The Hamilton economy continues to grow in new and exciting ways – adding to its reputation as one of the most diversified economies in Canada. In 2021, the City of Hamilton hit an all-time corporate record for building permit values at over $2.1-billion and 2022, as of October, already proves to be the second best on record at over $1.6-billion.
“End users and large developers alike have discovered Hamilton and are investing here for the future.”
From food and beverage production, to life sciences breakthroughs to major manufacturing expansions, Hamilton in 2022 has welcomed a series of varied and important investments.
In March, Venetian Meats, a longstanding staple of Hamilton’s economy opened their new food manufacturing facility and retail outlet. This 38,000 square foot expansion allows Venetian to manufacture more of its cured meats, cheeses and preserves to serve a growing clientele across Canada and the United States.
The first, modern-day, on-farm dairy processor in Hamilton is also currently under development. Summitholm Holsteins, a family-owned and operated dairy farm, has become one of the most successful dairy operations in Canada and was named one of the Top 1% of Canada’s Best Managed Dairy Heards for 2021. This new development will create a processing plant to bottle and distribute their own glass-bottled milk directly to customers, as well as cheese, cream, butter and yogurt. This is bolstered by the strength of the agriculture sector here in Hamilton, which employs 2,875 people and is home to 679 farms.
Hamilton made international life sciences news in October as it welcomed the first phase of the $580-million, two-phased investment from Omniabio – that aims to make its 400,000 square foot biomanufacturing facility for cell and gene therapy the largest in Canada. This will greatly advance medical research and treatments across the nation. Taken together, the life sciences sector includes a more than CAD $4-billion spend in the Hamilton region. To put that in perspective, that’s the equivalent of the total GDP that the video game industry contributes to the entire Canadian economy annually.
Playing to Hamilton’s traditional strengths in manufacturing, Hamilton also saw in 2022 major investments from AXYZ International Inc. (a 105,000 square foot new build) and Janco Steel (95,000 square foot expansion) the manufacturing landscape grew stronger over the year. Hamilton’s manufacturing sector plays a key role in Ontario’s economy — generating over $21-billion in sales in 2021, which has grown at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.2% since 2016.
The City’s Economic Development Action Plan includes a stretch target of bringing 7 million square feet (the equivalent of 85 Canadian football fields!) of industrial and commercial development onstream between 2021 and 2025.
“There was 2.8 million square feet of non-residential developments completed in 2021 and that was responsible for creating or retaining 3,350 jobs. So we are well on our way to achieving a very ambitious goal,” says Schleehahn.
Adding to the economic diversification story, the creative industries- particularly film- played a large role in Hamilton’s economic success.
The stats from 2021 and 2022 continue to prove productions love to film and invest here. In fact, the 2022 KPIs (as of the end of Q3) already surpass 2021’s record breaking numbers. From January 1, 2022 to September 30, 2022 the City issued 943 permits for 168 productions that brought in an estimated direct spend of $66+ million. TV series from a wide variety of platforms such as Netflix, Apple, Hulu, CBC and Amazon continue to film here in addition to significant feature films such as Firestarter, Rosie, The Longing and Hello Stranger.
Productions have access to diverse locations because the city features a dense downtown, heritage streets and architecture, small towns, industrial sites, suburbs, farmland, a waterfront and plenty of natural areas. The city has earned a reputation as one of the best places to film in Ontario.
Hamilton is already Canada’s third largest film cluster, home to more than 9,000 creative and technical workers and 900 film-related businesses, and has a reputation for being welcoming and accommodating to film shoots, right from City Hall to business improvement areas and local residents.
That welcoming attitude was highlighted by the Hamilton Film Office’s nomination for the Location Managers Guild International (LMGI) Award for Outstanding Film Commission for the second season of Netflix’s Umbrella Academy.
To learn more about the economy of Hamilton, please visit Invest In Hamilton.