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October 2017 - North of Ordinary Pitch

I am focusing this edition of my blog on our announcement that we have made a serious pitch to bring Amazon's new facility, dubbed Amazon HQ2 to Simcoe County. Amazon is one of the fastest growing companies in the work, employing 380,000 across the globe and it is estimated that it will be the first company to reach a valuation of $1 trillion.

Our proposal would involve a green-field build of an 8 million square foot facility that would create significant local construction jobs and support our communities.

Amazon HQ2 will employ up to 50,000 full time jobs with an annual compensation exceeding $100,000 U.S. per year.

We worked closely with the Federal and Ontario Government to develop our submission and it is clear that if Amazon decides to look outside the United States then Ontario is by far the best Province and Simcoe County is certainly in play. Furthermore, if Amazon is looking outside a large urban centre such as Toronto, then Simcoe County is very well positioned to compete with any location across Simcoe County. Part of our announcement on Thursday was to share with everyone why the Simcoe County experience is Truly North of Ordinary:

We offer attainable housing, good provincially run health care with 6 hospitals, good education opportunities for families and the employer, such as Georgian College and Lakehead University, and a 1.7 million labour force within a one-hour drive. We have infrastructure and transportation in place with major highways, expanding GO and municipal transit services and access to 3 international airports within an hour's drive (our own LSRA, Pearson and Billy Bishop). Our communities are growing from 465,000 to 800,000 by 2041 and as I stated at the event perhaps our greatest selling feature is our lifestyle and quality of life.  When we stitch all that together, we have a tremendous story to tell and sell.

Because of Amazon's requirements in the RFP, our site search was coped to sites in the south part of the county, close to the GO Transit, Hwy 400 and major population's centres of the GTA for workforce purposes.

The three sites identified site proposed in our submission are: Innisfil Line 6 near 20th Sideroad. (owned by the Cortel Group); 2423 Sideroad 5 in Bradford West Gwillimbury, just southwest of the Highway 400 and Highway 88 interchange and owned by the DG Group. The second Owners of the third site wish to remain anonymous.

The three preferred sites meet all the requirements outlined in the RFP.  

The announcement is more than just our pitch to Amazon. It marked our arrival as a major economic player in the province of Ontario and aligned our goals with the provincial announcement to address labour challenges.

The province just announced that that it plans to increase the number of post-secondary students graduating in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines, including artificial intelligence, by 25 per cent over the next five years. This initiative will boost the number of STEM graduates from 40,000 to 50,000 per year and position Ontario as the number one producer of postsecondary STEM graduates per capita in North America. Locally, Georgian College and Lakehead University are recognized as leaders in many of these disciplines – with Georgian College in the process of developing a new state-of-the-art Advanced Technology, Innovation and Research Centre.

We have a lot to be proud of and we hope to invite Amazon here in the near future to show them just why our experience is North of Ordinary and that Simcoe County is open for business.

Thank you to Harry, Lynn, Terry, John and Bill for joining our team at the event.  A big thanks to Innisfil, Bradford, Georgian College, Lakehead and our development partners for helping us make this pitch possible. Staff went above and beyond to execute a world-class announcement to capture not only the attention of Amazon but other major businesses.

Imagine… Amazon… second world headquarters… Simcoe County.

Check out our latest video to promote the North of Ordinary experience:


Warden Gerry Marshall