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Economic development initiative wins provincial excellence award

Posted on Friday February 09, 2018
Dan Landry and Laura Thompson of the Economic Development Department, and Mayor Steve Clarke proudly display the EDCO Strategic Plans and Initiatives Award won for the Downtown Orillia Investment Attraction Project.

The City of Orillia Economic Development Department was recognized on February 7, 2018, as an Awards of Excellence Winner for the recent Downtown Orillia Investment Attraction Project.

Awarded by the Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO), the Awards of Excellence Program honours excellence in the Economic Development efforts of communities across Ontario.  The Orillia project won for the Strategic Plans and Initiatives category.

“We are very pleased to see that the great efforts our Economic Development Department is making are being recognized by leaders in the industry,” said Mayor Steve Clarke. “Through this attraction project, the City has received significant interest from businesses who may not otherwise have known about opportunities in Orillia.”

The project included the development of a Retail Mix Study, a Downtown Orillia Investment Attraction Plan, attendance at two GTA based Franchise Shows, advertising campaigns across a range of media, the creation of a new “Invest Downtown Orillia” webpage, an “Invest Downtown Orillia” video and the creation of a new investment attraction marketing brochure and package. A social media campaign associated with the project garnered a reach of over 60,000 people in targeted communities throughout the Greater Toronto Area, Simcoe County and the District of Muskoka.

“Using a $20,000 grant we secured from the Province, we were able to leverage our original funds for a marketing campaign that’s resulted in over 500 new commercial inquiries,” said Laura Thompson, Manager of Real Estate and Commercial Development. “We’re continuing to work with a number of these potential investors who are now pursuing opportunities in Orillia.”

The Economic Development Department works closely with local organizations to promote Orillia as a place to do business. Key to the success of the project was the support of the Downtown Orillia Management Board, who contributed funds to the project and provided assistance at GTA based trade shows.

In addition to the provincial award, winners are eligible to receive the Lieutenant-Governors’ Best of Show Award for outstanding effort in economic development.

The City of Orillia is a city of 31,000 people in the heart of Ontario’s Lake Country on the shores of Lake Couchiching and Lake Simcoe. Visit our website at


Laura Thompson, Ec.D., CEcD
Manager of Real Estate & Commercial Development
City of Orillia


Melissa Gowanlock
Manager of Communications
705-238-9209 (cell)