Eastern Ontario Business Journal Spring 2024

Page 1

Culinary TOURISM

Eastern Ontario has all the right ingredients


Neoprene, a flashlight and a near-death experience


How seasonal businesses can cope with climate change


Hidden gems for travellers, foodies and adventurers

OBJNews @obj_news SPRING 2024 Vol. 04, NO. 01 ottawabizjournal ottawa-business-journal eobj.ca

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Transcontinental Transmag 10807 Rue Mirabeau, Anjou, QC H1J 1T7 All content of Eastern Ontario Business Journal is copyright 2023. Great River Media Inc. and may not be reproduced in any form without permission of the publisher. Publisher’s liability for error: the publisher shall not be liable for slight changes or typographical errors that do not lessen the value of an advertisement. The publisher’s liability for other errors or omissions in connection with any advertisement is strictly limited to publication of the advertisement in any subsequent issue or the refund of monies paid for the advertisement. A guaranteed minimum of 20,000 copies are printed and distributed. 06 Climate change and business strategy 10 Culinary tourism 12 Cornwall’s entrepreneur of the year 18 The story of the L’il Sucker 21 Vacation Guide OBJNews @obj_news SPRING 2024 Vol. 04, NO. 01 ottawabizjournal ottawa-business-journal eobj.ca THE L’IL SUCKER Neoprene, a flashlight and a near-death experience PLAN B How seasonal businesses can cope with climate change VACATION GUIDE Hidden gems for travellers, foodies and adventurers Culinary TOURISM Eastern Ontario has all the right ingredients The Eastern Ontario Business Journal is a sister publication to the Ottawa Business Journal, building on that outlet’s 25-year history of covering business in the National Capital Region. For readers, EOBJ contains news and information about people and businesses from across Eastern Ontario. Our advertisers can explore the competitive advantages, market opportunities and major employers from across the region on the following pages. Great River Media PO Box 91585, Ottawa, ON K1W 1KO obj.ca Eastern Ontario Business Journal is published by 21 24 18 10 06

summer patios beckon, Eastern Ontario

businesses are ready to serve up all that’s great about our region

It’s that time of year, when people’s thoughts turn to sunshine, swimming holes and lazy golden days. Time to book that summer vacay!

Of course, with budgets a little tighter this year, some of us may be looking for activities a bit closer to home. I have to say, since I’ve taken over the reins of the Eastern Ontario Business Journal as editor, I’ve been amazed and inspired by all the really cool things to do, right in our own backyard. Who knew? Tight budget or no, so many excursions and activities demand to be sampled.

In this issue of EOBJ, writer Sherry Haaima tempts us with tales of culinary

tourism. A butter tart tour? Hello, I’m in. As Gabrielle Mueller of the Culinary Tourism Alliance points out, Eastern Ontario has all the ingredients to feed this growing trend of becoming closer to our local food-producing communities and the people who live there. What could be better than a day of hiking or boating topped off by some great local beer and a fabulous meal? And all a short drive away.

At EOBJ we’ve been thrilled to team up with well-known local travel writer Laura Byrne Paquet, who shares with us her awesome suggestions for regional roadtrips. How about trekking with alpacas?

Or a little retail therapy in Newboro? Not to mention sussing out savoury Spanish fare in an industrial park in Prescott. The entrepreneurial spirit — and great taste — abounds.

Speaking of entrepreneurs, Sarah MacFarlane’s story of Kemptville innovator Mike Adjeleian and his L’il Sucker is a compelling read. What a great idea, and what an amazing journey Adjeleian has taken. Amazon here we come! Then there’s entrepreneur of the year Wendy Grant and her passion for Cornwall City Press. Here’s to keeping the best of our traditional industries alive and growing.

STUFF Made and Built In Eastern Ontario

Still, the times and the weather are a’changing, and it was great to check in with research being done at Queen’s University about climate change and the effects on seasonal businesses. In my experience, there’s nothing like a good Plan B.

Finally, we all owe a debt of gratitude to community and regional builders such as David Beatty, who has played such an incredible role in Brockville and beyond. And we mark the passing of Joe Hudson, a trailblazer in our region’s agricultural community.

To borrow a phrase, there really is so much to discover, right in our own backyard. And so much of it is thanks to our creative and fearless entrepreneurs and businesspeople. Happy trails for the summer, and hope to see you soon on a patio nearby.

Read the digital edition at stuffmadeandbuilt.ca stuffmadeandbuilt.ca


Brockville’s David Beatty recalls his early days as an investor

Forty years ago, David Beatty and a group of local investors from Brockville had their eye on a vacant manufacturing plant at the edge of town.

The former Coca-Cola facility had been left empty after the global giant decided to consolidate in the late 1980s. At 65,000 square feet and with nearby train access, the asking price was $5 million. Apparently too rich for most buyers, the plant had sat vacant for some years.

For Beatty and his four colleagues, it seemed like a golden opportunity. And so, they made a lowball bid for $1 million.

“We put the offer in and there were four or five of us who said we’d throw in a couple hundred thousand, but we didn’t know what we were going to do with it,” Beatty recalls.

Thus was born the “50 Cal” group, after the plant’s address at 50 California Ave. It also marked the beginning of the group’s involvement with Northern Cables, today one of Brockville’s foundational companies.

At first, the group looked to nearby logistics and manufacturing companies such as Wills Transfer and Procter & Gamble to use the facility as warehouse space. Then, in 1996, Brockville power cable manufacturing company BICC Phillips Cables closed its doors and six of its former employees approached Beatty and the 50 Cal group with a plan to start their own company called Northern Cables.

“They said, ‘We have no money and we need a place to manufacture, so will you trade us some working capital and rent for shares of this startup?’” Beatty laughs. “We did, and it’s the most expensive rent anyone’s ever paid.”

The 50 Cal group offered Northern Cables 20,000 square feet plus capital. Soon, the startup doubled its footprint in the warehouse and, within five years, “we were out of the warehouse business and Northern had taken over the building,” Beatty says.

Today, Northern Cables employs 280 people across two manufacturing plants in Brockville, including the original facility on

California Avenue, and another in Cornwall. A recent 80,000-square-foot expansion of one of its plants represents an investment of more than $1 million in equipment alone.

“In my 50-60 years of doing this, Northern Cables has been the most successful startup I’ve seen,” says Beatty.

Now, at age 73, Beatty is the last surviving member of the original five. The 50 Cal group held close to 40 per cent of the shares in Northern Cables at the beginning. Today, those shares have been passed on to children and grandchildren and “if you added it all up across all the kids now, it would be damn close to 40 per cent,” Beatty says.

He leads by example, sometimes by having time to take a meeting or by taking a risk to invest.
– Scott Runté

But while Northern Cables was possibly Beatty’s most lucrative investment, it’s far from the only one. He and the 50 Cal group were supporting startups in Leeds and Grenville as early as the 1980s.

“Ottawa already had Capital Angel Network, Kingston had some organizations,” explains Beatty, who is currently the CEO, chairman and co-owner of family business Canarm Ltd. “But there wasn’t enough deal activity happening in Leeds and Grenville. We wanted to fix that.”

Beatty estimates he has invested $20-30 million in startups in the region, often small startups with “minor successes,” but he says he takes his role in encouraging innovation very seriously — especially as he seeks to support some of Eastern Ontario’s more unique industries.

Beatty says the focus in Eastern Ontario leans towards medical sciences out of Queen’s University and logistics and supply chain industries along the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Even in the vastness of Eastern Ontario, Beatty says startups and new entrepreneurs seem to have no trouble finding him. “Somehow, people come knocking on my door,” he laughs. “Word somehow gets out that David likes investing.”

About 12 years ago, Beatty and his group amalgamated with PARTEQ Innovations, a not-for-profit corporation based out of Queen’s University that was formed to help Queen’s researchers market their new inventions. Together, the groups became what is now known as KNDL, formerly the Southeastern Ontario Angel Network (SOAN).

While many may know Beatty by name and reputation, Scott Runté has worked closely with him. As CEO and adviser with Launch Lab, an innovation centre focused on Eastern Ontario, Runté has collaborated with Beatty as an investor, business owner and friend. He maintains that, even with all of the capital that Beatty has invested into the region, his impact goes far beyond.

“For example, with Northern Cables and their 25-plus years of success, there were times in the first years where they wondered if they’d make it and they’d go back to those investors,” he explains. “The support they got went way beyond the money and instilled that confidence in them as entrepreneurs.”

Propelled by a “huge sense of humility” and “desire to keep paying it forward,” Beatty is a “phenomenal adviser,” Runté says. Beyond investing in local startups and running his own company, Beatty also sits on the board of the St. Lawrence Corridor Economic Development Commission, where he continues to contribute to the region’s economic growth.

Beatty also supported the early stages of Quebec City-based Leclerc moving into a former Procter & Gamble plant in Brockville, establishing another “large anchor company” in the region, says Runté.

“That, to me, is a fundamental thing. It goes beyond his investing; he’s an active participant in the (St. Lawrence Corridor Economic Development Commission), helping guide us in strategic direction and attract investors,” explains Runté. “And he never turns down a meeting request.

“I’ve called him with a company looking for advice and he’ll always take that phone call,” he continues. “Running an innovation centre, knowing I can reach out to him, strengthens the ecosystem exponentially.”

Of course, Canarm, a global manufacturer and marketer of fans, lighting and related environmental products, has also had an impact on the region. The company was founded by Beatty’s father, Stewart Beatty, and Norm Carson in 1963, and now employs more than 2,000 people both in North America and in manufacturing facilities abroad.

But perhaps Beatty’s most valuable contribution to the region is the confidence he has inspired not only in entrepreneurs, but in other investors across Eastern Ontario, Runté says.

“He leads by example, sometimes by having time to take a meeting or by taking a risk to invest,” says Runté. “He probably hates to hear me say this, but it inspires other angel investors, because if Dave Beatty is willing to invest in something, they think, maybe I should be, too.”

Though he might not have imagined becoming one of the region’s most wellknown angel investors or a shareholder in a company as successful as Northern Cables, Beatty is continuing with his goal of supporting Eastern Ontario and leaving it a better place than he found it.

“It gives an opportunity for young people to have an opportunity at success because everybody needs a hand up,” he explains. “So we’ve been very successful, both in my own business and Northern Cables, because we can give some of the return to the next.”

At 73, Beatty is a grandfather and still active at Canarm and KNDL and on the board at Northern Cables. He’s won multiple business, community and management awards for his work, including the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2017 and the Senate of Canada Sesquicentennial Medal in 2019, the same year he was awarded the Lifetime Business Achievement Award from the Brockville District Chamber of Commerce.

He says there aren’t any plans of slowing down — yet. “I enjoy the interaction and they’ve all just got such great plans,” he laughs. “So as long as I can keep my marbles together, I’ll be here.”



How climate change is forcing companies to come up with Plan B

As climate change leads to milder, shorter winters, businesses are finding ways to become more resilient and more sustainable, according to one Queen’s University professor.

For winterdependent businesses — particularly those in the tourism and recreation sectors, such as ski hills and resorts — a series of warmer winters with decreased snowfall over the past few years has been a wake-up call, said Elspeth Murray, director of the Centre for Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Social Impact at Smith School of Business.

sometimes it’s really hard to get creative,” said Murray.

According to Murray, diversifying is key to becoming more “climate-resilient.” What she’s seen in recent years, she said, is a greater willingness from businesses to plan for every outcome, something she said is necessary to become more resilient to climate change.

“What I see organizations doing is sitting down and talking about Plan B,” she said.

entails not trying to do it alone at home,” she said. “Engage the community, engage customers. What else could we do? What are they interested in doing? First and foremost is getting some really interesting ideas on the table that you can explore.”

While winter-dependent businesses have been forced to adapt their business practices, the warmer weather has been an advantage for other industries.

“One industry’s challenge is another’s opportunity,” said Murray. “Not that anyone’s thrilled about this, but there are a lot more weeks and, in some cases, months available to do other things.”

backs on climate change issues.

“The whole notion of climate change kind of slams you in the face with the realization that I have to do my part in mitigating the impact of what is happening in our world,” she said.

Many firms that consider themselves progressive have been putting more effort into climate-friendly business practices, she said. That includes adopting more sustainable business practices, such as finding different energy sources, minimizing waste, and looking at ecofriendly transportation options.

“When you’re heavily reliant on snow, it’s a challenge,” Murray told EOBJ in a recent interview. “(Those industries) certainly have been hit hard in the last couple of years. And we’ve seen a lot of adaptations.”

Murray points to winter recreation companies in Eastern Ontario, for example, that have started shifting their priorities based on snow conditions, even more than before. Instead of snowmobiles, some companies are pivoting towards ATVs that can be used year-round. Others have taken advantage of the warmth to offer outdoor spas, outdoor camping and outdoor dining during the winter months. “Fat biking” has also become a popular winter activity alternative, allowing visitors to bike on a variety of soft terrains, including snow and sand.

“When you’ve been doing something for a long time in the same way,

“They’re not hoping that it’s going to snow next week. They’re saying, what are we going to do if we have three or four years of limited snow or ice or whatever is required, foundationally, for business.”

And when they hit a roadblock, Murray said more businesses are turning to their communities for feedback.

“Putting that Plan B together, it

Trade industries such as construction, electrical and plumbing have all been given a boost as the shorter winter season allows contractors to take on more work. Murray said one of her students, who owns a solar panel installation company, has also benefited.

“When you have six or eight more weeks to pour cement or frame up a house or build an apartment building, those are real gains for those industries.”

But, according to Murray, it doesn’t mean those businesses are turning their

The whole notion of climate change kind of slams you in the face with the realization that I have to do my part in mitigating the impact of what is happening in our world
– Elspeth Murray, director of the Centre for Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Social Impact at Smith School of Business.

“It’s the silver lining,” she said. “The slightly good news there is that everybody starts thinking about how, wow, this is really a challenge and I’ve got to get with the program and do my part.”

When it comes to evaluating and addressing a business’s climate resilience, Murray said local economic development organizations, which often have incubators and accelerators to support innovation, can be a great place to start.

She also recommends reaching out to local post-secondary schools to tap into their student populations for unique and unconventional ideas and inspiration.

The push she’s seen for climate resilience among businesses in recent years feels more genuine than other corporate campaigns she’s seen in the past, she added.

We’re all about looking at opportunities for business for good,” she said. “I’ve been looking at (whether) this push for sustainability is really legit, because we’ve seen this before. But there are some big indicators out there. I think people have the message that they’ve got to do something. It can’t just be for profits anymore. What is the businessfor-good aspect of what people are thinking of doing?”


Kingston businesses wait on city policy change that would allow on-site housing for staff

Employers in Kingston are adopting a wait-and-see approach to any potential change to the city’s Official Plan intended to allow businesses to offer short-term housing for workers.

The goal of the policy change, first mentioned publicly in January, is to help employers experiencing recruitment and retention difficulties to temporarily house employees. The problem is particularly acute in Kingston, which has some of the lowest rental vacancy rates in Canada.

The specific change proposed is to add “workforce and institutional housing” as a type of housing allowable under the city’s soon-to-be-updated Official Plan.

The change is being driven by Kingston’s successful federal Housing Accelerator application and by several large employers who approached the city asking for the help.

One employer who supports the change is Anchor Concrete, a Kingston-based precast concrete manufacturer that is interested both in offering housing to its workers and in building this housing for others.

“This idea came from our experience with out-of-town employees who we hired during the COVID lockdowns, some of whom were sleeping in their cars,” said owner Jeff Bradfield. “We’re envisioning eight 400-square-foot units built atop garages and using our Lodestar modular building system.”

Following several months of internal

discussion and external consultation, city planning staff are preparing an Official Plan presentation for the city’s planning committee in the spring or early summer. That presentation will kick off consultations on the policy change with the business community, alongside broader Official Plan consultations with the wider public, culminating in a vote on the changes by full council some time in 2025.

If the new plan is adopted, an employer would still be required to go through rezoning and site control processes for an existing property before building the housing, which would likely add more than another year to the timeline, depending on the size of the development.

Navigating some of the rezoning and

other planning issues will require a strong and supportive policy framework, noted local planner Youko Leclerc-Desjardins with Fotenn Planning + Design.

“As with any policy change, we won’t really know where the difficulties lie until we’re implementing it,” he said. “As long as we have a mayor and council and staff that are prioritizing the creation of housing and meeting those needs, we’ll be in a good place to respond and make any adjustments in the future.”

The city is already proposing to remove the “workforce and institutional housing” zoning should an employer sell the land associated with the housing and would also require third-party management of the housing.

Open House Event

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Feds invest $4M in Kingston facility that processes rare earth elements

The federal government has invested $4.2 million into a Kingston facility that processes the critical minerals needed for such things as electric vehicle batteries.

The investment in Ucore Rare Metals Inc. will help scale-up and demonstrate the commercial efficacy of the company’s pending patent and Canadian-developed rare earth element separation technology platform under simulated commercial conditions.

Instead of shipping Canada’s concentrates overseas for foreign

separation, Ucore’s project will support Canada’s direct participation in the growing market of heavy and light rare earth elements. This funding will also provide employment opportunities for skilled trades and professional occupations, including Indigenous communities, the news release stated.

In addition to electric vehicles, rare earth elements are also required for wind turbines and a variety of electronics.

“This … demonstration project shines a light on the lesser-known but equally important aspect of the critical metals supply chain in North America — rare earth elements,” said Mike Schrider, vice-

Insomnia Cookies finds success in Kingston, may expand to Ottawa

Acookie company geared toward delivering warm-from-the-oven treats to sleep-deprived students is slowly expanding into Ontario, and Ottawa could be next on the menu.

Insomnia Cookies was founded in 2003 when Seth Berkowitz, a student at the University of Pennsylvania, began baking and delivering still-warm cookies out of his dorm. Determined to satisfy those late-night sugar cravings, Insomnia Cookies has grown to more than 200 locations in the U.S. and four in the U.K., mostly in student-central locations near universities and colleges

to capitalize on partying, studying or sleepless students.

Options include assorted boxes and packages of warm, freshly baked cookies, but the menu also features “cookiewiches,” cookie cakes, brownies, blondies, cookies with customizable toppings, and beverages.

Whether students are studying or on their way home from a night out, Sébastien Piché, vice-president of business development for Canada, said it’s all about the options.

“It’s to provide that late-night snack other than just typical options,” explained Piché. “We’re open late at night, typically in areas that are student residencies and closer to universities or near

president and chief operating officer with Ucore, in a news release.

“A rare earth permanent magnet motor is by far the most efficient means of converting electrical energy from batteries to mechanical energy for electric vehicles and, in reverse, wind turbines … Through this project, we are moving Canada closer to fully incorporating these critical supply chain metals on a significant commercial scale.”

Through the project, Ucore will produce high-purity samples of rare earth elements (neodymium and praseodymium) and small batch samples

of rare earth oxides to meet potential consumer needs. The project will attain these samples over a six-month period of processing approximately 13 to 15 tonnes of total rare earth oxides in Ucore’s facility in Kingston.

Ucore will work with local companies including Cyclic Materials and Kingston Process Metallurgy.

The investment is funded through the Critical Minerals Research, Development and Demonstration (CMRDD) program.

“Canada is a reliable, stable and secure supplier for critical minerals and the products they enable — we have what it takes to thrive in the low-carbon future, from abundant resources to skilled workers. Investments like this one are precisely what we need to see in order to seize the economic opportunities of the low-carbon future while creating good local jobs in communities like Kingston,” said Kingston and the Islands MP Mark Gerretsen.

entertainment districts, and we do retail or delivery up until sometimes 3:30 a.m.”

In September, Insomnia Cookies opened its first Canadian location near York University in Toronto and then quickly opened a second location in Kingston, home to Queen’s University and St. Lawrence College.

Since opening, the Kingston store has had “comparable” earnings to other locations and been growing in popularity as word spreads, said Piché.

“Kingston is great because it’s near Queen’s (University), near the entertainment district and venues and it’s really a hub,” said Piché. “There are very similar crowds there to our other locations, because we cater to student cohorts, but in Kingston it’s a little different.”

The market in Kingston is “broader,” Piché explained, versus Toronto’s “true student campus.” While students seek cookies late at night, Kingston families and customers of all ages have been checking out Insomnia Cookies during the day.

“We’ve been seeing some older demographics, families come to us to try us out and then they keep coming back,” said Piché. “It’s the reality of a student-based approach in Kingston between Queen’s, St. Lawrence College and the Royal Military College. It’s a strong student town, so that aligns well with our DNA in the U.S.

“But we’re having this opportunity for a mixed market, which would be interesting to get in Kingston.”

Ottawa and its large student population is also top of mind as the company looks to expand throughout Ontario, he said. Insomnia Cookies has plans to open an additional four stores in Ontario by the end of 2024 and “build the crowd of insomniacs.”

“(Ottawa) has such a strong student community, it’s just a matter of finding the locations that make sense for us,” Piché explained. “Our mission is really about catering to our late-night insomniacs, whether we’re on campus or elsewhere, who really have a passion for warm, delicious, delivered cookies.”


Minimax makes transportation & logistics a family affair

How succession planning will take their business into the future

Three generations of the Poirier family spent the last year thinking about the future of Minimax Inc., the trucking business founded by the family’s patriarch Paul more than 30 years ago.

“We hired someone to help with succession planning so we set our sons up for success,” said Yves Poirier, president and second generation co-owner.

Founded in 1991, Minimax Express Inc. is a less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping company headquartered in Cornwall. For 33 years, the company’s slow and steady approach to growth has been the diesel that fueled their expansion.

With both Yves and his brother Marc having two sons apiece in the business — Richard, David, Ben and Pat — they saw succession planning as a critical part of their overall growth strategy.

What they do

Minimax’s less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping service falls somewhere in between Purolator and a full-truckload shipping company that moves full loads from A to B. This gives their customers the flexibility to purchase and ship only what they need.

The company’s 18-wheelers travel between Minimax service centres dotted along the Ontario-Quebec transportation corridor, with each shipment containing a wide variety of goods that get loaded and unloaded multiple times per trip.

The Poiriers have had to adapt their business many times over the past few decades. In the early days they had more freight in and out of production facilities. Now we haul more freight to and from large distribution facilties.

Yves says keeping their growth within five to 20 per cent year over year has been the key to

their success. “We’re more concerned about the quality of the revenue and making sure that new business fits our business,” he said.

The Extras

In addition to adding warehousing to their list of services — they acquired a 36,000 square foot facility in the family’s home town of Alexandria, Ontario — they also continually respond to their customer’s needs through specialization.

One example is Minimax Global Solutions, a service that finds carriers to take loads beyond Minimax’s capabilities, like from Toronto to California. Another is Minimax Go Direct, a white glove, dedicated and expedited transport service that provides same day deliveries.

Above and beyond

Finding people who rave about Minimax isn’t hard — customers and employees alike are happy to sing the company’s praises.

It’s because the Poiriers consider their employees to be part of the family. They can often be found cooking breakfast for their staff at the crack of dawn. Host BBQs for customers is another favourite activity, because their entire team gets to meet our team.

Even after building a reputation for putting people first, labour shortages have required them to come up with creative recruitment solutions like everyone else.

The Poiriers solved this problem by turning it into an opportunity to stand out from the crowd.

In 2022, the company was approved to train candidates through the Driver Certification Program offered by the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario. They pay the right candidates to take their Ministry-certified training course, a savings of $10,000 for the recruits. Since 2022 they’ve graduated 20 new drivers.

The program allows them to teach their drivers everything they need to know about the business. LTL truckers need to be comfortable working independently, while also being great with people given the number of stops to make for each load.

Yves says the best recruitment strategy always includes creating a business where people love to work.

“Running a successful business isn’t just about making money,” he said. “It’s about creating a place people want to work because you respect them.”

Left to right: The Poiriers: Yves, Richard, Benjamin, Patrick, Marc. Absent: David.

Tasty travels: It seems the way to some tourists’ hearts is through their stomachs

What does every tourist do while travelling? Eat, and usually three times a day.

But nowadays, not only do travellers eat en route and at their destination, the food itself is increasingly becoming the destination or reason for travel.

“Culinary tourism is a growing trend just about everywhere as consumers become smarter about where their food comes from and crave a connection to the people who grew and produced it,” says Gabrielle Mueller, marketing manager for the Culinary Tourism Alliance (CTA).

Farm-to-table restaurants, farmers’ markets, food festivals, culinary tours — anything food-related is hot, hot, hot and wise business owners are keeping this in mind, she says.

“Even if you aren’t a traditional culinary tourism business, food can enhance any

visitor experience for the better or the worse.

Sourcing local and being transparent about where your food comes from is an excellent way to drive traffic to your business and drive dollars into your local economy,” she adds.

In a 2008 study by tourism academic Bob McKercher, food was ranked alongside accommodations, climate and scenery as equally important to tourists.

According to Mueller, Eastern Ontario is primed to receive tourists seeking all these things.

“With access to an extensive waterway system combined with some of Ontario’s most fertile agricultural land, it only makes sense that Eastern Ontario’s culinary tourism scene is growing,” she says.

Mike Shelley is coowner of Hotel Rideau, a boutique hotel and long-term residences operation in Smiths Falls. In 2022, he got involved with the iconic heritage building, which was built in 1901 and underwent extensive renovations, as hotel operator.

He concurs that food and tourism go hand-in-hand.

On the main floor of Hotel Rideau is C’est Tout Bakery and Bistro.

“There’s a bakery right on the main floor that you can have dinner at. It’s a health-conscious, higher-quality restaurant, more natural flavours,” he said.

Promotional partnerships with C’est Tout and other local eateries are gaining in popularity. “We’re getting traction with people booking kind of little staycations. We

teamed up with the bakery to offer really good deals on brunch for two or dinner for two,” said Shelley.

While business travel to the Smiths Falls area has lessened as Canopy Growth has reduced its footprint and operations in the town, tourist reservations are growing, he adds. “Being able to eat right here, at the hotel, or somewhere local in town is desirable.”

And with inflation pushing up the cost of living, budgets for recreation are tighter, he admits.

“People are looking for things they can do closer to home,” says Shelley. “As inflation has climbed, you just see people are tighter with their money. You have to get creative.”

That’s one reason his hybrid model is ideal, says Shelley, with the long-term residences providing business security in a changing economy.

The Whitewater Inn in Beachburg in Renfrew County is another establishment that has the accommodation-food connection nailed down. The inn features four suites and is known for its farm-tofork specialty dinners and other offers, many linked to food. An example: hiking retreats in June and September that include breakfasts, lunches and multi-course gourmet dinners featuring locally grown and seasonal food items. Jamieson Travel and Valley Cycle Tours — where the public can rent bikes and e-bikes and also book

Hotel Rideau (above) in Smiths Falls features a bakery on the main floor. MacKinnon Brothers Brewing (right) near Kingston is a farm brewery. Mike Shelley (below), co-owner of the Hotel Rideau, and Gabrielle Mueller of the Culinary Tourism Alliance. PHOTOS SUPPLIED

shuttles and luggage transfer tours — is located on site.

The CTA’s vision is to ensure food tourism is a meaningful and sustainable contributor to local economies and that communities can grow food tourism by leveraging the culture, heritage and history behind the culinary offerings that make each destination unique.

With visitors and locals increasingly asking where their food is sourced, restaurants are becoming more transparent about sourcing practices and taking part in certifications like CTA’s Feast On certification (a local food certification that audits food spend on local), Green Step and Rainbow Registered to showcase their business’s values up front.

Current hot topics in the tourism world are sustainability and regenerative tourism, says Mueller.

“As such, eating local and contributing to local economies is more important than ever. In Eastern Ontario, we’ve seen a large increase in food experiences that include everything from spending an afternoon with a beekeeper in Tamworth, to cooking lunch with a chef out in the bush,” she says. “You can go whitewater rafting and then enjoy a locally sourced meal in Ontario’s Highlands, or take in a guided Feast On certified tour to Prince Edward County, based on supporting the area’s many wineries and breweries.”

Each of these experiences is a meaningful way to connect with food producers, as well as support them financially, she adds.

Not-to-miss food experiences in and around Eastern Ontario

1. Kingston is home to eight Feast On certified restaurants, each offering a unique cuisine

2. In Lennox and Addington, MacKinnon Brothers Brewing is a farm brewery with hops grown on site. It hosts some epic events and its Harvest Lager (made with 100-per-cent grown-on-property ingredients) is a must-try.

3. In Ontario’s Highlands, Madawaska Kanu Centre and OWL rafting offer whitewater rafting trips with locally sourced meals along the way.

4. In Peterborough and Kawarthas, RARE Escape (soon to be Camp Kitchen) offers meals made by Chef Tyler Scott out in the woods on paddling and hiking adventures.

5. Prince Edward County is seeing an update in the Feast On certification at businesses such as Littlejohn Farm, The Drake Devonshire, Sand and Pearl, the Waring House, Decanter PEC, Parsons Brewing Company and the County Picnic

6. You can Taste the Trent Severn Waterway and plan multiple trips around celebrating the flavours of this National Historic Site.

7. The Kawartha Butter Tart Tour is

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AWARDS How entrepreneur Wendy Grant preserved the legacy of Cornwall City Press


n the 1990s, Wendy Grant was a graphic designer by trade and an instructor at St. Lawrence College in Cornwall without any plans of running a business. But when the college’s Kingston campus absorbed Cornwall’s program, Grant and her coworker and soon-to-be business partner Bob Blair decided to try something new.

Since buying Cornwall City Press in 1994, Grant has carried the business through the shift from “archaic” printing process to the introduction of new technology, as well as purchased a sign company, introduced new offerings, acquired Cornwall’s Sign Factory, and weathered a pandemic. In 2024, two years after Cornwall City Press celebrated its 95th anniversary, Grant was recognized as Entrepreneur of the Year by the Cornwall and Area Chamber of Commerce.

Now the sole owner of Cornwall City Press, Grant sat down with EOBJ to chat about how a simple “why not?” turned into preserving a nearly century-old legacy in Cornwall.

This transcript has been edited for length and clarity.

How did you decide that Cornwall City Press was the business you wanted to invest in?

I was trained as a graphic designer and was teaching graphic design at St. Lawrence College. The college decided to figure out ways to cut costs and decided to amalgamate two graphic design programs into one. The Cornwall campus had a sister design program at the Kingston campus, and they decided to amalgamate the two. My family is in Quebec, I live in Cornwall, and didn’t want to move to Kingston.

My partner had also been at the college for 24 years and he didn’t want to move or make the commute. He got on the phone

with me two hours later and asked what we were going to do. Then he called the owners of Cornwall City Press, because we knew they were of retirement age, and asked if they were interested in selling. It was not on my radar at all, but he asked if I was interested in joining him, and I said, “Sure!”

We knew the owners were in their 70s. It was a husband and wife team, and she was on the ball, sharp as a tack. You know how they say Levi’s never die, they just fade away? Well I think it’s the same with printers. The ink just fades away.

So we knew it was potentially available and thought, rather than create competition somewhere that had enough printers, even too many printers, we thought maybe they’d’ be interested in selling.

We thought, we teach this stuff, so we can do it. But it’s very different on the other side of the counter. Here we were accustomed to bringing in artwork to printers, and now we were on the other side going, “Oh, jeez.”

How did your new career challenge you?

In just about every way. We were both designers, so we knew that part really well. But computers were just starting to make their way into the design field. The business we bought had none, they had a typesetter. They printed out text on paper, it was archaic.

We were on the verge of learning the new technology and bringing it into the business, and we had to train the employees with how to do it, so that was a little strange for some of them.

We also had to learn business. We’d freelanced, so we were in business part-time that way as a side gig, but we had to do the full learning of how to run a business. And although we’d had students to manage and encourage and teach, we now had employees to manage and encourage and teach.

We also didn’t buy the best printing

to do, but we had to know the computer.

Back then, the computer didn’t know everything. You could create beautiful things that weren’t printable. But now they’re smarter.

company in Cornwall; we bought probably the third best. So we had to improve the quality, expand its offerings, and get it out there that it was not the same Cornwall City Press anymore.

What’s the Sign Factory?

I bought the Sign Factory in 2011, and it was about 20 years old then. It was a really good sign business in Cornwall offering commercial signs and promotional products. I knew the owner and I knew she had a good business. There were a few good sign businesses, not as many as now, and I thought the printing industry has been through a lot and lost a lot of revenue.

If you went to the print sign shows, there was sign equipment everywhere. We already used the design equipment, so I knew I wanted to get into making signs. So again, rather than competing against someone with a good reputation … Why don’t I see if she wanted to sell? She thought it was a great way to retire and make sure the business passes on, knowing the customers would be well taken care of and, knowing my background, she saw the fit.

So we moved it into the same space as our other business and she came along with it and worked with us for four years before she retired.

In the time that you’ve been at City Press, how has the business and market changed?

When we came into the business, digital printing and home-based computers were just starting, so people didn’t have them at home, and if they had a printer at home, it was usually atrocious-looking results.

We went from artwork on artboard with mechanical pens and film overlays, to doing the whole thing on the computer, so that changed completely. It made our job easier

Also, how it’s printed has changed. Large runs still use traditional print, but the equipment has changed and the quantity has changed. People used to print 2,000 brochures in order to get a good price, but now you can print 500 if that’s all you need.

With the tech, you can change your sales and your offerings more easily.

Demand has also changed quite a bit. People are getting that they can’t do it at home anymore.

For a while, everyone was their own designer and own printer, and it looked atrocious, but online services like Vistaprint cut into the business, and it still does.

But people trying to present a really professional look with high-end products go that way and then come back to us because they aren’t happy. With online printers, they get into trouble and there’s nobody to talk to. We offer the human-to-human connection.

How have you been able to carry on the legacy of Cornwall City Press?

Keeping it going and keeping its name has been important. Just recently, I had a company inquire who would find a buyer for the company, and it would become a franchise and the name would change, and that wouldn’t sit well with me. It’s been here for 100 years.

I’m hoping for the future that I do find a buyer that will take care of it as I have, and ensure that it lives on in light of the fact that I’m the only printer within the city.

What if it closed, if I said I’m done and went home? What will happen to those hundreds of customers? I’m hoping whoever takes this over — and I’m hoping there will be somebody — will take care of it for my clients and for my staff. I think the community needs something like my business, and I’m doing my best to ensure it has that.

I had never thought of retiring, but I knew it would happen one day, and I’m in my 60s now. When COVID hit, it’s been a hard time to get through, and any small business owner will say the same thing. I haven’t missed a day’s work since then.

It’s got me thinking. I’m going to retire in the next three to five years, but it will depend on what happens.

I just want to make sure it all lives on.


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Northern Cables creates jobs in Eastern Ontario with latest expansion

Brockville-based power cable manufacturer Northern Cables is setting itself up for the next few years of growth with an $80,000 expansion of one of its plants. With two manufacturing plants in Brockville and one in Prescott, Northern Cables invests in plant expansions every few years, said president Todd Stafford. The

latest expansion, which aims to increase manufacturing capacity at the original Brockville plant at 50 California Ave., will accommodate future plans for two additional production lines and “incremental” growth each year.

“That plant has been expanded twice now. By adding to that building space, we can add equipment and processes every year and add two, three, even four years of growth,” explained Stafford. “It won’t be much of a

Developers Taggart, Claridge approved to bid on Kingston conference centre

Ottawa developers Taggart Group of Companies and Claridge Homes have been pre-approved by the City of Kingston to submit proposals to build a new conference centre.

Planned for a parcel of land across The Tragically Hip Way from Slush Puppie Place in downtown Kingston, the conference centre has been more than a decade in the making.

A city council decision on Feb. 20 voted in favour of requesting proposals from six pre-qualified companies.

The approved developers are: Taggart Group of Companies and CaraCo; Claridge Homes; IN8 64 Barrack — which includes IN8 Developments Incorporated, the Springer Group of

production increase immediately, it might help us five or 10 per cent in investor growth, but now we have the space for more and more equipment.

“So, over the next few years we can have up to a 40-per-cent increase in industrial products.”

The company continues to add new processes and equipment to its other Brockville facility, which was expanded in 2019.

There are currently 280 employees company-wide, 150 of which work at the California Avenue facility. This latest expansion will add more positions, Stafford said, as the equipment must be managed 24/7 and will require engineers to oversee operations.

The company’s six principals had worked previously for BICC Phillips Cables, which closed its Brockville plant in 1996. At Phillips, Stafford worked as a unit

manager and process engineer.

“(BICC Phillips Cables) had been around for 90 years, and we really had to start from scratch with no equipment from old plants, and our head office was in an old Coca-Cola factory,” Stafford said. “The first five years was about persistence to get our business off the ground, and then the next 10 was to keep stable.

“The last 10 years have been about growth.”

Stafford said there are plans for continued expansions at the existing plants and to add a fourth facility in the region in the next few years, bringing more jobs and manufacturing to Eastern Ontario.

“We always have an insatiable need for employees and are (competitive) with other businesses growing in our area,” said Stafford. “We’re actively planning and looking at future growth. Whatever people say, manufacturing is not a dying industry.”

Companies and Westdale Properties — Homestead Land Holdings Limited; Jay Patry Enterprises and Trinity Development Inc.; and Fitzrovia and Seeker Labs.

The report presented to council on Feb. 20 outlined the considerations that must be included in proposals for the multi-use redevelopment. They included a restaurant, hotel with approximately 100 rooms, residential, and ground-floor commercial spaces; a 52,000-squarefoot privately owned and operated conference centre space; a minimum of 169 public parking spaces; retention, restoration and/or adaptative use of the existing heritage buildings; and a future partnership opportunity with nearby St. Lawrence College.

Council also approved a payment of $50,000 to each bidder that submits a

complete proposal, with that cost split 50-50 between city reserves and Tourism Kingston.

Tourism Kingston’s half of the cost will be drawn from municipal accommodation tax revenue, which is raised through a tax on hotel stays and allocated to funding tourism-related projects, which CEO Megan Knott called a “good faith component.”

“The intention is to offset a portion of the costs that developers would pay to comply and complete the documents for the RFP process,” said Knott. “Whether they complete the process to the point of submission will be determined, but the intent is that this arrangement is an incentive.”

The conference centre is a “unique model,” Knott said, because while the land is provided by the municipality, the property will be managed by the developer.

“It’s been a long process to get to where we are today,” said Knott. “In 2018, there was more work done to ask, … ‘Have we built up enough of a pipeline and is there enough demand to sustain a mid-sized convention centre?’

“Now, we know the pipeline has

actually grown for business events and other uses.”

Last spring, city council presented a feasibility study that supported the development of a mid-size conference centre that could accommodate up to 1,000 delegates. As the study outlined, the central location is within one kilometre of five hotels.

Ted Robinson, business events specialist for Tourism Kingston and a member of the working group, told EOBJ in May 2023 that while Kingston may not have been ready for such a facility before, there’s no better time than the present.

“It’s become quite apparent in the last number of years that, if we’re going to expand our position in the business events industry, we need more facilities than we have now,” Robinson said. “We’re losing out on a lot of business and I’ve tracked back and looked back at business we know we’ve lost out on, conferences we’ve bid on that have come back and said we don’t have what they need, but also businesses that aren’t even considering Kingston.”

In May 2023, the cost of construction for the conference centre was estimated at between $33 million and $41 million.


Commercial real estate: Strong demand along Hwy. 401, slower recovery in the Valley

While markets along Highway 401 are benefiting from strong demand for industrial properties, areas like the Ottawa Valley are seeing a slower recovery for commercial real estate post-pandemic.

Sherri Cobus of EXP Realty is based in Renfrew and handles a number of commercial real estate properties in the Ottawa Valley. She says the local market is still feeling the effects of the pandemic.

“Since COVID, commercial real estate has definitely taken a hit in Renfrew County and I think it’s just going to take a number of years to pick up again,” said Cobus.

Commercial vacancy rates are high in Pembroke, Renfrew, Arnprior and beyond, she said.

“For sales, not leasing, things are not moving in the Renfrew area, commercialwise, right now. We’ve had things listed on here since 2022 and they’re not moving. I’ve got nine commercial buildings just in town and they’re not moving,” she said.

In Arnprior, there are currently 11 commercial properties listed. Pembroke has a number as well, some that have been listed since 2021.

More people working from home is one of the factors affecting the market, Cobus said.

“I think we’re going to see more people gaining office space again, wanting office space, for advertising, for showrooms, just like it was before COVID. It’s just going to take time,” she said.

Higher interest rates also factor into why commercial properties aren’t selling, she said.

“Once they buy it, they pay property taxes, insurance their rents can’t cover the price of the building,” said Cobus.

One component of the commercial market that is doing well in the area is industrial, including warehouses and storage facilities, she said. “Warehouses are

really booming,” said Cobus.

Perth is an interesting town, said Cobus. While commercial real estate in the area has been on a rollercoaster the past few years, it’s performed well in Perth.

“Given the rising material costs and global supply shortages, new developments were few and far between, increasing the demand for established properties,” she said. “Commercial real estate in Perth has seen a renewed interest from investors located overseas or in the eastern (U.S.), too.”

When it comes to commercial properties such as retail and hotels in the Valley, the future is less positive due to subdued international tourism and reduction in tenant demand, said Cobus.

Steve Piercey, vice-president for advisory and transaction services for CBRE, says that, in areas along Highway 401, there is a trend market watchers are seeing when it comes to industrial property, particularly in Cornwall.

“We are really seeing an increased demand in major transportation corridors, anything along the 401,” said Piercey. “A lot of companies are seeking economical rents outside of the major metropolitan areas like Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa, where rents have basically increased so drastically, so quickly, it’s put them at an economic disadvantage.”

Also, industrial developments taking

place in these larger cities have little to no yard or storage space.

“So, some of these users who require outdoor storage or trailer parking and they’re seeing rents skyrocketing in Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa have looked to these towns as an alternative location,” said Piercey.

As a result, areas like Cornwall, Brockville and Kingston have seen strong demand for industrial space.

“And you’ve seen limited growth in some of these other markets that are not on those transportation corridors, like Hawkesbury or Renfrew, where you’ve still seen some but not the same explosive rent growth,” he said.

Cornwall, in particular, has another desirable feature from a business perspective.

“It’s basically on the border of Quebec and … we’ve seen large groups go there like Wal-Mart, for example … they get all the benefits of being exposed to the Quebec market, without having to deal with any French language laws and limited union influence that Quebec typically has,” said Piercey. “That’s why in Cornwall there’s little to no vacancy there at any particular time.”

While communities such as Renfrew and Arnprior have Highway 17, the trend is not as strong, at least so far.

“You’ve got the highway that goes

all the way up to North Bay, which is a transportation corridor in itself, but most groups launching to access those markets are launching from Ottawa or somewhere close by on a major highway or going up through Peterborough,” said Piercey.

“In some of the major markets, you’re seeing a little bit of increase in vacancy because there’s been so much development happening, but these small tertiary markets, they haven’t had any major new supply come online, so older buildings, buildings that have been around for 10 or 20 years are all filling up again.”

Piercey predicts more of the same for the foreseeable future.

“I expect the trends to continue. Again, because there’s just little to no development in those areas on a large scale to match regular demand. And I expect these other markets Hawkesbury, Renfrew, Perth, all those groups that aren’t on that transportation corridor to stay kind of stagnant as they are,” he said.

In Kingston, broker Martin Skolnick, vice-president of Cushman & Wakefield Kingston, says the area’s commercial real estate supply is limited in all sectors, including office, as demand remains strong.

“Currently, new office and retail is not being built, but multi-unit light industrial continues to be constructed on spec and filled,” he said.

Vacancy rates in all sectors of the Kingston commercial real estate market remain low, said Skolnick, noting demand has remained steady while supply is limited.

“We predict in the year ahead, within the Kingston market, that there will be a continuation of strong fundamentals, including the added pressures created by an increase in population year over year, limited land supply, strong absorption rates for new purpose-built light industrial buildings, and increased interest in the Kingston market from developers and investors being starved for opportunity in the major markets,” he said.

Sherri Cobus, EXP Realty. Martin Skolnick, Cushman & Wakefield.
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County of Renfrew: Affordable living, stunning countryside, and exciting career opportunities

Photo credit Ottawa Valley Tourist Association Photo credit Ottawa Valey Tourist Association

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Say goodbye to budget worries and hello to financial freedom! Renfrew County offers an affordable lifestyle where your hard-earned dollars stretch further. Average home prices in Renfrew County are 30% less than Ottawa.

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Are you ready to take your next Zoom meeting from your dock? Come wander and experience what Renfrew County has to offer! For more information, visit InvestRenfrewCounty.ca.

Calling all explorers and adventure seekers

Our region is made up of a unique blend of rural towns and villages, each with its own distinct charm and vibrant spirit. Find your community and fill your days, evenings and weekends with festivals, events and adventures.

Now hiring in multiple sectors

The truth is you don’t have to choose between work and play when you can have both. The Ottawa Valley region offers great employment opportunities. Renfrew County is part of the high tech corridor that runs from Kanata to Canadian Nuclear Laboratories in Deep River; offers a world-class tourism hub; and has many employment opportunities in agriculture, manufacturing, health sciences and municipal services, just to name a few.

Photo credit Ashley St. Germain

Now I celebrate two birthdays: the date I was born, and Oct. 16, 1986, the day I returned to the world. – Mike

Neoprene, a flashlight and a near-death experience: The story of Mike Adjeleian and the L’il Sucker

Mike Adjeleian was a 27-year-old student at the Rhode Island School of Design when he was electrocuted at a manufacturing plant during a school trip. Nearly 40 years later, Adjeleian is a family man, an industrial designer, and the mind behind the Lil Sucker, an innovative cup-holding technology.

The story of how it all came to be is one that still makes him emotional.

A student of industrial design, Adjeleian, a dual U.S.-Canadian citizen, was living in Rhode Island and attending a school trip about manufacturing processes.

“I was standing next to the CEO in the plant and asked if they ever had accidents, because there weren’t any hard hats, boots, or safety procedures.

He said no,” recalls Adjeleian. “Not a millisecond later, the electricity went through my left leg and blew a hole through my chest on its way out.

“I was dead to the world.”

Adjeleian took a few years off from his studies to recover, though he says he’s still processing the event to this day, and graduated in 1990. But the experience changed him, and his life, forever, he says.

“It feeds into my determination to survive, to succeed and to be a good person and conduct myself well,” Adjeleian explains. “Now I celebrate two birthdays: the date I was born, and Oct. 16, 1986, the day I returned to the world.”

As a new graduate, Adjeleian always had an entrepreneurial spirit and a calling to solve problems. After completing his studies, he moved home to Ottawa and rented a studio apartment in the ByWard

Mike Adjeleian (far right) invented the L’il Sucker, manufactured in Kemptville. PHOTOS BY SARAH MACFARLANE

Market. It’s where he invented his first product, but that was just the beginning.

A self-described “wannabe cop,” Adjeleian’s first invention was inspired after he saw a police officer drop a flashlight when reaching for a driver’s details at a roadside stop. The next day, he heard on the news that a police officer had been killed.

“I have no idea if the two events were connected. But it felt important to me and I thought about what I’d seen and how I could make things safer,” he explains. “That’s all industrial design is … it’s looking at an operational sequence, getting from point A to point B, and removing steps in between to make it better, simpler or safer.”

ATVs, or vehicles. Nearly any smooth surface will work, and the seal can withstand up to 200 lbs of pressure. The result is an non-spillable, untippable cup holder that seems to have been embraced by everyone from boaters and campers to tradespeople since it first hit the market more than 20 years ago.

Part of the product’s success, Adjeleian says, is its unique branding.

Adjeleian was working with a friend to name the product and says both were out of ideas when they each independently came up with the name “L’il Sucker.” “We showed each other the name we had thought of at the same time, and it was the same name,” he laughs.

Adjeleian was experimenting with neoprene as he tried to find solutions that could assist law enforcement and was “messing around” with the material when the idea for L’il Sucker took hold.

“I was trying to find a product that would prevent glare off the glass with a flashlight, so I was up at the window with one of those big law enforcement flashlights,” says Adjeleian. “The material just sucked the flashlight right out of my hand and stuck it to the window, and that was my ‘eureka!’ moment.

“I immediately grabbed a canned drink and the wheels were already turning, and that was how L’il Sucker was born.”

A L’il Sucker product today is a donut-shaped piece of neoprene with a rubber-like bottom. When placed around a can, bottle or cup, the fabric creases around the object and fuses to the tabletop underneath, creating a nearly unbreakable seal.

A L’il Sucker can be used on counters or desks or most any other surface, including kayaks, paddleboards, coolers,

biggest sales channel. Despite “organic” growth over the past few decades, Adjeleian says the product still has a “wow factor” that “sucks” customers in.

Currently, Adjeleian is looking to make more inroads into the Canadian market, with L’il Sucker to be launched on Amazon.ca next week and talks with Canadian retailers ongoing.

“The Canadian market is different, so we’ll see,” says Adjeleian. “They weren’t taking that leap of faith years ago, but maybe they will now.”

L’il Suckers are dye-cut and entirely customizable with a variety of colours and patterns to choose from, which has also helped with marketing. Adjeleian says he has worked out branding deals with companies like YETI, as well as created L’il Suckers with promotional branding for various companies.

Another branding success for Adjeleian was the creation of a “family pack,” which features a variety of L’il Suckers in all sizes to hold everything from a can of paint to a nail polish bottle.

“I knew then that that had to be its name.”

L’il Sucker Products now includes Magneato, a magnetic drink holder, a variety of L’il Sucker sizes, as well as beverage insulators. All are designed, manufactured and shipped out of Kemptville.

“I’ve often been asked, ‘Why Kemptville?’ and I’ve asked myself the same,” says Adjeleian. “The truth is, I’m a dual citizen, but my home is Ottawa. When it started, my wife worked in Ottawa, my son was born here, I have a cottage nearby, and it’s close to the border.”

Kemptville’s proximity to the United States is a definite plus, he says, because Americans make up 90 per cent of L’il Sucker’s market.

“I’m not just the designer, because I had to become a logistics expert, there’s a lot to learn and I’ve pretty much got it figured out now.”

L’il Sucker Products ships out of Ogdensburg, N.Y., and through Amazon. com, which is currently the product’s

1,000 L’il Suckers and printing 800 each hour. At full capacity, the facility could manufacture 5,000 products per day, with a maximum of about 8,000.

In 2022, Amazon alone accounted for up to $50,000 in L’il Suckers each week, Adjeleian says, for orders that were completed within a few days for a quick turnaround.

But despite L’il Suckers’ production potential and ongoing success, Adjeleian says he’s hoping to slow down in coming years – at least in his role within the company.

“The future is, ‘Mike is getting older,’” laughs Adjeleian. “I want to work smarter, not harder, and work on the business instead of in the business.”

Next steps will involve hiring an office manager to oversee most operations, Adjeleian says, and “grow what we’ve got.” After all, he says, “as much as I wish I could, I can’t clone myself.”

The operations in Kemptville employ up to 12 people, depending on product demand, and are capable of dye-cutting

“I’d love to see it grow into a household product, because there are so many good opportunities,” he continues. “But I need to do more design, I need to be creative, because there are so many more things I can do with this.”

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BRIEFS Loopstra Nixon LLP opens Kingston office to be headed by former city solicitor

Anew law office has opened in Kingston, headed by former city solicitor Jenna Morley.

Etobicoke-based Loopstra Nixon LLP announced recently that it has expanded into Kingston, representing “the continuation of the firm’s strategic plan to grow its footprint to serve clients throughout the province and across the country” and solidifying its presence in Eastern Ontario.

The firm advises Canadian landowners, developers and municipalities on municipal, land use planning and development law matters.

As the former city solicitor and director

of legal services for the City of Kingston, Morley has experience with land use planning and development matters, including Planning Act applications and approvals, development agreements, land acquisitions, and Ontario Land Tribunal appeals.

Morley also has private practice experience as a commercial leasing lawyer, advising commercial, retail, office and industrial landlords and tenants on a range of commercial leasing matters, including the negotiation of propertyrelated agreements, such as property management, telecommunications, licence and building services agreements.

“Being part of the growth of such a respected law firm in my hometown is a dream come true and I look forward to

contributing to its success,” said Morley in a news release.

“We are thrilled to bring Jenna on board — she’s a respected municipal lawyer with a laudable career history and the skillset to provide top-tier advice to clients regarding municipal, land use planning and development law matters,” said Quinto Annibale, chair of the firm’s municipal, land use planning and development law group.

Loopstra Nixon was founded in 1973 and has grown to more than 100 lawyers. In 2023, it celebrated its 50th anniversary in Etobicoke, where its head office is located. The firm also operates offices in downtown Toronto, Vaughan, Ottawa, Kingston and Newmarket, as well as U.S. satellite offices in Buffalo, N.Y. and New York City.

Donna Gillespie, CEO at Kingston Economic Development, receives provincial award

Donna Gillespie, CEO at Kingston Economic Development, was recently honoured with the Joseph A. Montgomery Economic Development Achievement Award.

The award, presented by the Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO), pays tribute to Joseph A. Montgomery, a Niagara Falls entrepreneur who was a driving force behind the establishment of EDCO and the Economic Development Association of Canada.

According to a news release, Gillespie was instrumental in bringing Canada Royal Milk to Kingston in 2016, representing the largest foreign direct investment in agriculture business in Ontario and Canada at the time. Her

influence extends across other initiatives, from spearheading the Kingston Film Office and the creation of the first Kingston Arts Awards of Excellence, to her role in establishing the Kingston-Syracuse Pathway. She is one of the founding members of the Great Lakes Economic Development Council.

“Economic developers have a great opportunity to have a positive impact on their communities supporting entrepreneurs, attracting new investment and creating an environment for business success,” said Gillespie in the release. “I’m tremendously grateful to have strong leadership on the board and a rockstar team to support me along the way.”

Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson said he has worked with Gillespie for almost a decade.

“Witnessing the remarkable

transformation in our local economy and within the economic development office has been truly inspiring,” said Paterson. “Donna is a team player and collaborator; her ability to unite talented individuals towards overarching community goals is admirable.”

Anne Vivian-Scott, chair of the board at Kingston Economic Development, thanked Gillespie for helping to make Kingston a wonderful place to grow a business.

“Not only did Donna rebuild this organization with integrity and discipline, but also she has led the organization through a significant strategic refocusing effort that has aligned Kingston with one of the most significant changes to our economy in generations.”

There have been three other recipients of the award since 2017.

Burnbrae Farms co-founder Joe Hudson dies at age 94

Joe Hudson, co-founder of family-owned Burnbrae Farms, has died at the age of 94 at his home near Brockville surrounded by his family, his daughter Margaret Hudson wrote on LinkedIn.

Born on July 12, 1929, Hudson grew up on his family’s dairy farm, which was founded in 1891 in Lyn, near Brockville. At age 14, Hudson raised 50 hens for a school project. His interest in eggs and chickens ultimately led Burnbrae Farms to evolve into egg production in the 1940s under the guidance of Hudson and his brother Grant.

In the years since, Burnbrae’s operations have become an integral part of the Eastern Ontario and Canadian agricultural industry.

Margaret Hudson, current Burnbrae Farms president and CEO, described her father as a “visionary.”

“I learned so much from him and had a lot of fun along the way. Not going to lie, it got frustrating at times,” the post read. “He was always late for meetings, and he called me in the middle of the night on a regular basis, but it was always worth it and he taught me so much, about business, about people and about life in general.”

Though he officially retired in 2010, Hudson was still at the farm daily, his family said. In 2007, Hudson was the recipient of the We Care Hall of Fame Award, served for 31 years as a director of the Ontario Egg Producers, and was inducted into the Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame in 2012.

He also served as chair of the Hudson-Burnbrae Foundation, which provides financial support to educational and other charitable causes in Eastern Ontario.

Vacation Guide Hidden gems for
travellers, foodies and

Enjoy rustic luxury at Fairmont Le Château Montebello on the Ottawa River

Who knew the world’s largest log cabin was just a short drive from Ottawa?

The residents of Montebello, that’s who. Fairmont Le Château Montebello is a unique resort that’s been a part of the community for nearly 100 years, and a destination resort for half a century.

Located on the Ottawa River, halfway between Ottawa and Montreal, Château Montebello is known for attracting local visitors to its incredible Sunday brunch

But anyone looking to get away for a weekend of pampering, luxury or family fun can look no further than this unique hotel.

With over 200 rooms available and more than 40 activities and experiences on-site, the chaletinspired resort can be the perfect home-away-fromhome.

Whether you’re stopping by for the day and a bite to eat or booking an extended stay, Château Montebello has a touch of something special for everyone.


Located on 300 acres of wilderness, the resort offers ample opportunity to get outside and enjoy the grounds – no matter the season.

During the winter months, guests have access to 15km of groomed cross country trails with skis or snowshoes available on-site. Skates, hockey equipment and snow tubes are also available for some family fun.

When summer hits, the grounds of the resort are buzzing with mini-golf, horseshoes, badminton, an 18-hole golf course and more. Resort goers can also borrow bicycles to tour around the community, or hit the many nature trails that exist in the area.

For water enthusiasts, the resort is located right on the Ottawa River, where guests can canoe, kayak or stand-up paddle board.

If relaxation is more your thing, the resort also has beautiful gardens around the property, fire pits, as well as an outdoor pool area surrounded by cozy cabanas.

Guests can also stroll over to the Manoir Papineau National Historic site to tour the immense seigneurial estate of Louis-Joseph Papineau, which is marking its 350th anniversary this year, with exciting events at the manor at the heart of the festivities.

Book your summer fun family package today

To kick off the summer, Château Montebello is inviting you to treat yourself with this summer fun family package:

• Overnight accommodation (2 nights required)

• Daily breakfast (including gratuities)

• Daily resort experience fee

• $20 spa credit per person on a massage of 60 minutes or more at regular price

• $20 golf credit per person on a green fee at regular price

• $20 dining credit per room per stay

• A visit per stay of Manoir Papineau, National Historic Site

• Summer Activity Program

Visit fairmont.com/montebello/ to reserve your spot today!


Famous for its traditional Sunday brunches – two of which will take place on the patio this summer – the Château Montebello has ample dining options that will satisfy any craving.

Year-round, guests can enjoy fresh, local cuisine at Aux Chantignoles, the on-site restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.

During the summer months, guests can eat al fresco either at Le Riverain Terrace – serving light meals and beverages – or at the Barbecue & Terrace where dinner is served family-style, straight off the grill with several side dishes and desserts on deck.


For those looking for a true R&R experience, Château Montebello has an on-site day spa where guests can unwind and get “nourished by nature”.

Book a hot-stone massage, body wrap or facial and take in the serene atmosphere of the expansive indoor heated pool, sauna and whirlpools at the Aquatic Centre and Health Club.

While you’re there, a must-see is the resort’s nearly olympic-sized indoor pool, surrounded by a wooden a-frame ceiling that brings the natural surroundings indoors, the perfect way to wrap up your day at the spa.

So whether you’re looking to book a girls weekend, a couples getaway or a family vacation, Château Montebello will have what you’re looking for.


TOURISM Adventures await close to home

It’s been said that some of the best adventures begin in your own backyard. As our annual Eastern O ntario Vacation Guide demonstrates, there are dozens of nearby destinations ready to provide unforgettable experiences for travellers of all ages.

When building your staycation travel wish list, Ottawa Tourism’s comprehensive resources are a great first stop, putting the spotlight on such local gems such as the almost 200-year old ByWard Market, which has scores of fun activities, many of which are deliciously food-focused.

The Ingenium museums’ new offerings, such as ‘Oh Crap!’ at the Canada Science and Technology Museum or the Canada Aviation and Space Museum’s deep dive into the Cold War are sure to intrigue and inform.

Don’t miss the family-favourite Canada Agriculture and Food Museum a working farm in the heart of the city.

If spending time at the racetrack or in a bustling casino is more your style, a visit to the Rideau Carleton Casino is always exciting; the venue is open while being transformed for its 2025 relaunch as the Hard Rock Casino Ottawa.

an ideal destination for those looking for fun, food, pampering or a relaxing getaway.

There is similarly no shortage of great adventures to be found in nearby Lanark County

Its nine municipalities are linked by a

stunning natural landscape the perfect playground for outdoor enthusiasts.

Less than an hour from downtown Ottawa, Chateau Montebello the world’s largest log cabin offers rustic luxury and heaps of fun activities at this chalet-inspired resort.

It’s the perfect year to explore the local sights, sounds and flavours that await, as sometimes the best adventures truly can be found close to home.

Just west of Ottawa sits Carleton Place, home to beautiful scenery and historical charm. This friendly town is


Regional Roadtrips: Alpaca trekking and savoury Spanish delights await in Leeds and Grenville

Regional Roadtrips is a column prepared by local travel writer Laura Byrne Paquet of Ottawa Road Trips to inspire day trips and weekend getaways a short drive from Ottawa.

Have you ever heard an alpaca orgle?

I haven’t, but at least I now know what orgling is, thanks to a recent visit to Little Foot Alpacas. At this farm just outside Spencerville, about 50 minutes south of Ottawa, co-owner Caroline Bingley dishes up fascinating facts about these lovable South American mammals.

Orgling is something that only a true alpaca fan like Bingley could call “singing.” (I googled it later and decided the noise sounded more like a sputtering

car engine.) Male alpacas sing their “songs” to attract the attention of a female alpaca. She chooses her favourite orgler and they head off to make a baby alpaca.

But I wasn’t at Little Foot that day to watch an alpaca version of The Bachelor. I was there to take a one-hour alpaca trek.

While “trekking” conjures visions of clambering through the Andes, an alpaca trek at Little Foot is a much simpler concept. Visitors spend a restful hour walking a harnessed alpaca around the farm’s trails and chatting with Bingley.

My alpaca date for the morning was Thor, a friendly fluffball the colour of milk chocolate who stood about as tall as my shoulder. As we set off on our trek, I asked Bingley how she came to start an alpaca farm after running a florist shop

Visitors spend a restful hour walking a harnessed alpaca around the farm’s trails and chatting with Bingley.

in Trent Hills, Ont., for 25 years.

It turns out she’d been fascinated by alpacas for about a decade. So when she sold her store, she and her partner built a barn on his family’s Spencerville farm and started buying alpacas. They opened Little Foot to the public last June.

Their original goal was to have eight

alpacas. At the moment, they have 22. “They’re like potato chips,” she explained with a happy shrug. “You can’t have just one.”

Our boots crunched in the snow as we strolled slowly around the perimeter of a farm field. It was beautifully quiet, with the wind sighing through the trees and Thor’s occasional snuffle the loudest sounds. And the best part? Thor permitted me to throw my arm around his fuzzy neck and cuddle him.

After our trek, we returned Thor to his paddock and I checked out the small farm shop, heaped with socks, mittens, sweaters and blankets made from alpaca yarn. (Unlike llamas, alpacas are raised for their soft, dense fibre and not as pack animals.) And then it was time to say goodbye.

Having worked up a bit of an appetite, I drove about 20 minutes south of Little Foot to El Rebost de les Mil Illes in Prescott. Owner Marc Gomez Segu stocks this gourmet food shop — located, incongruously, in a drab industrial park — with high-end treats imported from his native Spain. He also serves light lunches, and I happily tucked into half an outstanding Joselito Iberico shoulder ham sandwich on sourdough with a bright, fresh side salad. I’m keen to return to check out the company’s new full-service restaurant, currently under construction next door.

Award-winning Ottawa travel writer

Laura Byrne Paquet shares her sightseeing tips for Eastern Ontario and beyond on her website, Ottawa Road Trips.

Caroline Bingley operates Little Foot Alpacas just outside Spencerville. PHOTOS BY LAURA BYRNE PAQUET

Lanark County: One county, nine

districts, limitless adventures

Enjoy unique outdoors experiences you can’t find anywhere else

Next door to our nation’s capital lies Lanark County, a place boasting nine municipalities that each offer their own unique flavour, ranging from highlands, to rivers, to the majestic Canadian shield.

The county’s natural landscape makes it the perfect place for anyone looking for outdoor adventures, whether you’re into cycling, hiking or taking to the water in a canoe or kayak.

You may have heard a rumour that the region’s predominant “flavour” is as Canadian as it gets — Lanark County is the maple syrup capital of Ontario.

But rest assured, you can still enjoy this sweet treat all year on the Sip & Savour Trail, as well as at local institutions like Wheeler’s Pancake House, Sugar Camp and Maple Heritage Museum.

Nature trails and lakes

Lanark County’s many lakes offer plenty of places to rent a cottage, enjoy the beach, do some fishing and boating — you can even sleep on the water in a Le Boat rental — or grab a paddle for a bit of canoeing and kayaking.

One of the county’s must-see natural wonders can be found at Purdon Conservation Area, where 10,000 showy lady-slipper orchids bloom from late June to mid-July.

A 30-min walk up Blueberry Mountain is the place to enjoy gorgeous view. And, the Silver Queen Mica Mine Trail — a unique experience like no

April 27: The Festival of the Maples in Perth

May 25: Franktown Lilac Festival

July 5-7: Almonte Celtfest

July 19-21: The Stewart Park Festival

Aug 9-11: Puppets Up! in Almonte

Aug 10-11: RMEO Trainfest

Aug 24 - 25: The Ontario Moonshine Festival

Aug 30 - Sept. 2nd: The Perth Fair

Oct. 4-6: Carleton Place Pumpkinfest

other — is found in Murphy’s Point Provincial Park.

Cyclists can pack a lunch and spend a few hours or a full day traveling along the Ottawa Valley Recreational Trail from Smiths Falls through Carleton Place, Almonte, and Pakenham.

Arts, history and heritage

If you like nature with a side of heritage and history, Lanark County has you covered.

Art aficionados will enjoy Almonte’s Sivarulrasa Gallery or Perth’s autumn studio tour.

Crafty folks may want to check out a workshop at the Basketry Museum, a pottery class at Almonte’s Potter’s Guild or learn about all things textile at Fibrefest in the fall.

There are also plenty of places to learn more

about local history, like Fortune Farms, where they demonstrate the art of producing maple syrup.

Maple-inspired food and more

The easiest way to be introduced to all things maple in Ontario’s sap-running syrup capital is to follow this map of the Sip & Savour Trail, which showcases and celebrates everything maple and much more!

When it comes to sipping, each brewer along the trail has a maple option. At Top Shelf Distillers you’ll find maple-infused Reunion French Toast Moonshine. Perth Brewery is where you can pick up some O’Canada Maple Ale.

In Almonte, Vodkow is redefining cream liqueurs with a uniquely Canadian product made possible by these intrepid brewers, who petitioned the federal government to expand the definition of the potato-based spirit to include ‘made from milk’. Their signature maple offering is Sugar Shack Maple Cream. Everything you can savour on the trail is just as tasty. Perth’s Balderson Village Cheese Store is where you can find Maple Dale Jalapeno Peppercorn Cheddar. Hummingbird Chocolate in Almonte has a maple chocolate bar and unexpected options like “chocolate salami”, a traditional Italian and Portuguese specialty!

If you need a full sit-down meal for breakfast, lunch or dinner, you’ll find The Stone Cellar in Perth, the Waterfront Gastropub in Carleton Place, Generations on the Lake or for some fine dining, the River House Winery for a maple pork sandwich with a side of wine, a waterfront view at CCs on the Rideau, and the black tartan kitchen is a fantastic option in Carleton Place.

One thing is clear - there’s no shortage of adventures to be found in nearby Lanark County. Click here to learn more about being a tourist in Lanark County, and start planning your visit today!


Visiting the ByWard Market?

Here’s your go-to list for fun, food & festivities

Whether you’re a local heading downtown or a tourist looking for a fun way to spend an afternoon in Ottawa, the ByWard Market is likely to be a stop on your list.

The year-round public market – which kicks off its outdoor season in May and runs until the end of October – has something for everyone. Lined with unique shops, tasty treats, and streets filled with activities for the whole family, the market is always abuzz with something to do.

Activities & Celebrations:

• Taste your way through the market with C’est Bon Taste of the ByWard Market Food Tour! Enjoy a mix of savoury and sweet dishes as you learn about some key spots in the neighborhood

• Located in ByWard Heritage building, Gallery 55 showcases unique artwork while overlooking the market

• Celebrate Mexican culture with mariachi performances, folkloric dances, live music, piñata-making class, traditional Mexican food, and much more at the Cinco de Mayo celebration May 4 & 5

• Check out the local artisans and retailers at the opening of the outdoor public market on May 11

• In the midst of the tulip festival, a PollenPalooza Night Market is taking place in the historic ByWard Night Market on May 18. The

free event features TIMEKODE & Friends, the ultimate funk and soul DJ collective!

• Running from May 26 to October, the Minerva Artisan Market is uniting local crafters for a handmade fair, where candles, resins, paintings, bath & body products, and clothing will be sold

• Spending Father’s Day with Dad? Check out Daddy’s Day Out: A Father’s Day Market being held on June 16

• A7G (Assembly of Seven Generations) hosts an Indigenous night market on June 21

• What better way to celebrate Canada Day weekend than in downtown Ottawa? Pop by the market on June 29, 30, and July 1 to check out Fly Market Vintage and Ooh Festival including SOLÉ, the music lovers’ daytime dance party

• Downtown Ottawa’s favourite vintage shopping experience, Ooh Festival x The Real Fly Market, is taking place once again on August 10

• Pamper your furry friend at the ByWard BARKet on Sept 29, with specialty vendors to treat your pet!

• Looking ahead to fall? Stay tuned for the Harvest Market, with a date being announced soon

• Experience the culture of Mexico at the Day of the Dead Festival from Nov 1-3 with food, drinks, and entertainment for the whole family

Grab a bite:

• Stop by Starling Restaurant & Bar to admire its stylish interior, unique cocktails and fresh menu

• A Quebec wine bar in the heart of the market, Buvette Daphnée is a recent addition to the neighbourhood that is worth a visit

• Play Food and Wine boasts an extensive small-plates menu, perfect for sharing and sampling their locally-sourced menu

• Inspired by the street food of Southeast Asia, Sidedoor is a place where families can dine, eating seasonal produce, oceanwise seafood, and ground curries

• Restaurant e18hteen is a steak and seafood lover’s dream, offering a large wine and beer list

Unique finds:

• Looking for clothing, jewelry, or accessories? Milk Shop is a trendy, independent boutique catering to those who want to spice up their look

• Crossing the lines of cultural boundaries, D’aku Designs aims to blend functionality with flare

• Stop by Adaawewigamig for an authentic shopping Indigenous experience

• Specializing in Moroccan decorative art, Marrakech Designs is a unique retail experience specalizing handcrafted ceramics

Wonder and amazement is what you’ll discover at these Ottawa museums

Do a deep dive into the Cold War, discover everything you wanted to know about poop, see a working farm in action and more!

This summer, embark on a journey where curiosity knows no bounds by stepping into the world of Canada’s Museums of Science and Innovation.

United under the Ingenium brand, the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, the Canada Science and Technology Museum and the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum explore how science intersects with everyday life through interactive and engaging programming, suitable for the whole family.

With a mix of exciting new exhibitions and fanfavourite experiences to catch in the capital, now is the perfect time to plan your next visit.


The Canada Aviation and Space Museum is marking the 100th anniversary of the Royal Canadian Air Force with a deep dive into the Cold War.

The new, permanent exhibition – open April 5 – will take guests back in time to an era marked by international tensions, espionage and the threat of nuclear attack.

Visitors will have a chance to marvel at rare artifacts and iconic Cold War aircraft – including

the nose of the celebrated Avro Arrow, the largest surviving piece of the discontinued plane. Visitors will also learn about the technological advancements made within the RCAF at this time.

The exhibit will also give museum goers an idea of what life was like for civilians at the time, with personal stories intertwined into the exhibition as well as a replica fallout shelter and supply kit.


At the Canada Science and Technology Museum, the words “Oh Crap!” take on new meaning!

The summer of 2024 is your chance to find out everything you ever wanted to know about poop, at the Oh Crap! Rethinking Human Waste exhibition.

This unique experience takes visitors on an unexpected journey that will leave you thinking about poop in a whole new way.

Have you ever thought about using poop as a sustainable resource? Or how toilets vary around the world?

By taking a fun, and engaging approach to the subject, guests of all ages will gain new insights

into all aspects of human waste. Museum goers can also learn about their own gut health, how waste is managed globally and can even test their skills in the CACArcade – an arcade designed with poop in mind!


There’s no better time to plan your visit to the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum than springtime, when new life is abound!

With a mix of newborn lambs, kids and calves onsite – as well as rabbits, cows, alpacas, horses, pigs and goats, there are plenty of opportunities to meet some extra cute furry friends!

Both young visitors and their families will love learning about the animals that call the farm home at daily “New Life on the Farm” demonstrations, where they can get up close with the cuddly new additions, as well as learn about how the animals are cared for on the farm.

The museum also features indoor exhibitions to pique guests’ curiosity, such as a deep dive into Canola – Canada’s crop – aquaculture and fishing practices, as well as farming for the future and Ecuador’s important role in sharing chocolate with the world.

Guests can also check out exhibitions on sustainable farming practices, food literacy, and the benefits and relationship of agricultural science and technology to Canadians’ everyday lives.


Carleton Place: The

charming small town where heritage and nature intertwine
A half hour from Ottawa’s west end, you’ll find the stuff idyllic day trips are made of

A short drive from Ottawa’s west end is a picturesque town where you’ll find beautiful landscapes and historical charm on the shores of the Mississippi River.

Whether you’re looking to get away for the day or a long weekend, Carleton Place is a friendly town that offers plenty of options for anyone who needs some fun, a bit of romance, or a relaxing getaway.

History and heritage

Kickstart your trip with a stop at the Carleton Place Visitor and Information Centre at 170 Bridge St., where you can pick up a map of their self-guided walking tours, and view the Captain Roy Brown exhibit — the Carleton Place born WW1 flying ace pilot who shot down the Red Baron.

To learn more local history, wander over to the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum, where in June you’ll find out about local life during the Roaring 20s — the perfect time of year to enjoy the museum’s lovely back garden labyrinth.

If you’re looking to up your selfie game on Insta, there are plenty of local murals to choose from including none other than Stompin’ Tom Connors.

Food, fun and fashion

There’s lots for foodies to enjoy when it comes to eating in Carleton Place, including the Black Tartan Kitchen — which offers a fine dining culinary experience featuring hyper-local food and seasonal menus.

If you’re looking for something more casual, you’ll find some of the best sit-down breakfast

diners and waterfront patios. Additionally, you can enjoy fresh hot pretzels at Little German Bakery and sweet treats at donut shops like Maverick’s or Holey Confections of Dragon’s Den fame.

Also downtown you’ll find one-of-a-kind experiences, like the Canadian Co-Operative of Wool Growers, the organization that processes 85 per cent of Canadian wool. You can see how wool is handled before picking up some of their wares at The Real Wool Shop and CCWG Livestock Supplies

Don’t let the latter’s name fool you, they also sell children’s toys, housewares, wool clothing, and nifty bird feeders!

Those looking for a “grand” experience can book a room at The Grand Hotel where you’re steps away from the downtown heritage shopping district. There you’ll find an array of shopping including but not limited to, Canadian-made and European fashion, thrift and consignment , antiques, jewellery, bridal and flower shops, children’s apparel and toys, handcrafted goods, and even a metaphysical store for your mind, body and soul!

Relax and unwind

Vacation is all about finding time to unwind, whether you’re an outdoor adventurer or prefer the indoors.

If you need a big dose of Vitamin D, you can borrow fishing poles for free and rent teal cruiser bikes from the Visitor Information Centre. Travel along several cycling trails in the area, or throw your golf clubs in the trunk and hit the links!

For hot summer days, cool off at Riverside Beach and splash pad. Kayak rentals will be available in May at Centennial Beach so you can explore the Mississippi River.

Commune with nature on one of the many trails, the Mississippi RiverWalk being a favourite.

Cycling enthusiasts will love how cycle-friendly Carleton Place is, especially with the Trans Canada Trail and Ottawa Valley Recreational Trail intersecting in town. Carleton Junction’s pump track is especially fun for the kids, whereas adults can have fun too at the breweries downtown, like Stalwart Brewing Co., and Braumeister Brewing Co Meanwhile, those who prefer to relax inside can head over to Mahogany or other salon and spas to enjoy some well-deserved pampering!

Plan your trip by visiting carletonplace.ca/ visit and check out the 2024 information guide or follow @carletonplacetourism on Facebook and Instagram to see all the fun being had and future events!


A tiny village with outsize attractions, Newboro is worth a visit in any season

The tiny Rideau Lakes village of Newboro (population: 262) punches far above its weight when it comes to amusements for road trippers. Roughly 90 minutes southwest of Ottawa, it is home to an art school, a soap maker, a fishing gear shop, and a rambling country store that seems to have swallowed up half the community.

First, the art school. Stone Manor Studios (11 New St.) is the brainchild of artist Kim Lulashnyk. In this light-filled space, once a Victorian carriage house, Lulashnyk and other artists give short workshops and multiday classes in beading, painting, stained glass and other skills. Many classes include a lunch showcasing local ingredients.

Another Victorian building — this time, a lockmaster’s house dating to 1863 — is home to the Newboro Soap Company (49 Drummond St.). Owner Dani Warman says she has been making soap “forever,” but she finally opened a shop after retiring from her customer service job with WestJet in 2019. A passionate advocate for environmental sustainability, she also stocks eco-friendly products such as reusable fabric bowl covers and chemicalfree deodorant made by other companies.

While tourists are important to keeping her tiny shop in business, Warman is keen to cultivate a core market of locals. She encourages them to check out the “refillery,” where shoppers can fill empty containers with biodegradable dish soap, laundry detergent, stain remover and other household cleaners made by Quebecbased Pure.

“We’re all on septic out here. We’re all trying to have beautiful water on the Rideau Canal,” she points out.

that it now appears to comprise half the (admittedly tiny) retail strip. Honestly, you could easily get lost in there for at least half an hour.

In summer, Newboro is a hopping place, with crowds of cottagers heading to Kilborn’s to buy sunscreen and ice cream and fishers popping into Norris Bait and Tackle (8877 County Road 42) to pick up rods, reels, lures and other outdoor gear. Rideau Canal Lock 36, on the south edge of the village, brings in lots of boaters as well.

However, I like Newboro just as well in the spring and fall, when I can have the place largely to myself. That makes it easy to conjure up the mid-19th century as I meander past St. Mary’s Anglican Church and many lovingly restored homes. And

there are fewer folks jostling for a table to enjoy sandwiches, pizza or charcuterie at the Stagecoach Inn (4 Drummond St.).

If you’d like to stay overnight, Newboro accommodations include a vacation rental above the soap shop, bed-and-breakfast spots, and small lodges. The nearby village of Westport offers additional options.

Take Highway 7 west to Carleton Place, then Highway 15 south through Smiths Falls and Portland. Just south of Portland, turn west (right) onto County Road 42, which will take you into Newboro.

Award-winning Ottawa travel writer Laura Byrne Paquet shares her sightseeing tips for Eastern Ontario and beyond on her website, Ottawa Road Trips.

Just down the road from the Newboro Soap Company, you’ll find a wonderful, large shop called Kilborn’s on the Rideau (10 Drummond St.), which stocks everything from maple syrup and dishes, to hiking gear and armchairs. It seems to have expanded organically into a series of buildings, so

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Experience the ultimate entertainment destination at Ottawa’s only casino

Are you looking for a place where you can indulge in an elevated gaming experience, heart-pounding racing, exquisite dining, and live entertainment, all under one roof? Look no further than Rideau Carleton Casino, future home of Hard Rock Ottawa and Ottawa’s only casino in the nation’s capital, open 24/7 during construction.

A short drive from the airport, Rideau Carleton Casino offers unlimited fun for visitors every day of the week.

With doors open 365 days a year, 24/7, the fun never stops. Whether you’re seeking an adrenaline rush on the gaming floor, the thrill of live horse racing, or a memorable night out with friends and family, Rideau Carleton Casino has got you covered.

Endless excitement on – and off – the gaming floor

Featuring an impressive array of 1,200 slot machines and fan-favourite table games such as Blackjack, Baccarat and Roulette, Rideau Carleton Casino offers something for every type of player, from seasoned gamblers to casual enthusiasts.

The casino also offers monthly promotions, so guests have the opportunity to win even more cash, trips and prizes when they visit.

For those who crave the excitement of live sports, Rideau Carleton Casino’s state-of-the-art racetrack is the place to be, with live standardbred

harness horse racing every Thursday and Sunday from April to September.

And, guests of all ages are welcome at the racetrack, making it a fun outing for the whole family!

Over the years, the Rideau Carleton Casino has also become a destination to celebrate seasonal holidays, such as Canada Day or Victoria Day. Dynamic firework displays and concerts are held on the casino grounds, making it the perfect place to spend an evening with family and friends.

Live music and casual dining

If betting isn’t your thing, the casino also has an extensive lineup of specialty events hosted at The Joint, a new on-site venue with a bar, lounge seating and stage.

Get ready for what’s next

Here, guests can enjoy concerts, comedy shows, sports viewing parties, and even private events.

The casino is also home to four restaurants, making it easy to either grab a bite between games or sit down for a meal.

Caffé Italiano, for example, offers Italian fare “done simple”, inspired by Chef Wesley Boodhram’s travels through Italy. Meanwhile, Mr. Lucky’s offers comfort food made fresh, the perfect spot to grab breakfast or a snack while taking in the horse races below.

If you visit the Rideau Carleton Casino, you’ll likely notice some big changes are underway. The casino is currently undergoing a major transformation in anticipation of the 2025 launch of the brand new Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Ottawa, which will reimagine the city’s casino experience.

Once fully complete, the new space will offer a world-class entertainment venue including a Hard Rock Hotel – with 150 rooms – an expanded gaming floor, a Hard Rock Live theatre, Rock Shop and more than 10 restaurants, bars and lounges, including the award-winning and iconic Hard Rock Café and Council Oak Steakhouse.

To stay up to date on the project progress, or to find out what shows and events are taking place at the casino, visit rideaucarletoncasino.com!



Ottawa Tourism has your activity line-up covered

2024 promises to be another fun-filled year for Ottawans and visitors alike!

Whether you’re looking for some sports action and adventure, or want to enjoy some Ottawa food and culture, you have your pick of amazing things to see and do.


● From July 31 - Aug 17, catch Grand Feux du Casino at Lac-Leamy, a multisensory festival featuring pyromusical performances, food and more!

● Visit the big top for Cirque du Soleil ECHO to participate in a universe of colour, wonder and infinite possibilities at the Places des Festivals Zibi from Aug 16 to Sept. 22.

● A local adventurer’s favourite, book your trip through the rapids at Epic whitewater adventures on the Ottawa River

● Take in the city with Escape Bicycle Tours, now offering a wide range of bicycles and pre-planned bike tours for any type of adventure!


● Escapade Music Festival returns to Ottawa from June 21-23, brining the electronic music scene to the capital region

● Ottawa Jazz Festival is a traditional part of any Ottawa summer, with a stellar line-up this year

including Norah Jones, Laufey, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue

● Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year is the RBC Bluesfest, where you can catch Nickelback, Tyler Childers and more!

● The lawn of Lansdowne Park is where you’ll catch Iggy Pop, Busty & the Bass and Nobro in action performing at CityFolk, taking place from September 11 - 15


● The historically significant Canadian Tulip Festival will brighten up the capital from May 10-20, 2024

● Bringing together Indigenous artists, performers, educators, students, and community members, catch the Ottawa Summer Solstice Festival at MĀDAHÒKÌ FARM June 21-23 2024

● Nature Nocturne is back at the Canadian Museum of Nature! The popular after-hours event that includes music, dancing, food, and drink hosts four events from May through February

● Catch this year’s line-up of speakers and events for Capital Pride during the third week of August


● Housed in a 122-year old building, Rabbit Hole is the perfect place for a unique cocktail –especially in their original brick bar area!

● With an ever-changing menu using fresh, locally sourced ingredients, Supply and Demand is a great spot to try some creative dishes and small plates

● A classic French restaurant located on Elgin, Gitanes’ decor is the perfect complement to its mouth-watering menu

● Known for its lively atmosphere, stop by either of El Camino’s locations for a tacos that pack a punch


● The newest team to the capital, the Ottawa Black Bears lacrosse team will hit the field this December, so secure your season tickets now

● Women’s hockey is making waves in the city, with the PWHL Ottawa selling out TD Place on a regular basis. Get your tickets before the season wraps up in May!

● The 2025 World Juniors will be held in Ottawa from Dec 26-Jan 5. With 10 countries competing, don’t miss your chance to cheer on Team Canada!

● Catch Canada’s Men’s Rugby team on July 6 (vs. Scotland) and July 12 (vs. Romania) for an action packed afternoon


Leeds Grenville Entrepreneurs

Loving their Lifestyles

Brokor Greenhouses: Owner Koren Manneck believes life is good when you’re surrounded every day by flowers and plants. For more than three decades, Koren has built a reputation on growing quality seedlings and plants as well as creating unique floral arrangements in her greenhouses near Cardinal. “It’s passion and creativity wrapped together that drives me,” says Koren. Floral design for weddings and special events is a big part of the business. Koren has a flare for arranging and blending colours. A big hit are her fall bouquets using pumpkins as vases. She shares her talent in many popular workshops like BYOV - Bring Your Own Vase. “Our philosophy is to offer a local, naturally grown product, with biological controls that are free of chemicals,” says Koren. She credits customer loyalty, product quality and a strong work ethic to Brokor’s success and longevity.

Enjoying life’s natural beauty – aka “stopping to smell the roses” - is what a growing number of Leeds Grenville entrepreneurs do daily.  A key attractor for them to be in the 1000 Islands and Rideau Waterways region is the affordable land to fulfil their dreams of doing what they love each and every day. Read

story here:

Flowers of the Field:

Brenda Visser’s stunning bouquets have near zero travel time from greenhouse to local customers because they are grown right in Augusta Township, just off Highway 401. “Our flowers are cut and sold immediately from our farm, which means the most enjoyable and longer vase life for you,” says Brenda. “Historically Canadians have relied on flowers from afar, particularly during the colder months, but we can do it right here!” Brenda operates an all-season, high-yield passive solar greenhouse for year-round blooms. “There is a real need for beauty in our lives and flowers can make a real difference,” she says. In the warmer months, Brenda grows thousands of field flowers, from Zinnias to Astilbe, Dahlias and Asters. She is an advocate of eco-friendly production and bio sustainability. Plans to expand her greenhouse and add trails have already begun.

story here:

www.investleedsgrenville.com | www.discoverleedsgrenville.com | econdev@uclg.on.ca | 613-342-3840 ext. 5365 | 1-800-770-2170
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