Economic Development Projects

Douglas Barill discusses his past Economic Development projects successes and experiences in the various Canadian communities he’s lived and worked in over the years. Keep visiting us here for more.

Portage Stampede Tournament Development

The event. As far as regional attractions go, they are great multipliers for your local economy, especially for your service and retailers. So unless you already have a festival, agricultural fair or convention of Airstreams every year, it will involve creating a regular migration to your community through Tournament Development.

Tournament development in rural areas is difficult, as the capacity to fund and attract weekenders is difficult to get started . It takes political will, a development office willing to take a risk and a concept that works with the local socioeconomic culture to bring it all together. But if all of these issues line up in a positive way, the economic results are large for small towns and well worth that risk.
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Tournament Development In Rural Manitoba

Blyth Parklette

Well, we know that downtowns are about people, moving to and fro between their work, services they require, and retail opportunities. If they are lucky, it is all within walking distance of their residence.
It works in rural areas as well as urban ones, especially western rural Ontario where the density of the downtown was laid in the early 20 century. When people lived exactly, in what we now call, a walkable community with the occasional horse and cart rolling by. Fast forward 100 years and we still crave that life, in fact, we are looking to get back to that lifestyle. The horse and cart have been replaced by cars and parking spaces, and as developers, Downtown Revitalization has become the tactic of getting people out of their cars, to walk about. 
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Park-Let? Rural Downtown Revitalization

I was traveling last summer and stopped in to see the Kamloops Innovation Centre, or (KIC). The centre cranks out start-ups, which is inspiring in itself but is even more poignant  when witnessed. You should witness their version of business incubation too.
Kamloops Innovation Centre

I have often thought that we, in Ec Dev, are not hands on enough with local start-ups, in fact, we can, at times, focus on the business plan writing aspects of business development. The KIC, even though it is not really their mandate, has done a pitch-perfect job of the business development aspects of municipal economic development, for the city of Kamloops, and the region.
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Business Incubation, Co-work Spaces & Collaboration

Local Food Ingredients

When you ask someone; What constitutes “local” food? Answers will vary. I say that because I always ask, and rarely do I hear the same answer. No matter what province, or state, I’m in. So let’s focus on what “local food” can do for your local economy.

From an Economic Development perspective, the local food movement will continue to have a significant multiplier in your local economy. Particularly if you represent a rural area in Canada or the United States, farmers markets are popping up everywhere as they are good for business expansion and the much coveted “community building” (again).
If it is such a proven model for development, why hasn’t everyone that can grow food, done a local food multiplier project? Read More

Local Food Multiplier, The Big Dig and Our Big Table

Yellowhead Highway

There were a multitude of Economic Developers in attendance at a Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) training course in the small town of Beausejour, Manitoba. Three of us, in particular; Vern May, Marilyn Crewe and myself, walked out with a big plan.


Foreign Direct Investment strategies abound in mid-sized and larger cities in Canada. Manitoba ranked dead last in Canada, however it did have some activity in Winnipeg… but what about the rural areas?
The interior of Manitoba had a strategic advantage, especially in the ability to process agricultural commodities, but the three economic developers that walked out of the room that day knew there was NO ability to fund the implementation of an investment strategy.
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The Yellowhead Investment Corridor; A collaborative approach to Foreign Direct Investment

Ice Racing

Problem: The community you are working in as an economic developer has a major tourism attraction at its core, but it is frozen solid from December until March. The typical above zero regional tourism opportunities drop along with the temperatures.
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Ice Racing: a Tourism Attraction