Edwardsburgh/Cardinal, Ontario

June 27, 2024

Edwardsburgh/Cardinal, Ontario

A Strategic Vision for Dynamic Growth and Community Focus


Melding a rich heritage with innovative growth strategies to foster a vibrant future.

Edwardsburgh/Cardinal, Ontario, is a captivating fusion of industrial dynamism and serene natural beauty, strategically nestled along the St. Lawrence River. With a rich history rooted in the logging and milling industries, this township has blossomed into a versatile hub, fostering significant growth in agriculture and advanced manufacturing. Its strategic location, with major highways, international bridges to New York, and a main CN rail line, sets Edwardsburgh/Cardinal apart as a gateway for businesses and a charming yet vibrant community for its residents.

Mayor Tory Deschamps underscores the township’s exceptional geographical advantage. “We’re uniquely positioned just under two hours  east of Montreal and  under one  hour south of Ottawa, with convenient access to Kingston as well,” he elaborates. The mayor accentuates the township’s connectivity, “With two international bridges and intersecting major highways like the 401, our location is ideal for industrial, tourist, and residential growth.”

The appeal of Edwardsburgh/Cardinal extends far beyond its logistical advantages. Mayor Deschamps vividly describes a region teeming with natural and recreational opportunities. “The area is a true gem, adorned with picturesque countryside settings and lively small downtowns. We boast a plethora of historical sites and top-notch recreational facilities,” he enthuses. This rural charm and affordable quality of life make it an irresistible destination for families and businesses.

Economic Engines of Edwardsburgh/Cardinal

In the heart of Ontario, Edwardsburgh/Cardinal is not just a picturesque locale but a thriving center of economic activity, harnessing its unique assets to propel growth. Mayor Deschamps beams with pride as he points to the municipal ownership of the Port of Johnstown, a key element in the township’s economic strategy.

“Owning an international deepwater port provides us with significant leverage. We’re not just bringing in steel and working on energy projects; we also handle massive quantities of agricultural products like grain, wheat, corn, and soy,” he explains. This port supports the local agricultural sector by moving a vast amount of produce to market and services a substantial area, including eastern Ontario and western Quebec.

Highlighting the dual nature of the local economy, Mayor Deschamps adds, “While we’re anchored in agriculture, our industrial capabilities are expansive. The industrial park here was sold out recently, emphasizing the demand for space spurred by businesses keen to capitalize on our strategic location.” Greenfield Global’s recent $165 million investment in producing very high-quality alcohol in the township demonstrates Edwardsburgh/Cardinal’s industrial appeal.

Discussing the logistical advantages, the mayor emphasizes the strategic positioning between major cities and close to the U.S. border. “The St. Lawrence Seaway and our international bridges afford us exceptional cross-border and global distribution channels. Each vessel that docks at our port translates into hundreds fewer trucks on the road, enhancing our logistical efficiency,” he states. This capability extends beyond mere transportation, offering profound environmental and economic impacts.

Mayor Deschamps also sheds light on the local impacts of economic development, from creating jobs to reducing transportation costs for businesses. “The recent establishment of a distribution center by Giant Tiger here led to savings of over $1 million annually in fuel costs alone for the company,” he notes, showcasing how local infrastructure improvements directly benefit large corporations.


Revitalizing Small-Town Commerce

In the quaint streets of Spencerville within Edwardsburgh/Cardinal, a revival of mom-and-pop shops is underway, exemplifying the community’s efforts to support an entrepreneurial spirit. Dave Grant, Chief Administrator, Township Edwardsburgh/Cardinal, elaborates on these small enterprises’ role in the local economy.

“In Spencerville, places like the Village Pantry, known for their cinnamon buns, become landmarks that draw visitors. It’s not just about shopping; it’s about experiencing our community,” he says. During the pandemic, the township adapted swiftly to support these businesses. “We reconfigured parking spaces into patio areas, helping restaurants and cafes continue operations and maintain their vibrancy,” Grant adds, highlighting the adaptive measures taken to ensure business continuity.

Mayor Deschamps commends the Spencerville Business Community Connections (SBCC) for its integral role in promoting local commerce. “The SBCC organizes several major events annually that bring the community together and attract tourists. These events, including our tree lighting ceremony, fill our streets and bring the town to life,” the mayor explains. This proactive approach by local business groups in partnership with the township helps maintain Spencerville’s charm and economic vitality.

Beyond the immediate community support, Edwardsburgh/Cardinal’s strategic initiatives aim to broaden its tourism and economic appeal. “We’re collaborating with neighboring towns and regional tourism organizations to enhance our collective appeal. Our efforts aim to create experiences that draw visitors to our unique local businesses,” says Mayor Deschamps. He references a tri-municipal collaboration that includes digital campaigns to promote tourism, spotlighting attractions like unique local bakeries.

Grant points to additional collaborative efforts that underscore the township’s pledge to regional growth. “We are also working with North Grenville on promoting businesses along County Road 44, which will highlight the corridor from Spencerville to Kemptville,” he notes. These initiatives, supported by local councils, aim to enhance the region’s attractiveness as a destination for tourists and new residents, leveraging the scenic and cultural assets of the area.

The Mayor points to a project that will bring  a leading battery storage facility to the region, marking a huge economic boon for the local economy.

“We are very excited about a game-changing investment that will bring the largest battery storage facility in Canada right here to Edwardsburgh-Cardinal.” Mayor Tory Deschamps relays. “With an investment of over $750 million, this project is set to transform our community in many ways. Not only will it provide a significant boost to our local economy, but it will also deliver tangible benefits directly to our residents.”

Tackling Housing Challenges

As Edwardsburgh/Cardinal expands its economic and industrial horizons, the growing demand for housing presents both a challenge and an opportunity. Mayor Deschamps articulates a proactive stance on development that goes beyond mere slogans.

“When we say, ‘open for business,’ we’re talking about a philosophy that extends to developers. We don’t just say yes or no—we ask, ‘How can we assist you?’ Our team is geared towards facilitation, not obstruction,” explains the mayor. Solid partnerships and governmental support bolster this approach to streamline and encourage residential projects.

Reflecting on government collaboration, Mayor Deschamps praises the support from higher levels of government, noting their pivotal role in fostering local development initiatives. “Our MPP Steve Clark, continues to deliver for us and the region repeatedly and MP Francis Drouin is a huge supporter of local agriculture and Port; along with MP Michael Barrett.” Their support is crucial as we navigate the complexities of development in our area,” he adds. This synergy among governmental layers enhances the township’s ability to undertake significant housing initiatives.

Addressing specific projects, Mayor Deschamps details the progress in residential development. “We have several subdivisions ready or near-ready for construction. This includes two major subdivisions in Cardinal  nearing the shovel-ready stage and one in the preliminary design stage in Spencerville ,” he states. Despite some setbacks with federal funding initiatives, the township remains undeterred, actively pursuing provincial opportunities to accelerate housing development.

Innovating Housing Solutions

As Edwardsburgh/Cardinal grapples with the broader housing challenges that face many North American communities, the township is adopting innovative strategies to diversify its housing stock and address affordability issues. Mayor Deschamps explains the township’s flexible approach to residential development, vital in a rapidly changing housing market.

“Originally, a subdivision planned for single-family homes has evolved into a denser project with townhomes, increasing the unit count substantially from the initial design,” he shares. This shift reflects the council’s responsiveness to changing market demands and the necessity of making housing accessible and financially viable for developers and residents alike.

Expanding on the infrastructural limitations and solutions, the mayor outlines how geographical constraints are creatively navigated. “We focus on areas with existing water and sewer infrastructure for development, primarily in Spencerville and Cardinal. This strategic focus is essential as other areas would require significant investment in wells or septic systems,” he states. Innovative housing types, such as modular homes and secondary suites, are part of the township’s strategy to utilize existing resources efficiently and offer diverse housing options.

Grant chimes in and highlights the township’s efforts to explore all avenues for affordable housing. “We’ve discussed tiny homes and secondary units as viable options for expanding our housing stock. These presentations have seen strong community interest and participation,” he reveals. These discussions are part of a broader initiative that includes amendments to zoning laws to allow smaller lot sizes, reducing barriers to development.

Mayor Deschamps then highlights a key collaborative venture that epitomizes the region’s communal approach to problem-solving. “We purchased a portion of Prescott’s water and wastewater system capacity, which serves our industrial needs and shows the importance of inter-municipal cooperation in overcoming infrastructure challenges,” he describes. This partnership is a model of regional resource sharing that benefits multiple communities.


Setting Priorities for Future Growth

As Edwardsburgh/Cardinal moves towards 2025, the leaders articulate clear priorities to ensure the township grows and improves its residents’ quality of life. Grant begins by speaking to the immediate infrastructural priorities.

“We’re completing a significant phase of water and sewer rehabilitation in Cardinal,” he notes, emphasizing the collaborative funding efforts that made it possible. “We’re preparing for major upgrades to the Weir Road bridge in 2024, which is crucial given its high traffic volume.”

Grant adds that community engagement is crucial in strategic planning. “We’re currently in the community engagement phase of our strategic plan, which we aim to complete soon. Part of our organizational focus includes succession planning, ensuring we have the right leadership in place for the future,” he explains. This comprehensive planning approach aligns township resources and goals with community needs and expectations.

Mayor Deschamps then shares his vision for the community, strongly emphasizing quality of life as a continuous goal. “We aim to ensure that residents feel they’ve gained something valuable at the end of our term. That means focusing on keeping taxes low, improving road conditions, and supporting job creation in sectors that offer good wages,” he articulates on behalf of Council. The mayor’s commitment extends beyond economics, as he plans to enhance the township’s recreational assets and ensure robust community involvement.

In line with these priorities, the mayor also highlights the strategic importance of the Port of Johnstown. “It’s more than just a port; it’s a gateway to future opportunities for our community and a crucial asset our taxpayers own. There’s immense potential here that we’ve only just begun to tap,” he asserts. He also praises the South Nation Conservation Authority. “Unlike many other conservation authorities that might hinder development, South Nation helps us get projects off the ground quickly and efficiently,” he says. This cooperation is essential for sustaining the development momentum in Edwardsburgh/Cardinal.

Through strategic infrastructure projects, a focus on enhancing community assets, and fostering economic development, Edwardsburgh/Cardinal is setting the stage for a future that promises growth and an enhanced quality of life for its residents. This forward-thinking leadership approach will ensure the township remains a vibrant community in Eastern Ontario.



What: A township renowned for its strategic economic positioning and community-driven initiatives

Where: Ontario, Canada

Website: https://www.twpec.ca/en/index.aspx


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