June 2018

204 205 BRACEBRIDGE, ONTARIO hub for the area? Smith: “Bracebridge is a growing community, based on our last census numbers.We’re a town with approximately 16,000 full-time residents. In the summertime, that number swells, consid- erably, because we are in the heart of cottage country in Ontario’s Muskoka region, so our com- munity plays a very central role in that way. It’s also an economic hub and a provider not only for people in our own community, but for commu- nities that surround Bracebridge. “We have gone through some hard times in recent years, but we are quite excited about what we have going on over the last few years. Starting in 2005, and car- rying on for a few years after, we did see the loss of some manufacturing jobs in our community. We were a manufacturing center –part of that in the automotive sector - and we took a pretty big hit in the mid-2000s, as well as in 2008 when the real drama came. We’re seeing an influx of new investment in the community. We’re about a two-hour drive from Toronto, and we’re seeing some interest fromMillennials and young entrepreneurs who want to get out of the metropolitan life- style and the increasing costs of living in Toronto, and are looking at smaller communities in which to establish themselves. So we’re seeing a lot of new investment, particularly in our downtown core. RANDY MATTICE MANAGER OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT “So, we’ve moved our economy into a more diversified state.We have some niche manufac- turing going on, and we’re an institutional hub for the courts, regional and local government, hospitals, and schools.We also have new in- vestment in the medical marijuana field–we’ve got a 60,000-sq.-ft., private facility that will be opening and cultivating very soon.We also have a new private high school coming, called Dewey Institute, focused on international students. It’s an extension of services that they already provide in Mississauga. They will be bringing international students to our community for secondary educa- tion, in preparation for post-secondary education, and that will add a new flavor to our community. “On the housing front, it continues to boom in our area.We’ve got a number of major builders, including Mattamy Homes that have made a significant investment in the community and are actively selling phases of their development, right now. Loon Call is another company that’s focusing on a slightly different sector of housing in our community, which are more affordable units and smaller homes. And they’re having great success with their development, as well. “So, we see a lot of people coming to this com- munity for a lot of different reasons. Some are those who have chosen to retire here; we’re defi- nitely a destination for people who have wrapped up their careers somewhere else and want to be based in one of the most beautiful areas in Cana- da. But we’re also seeing people who are coming