With the bus loaded full of bright eyed Winnipeggers, we took off down Highway 3 towards the Pembina Valley. Our first stop, located halfway between neighbouring communities Morden & Winkler, was TerraPoint Agribusiness Centre, who provide convenient access to workspace and professional services at The Loft. Beautifully constructed using reclaimed bricks and wood from a local hotel and barn, this business hub offers co-working space, private offices and professional services in The Loft. It was great to have the mayors of both communities with us for the welcome session to share about the opportunities in the region. We also heard a presentation about the local tourism sector and place branding from Travel Manitoba.
Our second stop was Drive Products in Morden. Started in 1983 in Ontario with just 3,000 sq. ft. and $100,000 in starting inventory, Drive Products now offers a complete range of truck mounted equipment, products, services and solutions through more than 20 locations in North America. In 2021, Drive Products announced that they chose the City of Morden for its newest manufacturing facility for Voth West.
We had a wonderful lunch at Rendezvous Brewery & Taproom. This historical building was constructed in 1899 and was once the home of the Morden Chronicle printing press which they’ve paid homage to with their logo.
Next we toured Winkler Canvas, who have been creating and manufacturing innovative products for a diverse range of industries since 1978. Winkler Canvas has developed products for covers and containment, as well as designed its own line of fabric structures using industrial fabric materials. They recently completed an order of 220 canvas water tanks which are being used in forest fire fighting efforts.
Our last stop before dinner was The Décor Cabinet Company which was established in a Portage la Prairie garage in 1977 and is now headquartered in Morden. This growing company is currently expanding their already large facility by another 40,000 square feet and $18M worth of new automation technology to accommodate their growing customer base all across North America.
We finished the day with a networking dinner at the Access Event Centre in Morden and a tour of the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre, the home of Canada’s largest marine fossil collection. Also home to Bruce, a Tylosaurus Pembinensis and the Guinness World Record holder as the largest publicly displayed mosasaur.
Economic development tour delegates kicked off day two in Winkler at Triple E, a premier manufacturer of Class C luxury motorhomes. Aside from the chassis, nearly all the components used in the build-out of the RVs are made and installed in one of their five facilities in WInkler. This includes making their own wire, of which they use 850,000 feet each year.
Our next stop was Central Station Community Centre which was established in 2014 as a response to a growing need for there to be a community resource hub. We touredthe facility, which includes a community kitchen and drop-in space, rentable multipurpose spaces, community resources such as housing liaisons, and the Winkler District Food Cupboard.
It was great to tour the Meridian Exhibition Centre, which was built in 2021 as an expansion to the existing Winkler Centennial Arena. The facility features a 19,000 square foot fieldhouse, NHL size ice sheet, 115 metre walking track, a playroom, and several meeting rooms to accommodate unique functions or meeting needs. We even got a bonus tour of the Centennial Arena, home of the Winkler Flyers, which is set to be renovated in the coming years.
Following a delicious lunch at the Winkler Centennial Golf Course, we headed to Valley Fiber’s Winkler Data Centre. Tour delegate Paul Beaudry, from ourCIO, told participants on day one that the data center, which he had previously toured, was an IT nerd’s dream. After seeing it in person, it certainly did not disappoint.
Valley Fiber Limited is a locally owned and operated technology firm based in Winkler. Since 2017, this team has been working on bringing its next-generation dedicated fibre optic infrastructure design to the region.
Our last stop before heading north was Dead Horse Cider, a local cidery, taproom & farm adjacent to the meandering Dead Horse Creek just north of Winkler. We were treated to wonderful samples, a tour of the cidery and a history lesson of how this local business went from a couple of old friends with big ideas to winning Internation cider awards.
On the way home we stopped in Letellier, where we welcomed some new guests onto the bus for a brief driving tour of Mid Canada Transload Services, one of Manitoba’s largest privately owned inland ports.
A big thank you to the Morden Chamber of Commerce and Winkler & District Chamber of Commerce for hosting us – we had a wonderful time!
Interested in attending an economic development tour? We’ll be back on the road in fall 2023 with trips planned to Flin Flon and Steinbach/Niverville! Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter to stay in the loop on upcoming tours!