Our successes

Since 1987, FedNor has administered a variety of programs to meet the changing economic needs of Northern Ontario communities. Below you can read about FedNor-supported projects that have helped strengthen businesses and communities across this great region.

Three people stand in front of the new printing equipment showing off newly printed apparel in their hands

Sault company ramps up production with new equipment

Sherry Berlinghoff has been in the clothing and apparel printing business for 29 years. With her sights set on being a one-stop shop for all forms of apparel, as well as signs and promotional items, the owner of SK Group in Sault Ste. Marie is excited about the growth potential that her new direct-to-garment machine presents for her primary line of business.

FSET Inc. – “For the North by the North”

Since 1999 FSET Inc. has understood the unique opportunity presented by establishing their business in Northwestern Ontario. Founder David Brown was sure that computers would be the future and started off with intentions to provide Kenora’s neighbouring First Nations with cost-effective technology solutions.

Building Business Bridges at PDAC 2023

Mushkegowuk Development Corporation (MDC), general partner for the Mushkegowuk Regional Economic Development Limited Partnership, was founded with the vision to support economic growth through the pursuit of sustainable business development opportunities that generate wealth and create employment for its Indigenous partners. 

Covergalls, A Good Fit at PDAC 2023

Participation in the FedNor-supported Northern Ontario Mining Showcase (NOMS) at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) annual convention is proving to be a good fit for a Lively, Ontario company that produces women’s industrial workwear. Covergalls, founded and operated by Alicia Woods, specializes in manufacturing clothing for women working in the industrial sector. The company’s products include coveralls, bibs, jackets, gloves, sustainable high-visibility work shirts, cargo pants and maternity wear.

Superior Strategies at PDAC – Warrior Engineering

Jason Thompson noticed a difference this year at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) 2023 convention in Toronto. The President of Warrior Engineering, an Indigenous-owned and operated engineering and environmental consulting firm based in Thunder Bay, was one of 112 exhibitors in the FedNor-supported Northern Ontario Mining Showcase (NOSM).

Partnership Forged at PDAC

Two participants in the FedNor-supported Northern Ontario Mining Showcase credit their current working relationship to time spent together at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) annual convention. 

Making Tracks at PDAC 2023

RufDiamond’s interactive booth featuring its new amphibious off-road utility vehicle garnered a lot of attention at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) 2023 convention that took place March 5-8 in Toronto. The Sudbury-area company was one of 112 mining supply and service companies in the FedNor-supported Northern Ontario Mining Showcase.

FedNor at PDAC 2023

The Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) annual convention in Toronto was back in full swing this year following a condensed version in 2022 as Canada emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic. Once again, the FedNor-supported Northern Ontario Mining Showcase was centre stage with the largest pavilion and 112 exhibitors.

Voyageur Aviation Lands Big Contract

Voyageur Aviation’s latest contract with Canada’s Department of National Defence, announced in May 2021, is a feather in the cap for the North Bay subsidiary of Chorus Aviation. General Dynamics Mission Systems–Canada and Voyageur Aviation – as Team CERTAS – were awarded the contract.

Finnia Chocolate and Cacao - Sweet Success

Lisabeth Flanagan’s love affair with chocolate began when she and her husband were pursuing post graduate studies in France. With her passion ignited, Flanagan started experimenting with chocolate in her kitchen when she returned to Canada, focusing on replicating the quality of fine European chocolate and using only natural ingredients.

Northern Ontario COVID-19 Heroes

The coronavirus pandemic has tested people, businesses and communities across Northern Ontario, the country and around the globe. Eager to help, some local businesses have risen to the challenge, demonstrating their ingenuity and flexibility to join the fight against COVID-19.

Espanola Coffee Roasters, a well-grounded business

Dan Massicotte enjoys fine coffee, so much so that he roasts his own. In 2015, the Espanola electrician decided to share his passion with his community, offering the only locally roasted coffee. Lacking business experience, Massicotte turned to LaCloche Manitoulin Business Assistance Corporation (LAMBAC) for critical guidance and a micro loan.

Business at Trestle Brewing Company is hopping

Trestle Brewing Company is a relative newcomer to the Parry Sound waterfront. The independently owned craft brewery opened its doors on June 28, 2018. Its name is a nod to the ionic CPR Trestle bridge that was built in 1908 and spans the Seguin River in downtown Parry Sound.

Upgrades to Cloverbelt Country Meats Cooperative helping “meat” demand

As the old adage goes, timing is everything. In 2019, Cloverbelt Country Meats Cooperative, located just west of Dryden, Ontario, upgraded its abattoir, thanks in part to a FedNor investment of $150,000. The funding assisted with an expansion to the plant’s working area, improvements to its drainage, lighting and heating systems and the purchase of new equipment for slaughter, processing, value-added production, storage and packaging.

Unique hi-tech lab creates innovative solutions to improve workplace health and safety issues

Laurentian University in Sudbury is home to an innovative workplace simulator that is helping address key on-the-job health and safety issues. A FedNor investment of more than $286,000 was instrumental in establishing the state-of-the-art research lab operated by the Centre for Research in Occupational Safety and Health (CROSH).

ICT Partnerships to Connect Northern Ontario Businesses to Global Opportunities

Northern Ontario’s Information and Communication Technology Networks (ICTNs) recognize that access to technology is crucial to the economic and cultural success of Northern Ontario. Blue Sky Net, NEOnet and Parry Sound Muskoka Community Network with FedNor support have been working tirelessly for nearly 20 years to connect northern communities to the rest of the world.

Lecours Motor Sales – Shifting Gears to Diversify and Grow

The co-owner of Lecours Motor Sales used to hold his breath every time one of the three local sawmills entered into contract talks because it inevitably led to a community-wide hold on spending. To minimize the impact on his business, Jean Lecours Jr. set his sights on servicing and repairing commercial fleet vehicles.

Sault Firm’s Innovative Digital Technology Connects Parents and Childcare Providers

A Sault Ste. Marie entrepreneur has launched an innovative digital service that connects parents with childcare service providers. Using their mobile devices, parents may research options, register with service providers and apply for subsidies all through a single point of access, called Childcare Connect.

Fortin Discovery Lab – An Innovative Talent Development Think Tank

The Fortin Discovery Lab, which opened November 5, 2014, is the brainchild of Tom Fortin, founder of Ontrak Control Systems. Located in the NORCAT Innovation Mill in Sudbury, the goal of the centre is to develop entrepreneurial talent.

Harnessing the Sun to Grow a Green Economy

Heliene is a solar panel manufacturing plant located in the west end of Sault Ste. Marie. It opened its doors in 2010 with a specific goal in mind: to capitalize on the transforming energy sector that is moving toward clean, renewable power generation.

Canyon Country Co-op – What lies in store?

A friendly face greets each customer at Canyon Country Co-op in Dorion, located about 80 kilometres east of Thunder Bay on Highway 11. The community store opened in the spring of 2018, providing its 340 residents with convenient access to staple items. In recent years, attrition, fire and highway expansion had closed Dorion’s only three stores, forcing community members to trek to either Thunder Bay or Nipigon to shop.

Laying Groundwork for Growth in White River

The Township of White River, located 315 km north of Sault Ste. Marie, is enjoying an economic boom. The recent influx of workers is primarily due to the opening of the local sawmill (now called White River Forest Products) in 2013 after the White River Economic Development Corporation, Pic Mobert First Nation and private investors formed a partnership to purchase the shuttered mill. The result is a state-of-the-art sawmill that employs 160 people and supports the jobs of an additional 250 in the region.

Get your motor running, a tourism success story

The Temiskaming Loop, a motorcycle touring route that guides riders along winding roads in the picturesque countryside of northeastern Ontario, is listed as one of the top 10 motorcycle rides in North America, according to the website, Motorcycle.com.

Breathing new life into aging cast iron waterlines is not a pipe dream

Municipalities across Northern Ontario and around the globe are grappling with the problem of poor water quality and flow associated with aging cast and ductile iron waterlines. Typically, the practice has been to dig up the roadway and affected sections of pipe to replace them, which is a costly, time-consuming and disruptive venture.

Make No Bones About It, RegenMed’s Advances Offer Patients New Treatment Options

When people register their consent for organ and tissue donation, they offer hope to those awaiting surgery. While most of us are familiar with life-saving organ transplants, Thunder Bay’s Lake Superior Centre for Regenerative Medicine (RegenMed) is enhancing the lives of patients through the gift of tissue.

Getting Good Wood on It = A Home Run for the Forest Industry

The Indigenous Sharing and Learning Centre at Laurentian University in Sudbury stands in stark contrast to other campus buildings. With its design inspired by the wigwam, a traditional Indigenous building, the centre is made of wood. The result is not only visually appealing, it also highlights the material's strength and flexibility.

Say cheese, please: A Sudbury success

The owner of Nickel City Cheese couldn't be happier with her decision to pursue her dream. On a one-year sabbatical from her mainstream job, Nicole Paquin opened the family-operated business in Greater Sudbury in August 2018, marking the culmination of four years of research and training.

Sowing the Seeds of Success

Jeff Burke is carving out a niche market in Northwestern Ontario for his locally grown and ground flour. The owner of Brule Creek Farms near Kakabeka Falls recalls the steep learning curve he faced when he bought his 17-acre farm in 2008 and began construction of a stone mill. Having been raised on a dairy farm, grain was a new venture for him. However, Burke’s degree in biology and environmental studies held him in good stead.

Forging Ahead: Lofthouse Manufacturing invests in technology

Lofthouse Manufacturing, located in Burk’s Falls, manufactures forged and machined brass and aluminum parts. The largest employer in the region bounded by North Bay to the north and Huntsville to the south, Lofthouse is committed to reinvesting its profits into new technology to remain globally competitive.

Local Foods = the Right Ingredient for Superior Success

Superior Foods, a food distributor and meat processor based in Thunder Bay, is carving a niche for itself as a sustainable partner in the regional food system in Northwestern Ontario. With owner Luis Alves at the helm, the company’s focus is directed at local procurement.

NADF wins prestigious planning excellence award for its Community Planning Toolkit

Since winning the Planning Publications Award from the Canadian Institute of Planners in May 2018 for its Comprehensive Community Planning Toolkit: Finding Bimadizowin, NADF is continuing to explore ways in which it can help First Nation communities take charge of their futures.

Waubetek Business Development Corporation: Promoting tourism on Manitoulin Island

The Manitoulin Hotel and Conference Centre has been welcoming visitors since first opening its doors in the town of Little Current in 2013. The 58-room facility, which houses conference rooms, a full-service restaurant featuring Aboriginal-themed dining and picturesque views of Lake Huron’s North Channel, is wholly owned and operated by First Nations people.

Tourism Excellence North Program Exceeds Industry Expectations

Northern Ontario tourism operators are singing the praises of a three-year project designed to help them put their best foot forward. With a FedNor investment of $375,000, Tourism Northern Ontario, in partnership with Explorer’s Edge, developed and offered a series of tools and training solutions based on a similar program offered in Atlantic Canada.

Targeting a Niche Market

An entrepreneurial spirit and an unwavering passion for his craft are what drive Gary Beardsley, owner of Great Northern Gun Works in the northwestern community of Vermilion Bay. Today, the retired resort operator and animal nutritionist is finding success in a new niche market.

Whitesand First Nation: The Path to a Prosperous Future

"We're on the road to a new future," said an upbeat David Mackett who is leading the Community Sustainability Initiative in Whitesand First Nation. On October 20, 2017, the Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario announced a joint investment of $3.76 million, including $949,539 in FedNor funding, to develop an industrial park in support of bio-mass electrical production and new business growth opportunities.

Youth Programs: a win-win for youth and small business

Two pilot youth programs launched by the Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre in 2017 with funding from FedNor, are helping innovative entrepreneurs grow their businesses while providing qualified young people with valuable on-the-job experience.

FedNor’s Youth Internship Initiative: Mapping Success

Since its inception 30 years ago, FedNor has played a key role in helping more than 1761 young post-secondary graduates land their crucial first job. FedNor introduced its youth internship initiative in 1997 to help curb the outflow of talented young people in Northern Ontario.

The Bucket Shop: mining global growth opportunities

In 2016, the owners of The Bucket Shop in Timmins embarked on an ambitious plan to expand the family business. The manufacturer of specialty buckets, parts and attachments for large equipment used in the mining industry not only wanted to meet the growing needs of its clients in Ontario, but explore export markets.

The Language of Theatre

Théâtre du Nouvel-Ontario, or TNO as it is commonly known, is embracing technology to expand its audience by making French shows more accessible to English-speaking people. The move, one of many for the theatre, is also helping increase box office sales.

T&T Spray Foam – Insulating West Nipissing with savings

Brothers Nikolas and Sebastien Toulouse come from a family that’s been in the construction business for several generations. When the ambitious, hard-working young men from Sturgeon Falls, Ontario decided to strike out on their own in 2016, they ran into difficulty trying to secure a loan from traditional lending institutions. That’s when the pair turned to Economic Partners Sudbury East/West Nipissing Inc. for help with establishing their spray foam insulation company.

Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute – Staying Abreast of Innovation

There’s a unique device under development in Thunder Bay that could radically change the way in which breast cancer is detected. Currently, mammography is used to highlight changes in the breast, including abnormal density of tissue that can be associated with cancer. However, dense tissue can also be a cyst, benign tumour, fibroid or even an infection.

Phoenix Building Components – Supporting Renewal

Phoenix Building Components, a manufacturer and distributor of engineered wood building products, is breathing new life into former Kent Trusses in Sundridge, Ontario. On April 24, 2017 the formerly shuttered operation re-opened signaling an economic renewal in the region.

CEMI – 10 years of Rock Solid Results

The Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI) is celebrating an important milestone this year. Established a decade ago in Sudbury, the goal of the national not-for-profit organization is to address the mining industry’s challenges by introducing new technologies, practices, and knowledge to improve the production and safety of mines.

Atikokan Tourism - Reelin’ in the customers

Seeking a lifestyle change, Christine and Matt Rapp and their two children packed their bags in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the spring of 2016 and headed north. Their destination was Marr’s Perch Lake Lodge, just outside of Atikokan, where Matt had spent many vacations. However, this time upon arrival, they were greeted with the keys to the resort as its new owners, and immediately got to work.

Robotics: Just the ticket to future success

Recognizing that technology is the wave of the future, Sault College jumped at the chance in 2013 to establish a robotics lab that would become a key component of its Process Automation Program, expanding the College's applied research capacity.

Crofters Food Ltd: Reaping the Fruits of Labour

Taking a business to the next level is no easy feat. It takes a solid plan, drive, strong management, the right conditions, and a lending hand.

Just what the doctor ordered

Ten years after the Northern Ontario School of Medicine ( NOSM ) opened its doors, a clear picture is emerging of the tremendous impact the institution is having on the region.

La Fromagerie—A tasty tale

After four years of university and a trip to Asia where cheese was limited and his craving for the product grew, François Nadeau found his life's passion and threw himself in cheese-making training in Québec and in France.

New Agri-food Program Makes Business Growth a SNAP

Launched as a pilot program in 2014, the Sustainable New Agri-Food Products ( SNAP ) program is designed to assist small agri-food producers and processors across Northern Ontario purchase equipment with one goal in mind.  The equipment is to be used for new products and value-added processing to help successful applicants increase production and sales, create jobs and expand their markets.

Northern Ontario Angels—Synonymous with Success

Rna Diagnostics, a bio-tech company based in Sudbury, is in the final testing stages of a new service that aims to improve care for cancer patients, as well as their rates of survival. According to John Connolly, VP Corporate Development, the company has developed a new test to better determine which patients are most likely to benefit from chemotherapy, helping oncologists quickly switch unresponsive patients to other treatments.

AFNOO: Dedicated to success of Northwestern Ontario Businesses

With an eye on broadening their client base and increasing their corporate profile, entrepreneurs routinely assess marketing and promotional opportunities as they arise. But who can businesses in Northwestern Ontario turn to for help in raising awareness about their products and French language services?

SS Bigwin: Cruising Lake of Bays in Historical Style

Today, local and seasonal residents, along with visitors to the picturesque region of Muskoka, are recapturing a sense of that time and tradition with a cruise aboard the fully restored SS Bigwin on Lake of Bays.

Emerging Technology: A Sudbury ICT company is modernizing mining globally.

When Kirk Petroski started his information technology venture in 2008 to research and develop smart software applications, he realized his best opportunity for growth and success was right in his own back yard: Northern Ontario's mining industry.

Up, Up and Away in a Stratospheric Balloon: Timmins new payload

Back when a Stratospheric Balloon Base was officially opened at Timmins Airport nearly two years ago, it was anticipated the leading edge facility would give the local economy a bit of a lift. It appears the results have risen well above expectations - literally.

Northern Ontario at The Royal: Best in Show

The Northern Ontario Pavilion is the culmination of year-round planning by FedNor in partnership with the NECO Community Futures Development Corporation in North Bay. Since 2001, this productive partnership has evolved out of FedNor’s goal to support business growth and competitiveness, jobs, economic diversification and innovation within the agriculture and equine sectors across the North.

PARO: Exceeding the Vision 20 Years later

After 20 years in business, PARO decided it was time to celebrate with a special full-day networking and tradeshow last November called “Exceeding the Vision”, featuring guest speakers and informative workshops. The event was capped off with an evening awards program honouring 20 successful women entrepreneurs who were once protégées of PARO programs and services.

Wood WORKS! Building for the future

It’s an inspiration that has evolved into an annual celebration. Each November, a select group of Ontario’s leading architects, engineers and project teams gather to salute creative design and construction over a diverse spectrum of buildings and structures using one of our greatest natural resources: wood.

Ready for Take-off: Parry Sound Airport puts businesses in flight

From a 3,000 ft. paved runway and a trailer for a terminal in 1979, Parry Sound Area Municipal Airport has since become known as the 'Little Airport that Could'. Following a decade-long, five-phase plan to develop infrastructure essential for adding emergency services and attracting small and medium-sized businesses, the Airport's Industrial Expansion Project has landed a prestigious honour from the Ontario Association of Community Futures Development Corporations ( OACFDC ).

Nordex Explosives Ltd. of Kirkland Lake: Ontario’s Top Entrepreneur

Nordex Explosives Ltd., a Kirkland Lake-based manufacturer, is the only Canadian company that produces explosives for use in mining, quarries and construction. The publicly traded company has steadily built a reputation as an industry leader in the manufacturing of high quality explosive products for its own clients as well as for other explosive distributors and manufacturers.

Distillerie Rheault Distillery: The Spirit of Entrepreneurship

The clear, distilled beverage known as vodka may trace its origins and reputation to Eastern Europe but the Northern pulp and paper community of Hearst in Northern Ontario has recently caught the attention of vodka connoisseurs right across the province.

Science North: Northern Ontario’s premiere tourist attraction turns 30

Long before Sudbury’s famous science centre moved off the drawing board and onto the picturesque shores of Ramsey Lake in downtown Sudbury, there was considerable apprehension that such a grand vision could be realized.

WipWare Inc: A North Bay company that “measures up” globally

“Because you can’t manage what you can’t measure”, is more than just a catchy marketing brand or corporate slogan. For an innovative software and systems technology company based in North Bay, Ontario, it is a plain-spoken and proven philosophy.

Gold and Natural Gas: building a pipeline to better business in Red Lake

The half dozen town sites that make up the Municipality of Red Lake have been built historically by mining high grade gold ore in this beautiful wilderness region of northwestern Ontario.

Charting a Course: Lake Huron’s North Channel is a boater’s paradise

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a DVD promoting marine tourism and the North Channel marine communities of Lake Huron has proven to be worth more than ten-fold.