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Norfolk County
Economic Development
185 Robinson St, Ste 200, Simcoe, ON N3Y 5L6 Canada
Phone: 519-426-9497
Toll Free: 1-800-699-9038

Email: business@norfolkcounty.ca

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Maricann donates to Langton community groups

The Langton Skating Club (LSC) and Langton Area Minor Hockey Association’s (LAMHA) version of Santa Claus came early this year, arriving from just a few concessions away at Maricann. 

Ben Ward, CEO, Jeff Ayotte, Director of Infrastructure, and Kelly Cober, Infrastructure Coodinator inserted a $35,750 donation in the organizations’ collective stocking Friday morning at the Langton & Area Arena.

“It’s almost mind-blowing,” said LAMHA President Mike Gubesch, whose first indication the associations would be receiving an early Christmas present came three weeks previous, with a generous, but considerably lesser amount expected after the last update three weeks ago. 

Getting ‘here’ from ‘there’, along with a major contribution coming virtually out of left field were huge positives, said Gubesch.

“That in itself was amazing.”

“Yesterday, it was 28 (thousand),” interjected Norfolk County mayor Charlie Luke, noting Maricann indicated at that time they were hoping for last-minute contact with several more potential donors. “I think they got through to a few of them,” the mayor laughed, adding in an aside, “Maricann’s already got its roots deep in this community.”

“It’s overwhelming,” added LSC Treasurer Rebecca Vandendriessche, noting non-profit organizations in small, rural communities face serious operational challenges. Without financial support from area service clubs and businesses and ongoing fund-raising, it would be difficult to continue offering opportunities to local youth.

Each organization will discuss the most effective use of the shared Maricann windfall, but attracting and retaining new members is a priority for both, for example, existing initiatives including ‘Let’s Play Langton’, whereby registration costs are partially waived, and equipment is offered for four years for beginner minor hockey players, along with a similar ‘Learn To Skate Langton’ program in the LSC.

“We can give back in so many ways to the club,” said Vandendriessche.

The total includes a $10,000 base donation from Maricann and its employees, upped by suppliers and contractors involved in the company’s ongoing 217,000-square-foot expansion at its Langton-area site, on behalf of Maricann in recognition of its effort to support the local community. The $75-million project’s current first phase is scheduled for completion early Q2 of 2018, with the next component of an additional 630,000-square-foot expansion set to break ground early Q1 of 2018.

“We’re building into the future of the community and the people in a similar way we’re building our business, with a long-term view to success,” Ward summed up.

A healthy, vibrant community is a company focus Maricann’s CEO continued, along with a positive relationship with dedicated, community employees who are crucial to the intricate process of growing and producing top-quality medical cannabis.

“Our success can only occur if every person in the company is committed every step of the way.”

Norfolk’s and mayor Luke’s commitment to Maricann have been crucial, Ward credited.

“They have been incredibly supportive to us. We are happy to return the favour in some small way.”

“It’s fantastic,” said Norfolk County Council Ward 2 councillor Roger Geysens, thrilled with jobs Maricann has brought to the area. “That’s what we want to see, to keep more people in Norfolk County, particularly this section of Norfolk.”

Langton-area native Tammy McIntyre appreciates her short seven-minute commute to work, along with an opportunity for full-time, rather than seasonal employment. She has done ‘virtually everything’ at Maricann including trimming and packaging en route to her current position in cultivation. 

“That’s awesome, that is awesome,” McIntyre repeated, pleasantly surprised at the scope of a donation shared by the association her children played hockey with. “Langton deserves it.”

A small rural arena built through the support of the surrounding farming community has always struggled says McIntyre, believing area families and children will benefit from Maricann’s contribution.

“Very generous,” she concluded. “They have stuck to their word on supporting our community.”

Supporting minor sports dovetails nicely with encouraging healthy youth activity, along with what Gubesch believes is at least equally important, the camaraderie and social skill development of team play, or individual effort within a broader organization like the LSC, often generating lifelong friendships.

“This is something that will help and hopefully bring more young people in this arena to be part of that,” said Geysens.

Supporting youth sports is a critical to health and educational development Ayotte says, but the donation also represents delivering on a verbal commitment made during last year’s expansion groundbreaking ceremony.

“It’s my job to hit deadlines but it’s also to deliver on promises.”

Maricann is proud to be part of the community Ayotte continued, and believes in what it is doing along with living up to its commitments.

A ‘good corporate citizen’ in the words of Norfolk County Manager David Cribbs, Maricann ‘just does it right,” said the mayor, ‘very appreciative’ and ‘almost numb’ with ‘what has happened here.

“Not once have they let me down,” Luke concluded. “They do more than talk the talk.”

  • Thanks to writer Jeff Tribe for this story.
Maricann donation

There were huge smiles all around Friday morning at the Langton & Area Arena, matching a shared $35,750 donation from Maricann, its employees, and contractors and suppliers involved in its ongoing 217,000-square foot expansion, to the Langton Skating Club (LSC) and Langton Area Minor Hockey Association (LAMHA). Sharing in the presentation, were left to right: Maricann Global Coordinator Infrastructure, Health and Safety Supervisor Kelly Cober; Maricann CEO Ben Ward, Maricann Vice-President of Infrastructure Jeff Ayotte, LSC Treasurer Rebecca Vandendriessche, Norfolk County Mayor Charlie Luke, LAMHA President Mike Gubesch, Norfolk County Manager David Cribbs, and Norfolk County Ward 2 Councillor Roger Geysens.


EmployerOne Survey: Get a head start

EmployerOne is an annual local survey of employers which tracks trends related to recruitment, staff turnover, skills shortages, succession planning and other human resource issues in Grand Erie.

Want to get a head start?

The 5th annual EmployerOne survey officially opens the first week of January.

But if your business or organization wants to get a head start, we’ve opened the survey up for “early birds.”

Go to this link to participate in EmployerOne 2018: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/norfolk2018

Employer One logo


Workshop: Grant Writing for Business

On January 10, 2018, at 1pm, Nick Kinkel from OMAFRA will speak on how grant applications are assessed, what is the assessor looking for, and how to make the application fit mandates.

He will also explain what the assessor is looking for, how to make the application fit mandates, sustainability, eligibility and so forth.

Register here:


This workshop is sponsored by Norfolk County Tourism & Economic Development and Venture Norfolk. For more info, contact Jerry Sucharyna at 519-426-5870 ext 1305.


Woolley’s Lamb earns Premier’s Agrifood Innovation Regional Award

Woolley’s Lamb of Norfolk County is a Regional Award Winner in the Premier’s Awards for Agrifood Innovation Excellence.

If you spot sheep wandering between the cherry trees at Woolleys’ Lamb farm, don’t worry – they’re exactly where they’re supposed to be. For owners Carrie Woolley and Brett Schuyler, letting their grass-fed livestock graze freely amongst their fruit trees makes perfect sense.

The innovative process provides shade, shelter and space for the sheep to forage. In return, the grazing animals help improve soil health and save the operation more than $30,000 per year in grass-cutting costs. The eco-friendly approach demonstrates how farmers can create additional uses for their land, add a lucrative revenue stream and help meet Ontario’s demand for local, grass-fed lamb.

Carrie Woolley and MPP Kathryn McGarry

Carrie Woolley and MPP Kathryn McGarry



New app promises to make local food more accessible and honest

There’s a dramatic shift in consumer preference when it comes to food. The majority of Canadians are turning away from cheaper imports in favour of those produced closer to home. But with many businesses looking to cash in on local, consumers are increasingly concerned about whether such claims are true; according to recent Dalhousie-led study titled Food fraud and risk perception: Awareness in Canada and projected trust on risk mitigating agents.

That’s why tech start-up FreshSpoke launched Local Food Champion, a cool new app to improve purchasing confidence for consumers by authenticating the origin and production practices of food.

Local Food Champ“Consumers are demanding more local, sustainably sourced foods”, states Marcia Woods, CEO of FreshSpoke and passionate force behind Local Food Champion. “But food fraud is becoming a serious issue with a few bad apples making bogus claims about the food products they sell or serve. This hurts our local food producers and poses a public health hazard for people with allergies or intolerances. If allowed to continue, consumers lose trust in the food system all together.

The Local Food Champion app is linked to the wholesale food purchase activity of participating businesses on FreshSpoke’s online marketplace. The Local Food Champion decal on a menu or door of participating retailers or restaurants signals to consumers to use the app to access real time information about the available local products, where they come from and how they are made. The product information found on the app including practices and certifications come directly from the producer, including farmers, growers, wineries, breweries or artisan food makers.

“In the traditional supply chain products change hands an average of thirty times; so isolating the origin of one particular tomato or pork chop is difficult,” states Woods. “FreshSpoke’s direct to buyer wholesale model has just three touchpoints – producer, delivery driver and buyer – the distance between field and fork is much closer.” Woods points to this streamline model as the reason why Local Food Champion’s data is reliable.

The Local Food Champion is now available as a free download on iTunes and Google Play. The restaurants, retailers and institutions who purchase local food on the FreshSpoke marketplace platform are featured at no cost. For more information, visit https://freshspoke.com/local_food_champ/buyer.

Nominate the best Entrepreneur in Norfolk County

Know the best Entrepreneur in Norfolk County?

Now is the time to NOMINATE them for the Entrepreneur of the Year Award. The winner will be announced on January 31, 2018, at the Economic Development Symposium.

To nominate, go to: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/norfolk-award

Nomination Deadline: December 20, 2017.

For more info at about the Symposium, visit https://www.norfolktourism.ca/symposium

We Grow Our Own


We Make It Here: Manufacturing Video

Manufacturing employment opportunities are highlighted in the new video “We Make It here” featuring Norfolk County companies: Titan Trailers, Annex Media, Rassaun Services, and Ramblin’ Road Brewery Farm.

The video was produced in collaboration with Norfolk County, the Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie, and neighbouring economic development offices.

Development News – November 9, 2017

The latest edition of Norfolk County Development News email has been published and is on its way to subscribers.

Latest headlines:

  • $114 million in construction in Q1-Q3
  • Save the date for Symposium Jan 31, 2018
  • Highest household income growth in Southwestern Ontario
  • Major daily newspapers feature Norfolk County
  • Chamber of Commerce and BIA come together
  • Hazelnut farming supported by government
  • Student Start Up Program wins national award

Rural Ontario Leaders Awards

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs has launched a new Rural Ontario Leaders Awards program to help celebrate the achievements of those who are dedicated to helping improve the quality of life and economic development of rural Ontario. The awards program will recognize and celebrate rural residents, communities, regions, and businesses, who demonstrate leadership in building a stronger rural Ontario.

The deadline for applications to the Rural Ontario Leaders Awards Program is being extended through to end of day Wednesday November 15, 2017.

Program guidelines and applications can be found on the OMAFRA website

Fox Seeds expands its global reach

Fox Seeds Inc., based in Norfolk County, is continuing to expand its global reach in asparagus seed production and sales.
Trials are now underway in the U.K., Poland, Germany, northern Spain, Portugal and Russia, according to Norfolk Farms newspaper.
The asparagus variety Guelph Eclipse, developed at the University of Guelph Simcoe Research Station in Norfolk County, will be available for a second year in 2018. In 2020, the Guelph Equinox variety will be released.
“Grower trials look extremely promising and growers are excited about what might be ‘the next best thing’ with yields in some trials almost double that of Guelph Millenium [variety]”, said Bernie Solymar, executive director of Fox Seeds.