· by Keanin Loomis
World attention was focused on Toronto last month as the city hosted Collision, North America’s fastest-growing tech conference.
The event provided a platform for Canada’s top start-ups and entrepreneurs to showcase their talents before an audience of over 25,000 delegates representing more than 125 countries. Among those in the spotlight were leading technology firms from Hamilton that are flourishing in the digital economy.
This event drove home two important truths relevant to our local community — Toronto has arrived as an international tech hub and Hamilton is a vital element of our region’s overall value proposition. That’s why the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce is working hard to strengthen connectivity and encourage cooperation among neighbouring communities.
This priority drives our Chamber’s participation as a founding member of Canada’s Innovation Corridor, a dynamic region that spans Southern Ontario. It’s the nexus of key industrial sectors — including advanced manufacturing, life sciences and goods movement — enabled by new and emerging technologies in areas such as robotics, AI and biotech. We’ve joined more than a dozen other Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade that extend from the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area through to the Kitchener-Waterloo Region to accelerate teamwork needed to amplify our region’s presence on the world stage.
On June 11, we’ll come together to present the second annual Canada’s Innovation Corridor Summit, a daylong event at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre sponsored in part by Gowling WLG. This regional gathering of economic leaders and influencers will build on last year’s inaugural regional summit hosted locally by the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce.
The theme of this year’s summit is “Taking the Corridor to Market.” The program will explore four topics of shared interest: industry collaboration, commercializing research, advancing mobility solutions and civic leadership. Keynote presentations on Canada’s innovation readiness (Barbara Dirks, Head of Silicon Valley Bank in Canada) and the future of transportation (Travis Hester, President and Managing Director of GM Canada) will set the context for the day.
Our Chamber of Commerce is pleased that Hamilton’s voice will ring loud and proud at the summit.
Ty Shattuck, CEO of McMaster Innovation Park, will take the podium to launch a panel talk on collaboration. Reflecting on his current work leading the park’s ambitious growth strategy, he’ll emphasize diversity, social interaction and marketing as the building blocks for a community hub designed to connect people and commercialize ideas. “Hamilton is truly where innovation goes to work,” he says, noting our city’s industrial capabilities.
Dr. John Preston, Associate Dean, Research and External Relations, Faculty of Engineering at McMaster University, will join a panel to explore the role of business-education partnerships in fostering regional development. He’ll draw on McMaster’s status as Canada’s most research-intensive university to highlight the impact of a local commercialization eco-system anchored by McMaster Innovation Park and fueled by relationships with Mohawk College and other partners.
The summit will also provide an opportunity for McMaster Engineering to highlight The Pivot, a deep transformation of the student learning experience with an emphasis on building capacities to address the urgent needs of our changing world.
Glen Norton, Director of Economic Development, City of Hamilton, will contribute to a discussion on how municipalities across Canada’s Innovation Corridor create local conditions that nurture business and industry. The Hamilton experience — an outcome of public-private collaboration, civic engagement, and targeted investments in quality of life amenities and other economic enablers — will make for a unique story of community renewal.
At the summit, I’ll have a chance to reinforce these messages and share how our members are helping spur local and regional prosperity. For example, I look forward to celebrating the progress of Hamilton International Airport and the Hamilton Port Authority in the context of the corridor’s integrated transportation network. In addition to updating regional leaders on Hamilton’s steel industry as it responds to trade-related issues, I’m keen to point out local strengths in life sciences and agri-business. And I’ll seize the opportunity to talk about the changing face of transportation in Hamilton, including the status of the light rail transit project.
The future of Hamilton is linked to a regional economy tied to global supply chains and markets. Leadership at the Collision Conference, Corridor Summit and other marquee events demonstrate Hamilton’s distinct role in today’s interconnected world.