Town of Caledon
Located in the northern reaches of the Greater Toronto Area, the Town of Caledon offers the ideal combination of rural living in an urban setting. Residents of Caledon, currently nearing a population of 60,000, enjoy proximity to Canada’s largest urban centre while benefitting from the many advantages of small town living.
Home to the Green Belt, the Oak Ridges Moraine, and the Niagara Escarpment, Caledon also boasts a thriving arts community and many recreational opportunities activities, including world class golf courses and equestrian facilities, as well as extensive networks of walking and cycling trails. Residents and business owners appreciate the high quality of life Caledon offers. Maclean’s has named it as Canada’s Safest Community every year since first publishing its national rankings in 2008.
Ontario’s Greenest Town
Caledon has also been recognized as the Greenest Town in Ontario. Creating a sustainable balance between community, environmental, and development initiatives, it has environmental awareness front of mind. Progressive ‘green’ initiatives within the Town of Caledon include: its healthy horticultural landscapes bylaw, membership in the Climate Protection Program, and its extensive waste diversion programs. The Town has also employed an Environmental Progress Officer since 2004.
Eco-Business in Caledon
Earlier this year, the Town of Caledon announced the Eco-Business in Caledon Program, a partnership with Partners in Project Green (PPG). The effort promotes green business activity through access to a variety of programs and training opportunities that ultimately reduce costs and increase business opportunities through sustainability.
Delivered by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, PPG is a public-private partnership, which encourages businesses to reduce costs by embracing sustainable business practices. Through Eco-Business in Caledon, PPG delivers new forms of programming that allow businesses to reduce energy and resource costs while assisting in the move forward to adopting sustainable practices and connecting with sustainable resources.
Marolyn Morrison, Mayor of Caledon, said in a statement, “Caledon’s corporate community understands the importance of green business. Working with PPG to make Eco-Business programs available to businesses in Caledon not only means added value for the business community, but bolsters our continued commitment to be Ontario’s greenest community.”
Norm Lingard, Manager of Economic Development with the Town of Caledon, told The Canadian Business Journal, “From a municipal perspective, we have an environmental strategy. From an economic development standpoint, we were one of the first municipalities in Ontario to implement a Green Development Program, which provides discounts to developers that employ sustainable building practices.”
Lingard continued, “Our Eco-Business in Caledon Program encourages businesses to implement environmental and sustainable practices in their day-to-day operations. In doing so we are working with PPG to make our existing business parks more sustainable and to develop eco-business principles, standards, and guidelines for future business park developments.”
Economic Development Strategy
Established in 2004, the Town of Caledon’s Economic Development Department is focused on developing partnerships with local industries, such as the food processing and agri-business sector, as a target for foreign direct investment.
In 2008, the Town of Caledon implemented its Economic Development Strategy, which emphasizes growing and diversifying the local economic base.
Fortunately, during the most recent economic downturn, Caledon’s local economy was generally able to weather the storm and minimize the negative ripple effects witnessed in other municipalities of similar size. Just prior to the recession Caledon experienced an overbuild that saw many industrial buildings constructed on a speculative basis, which then remained vacant until the economy started its rebound.
Lingard recalled, “At one point, our industrial vacancy rate was about 35 per cent. We’ve now got it down to about 5.7 per cent, which is very healthy. Caledon is ideally located to do business and when the market turned around, we were on people’s minds because we were actively promoting that we were ‘open for business’.”
The Town of Caledon actively partners with the Greater Toronto Marketing Alliance, the Ontario Food Cluster, and the Greater Toronto Area Agricultural Action Committee and participates in programs aimed at attracting industry investment to the community. It has also participated in the development of the Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Action Plan to support its agricultural community.
Tourism in Caledon
Caledon’s tourism industry continues to drive local economic spinoffs through partnership and collaboration with the Hills of Headwaters Tourism Association (HHTA), an organization that works to develop tourism by creating and promoting events and experiences in Caledon. Lingard explained, “We are an active municipal partner in developing sector-specific experiences for the Town of Caledon. For example, recently an Equine Leadership Group was formed through the HHTA to promote this region as a centre of equine excellence in Ontario. Caledon is hosting the equestrian events of the 2015 Pan Am Games. It’s going to be a significant tourism driver in our community.”
The Town of Caledon has implemented ideal economic measures and is well positioned to ensure continued and future economic prosperity. Lingard concluded, “We have a lot of planned and shovel-ready lands for development. Being green and safe is important as is our proximity to Canada’s largest transportation hub and employee pool. If you are looking for a location to establish or expand an operation, Caledon is the natural course of business.”