Downtowns are often the historical heart of communities across rural Ontario. The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs’ (OMAFRA) Downtown Revitalization program offers a framework for improving the physical, economic, and social well-being of those traditional town centres and their historic places and spaces.
The Town of Gravenhurst launched their Downtown Revitalization initiative with the support of OMAFRA in 2011. The vision for this initiative was to create a Town that offers economic sustainability, diversity, and cultural or geographic uniqueness. Through investment and support from the Town and OMAFRA, Gravenhurst’s Downtown Revitalization initiative has generated a number of positive impacts for the Town over the last several years of implementing its action plan.
Attracting and retaining youth is one of the many challenges faced by rural communities.
The Newcomer and Youth Community Indicators is a tool that was designed to assist rural communities looking to better understand their attractiveness to both newcomers and youth. It is a free Excel-based tool that includes information for every municipality in Ontario. The tool was developed in partnership with the Rural Ontario Institute and the Conference Board of Canada, and includes the most recent Statistics Canada data available.
The tool provides communities with comparative data that can help them make informed decisions and strategies for retaining and attracting youth. Few communities have an accurate picture of how they differ from their neighbours or other similar communities across the province. The tool allows communities to make decisions based on a sound understanding of their strengths and weaknesses compared to other communities. Continue reading Attracting and Retaining Youth in Rural Communities→
Successful regional economic development planning achieved thanks to the “Train the Trainer” program developed by the Regional Economic Development Branch of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).
Gone are the days of planning in silos for the municipalities in Huron County. In 2014, the County began the challenging process of re-structuring their entire Economic Development department and also created an Economic Development Board comprised of leaders from across the business community. The first order of business was to develop a comprehensive strategic plan. Working together, all ten municipal partners and community representatives achieved economic development plans that are integrated county-wide.
Time is always in short supply when you run a business. It is something Brent Davies always seems to run out of. He is vice president and co-owner of Wellington Brewery, so finding the time to look into funding opportunities just never seems to rise to the top of his priority pile.
A First Impressions Community Exchange (FICE) is a structured and cost-effective process that reveals the first impression a community conveys to potential visitors, investors and new residents. The results can serve as the basis for action plans to enhance or build on community strengths and address challenges. Continue reading Overview of the First Impression Community Exchange Program→
In spring of 2015, Regional Economic Development and Business Management Unit of OMAFRA, Harvest Hastings and the Small Business Centre delivered the ‘Starting or Growing your Food Business?‘ two-part series workshop in Stirling. Part one was ‘Exploring Value-Added Opportunities (EVAO)’ and part-two was ‘Market Considerations’. Continue reading Two ways to Explore Value-Added Opportunities→
You’re a small community in rural Ontario. You have a stable or declining population, no downtown core, no economic development officer and no strong drivers of economic activity. Give up, right? Not so fast…