Northern Ontario Exports Program

Community Profiles

Sault Ste. Marie

Sault Ste. Marie has a long and fascinating history as one of the oldest French settlements in North America, and was at the crossroads of the 3,000-mile fur trade route, which stretched from Montreal to Sault Ste. Marie and to the North country above Lake Superior. This area was originally called Baawitigong, meaning "place of the rapids," by the Ojibwa, who used the site as a regional meeting place during whitefish season in the St. Mary's Rapids.

After the visit of Étienne Brûlé in 1623, the French called it "Sault de Gaston" in honour of Gaston, Duke of Orléans, the brother of King Louis XIII of France. In 1668, French Jesuit missionaries renamed it Sault Sainte Marie, and a fur trading post was established and the settlement expanded to include both sides of the river.

Modern Sault Ste. Marie was founded because of its strategic location in the middle of the Great Lakes. It’s industrial history stretches back to 1894 when industrialist F.H. Clergue harnessed the hydro power of the rapids to establish an empire, including a steel company and paper mill. From this time, the community has emerged as a resilient one that enjoys its beautiful surroundings and position as a border community, situated on the international boundary between Ontario and Michigan.

From its rich history and quality-of-life benefits, to its growing economy and competitive advantages for businesses, Sault Ste. Marie is a great place to live, learn, work and play.

The Sault Ste. Marie area has a population of more than 125,000. The community is experiencing unprecedented growth as a result of economic diversification efforts and the city's numerous competitive advantages.

For a more detailed look at Sault Ste. Marie, download our Community Profile.

Also, visit to learn more about Sault Ste. Marie and how you can achieve Work. Life. Balance in the north!


Greater Sudbury is quickly expanding with a thriving population of more than 165,000 residents, and nearly half a million people living within a 160 km (100 mi) radius. Our strategic location and strong industrial base combined with our highly-skilled workforce , Greater Sudbury is ideally-positioned to support your business on both the customer and consumer sides.

The City of Greater Sudbury’s entrepreneurial spirit began with our mining industry. Our success in mining and its support services created a robust ecosystem that’s allowed other sectors to thrive.

Entrepreneurship is still a cornerstone of our economy today with nearly 9,000 small- and medium-sized businesses that operate in our community. We’ve attracted top talent and researchers from around the world as we’ve branched out into our key sectors, which continue to build on our strengths and feed the growth of our community.

Learn more about why Sudbury is a great place for your next business investment opportunity:

North Bay

North Bay is a diverse community that offers a perfectblend of opportunity and easy living. With a population of approximately 51,553 and a trading area of 112,000, North Bay offers economic advantages with easy access to larger Canadian and U.S. markets. North Bay is located three hours north of Canada’s largest city, Toronto, Ontario and three-and–a-half hours west of the nation’s capital, Ottawa, Ontario.

North Bay attracts and retains businesses within a variety of sectors. With a Regional Health Centre, coupled with two world-class postsecondary institutions, North Bay’s workforce continues to expand. North Bay’s diverse business community, abundant amenities, and progressive opportunities for growth make the City an ideal place for investment.

Learn more about why North Bay is a great location to explore your next business opportunity:


Timmins is an ideal location for business development, offering solid resource-based industries, a well-educated bilingual workforce, superior telecommunications infrastructure, and a variety of post-secondary institutions.  It also boasts a quality of living where all four seasons can be enjoyed, where outdoor activities are minutes from your doorstep, and where everyone is welcome to enjoy the spirit of the North.

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Thunder Bay

Located west of Toronto and south of Winnipeg, Thunder Bay is known as the city with the Giant Heart. Home to 120,000 residents, this friendly and down-to-earth northern powerhouse is an ideal place to live and work. People come to Thunder Bay for economic opportunities but stay for the stunning nature, new friends and better way of life.

Thunder Bay is a diverse and modern economy with endless natural resources, entrepreneurial SMEs and world-leading research capabilities. Research and innovation are revitalizing our traditional forestry and mining industries, while science and technology are creating high-growth opportunities in health and education sectors. The high levels of creativity and innovation among local entrepreneurs has also resulted in small business clusters, and the emergence of thriving new sectors in local food, agriculture and tourism.

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