Smart Growth in Guelph which includes a perfect live – work balance

Guelph Ontario Economic Development Perspective Oakville Globe and Mail
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Guelph’s ecosystem supports start-ups to huge companies like Linamar and Sleeman Brewery

More than 13,000 employers and entrepreneurs call Guelph home. While the region is well known as the heart of agricultural innovation and bioscience in Canada, based on the renowned strength of the University of Guelph, it also has a thriving advanced manufacturing sector, and a rapidly emerging profile as a centre for information technology, clean-tech and converging technologies.

The region has representation across the entire food system value
chain, from agriculture production, research and development through to commercialization, manufacturing and retail markets, says Barbara Maly, manager of economic development for the City of Guelph.

“We have a globally leading strength in agri-tech and bio-tech thanks to the University of Guelph and Conestoga College, successful businesses, agricultural associations and research initiatives.”

Guelph-Wellington brings together an urban centre and a diverse agriculture hub that is located in the heart of Canada’s Innovation Corridor.

“What sets us apart from other municipalities is the world-leading scientific research going on here,” says Maly. “We have a business support ecosystem that turns innovation and research into economic benefits. Existing companies are growing, and new companies are coming.”

Guelph is the beating heart of agriculture in Ontario. It is home to the headquarters of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and the regional office of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. The headquarters of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Public Health Agency of Canada are also located in Guelph.

Affordable housing and GO train service allows families and working professionals the option to share work time remotely from home and travel to offices in Toronto

Agriculture science and service companies include Bayer Crop Science, Cargill, and Syngenta. Guelph is also home to dairy co-operatives Gay Lea
and Organic Meadow, food safety leader NSF International, animal health provider Elanco, and protein company Maple Leaf.

As well,TruLeaf, a Nova Scotia-based company that designs vertical year-round farms, has moved to Guelph to set up its first commercial-scale operation.

Industry associations, including the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, Grain Farmers of Ontario, Ontario Pork Producers, Ontario Beef and Ontario Veal, are clustered in Guelph, too.

But while agriculture is a deep bedrock, advanced manufacturing is
the largest economic sector in Guelph. Homegrown success stories include Sleeman Breweries, with its roots dating back to 1847, and global manufacturer Linamar, Canada’s second-largest automobile parts maker. It operates more than 20 manufacturing facilities in Guelph alone, across a range of sectors.

Since 2011, information and communications technology employment growth in the Guelph region has been greater than the traditional tech centres of Montreal, Toronto,Vancouver and Kitchener- Cambridge-Waterloo. In fact, the Guelph area is home to the highest concentration of embedded developers, data scientists and machine learning specialists in Canada.

The city offers competitive land and building development costs and terrific local amenities.Within a 90-minute drive, there are five international airports, two ports, and several border crossings. The city-owned Guelph Junction Railway offers access to CN and CPR lines.

The city and surrounding region offer an enviable quality of life and affordability, including a vibrant downtown, parks and trails, and cultural diversity.

Guelph Economic Development has built strong partnerships with other business organizations, including the Guelph Chamber of Commerce, Innovation Guelph and the Business Centre of Guelph Wellington.

“We all come together and work together under the banner of Grow Guelph.We have an ecosystem that supports entrepreneurs with an idea to multinational companies like Linamar and Sleeman that have grown up here,” says Maly.

“Our diversity is unique, but our ability to collaborate and to innovate and grow together is incredible.”

The positive economic results are many.

Guelph was the second-fastest growing mid-sized city in Canada in 2018, according to the Conference Board of Canada. It was also named among the country’s top three millennial hot spots, and the fourth-best city to buy real estate in Canada by MoneySense Magazine last year.

At the end of February 2019, the Guelph CMA had the lowest unemployment rate in Canada and the highest employment rate. It also had the highest year-over- year working-age population growth in the country, and the second highest year- over-year employment growth.

Perhaps most impressive is that 97 per cent of Guelph residents rate the overall quality of life as good or very good.

“It all shows this is a happening place and the economy is growing,” says Maly. “We definitely punch above our weight. The stars are aligned here.”

For more information about Guelph’s great Live-Work environment please call or visit Guelph Economic Development.