A quaint community on the banks of the St. Lawrence Seaway, the City of Brockville offers a heritage feel with modern amenities.
Situated between the major hubs of Toronto and Montreal, and a short trip from Ottawa, Brockville is ideally located for business. It is this selling point that makes Brockville a hub for business and an attractive region in which several major multinationals choose to operate. Industry leaders like Procter & Gamble, Shell Canada, 3M, and Black & Decker call Brockville home, taking advantage of its competitive and beneficial business climate.
With two international bridges, Brockville also offers close access to New York state and U.S. business opportunities. Brockville is also accessible via the Brockville Municipal Airport (for corporate jets), four international airports within proximity, and service from both the Canadian National and Canadian Pacific railways.
“Packaged all together, these are the key reasons why many companies have located in Brockville,” David Paul, Director of Economic Development with the City of Brockville, told The Canadian Business Journal.
Tourism in Brockville
Home to about 24,000 residents, Brockville is also the Eastern gateway to the Thousand Islands tourist region of Ontario. Combining old heritage with a historic architectural landscape, Brockville is noted for its tourist-oriented, small town hospitality that gives an escape from urban environments.
In 2013, Brockville will unveil its new anchor attraction – the Aquatarium – a $21 million tourist attraction that will draw visitors from across Eastern Ontario. A walkthrough aquarium with exhibits, ports, green screen technology, and sea life displays, the Aquatarium puts Brockville on the map as a destination for tourism, and assists city efforts of focusing on stay-over visitors who can enjoy the community’s many amenities, like heritage bed and breakfast accommodations.
Other attractions in Brockville include a cruise on the St. Lawrence, its beautifully restored historic theatre, plus a range of community festivals and events. Brockville is also home to a waterfront as well as many acres of recreational space for cycling and kayaking enthusiasts, and the best fresh water diving in the world.
The Thousand Islands and the St. Lawrence pull visitors both old and new to Brockville, particularly working Canadians entering their prime. That’s recognized locally as well, with the development of hotels, condominiums, restaurants, boutiques, and upscale local services to cater this demographic.
Like many small Ontario communities, the City of Brockville is noted for its strength in manufacturing. But what is different about Brockville is its diverse economic base. The City of Brockville understands the economic pitfalls that come with being too dependent on one sector of the economy and, as such, has made an impressive effort to diversify.
Statistically, the manufacturing base remains strong, representing about one third of local employment, and historically the local marketplace is a very industrialized community. Although Brockville’s roots tie to the manufacturing and production base, today the community offers a variety of different, and successful, sectors, and a community resilience that has turned away the pressures of the recent economic recession.
What also makes Brockville unique is its corporate calls – a measure of business retention that recognizes why local businesses are succeeding and to ensure that they remain in the community.
“We use the term ‘after care’ – once businesses are here, we don’t forget about them,” Paul explained. “Every corporate call I’ve made this year has indicated an increase in sales, three-quarters have indicated an increase in employment, and most also indicate new product lines or new markets they’ve been able to access.
“We look at assessment growth associated with expansion growth of our companies and the acquisition of more land to expand. The key is also employment generation. Our companies today are more sustainable, more productive, they’re practicing lean manufacturing, and they’re going to be here a lot longer than they would have been if they hadn’t done that.”
Quality of Life
Moving forward, the City of Brockville will focus on an aggressive tourism growth plan in an effort to further diversify the local economy, among other local industries.
A mix of hometown charm with world class business, Paul described life in Brockville like living in a resort. “Brockville offers small community convenience and accessibility. The best part of working in Brockville is living in Brockville.”