Guelph | 2 0 1 9
Eyes are on
GUELPH Emerging within the
CBRE sees a strong local real estate market
Earning a place as a finalist in Canadaâ€™s Smart Cities Challenge
Innovation Guelph Accelerating women-led businesses
Transforming Real Estate Into Real Advantage CBRE delivers commercial real estate outcomes that drive business and bottomline performance. Last year, CBRE completed US$338 billion of lease, sale and debt transactions globally, while our 22 Canadian offices completed over 5,300 successful engagements. With over 111.1 million square feet of commercial real estate under management in Canada, we help our valued clients leverage the full potential of their real estate. How can we help transform your real estate into real advantage?
For More Information, Contact or Visit: +1 519 744 4900 www.cbre.ca CBRE Limited, Real Estate Brokerage
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About the cover
A message from the mayor
reetings from Guelph!
that stretches from Toronto to Waterloo Region, and we’re close to Highway 401 and major markets. Our city is often named on national “best of ” lists for our quality of life, business friendliness, local economy, safety, and culture. It confirms what those of us who live and work here already know: there’s just something special about Guelph.
I’m thrilled that Perspective Marketing
has produced this guide to living, working, learning, and doing business in Guelph. Guelph has the amenities of a big city, with the community spirit and neighbourliness you would only expect to find in a small town. We have a thriving arts and culture scene, a rich heritage, and a beautiful and vibrant downtown. We benefit from the research, innovation, and skilled graduates coming out of the University of Guelph and Conestoga College. We’re located in the heart of the Innovation Corridor
The City of Guelph nurtures great talent in the heart of the Innovation Corridor between Toronto and Waterloo.
P e r s p e c t i v e TM 1464 Cornwall Rd, Suite 5, Oakville, ON L6J 7W5 1-866-779-7712 firstname.lastname@example.org www.perspective.ca
Publisher, CeO Steve Montague
Welcome to Guelph! I hope our city can be part of your success story.
ViCe-PresiDeNT Ed Martin Editorial Meredith MacLeod and Mint Copy Inc. PerspectiveTM Guelph was produced Independent of the City of Guelph. Contents are copyrighted and may not be reproduced without the written consent of Perspective Marketing Inc. The publisher is not liable for any views expressed in the articles and opinions do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher or the City of Guelph.
Cam Guthrie, Mayor
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Smart Growth in Guelph which includes a perfect live – work balance Guelph’s ecosystem supports start-ups to to huge companies like Linamar and Sleeman Brewery
ore than 13,000 employers and entrepreneurs call Guelph home. While the region is well known as the heart of agricultural innovation and bioscience in Canada, based on the renowned strength of the University of Guelph, it also has a thriving advanced manufacturing sector, and a rapidly emerging profile as a centre for information technology, clean-tech and converging technologies. The region has representation across the entire food system value chain, from agriculture production, research and development through to commercialization, manufacturing and retail markets, says Barbara Maly, manager of economic development for the City of Guelph. “We have a globally leading strength in agri-tech and bio-tech thanks to the University of Guelph and Conestoga
College, successful businesses, agricultural associations and research initiatives.” Guelph-Wellington brings together an urban centre and a diverse agriculture hub that is located in the heart of Canada’s Innovation Corridor. “What sets us apart from other municipalities is the world-leading scientific research going on here,” says Maly. “We have a business support ecosystem that turns innovation and research into economic benefits. Existing companies are growing, and new companies are coming.” Guelph is the beating heart of agriculture in Ontario. It is home to the headquarters of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and the regional office of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. The headquarters of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Public Health Agency of Canada are also located in Guelph. Agriculture science and service companies include Bayer Crop Science, Cargill, and Syngenta. Guelph is also home to dairy co-operatives Gay Lea and Organic Meadow, food safety leader NSF International, animal health provider Elanco, and protein company Maple Leaf.
As well, TruLeaf, a Nova Scotia-based company that designs vertical year-round farms, has moved to Guelph to set up its first commercial-scale operation. Industry associations, including the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, Grain Farmers of Ontario, Ontario Pork Producers, Ontario Beef and Ontario Veal, are clustered in Guelph, too. But while agriculture is a deep bedrock, advanced manufacturing is the largest economic sector in Guelph. Homegrown success stories include Sleeman Breweries, with its roots dating back to 1847, and global manufacturer Linamar, Canada’s second-largest automobile parts maker. It operates more than 20 manufacturing facilities in Guelph alone, across a range of sectors. Since 2011, information and communications technology employment growth in the Guelph region has been greater than the traditional tech centres of Montreal, Toronto,Vancouver and KitchenerCambridge-Waterloo. In fact, the Guelph area is home to the highest concentration of embedded developers, data scientists and machine learning specialists in Canada. The city offers competitive land and building development costs and terrific local amenities. Within a 90-minute drive, there are five international airports, two ports, and several border crossings. The city-owned Guelph Junction Railway offers access to CN and CPR lines. The city and surrounding region offer an enviable quality of life and affordability, including a vibrant downtown, parks and trails, and cultural diversity. Guelph Economic Development has built strong partnerships with other business organizations, including the Guelph Chamber of Commerce, Innovation Guelph and the Business Centre of Guelph Wellington. “We all come together and work together under the banner of Grow Guelph. We have an ecosystem that
supports entrepreneurs with an idea to multinational companies like Linamar and Sleeman that have grown up here,” says Maly. “Our diversity is unique, but our ability to collaborate and to innovate and grow together is incredible.” The positive economic results are many. Guelph was the second-fastest growing mid-sized city in Canada in 2018, according to the Conference Board of Canada. It was also named among the country’s top three millennial hot spots, and the fourth-best city to buy real estate in Canada by MoneySense Magazine last year. At the end of February 2019, the Guelph CMA had the lowest unemployment rate in Canada and the highest employment rate. It also had the highest year-overyear working-age population growth in the country, and the second highest yearover-year employment growth. Perhaps most impressive is that 97 per cent of Guelph residents rate the overall quality of life as good or very good. “It all shows this is a happening place and the economy is growing,” says Maly. “We definitely punch above our weight. The stars are aligned here.”
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Cultivating the Agri-Innovation sector in Guelph Profiles on 3 growing companies that call Guelph home. Mirexus Biotechnologies, TRU-ID and Quinta Quinoa
uelph is a hub of science and innovation in agriculture and boasts the largest concentration of agri-innovation research and technology expertise in Canada, with almost 7,000 people employees, a number that has grown 17.1 per cent since 2011. Here are snapshots of just three of Guelph’s innovative companies.
Mirexus Biotechnologies The company was founded in 2008 by four researchers at the University of Guelph who discovered that nonGMO sweet corn naturally produces a nanomaterial called phytoglycogen. The tiny, uniform spheres are edible, water soluble and biodegradable, making the substance a natural biopolymer that can safely and effectively: deliver antiaging formulas into the skin; enhance the absorption of nutrients; and deliver medicines to highly targeted sites of disease. “We are selling a natural ingredient to a world wanting natural products,” said CEO Phil Whiting. Mirexus has attracted $20 million in private investment and built a headquarters in Guelph that includes a production floor, research and development labs and testing facilities. Mirexus maintains a close relationship with a broad range of researchers at the University of Guelph, and the university is a constant pipeline of talent, too. Innovation Guelph, along with the municipal, provincial and federal governments, have all been important supporters, says Whiting. Early success has come in skin care products and multiple research projects are underway with the biggest skin care providers in the world. The market opportunities in food and pharmaceuticals are even bigger.
“In the long run, there are many, many billions of dollars in these markets. The range of opportunities are massive and global. It’s easy to imagine this enterprise growing to a very large operation.”
TRU-ID TRU-ID offers the world’s first biological ingredient authentication and certification program based on DNA biotechnology. The company, launched in 2013 out of research at the University of Guelph, provides confidence to food and natural health product manufacturers, retailers, and consumers that ingredients are authentic and non-adulterated. TRU-ID technology provides realtime testing using DNA barcodes and comparing them to a vast database of plant and animal sequences. The company collects and monitors the data to ensure validity. In its early stages, TRU-ID took advantage of Innovation Guelph’s Fast Lane and Fuel Injection programs, and tapped into expertise and advise to find office space, develop marketing plans, and recruit an executive team.
“Their tools help people who are not trained in business to have confidence in moving the research out of the lab and into a viable company,” says Amanda Naaum, senior research scientist. “The training and networking Innovation Guelph provided has led to important steps for our company.” TRU-ID has focused in the natural health products sector, with clients including Jamieson Vitamins and Nature’s Way, but sees applications for its technology in: probiotics; supporting sustainability in meat and seafood processing, as well as coffee and spices; helping farmers identify and combat pests; and reducing waste by finding the microbes that cause food spoilage. “We have many options in front of us.”
Quinta Quinoa Jamie Draves launched his company after falling ill with idiopathic pancreatitis in 2007. He lost a third of his pancreas and his doctors told him there was no solution except to take painkillers. Draves decided to treat his condition with a highly restricted diet. Quinoa
was a staple for him, so he sought to develop a superior crop. By 2011, and without any agricultural background, he was growing his own quinoa. “This is a personal mission that I believe in and I have amazing people who work with me, support and assist me. It really takes a village to raise a quinoa crop.” He has relied on Guelph’s deep agriculture expertise and innovation support, including numerous researchers at the University of Guelph. Quinta Quinoa now grows in Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan and has earned shelf space in Metro, Food Basics, Sobeys and Foodland, as well as selling directly to chefs and to food processors. The company was part of a Guelph delegation at the Global Food Summit in Germany in March. It comes at the perfect time as Draves eyes heading into the export market. “It’s an opportunity to showcase and gain awareness of our quinoa and quinoa protein and to meet with investors and customers. It has all the feel of a jumping off point for us.”
Commercial Real Estate remains a hot commodity in Guelph “The tenants and buyers we are working with are really seeing the value in Guelph. As the GTA is really building out, Guelph is on the radar,” says Chris Valeriote, a sales representative with Avison Young. Guelph offers a strategic location, terrific access to Hwy. 401, the research power of the University of Guelph, and an enviable quality of life for talent that includes unparalleled green space, a downtown rooted in heritage and the arts, and affordable homes. The redevelopment of Baker Street is seeing investment in mixed-use properties on former parking lots, and strong office and retail uptake on Gordon Street. New residential offerings downtown will support more office and retail interest. As well, the 326 acres of provincially owned land that make up the future Guelph Innovation District are expected to be sold to a developer through a bid process sometime this year. The city’s secondary plan will guide future uses. It calls for 7,000 residents, and 9,000 new jobs in environmental and agriculture technology, communications and creative media. Advanced manufacturing giant Linamar is making a $500-million investment in the Frank Hasenfratz Centre of Excellence in Manufacturing, an innovation hub in Guelph’s west end. It is projected to bring 1,500 jobs over the next 10 years. “We are expecting a great deal of attention to our region as a result that,” says Tyson McMann, the Business Development Analyst with the City of Guelph. “We believe that will be a catalyst for new investment, innovation, and businesses within Guelph.” Insurance company Cooperators will build a 215,000-square-foot campus for its nearly 1,200 employees in the south end of Guelph beginning in 2021. That is expected to spur interest from other office
tenants and business service sectors, says McMann. There is also strong demand from warehouse and logistics companies, advanced manufacturers, the clean-tech sector, and companies in agri-innovation. Available industrial land in Guelph is in short supply, yet remains affordable. The industrial vacancy rate is just 1 per cent, compared to 1.06 per cent in Toronto, and 3.02 per cent across Canada, according to numbers calculate by CBRE. Guelph’s average net rent per square foot is $6.01 and the average sale price per square foot is $106.32. Compare that to Toronto’s average net rent of $7.15 and average sale price of $194.04 and the Canadian average net rent of $7.72 and average sale price of $143.91, and Guelph’s economic advantage is clear. On the office side, Guelph’s vacancy rate is 4.7 per cent, with an average net rent per square foot of $15.10. That compares very favourably to Toronto’s vacancy rate of 7.06 per cent and average rent of $20.88 and the national vacancy rate of 11.09 per cent and average rent of $19.42. Four blocks in Phase 1 and three blocks in Phase 2 remain left in HCBP in terms of developable land, which covers 675 acres, including a 165-acre environmental reserve and a recreational trail system. It is just minutes from Hwy. 401 and is zoned for a wide variety of permitted uses. Available development-ready lots range from 4.4 acres to 13.8 acres and range in price from $350,000 to $490,000 an acre. Phase 3, which consists of property owned by the City of Guelph (85 net developable) and Stanford Snyder (50 gross acres), is in the process of moving forward, says McMann. “We are looking for the best ways to bring those lands to market because demand for available lands in the south end of Guelph is strong. On both the office and industrial sides, there is lots of uptake and lots of inquiries.”
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Innovation Guelph: Fueling Growth for Southern Ontario Businesses #IGClientLove
The Innovation Guelph team in their exciting new location that features hot desks, workshop/event space & co-working facilities.
nnovation Guelph (IG), a Regional Innovation Centre servicing Guelph, Wellington, Dufferin and the surrounding communities, fuels the growth of innovative, scalable businesses in four primary growth sectors: agri-innovation, cleantech, manufacturing and information and communication technology. Innovation Guelph is also recognized for its success in accelerating women-led businesses and supporting female entrepreneurs from startup to scale up, helping them build capacity and overcome obstacles. IG is expanding to better meet the demand for services and increased flexible space for clients. Their new location at 361 Southgate Drive in Guelph ON is vibrant, welcoming and more centrally located within the innovation corridor. It has been established with client needs at the forefront and includes a rentable event space, cost-effective hot desks and coOUR SPONSORS & PARTNERS :
location opportunities, with flexible meeting rooms for the startups and small to mediumsized companies Innovation Guelph serves.
“Our goal is to provide small and developing businesses with the environment they need to accelerate their growth from startup through scale up” Along with the increased capacity of the new facility and ample on-site parking, the new location includes a wet lab space that will be commissioned when funding allows. Given the lack of available lab space within the region for companies transitioning from academic research to commercialization, IG is pleased to be able to offer this amenity in the near future.
“Our goal is to provide small and developing businesses with the environment they need to accelerate their growth from startup through scale up,” said Anne Toner Fung, executive director, Innovation Guelph. The move is made possible by the support of long-time client, Mirexus Inc. looking to give back to the ecosystem that supported their early growth, Mirexus will offset a portion of Innovation Guelph’s occupancy costs for three years. Their contribution enables IG to provide expanded services and facilities to better support the next generation of innovative companies. Innovation Guelph will continue to offer their programs, workshops, and networking events at the new location providing education, resources and strategic support for transformational change to small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). IG’s inclusive network positions companies to
achieve new levels of growth and maturity, building on great ideas. Innovation Guelph’s novel business acceleration programs have helped hundreds of companies and entrepreneurs to grow, thrive and contribute to a diverse and robust economy. IG’s unparalleled roster of mentors and industry specialists are experts in all aspects of business. Reflecting Innovation Guelph’s belief that communities prosper, and companies thrive when we inclusively nurture people, planet and profit, IG staff inspire companies at all stages to purposefully consider sustainability factors. That theme is also woven into many workshops and presentations offered regularly to clients and the community.
INNOVATIONGUELPH.CA 519-265-4495 INFO@INNOVATIONGUELPH.CA 361 SOUTHGATE DRIVE, GUELPH
Innovation Guelph Client Showcase Hellamaid: A Cleaning Service that’s Changing the Game When you think “cleaning service,” what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? If you’re like most people and think “over-priced, frustrating, unfriendly or mistreated staff,” you’re not alone. Hellamaid is a top-rated house cleaning service in Guelph that’s on a mission to change the face of cleaning. Our top 3 values? Transparency, quality, and kindness. 1. Transparency Our online booking platform make the experience smooth and easy. Customers can easily customize their cleaning online, and know exactly when the cleaners are coming to clean their home. 2. Quality Whether you’re looking to book a standard, deep, or move-in cleaning, our cleaners are trained and well equipped to handle the job. A checklist is provided so you know exactly what gets done.
Regrowing a wild tradition The story began in the summer of 1993, when the parents of the two founders Glen and Alex Smyth, finished building a house on their newly purchased farmer’s field in Wellesley Ontario; planting a crabapple tree to mark the occasion. In 2016, Glen called a local restaurant in Stratford to see if they would be interested in buying some Crabapple jelly made from this tree, and the restaurant gladly bought everything that one crabapple tree could produce. However, when the Smyth brothers went looking for more crabapples, they came to a shocking discovery. Their special variety of crabapple tree was dying in North America.
No longer do people have to arrange for tedious in-house estimates, or worry about the legitimacy of people coming into their homes. You and your home are in good hands when you book a cleaning with Hellamaid!
That was the spark that moved the brothers to start Appleflats and work to bring back crabapples to Ontario and eventually the rest of North America. Today the Smyth brothers actively partner with multiple universities to study this native fruit and work to preserve any trees they find remaining. You can do your part too; every bottle supports these conservation and research efforts to keep crabapple around for generations.
Learn more at www.hellamaid.ca
To learn more visit appleflatsfoods.com
3. Kindness Yes we treat our clients right, but our cleaners get most of the care and attention. As Richard Branson once said, “If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your clients.”
Composite Asset Intelligence You Can Count On
International Recognition for Guelph-based Clinic
UTComp Inc. is setting a new standard for safety and reliability of industrial tanks, pipes and other equipment made from composite materials. We are a global leader in Composite Asset Intelligence, offering a full spectrum of composite engineering and inspection services. Our patented UltraAnalytix™ inspection system features innovative ultrasound technology for fast, accurate, cost-effective analysis of the strength and condition of composite assets throughout their life cycle. Our non-destructive, non-intrusive technology provides the data for proactive service-life forecasting while keeping operations running and workers safe. UTComp founder Geoff Clarkson is nominated for a 2019 Manning Award, as one of the best and brightest innovators in Canada for developing this advanced system. Continuously evolving and advancing, UTComp is now perfecting QCAnalytix, a new in-line, quality control inspection system for composite manufacturers, launching in late 2019. Contact us at: email@example.com www.utcomp.com
The MyoWorx TM20 Device.
MMTR Physiotherapy, located in Guelph, is the home of MyoWorx® concussion treatment. MyoWorx® sees concussions as more than just a brain injury. Using the proprietary TM20 device along with expert-designed exercises, MyoWorx® treats the muscular problem effecting brain function. Over the last 30 years, Terry Moore has continued to perfect the MyoWorx® approach resulting in exceptional treatment outcomes for all concussion symptoms, chronic pain and dysfunction, making MMTR a sought-after destination for patients from around the world. The key to this success is the use of the innovative TM20 device, a technology that uses Moore’s specific sequence of electrical pulses to change the biochemistry of injured muscle associated with symptoms of concussion. MyoWorx® is excited to unveil the TM20 device 2.0 for use at MMTR Physiotherapy and beyond as the company looks to embark on expansion to the Greater Toronto Area and throughout North America. To learn more visit mmtrphysiotherapy.ca
Veriphy Skincare: Powered by Nature, Backed by Science
Investing in mental health is good business All over the world, mental health and addiction issues are ruining lives, tearing apart families, and costing businesses and economies billions of dollars. The Life Recovery Program (LRP) is breaking through the barriers of traditional mental health care by providing an award-winning mental health platform that is accessible 24/7 from the anonymity of your home. Recognizing that only 1/3 of affected individuals ever seek help through traditional channels, a growing number of employers are shifting to LRP in order to increase program participation. Individuals that were suffering in silence are finally getting the support they need, and their employers are gaining a competitive advantage through reduced absenteeism and presenteeism, improved productivity, and enhanced workplace harmony. By partnering with DriverCheck, LRP has also completed the cycle of drug detection, treatment and recovery – providing psychological health and safety in the workplace. Learn more at liferecoveryprogram.com.
“Powered by nature, backed by science” is the mantra of Guelph-based Veriphy Skincare. A beauty start-up led by a team of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), Veriphy is a high-performance, natural skincare line that harnesses the power of PhytoSpherix® (phytoglycogen), a breakthrough ingredient discovered at the University of Guelph. Previously only available through animal sources, researchers at the University developed a green process deriving glycogen exclusively from plants. When incorporated into skincare products, PhytoSpherix® acts as an excellent skin moisturizer and anti-aging defense. The product line includes, Self Absorbed Facial Moisturizer ($85), Power Trip Facial Serum ($105) and 20/20 Eye Cream ($82). Veriphy is committed to supporting women in STEM and has developed a bursary award with the University of Guelph, which is awarded to a first-year female student in STEM with a minimum average of 80% and demonstrated financial need. Learn more at www.veriphyskincare.com.
Love your skin again ArtMed is a family owned, physician-operated medical aesthetics clinic in central Guelph. We pride ourselves in offering industry-leading, research supported options for the treatment of visible age-related change and skin concerns. As multi award winning experts in the art of cosmetic medicine we provide clinical excellence, premium products and best in class technology in a private, state-of-the-art setting. In an industry with a constantly changing landscape we are a trusted and leading authority for the women and men in our region. Education is central to our mission. We are known for our detailed individualized assessments and for answering all your questions. Your personal treatment plan is designed to address your specific goals in the short and long term whilst providing a cost-sensitive plan that is in tune with your lifestyle. In an industry that be can be full of false promises, you can be assured that ArtMed will deliver! Visit artmed.ca or follow us on social media at #artmedguelph
Getting a GRIP on Fleet Idling GRIP Idle Management Inc. manufactures innovative anti-idling technology, inspired to create a greener, ROI-positive solutions for fleets. The GRIP Idle Management System is an all-in-one plug-and-play technology that reduces vehicle emissions, fuel consumption, and fuel & maintenance costs while extending vehicle life and improving operator safety and security. With an average idling reduction of 30-70% and a typical payback period of 8 months, the GRIP Idle Management System saves fleets thousands of dollars per vehicle every year. Learn more at gripidlemanagement.com/igshowcase.
DeGroote MBA Top 3 two-year MBA in Canada* degrooteschool.ca/MBA *Times Higher Education and Wall Street Journal Global Business School Rankings, 2018
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Preparing Students to be Achievers and Visionaries Upper Grand District School Board’s Unique Initiatives Upper Grand District School Board (UGDSB) is evolving the quality of education through interesting and effective initiatives. The Board serves approximately 34,000 students in the City of Guelph, County of Wellington and County of Dufferin, aided with over 3,000 exceptional teaching and support staff. With its goal of providing students with a rich learning experience that develops and promotes strong relationships and positive self-worth, the UGDSB offers an array of programs. Some of these programs are: • French Immersion, which offers students opportunities to acquire a high level of proficiency in French. • School to Career programs that promote learning through experience and observation, including Co-op, Dual Credit, the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program and the Specialist High Skills Major program • First Nations, Metis and Inuit Education is taught to promote awareness and ensure First
Nations histories and perspectives are recognized throughout the curriculum, to the benefit of all students. • International Baccalaureate Diploma Program for Grades 11 and 12 is offered at Guelph Collegiate Vocational Institute. • Credit and leisure courses for adults are offered through Continuing Education
Holistic Approach: Technology in the Classroom The world is changing rapidly with technological advancements and UGDSB is preparing its students to evolve and adapt in this world of opportunities. The UGDSB’s focus on technology in the classroom is one example of how students receive skill-based training. Examples of tools the school board uses to enhance learning include: • Assistive Technology: Technology pieces that enhance accessibility to the curriculum.
• Google Apps for Education (GAFE): A collection of productivity-focused apps that allow students and teachers to collaborate on creating and editing any class materials. • UGCloud: An online hub using single sign-on technology that gives students and teachers instant access to relevant resources. • UG2GO: An online hub that includes many tools accessible to students 24/7.
Experiential Learning at UGDSB
UGDSB’s Student Success Strategy
The UGDSB not only promotes innovative learning in students, but also practices this approach across the board. To engage students at a higher level with their learning materials, it is important to directly connect them to the world outside their school – either virtually, on-site, or both. Experiential learning achieves this by connecting students with the community, resulting in a deeper understanding of classroom materials. The Experiential Learning Cycle is composed of three phases:
The board’s strategic approach is called Programming for All and it focuses on ensuring students receive excellence in education, one-on-one support, and an inclusive space to learn. Through their initiatives and various programs, UGDSB is cultivating an environment where students gain a solid foundation on which to build a promising future for themselves. For more information, please visit the Upper Grand DSB website at https:// www.ugdsb.ca/.
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Guelph-Wellington was named top 10 communities in the running for a $10 million Smart-City Prize Ambitious five-year plan has earned a place as a finalist in Canada’s Smart Cities Challenge
uelph and Wellington County is already the food centre of Canada but is now building the country’s sustainable food community of the future. The community has created a vision to be Canada’s first food circular economy by turning the city and surrounding county into a living lab – a place where social innovators, farmers, entrepreneurs and citizens work together
with data and technology experts to tackle complex global food challenges. Guelph-Wellington is creating an inclusive, food-secure ecosystem that, by 2025: increases local access to affordable, nutritious food by 50 per cent; creates 50 new circular businesses and collaborations; and grows circular economic revenues by 50 per cent by unlocking the value of waste. Guelph-Wellington’s ambitious five-year plan has earned it a place as a finalist in Canada’s Smart Cities Challenge, an initiative of Infrastructure Canada that invites communities of all sizes to adopt a smart cities approach to improve the lives of their residents
through innovation, data and connected technology. Out of 130 applications, just 20 communities were awarded $250,000 each last June to create detailed proposals. Guelph-Wellington was named among 10 communities with a
population of less than 500,000 in the running for two $10 million prizes. “Agri-food and agri-tech is in our DNA and has been for many years. Many agri-food leaders are based right here. That sets us apart,” said Cathy Kennedy, manager of policy and intergovernmental relations with the City of Guelph. Guelph’s Smart Cities bid applies technological solutions to social issues by catalyzing broad and deep resources at the University of Guelph, Canada’s food university, along with a range of agri-business, research and innovation leaders that is unmatched anywhere. Guelph-Wellington is home to more than 1,600 food businesses and entrepreneurs, more than 40 agricultural research centres and institutes, and 30 industry associations. And there are 2,350 farms in the County of Wellington, which contribute a combined $744 million to Canada’s GDP. The community is creating a replicable and scalable plan that has the power to transform the food economy across Canada. “We want to create a roadmap for others to follow,” said Kennedy. “We went above and beyond in creating a playbook that will really drive this initiative anywhere.”
Perspective The concept of a circular economy is common in Europe and the United Kingdom but not in North America. Guelph’s progress in creating a circular food economy has garnered world attention. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a think tank based in the United Kingdom that is dedicated to instituting circular economies worldwide, chose Guelph-Wellington as a focus city and released an analysis of its progress at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in January. The take-make-dispose consumer cycle leads to environmental depletion, poor health outcomes, higher food costs, enormous waste, and inequitable distribution and is not sustainable in a world of population growth and climate change, says Kennedy. Guelph-Wellington has come up with a community-driven vision to tackle all those issues and it has been remarkable how it has come together and taken hold in Guelph, she says. “We know we have created significant momentum and buy-in. There is true recognition that we need to do
things differently. The concept really resonates with the community and our stakeholders. We all believe so strongly in this.” When the project’s steering committee asked for letters of support, more than $4 million in in-kind support was offered, says Kennedy. “There has been a tremendous amount of time and energy already given and committed going forward.” The community’s proposal includes nine pathfinder projects, including: an innovation hub for collaborators to work together to solve food problems; a Harvest Impact Fund for local investments; food innovation education and training, as well as public learning labs to promote and innovate on food policy and ideas; a “reimagine food” campaign; and the development of a nutritional food map. Everything is built upon an opensource data collaboration platform that will allow stakeholders to share and use different data streams to collectively solve food problems. Several other smart technologies will support project-specific needs — from wastecollection sensors to distributed ledger
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technologies, such as blockchain, to track carbon credits. The Smart Cities Challenge winners will be announced May 14. In addition to two $10-million prizes, the Smart Cities Challenge will also award $50 million to a big-city winner and $5 million to a community of fewer than 30,000 people.
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Whatever the outcome of the Smart Cities Challenge, Kennedy says the process has led to new connections and collaborations involving non-profits, businesses, researchers and farmers that will only strengthen GuelphWellington’s place as Canada’s agricultural powerhouse.
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World-class researchers and facilities University of Guelph creates innovative partnerships connecting researchers with the private sector
he University of Guelph is an anchor for the innovation in agriculture the city is known for, particularly the university’s capacity to catalyze research for commercialization. “The University of Guelph’s novel research positions both the region and Canada as a leader in agrifood advancements,” says Malcolm Campbell, vice-president (research) at the University of Guelph. “We have the capacity, world-class researchers and facilities, and strong partnerships that make us leaders in this space, including our research and commercialization support programs such as Food from Thought and the Research Innovation Office.” The university continually builds on its 150-year legacy in agriculture, says Campbell. “The solutions discovered here propel innovation happening in Guelph, fill gaps in agri-food research and development, and inform scientific and industry direction in agri-food. We regularly work with the City of Guelph and the region’s many agrifood organizations to find cutting-edge solutions and opportunities.”
Food from Thought Food from Thought: Agricultural Systems for a Healthy Planet is a research program led by the University of Guelph, funded in part by a $76.7 million grant from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund. The goal of the program is to increase the sustainability, safety and productivity
of global food production by leveraging the power of leading-edge data science, agri-food research, and biodiversity science. More than 30 Food from Thought research projects are underway in the areas of livestock and crop sciences, pathogens and food safety, biodiversity, ecosystem services, and integrated food systems. Some of the impactful research findings supported by Food from Thought have included: • If global population adopted North American recommended dietary guidelines, there wouldn’t be enough land to provide the food required. • Rapid changes to environmental conditions due to climate change are causing our food webs to rewire. • The global agricultural system currently overproduces grains, fats, and sugars while production of fruits and vegetables is not sufficient to meet the nutritional needs of the current population.
The Research Innovation Office The Research Innovation Office connects University of Guelph researchers with private sector
companies for mutually beneficial research, development and partnerships, supports researchers with intellectual property and patents, offers programs and mentorship to support product or service commercialization, and amplifies research impact through knowledge mobilization. The Research Innovation Office includes Accelerator Guelph, an incubator program for the commercialization of university research. Last year, the Research Innovation Office had 190 reported inventions, six issued patents, 20 active start-ups, and six new start-ups. So far, there are 143 jobs created by University of Guelph start-ups. One of those start-ups is We Vitro, which has developed an efficient, versatile, and cost-saving plant tissue culture growth system that can be applied to a broader range of crops. The company comes out of the work of
three researchers and has been supported by university incubator Accelerator Guelph. Another start-up is FloNergia, which has a vision to improve the efficiency and profitability of different engineering systems found in the agrifood industries. The company’s first line of products is a family of airlift pumps that utilize air to provide fluid flow and aeration for aquaculture, aquaponics, and hydroponics systems. The University of Guelph’s Gryphon’s LAAIR (Leading to the Accelerated Adoption of Innovative Research) program, has been instrumental in providing support and funding for the development, manufacturing and testing of FloNergia’s technology. Accelerator Guelph played an important role in the refinement of the business strategy, and guidance for the start-up in launching its product into the aquaculture market.
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