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Upcoming Events

Date: February 21, 2019 4:30 pm

Business After Hours

Hosted by: Grant Thornton, Suite 400, 222 McIntyre Street West, North Bay
Co-hosted by: The Business Centre of Nipissing Parry Sound
Thursday, February 21, 2019, from 4:30 pm to 7:00 pm.

Date: February 23, 2019

Wasi Cross Country Ski Club - event 6

Ski Backwards Weekend – Saturday, February 23 and Sunday, February 24, 2019

For more information –

Date: February 23, 2019 10:00 am

Winter Farmers' Market

Every Saturday at the North Bay Mall from 10 am to 2 pm.

Date: February 24, 2019 2:30 pm

NB Symphony – Presto Mambo

Featuring actors and puppets from Platypus Theatre plus a live symphony orchestra, you’ll enjoy a lively musical story about a boy named Max who goes on a whirlwind adventure that takes him from the concert hall to the vibrant lands of Latin American culture.  With the help of his new friend M…

Featuring actors and puppets from Platypus Theatre plus a live symphony orchestra, you’ll enjoy a lively musical story about a boy named Max who goes on a whirlwind adventure that takes him from the concert hall to the vibrant lands of Latin American culture.  With the help of his new friend Mambo the dog, the orchestra, and the audience, Max learns the magic of Latin rhythms and how to dance with the music.

Call the Capitol Centre Box Office today for tickets:  705.474.4747.

Adult: $43 / $28

Student (13+): $12, with I.D.

Child (12 & under): FREE with the purchase of an Adult or Student ticket

Date: February 27, 2019 6:00 pm

Appreciation Night at Laurentian Ski Hill

Chamber Members are invited to the appreciation night at Laurentian Ski Hill on Wedensday, February 27, 2019 from 6 pm to 9 pm. (this event was rescheduled from February 7 due to freezing rain)

Free lift tickets, if you’d like to ski or snowboard, courtesy of Canor, Deacon Wealth Man…

Chamber Members are invited to the appreciation night at Laurentian Ski Hill on Wedensday, February 27, 2019 from 6 pm to 9 pm. (this event was rescheduled from February 7 due to freezing rain)

Free lift tickets, if you’d like to ski or snowboard, courtesy of Canor, Deacon Wealth Management and TWG Communications.

You must RSVP to the Chamber for this event – 705-472-8480 or email


As the Christmas season approaches rapidly and all the stockings are hung, it is time for all of us at the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce, to wish everyone, a very Merry Christmas and to all, the best in the New Year.  For all those travelling this Christmas or that have family coming home, we hope everyone has safe travels and good weather over the festive season. 

This time of year is always a time for reflection and for most, optimism regarding the upcoming year. For some, it is a difficult period of the year and this could be due to a variety of issues or problems but it is a time when we as a community, try to help in whatever way we can.  Christmas is a time for children to enjoy and it doesn’t matter if it is a child, grandchild or just the “inner child” in each of us, we need to ensure that “all of them” have a relaxing and happy holiday season.

Many elves (Scott Clark) and angels (Lachlan McLachlan) are busy at this time of year, working to ensure that every child of whatever age, has to opportunity to have a Christmas.  The North Bay Santa Fund is slowly making headway in reaching its goal but with a little over a week to go by the time this article hits the stands, there is concern that it might not.  Our community has always supported so many worthy causes but none more important than this, each and every year.  It is our sincere hope that everyone fortunate enough to be able to celebrate without worry or concern, contributes to the Santa Fund in some way, to ensure that everyone in our community, have the same opportunity. 

Financial contributions are certainly needed, but not the only way to give back and show our true sense of giving during the holiday season.   Troy Armoury will be a beehive of activity later this week as volunteers from every walk of life, join forces with our military, to make sure that Christmas hampers of food and presents are assembled and delivered.  There are never too many helping hands and it truly is an awe inspiring evening of packing and delivering the next day.  Make some family time to help those that can use a hand at this time of the year.  Huge thanks to our military (enlisted,veterans, volunteers and their families) for not only ensuring our safety and freedom in this Country, but also for the time they spend in ensuring that Santa gets to all those homes.  Thank You!

Wishing all a safe and happy holiday season, from Patti, Sue, Carol, Peter, Chair Charles Elliott and the entire Board of the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce.

Peter Chirico is the President and CEO of the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce.

On Friday of last week, the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce announced it’s newly elected Board of Directors, for the 2019 fiscal year.  Welcome to our new directors, Debbie Hudson-Burrows Country Store & Garden Centre, Tracie Marsh-Premier Mining Products and Bobby Ray- North Bay Granite Club.  The new Board made up of the new directors and returning directors, will be sworn in for the upcoming year at our Board meeting on Thursday.  As well, we want to acknowledge and thank our outgoing Directors Marc Rancourt, Thomas Brown and Rob Deleo for their commitment, dedication and service to our business community.

It has been a busy week within the municipal scene, with the swearing in of the various Municipal Mayors and Councils.  Congratulations to all the successful candidates and good luck as well, as they commence their official duties for the next four years.   We look forward to working with all the communities within our district to assist in attracting, retaining and creating new opportunities, for our business community.  This is no small task and it will require co-operation and collaboration by everyone, in order for this to happen.  Isolation and the creation of individual silos will impair the ability of this region to grow and we encourage all municipalities and politicians, to work to that common goal.

North Bay Council will face its first major decision of this term and this will take place on Wednesday evening, with the “Special Meeting” of Council.  The meeting has been called to deal with the outstanding conditions that were set back in 2012, with the original approval of the Casino for North Bay.  If approved by Council on Wednesday, it is anticipated that announcements regarding the location and construction timetable will follow shortly thereafter.  Reports in many media outlets two weeks ago regarding the Casino proposal, indicated that construction is expected to cost approximately thirty one million dollars.  That would be a great start to the construction season and more so, will demonstrate how “Open for Business” this Council will be.

It was great to see Nipissing University staff and students at City Hall on Friday, for the release of their economic impact numbers.  Annual spending by the university now tops one hundred and thirty million dollars and approximately forty four million of that total is from out of town students.  The report highlighted the fact that Nipissing University is one of the area’s top three employers and the University’s enrollment is just under five thousand full time students.  Congratulations and thank you to Dr. Mike DeGagne and the entire Nipissing University family for not only the economic contributions to our district, but for being an important part of our community fabric, for so many years.

Peter Chirico is the President & CEO of the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce

Last Friday night, North Bay officially kicked off the Christmas season at the Old Fashioned Christmas Walk.  If the size of the crowds were any indication of what we can expect downtown this Christmas, the local retailers and restaurants should be busy.  December is a key month for many of our retailers, not only in the downtown but throughout our region.  The owners and staff of our local businesses appreciate all that shop locally.  Congratulations and good luck to long time DIA Executive Director, Jeff Serran.  After 14 years at the helm, Jeff is on to a new chapter in his life.  The 30th annual Downtown Christmas Walk was a huge success and a fitting send off to Jeff.

Shopping locally or sourcing local products on line, is something that we certainly encourage all residents of our district to think of, before making those holiday or any day purchases.  If you can not find it in the store, make sure you ask the staff and more times than not, they can source it for you.  On social media over the past few weeks many posts have alluded to the fact that by shopping locally, you are helping to feed families, buy homes, pay taxes, support kids sports and the list goes on.   Before you buy on line, take the time to look local, you may be amazed what you find.

Each month, the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce, hosts an evening of both networking and showcasing businesses in our district, at the “Business After Hours” event.  It is normally held the last Thursday of each month.  Last week, we were hosted by Jennifer & Brent Bywater and the staff of Vested Interest Trading.  It seems like it was just a few months ago that the Bywater’s and Vested Interest returned and invested in the downtown core.  In fact, it was just over a year ago when they showed their confidence in the downtown, with the purchase of property and the re-opening on Main Street.  Congratulations on your first year anniversary being back downtown.

A couple of weeks ago, at the Caisse announcement of a new branch in West Ferris, I had the opportunity to chat with long time Chamber members, Jean Larocque and Ruth Elder of Larocque Elder Architects, Architectes Inc.  In speaking with Jean, he told me he had taken my advice from one of the articles that the Nugget had published earlier.  He mentioned the column where I had suggested that if each business in our area grew by one employee, it would provide an economic boost to our entire community.  Jean and Ruth went a couple of steps further and grew by three.  The reasoning for the growth by their firm, who could in reality operate from any-where on this globe: “We love North Bay”.   Thank you to LEA for your confidence in North Bay and our area.

Peter Chirico is the President & CEO of the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce.

For what must seem like ages to many, we have seen much discussion both for and against, the Government’s decision to repeal Bill 148, also known as the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act.  This column has more than once, hopefully provided information on the legislation and the impacts that it had on business both locally and throughout Ontario.  The North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce heard loud and clear from its membership, that it was just too much and too fast for the business community, to absorb the increases.  Earlier this week, Bill 57 was passed through the Legislature and it is officially repealed.

Whether you agreed or disagreed with the previous legislation, that being Bill 148, we were all aware that in the Provincial election earlier this year, the Ontario PC party campaigned and announced that they would repeal Bill 148. Subsequently, they got elected to a majority government and did exactly what they said they were going to do.  It should not come as much of a surprise to most that it received Royal Assent and does send a positive message that the Government is serious about making Ontario, “Open for Business”.  The Chamber of Commerce, both at the local and provincial level s spoke with their members and in turn advocated on their behalf to the Provincial Government and the messages, were heard.

In the Fall Economic Statement, Minister Fedeli didn’t hold back anything when he updated us on the Provinces deficit and where changes were going to be made.  Again, it should not be a surprise that with a deficit close to fifteen billion dollars annually, that changes are going to have to be made and they are not all going to be popular.  Not popular, but necessary.  It is going to be an uphill battle to balance the books, but it is clear in the writer’s opinion, that they realize that they will also have to grow their way out of this deficit.  By encouraging growth in business and reducing red tape in how we do business in this Province, these are positive moves in getting our economy growing.

In the next week, our newly elected Council and Mayor will be sworn into office for the next four years.  From various media reports over the past few weeks it appears that it will be very short indoctrination period before they get down to work.  The mix of veteran Councillors and Mayor, together with some new faces and ideas, has an interesting but very positive mix for this upcoming term.  Since the election last month, we have heard from many of our members that they are encouraged with the positive messages that they have heard about growing our community and are optimistic on the business front.  We at the Chamber wish the new Mayor and Council, all the best for the upcoming term.

Peter Chirico is the President & CEO of the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce.

On behalf of our members and the Ontario Chamber Network, we are pleased the Government of Ontario is holding strong in its commitment to make Ontario open for business; with Bill 47 receiving royal assent.

To read the full media release – please click HERE



The announcement last week by Caisse Populaire Alliance was certainly good news for North Bay and more specifically, the residents of West Ferris.  The closure of the last banking branch in that end of the City earlier this year, was seen as a loss of services to those who actually like to deal with people.  We all get that it was due to change in banking habits, on-line and mobile banking and continued automation that was the decision maker, but it still left a mark.  Fast forward to last week and the void will soon be filled.

The entire team from Caisse Populaire Alliance really demonstrated their commitment to this community by announcing the opening of their second branch, expanding to the Nipissing Plaza in the very near future.  The confidence and investment shown by the Caisse will see a full service branch offering both personal and business banking services, in both official languages.  New employment opportunities will be created and another vacancy, filled.  Congratulations to Norm and the entire team at the Caisse for the early Christmas present, for West Ferris residents.

Last week also saw the Film and Television Industry join with the City of North Bay for a press conference, to dispel many of the rumours circulating in our area around the use of fake snow.  Both sides echoed the need to ensure that any and all environmental concerns are addressed, as well as confirming the industries commitment for continued filming and television production, in this area.  The economic impact for our communities is important and co-operation and communication will be key to ensuring this industry continues to grow.

The Fall Economic Statement delivered by our MP, Finance Minister Vic Fedeli on Thursday, was not a complete surprise given the deficit numbers that were outlined earlier this year, in the Auditor General’s report.  A number of changes forthcoming in the next budget for small business, is welcome news for a sector that has taken its hits over the past few years. Tax and regulatory reforms, red tape reductions and a complete overhaul of the apprentice programs, signal that the Government is serious about the statement that the Province is “Open for Business”.  We know that there will be changes and that economic recovery will not be without some tough decisions having to be made.  Not all will be happy or agree with every decision however, we have to grow and any help for this sector will assist on the road to economic recovery.

Peter Chirico is the President and CEO of the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce.







On November 15, the Government of Ontario released its 2018 Fall Economic Statement entitled “2018 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review”, which provides an update on the government’s finances and announces commitments for the upcoming 2019 Budget.

The government is projecting steady, moderate growth in Ontario’s economy, with real GDP forecasted to rise by 2 percent in 2018. The Fall Economic Statement forecasts a deficit of $14.5 billion in 2018-19, down by $0.5 billion from the previous year. Growth is expected to be more modest over the next four years due to limited economic capacity, higher interest rates, and slowing US growth.

Our rapid policy update outlines specific commitments that the government announced regarding:

  • Fiscal responsibility, government transparency and accountability
  • Regulatory reforms
  • Tax reforms
  • Energy and electricity
  • Transportation and infrastructure
  • Support for key Ontario sectors
  • Other issues

For more details click HERE

On the lighter side of the local news issues over the past few weeks, it doesn’t look like the ban on artificial snow will be continued fodder for our community, given the weather over the past weekend.   Welcome to winter and soon Christmas will be upon us.  Next Sunday, the 18th, the annual Santa Claus Parade will start the Christmas festivities and on the 30th, The DIA Old fashioned Downtown Christmas Walk will be celebrating its 30th anniversary.  Here’s hoping for great weather for both of these events.

In the opening of this article, the mention of the artificial snow ban, although given a winter reprieve, does give some time for both the film industry and Municipal staff to find solutions.  The Film Industry is important to our entire district and we all have to work together to ensure that the momentum we have seen over the past few years, continues.   Our municipal Economic Development Department, Erin, Tanya, Leslie and Annemarie have done a tremendous job in facilitating the industry, enabling it to become a significant economic driver for the area.

When dealing with environmental issues, it is always better to err on the side of caution and no doubt that was the premise of the ban.  It was unfortunate that when the rumours began to circulate and social media was abuzz on the topic, it resulted in a lot of misinformation and speculation on the subject.  Decisions have to be made on many issues each and every day both in the business world and the municipal realm as well.  Looking back always provides us with 20/20 vision and hopefully with that look back on how it was rolled out, the lessons learned will provide some useful guidance for the future.  I do believe the old adage about “Don’t shoot the messenger” should always apply.

On the economic development front, it was great news from both institutions of higher learning last week.  Canadore College had held its grand opening of The Village on the 2nd of November and within a week of the same, announced a new partnership which will provide employment of up to 60 health care providers.  As well, Canadore is looking to implement an accelerated PSW program in the spring of 2019. Working together with Canadian Shield Health Care Services Inc. the College will utilize their services and graduate students ready for employment with them.

The good economic news for the region continued on Friday afternoon when Nipissing University and NUSU, held its official sod turning for its new 32,000 square foot Student Centre, slated to open in 2020.  The $13 million dollar facility will be a great addition to student life at the campus and the construction spending will provide direct economic spin off, to our entire community.  We are grateful to both Canadore and Nipissing for the continued confidence in our community along with the investments in new infrastructure and employment.  Congratulations to both.

Peter Chirico is the President & CEO of the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce.



For the past few months, it appears that many companies and small businesses are on the look out, for new employees.  From the various employment agencies and local not for profits, like your Chamber of Commerce, there appears to be a surge in companies looking to attract both trained and new entrants into the job world.  Professionals, experienced workers and new entrants to employment are being sought and that is a good thing for our District.

One such event is the Job Fair taking place at City Hall tomorrow, Wednesday November 7, from 10: a.m. until 1:30 p.m.  The event, held by the Nipissing Employment Services Table or NEST, will host over a dozen employers hoping to match their required needs with persons who are out of work, rejoining the work force, or under-employed persons, wishing to change or move on.  The initiative which has been led by Joe Bradbury and his team at the District of Nipissing Social Service Administration Board and championed by their many partners in our district, continues to look at alternate ways to ensure, those that want to work, have opportunities.

For the past number of years, The North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce has worked with the DNSSAB on a project known as “Get Trained Workers”.  The objective of the program was to assist persons who were receiving Ontario Works benefits and to get them ready for employment.  When they are ready to enter the employment world, their specific skills which have been identified, are attempted to be matched with employers who are looking for those skills.  To date, over 140 persons have been matched.  Hats off to Carol Porter and the team at DNSSAB together with Patti Carr, VP Policy and Communications at the Chamber, for an outstanding job.  Visit them at the Job Fair Tuesday.

On Friday of last week, Charles Elliott, Chair of NBDCC and myself, attended the Grand Opening at The Village which is the latest addition to Canadore College.  During the opening, President George Burton of Canadore College, looked back on how this new facility came to become a reality.  The idea of a facility that could provide an experiential learning opportunity for students and provide a multi-disciplined health care and wellness centre of excellence for our communities, was born.  Over a period of four to five years and after exhaustive consultation with so many communities, partners and staff, it came to fruition.

The facility will provide a combination of Eastern, Western and Indigenous healing, under one roof.  Phase one of the project, unveiled last week, will provide students with the opportunity to learn and practice new, old and traditional healing with the end goal of healthier communities.  This will be the first of its type and combination in Canada and is hoped that this will be a model for others to follow.  To Canadore College, the First Nations Communities, Faculty, Staff, students and the generous donors who have made this a reality, thank you.  It is a new era in education and wellness.

Peter Chirico is the President & CEO of the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce.

The signs are almost all down, political advertising is done and yes, the sun came up on Tuesday morning, following the municipal election.  The campaign period was substantially longer this year with the nomination period closing in late July and campaigning beginning almost immediately thereafter.  It certainly felt like this election campaign had more signs, more advertising and most of all, way too much political rhetoric, than we have been subject to, in prior campaigns.

None the less, the votes have been cast, tabulated and the stage is set for our new Council to take office.  The voters in each of the municipalities and school boards, have selected their representatives in each of their communities and those successful in their bids for a seat, will be our voices for the next four years.  Whether they were each voter’s individual preference or not, the democratic process is the only one we have, and they will be our community leaders, until the next term.  For all those that ran for office regardless of being elected or not, congratulations on stepping forward and letting your name stand.

Now the real work begins.  From a Chamber and business perspective, how these Council’s come together and provide clear direction on what is important to them, will be in the writer’s opinion, the key to what we as a business community, can expect.  Business creates wealth and that is what drives our economy.  It allows employees to feed their families, buy homes and make our communities, what they are.  Setting the direction and providing the impetus for retention, expansion and attraction is going to come from those elected officials and I for one, hope they will be singing from the same song sheet.

In the case of North Bay, our eleven elected officials will need to be a much more cohesive group, if we are going to compete against the rest of the world.  There is nothing wrong with discourse, providing that it is constructive.  It is probably not a stretch to say that the previous council, lacked some of that cohesiveness.  That lack of working together, delayed many decisions that were needed to move some very good ideas and projects forward and resulted in frustration by many different factions, within this City.  This is the time for our elected officials to heal some of those wounds and move forward together, to grow our City.  We all must work together, for that to happen and this is a perfect opportunity for all to do so.

Peter Chirico is the President and CEO of the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce.