

Simcoe County boasts a workforce of more than 295,000 workers and a staggering 1.7 million workers are within just a one-hour commute.

The education and training of the local labour force is supported by several postsecondary institutions, including Georgian College and Lakehead University.

There are another five colleges and five universities within an hour of Simcoe County that produce more than 140,000 graduates a year.

Industry research and innovation is also well served, with Lakehead University providing faculty expertise and facilities for early-stage research and development projects.

Georgian College’s Centre for Applied Research and Innovation provides in-depth assistance for commercialization projects, including materials testing, professional advice, financial support, incubator and fabrication spaces, and computer-aided manufacturing.

Plenty of world-class companies exporting around the world have already heeded the call for greater opportunity in Simcoe County. They include: Honda of Canada Mfg., Magna International Inc., Kubota Materials Canada, Sensor Technology, Napoleon, and Raytheon ELCAN Canada Limited.

“While there are many factors which drove the decision to locate in Simcoe County, access to a strong road transportation network, along with railway and air freight facilities to service our logistics needs was and remains an important element,” said Kevin Mullins, Manager, Administration, Honda of Canada Mfg.

“But what has truly driven our business here in Alliston is our tremendous workforce. We believe our associates enjoy a very good quality of life in Simcoe County.”

That quality of life is gaining national attention. Among 415 communities ranked across Canada, 14 out of 16 member municipalities in Simcoe County, along with the cities of Barrie and Orillia, were all placed in the 2021 Canada’s Best Communities by Maclean’s.

Simcoe County is home to the best of Ontario’s natural beauty and year-round recreation such as skiing and snowmobiling, boating, fishing and golf. Residents and visitors are treated to breathtaking views, vibrant arts and cultural offerings, walking, running and cycling trails, parks, marinas, shopping and dining, skydiving, and so much more.

Among the county’s extensive waterfront offerings are: Lake Simcoe, the largest lake in Ontario after the Great Lakes; Georgian Bay, famous for its crystal-clear water on Lake Huron; and Wasaga Beach, the longest freshwater beach in the world.

Simcoe County is home to more than 50 golf courses, 60 marinas, three ski resorts, seven provincial parks, one national park and hundreds of kilometres of cross-county skiing, snowmobiling, hiking and mountain biking trails.

The region also includes plenty of options for food and drink buffs, including several signature foodie trails, craft breweries and distilleries.

Tourism is a key economic driver in Simcoe County, with more than 9 million visitors spending more than $1 billion a year in 2019.

The region boasts a multitude of housing opportunities that are more affordable than those found in the Greater Toronto Area. Housing opportunities range from rental apartments and starter homes in urban areas to expansive country homes to luxury waterfront estates.

It is well served by transit, both within the County via the recently launched LINX transit system and to the GTA and beyond through GO Transit.

For more information about relocating, expanding or starting up a business in the County of Simcoe, please visit the EDO office website found here.