Manitoba Chambers of Commerce Explores Manitoba’s Hub of the North

Jun 5, 2023 | Economic Development, Economic Development Tours, Events

“Have a look around the area and let me know how we can partner,” welcomed Thompson mayor Colleen Smook. 

With a northern focus, partnership and possibilities was highlighted on the first day as 22 northern economic development delegates from Winnipeg toured the Hub of the North.  

Mayor Smook, joined by council members and local Thompson Chamber staff, showcased the variety of projects taking place around the city noting that Thompson has unique opportunities to offer.  

After a fantastic lunch at River View Restaurant and hearing from the Thompson Chamber, the delegates traveled to Vale Global for a surface tour of the nickel mine. A global mining company that operates responsibly in northern Manitoba, Vale works with infrastructure that removes ore and transports it via rail port and ship to distribution centres around the world.  

The possibilities are endless at North Forge North. A safe space to learn how to use new advanced manufacturing equipment and build skills that could very possibly turn into a start-up business with employable skills, delegates received a tour of North Forge North and heard about the mentorship opportunities  available to the community’s creative mind opening up new possibilities.  

The day’s last stop was a tour of University College of the North (UCN) Thompson Campus.  Open since 1966, UCN enrolls approximately 2,300 students in adult learning, certificate, diploma, and undergraduate degree programs. UCN has main campuses in The Pas and Thompson and operates 12 post–secondary access centres in communities throughout northern Manitoba with nine locations on First Nations communities.  

Delegate’s wrapped up their day with dinner and networking, ready for more Thursday.  

Relationships and collaboration were front and centre on day-two of the tour. Delegates got a behind the scenes tour into power generation in the province of Manitoba when they toured the Wuskwatim Generating Station. An hour outside of Thompson and located on the Burntwood River at Taskinigup Falls, delegates learned about the successful partnership between Manitoba Hydro and Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation that made way for the construction of the Station.  

One of 15 generating stations in the province, Waskwatim is a 200-megawatt run-of-river hydroelectric generating station. The station is owned by the Wuskwatim Power Limited Partnership, a legal entity involving Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation and Manitoba Hydro. Manitoba Hydro operates the station on behalf of the WPLP. 

Transitioning to the community that partnered with Hydro, the next stop was Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation (NCN or Nelson House) and a lunch meeting with deputy chief, council and elders. Located where the three rivers meet, Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation is a thriving First Nations community of 4,600 citizens that focuses on providing education and opportunities to its citizens, and promotes culturally appropriate practices in education, healthcare, healing, social services, and economic development. Delegates met with community leaders to learn more about the community’s history and culture and discover opportunities to partner with this innovative First Nations community.  

The Chamber was pleased to have key industry leaders, from Winnipeg and Thompson, on the tour such as Assistant Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade Andrea Ladouseur, US Consulate Bryan Koontz and his colleague Laura Pyles, a political-economic specialist, Thompson mayor Colleen Smook and Community Economic Development Fund CEO Chris Thevenot.

Over this two-day trip, economic development delegates not only took in the sites of Thompson and the surrounding area, but saw first-hand the many partnerships it takes to thrive in the Hub of the North.  

Thank you to Calm Air, the City of Thompson and mayor Smook, the Thompson Chamber of Commerce, Vale Global, North Forge North and University College of the North, Manitoba Hydro and the staff at Wuskwatim Generating Station, deputy chief, council and elders from Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation for welcoming the Manitoba Chamber of Commerce delegates Thursday.

A unique way to explore business opportunities and expand new markets, economic development tours take delegates on a two-day deputation packed with meetings hosted by local chamber and economic development leaders connecting tour participants with elected officials and Indigenous leaders. Tour delegates explore Manitoba’s home field advantage while enjoying visits to local businesses and attractions as well as opportunities to network with decision-makers.   

View the photo gallery from the tour.

To learn about upcoming economic development tours, including Morden/Winkler on June 15-16, click here.

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