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Brampton Board of Trade, Mayor Patrick Brown deliver State of the City address at annual event

Nearly 500 business owners, executives, and delegates filled the Pearson Convention Centre in Brampton, Ont., for the annual “State of the City” address.

Brampton Board of Trade, Mayor Patrick Brown deliver State of the City address at annual event
Daniel Lewis, chair of the Brampton Board of Trade (BBOT), is pictured here. The newly appointed leader of the business board addressed nearly 500 business owners, executives, and community delegates in Brampton, Ont. at the Pearson Convention Centre on Feb. 7. JORDAN MAXWELL PHOTO 

Ontario's economic outlook may be porous to thousands of the province's small to large organizations, but business is ostensibly booming in one of its biggest cities — Brampton.

Nearly 500 business owners, executives, and delegates filled the Pearson Convention Centre in Brampton, Ont., for the annual “State of the City” address. Sponsored by Amazon and CN, the event included remarks from CEO Todd Letts of the Brampton Board of Trade (BBOT), Daniel Lewis, chair of the BBOT, and Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown.

The trio discussed the state of the economy in Brampton and addressed the need for additional investments from the public and private sectors to promote economic growth in the city. They also highlighted exciting new investments by medium- to large-sized businesses who call Brampton home.

Lewis, who took over the role as chair a few months ago, delivered a passionate speech about the city of Brampton and talked about the importance of investing in the future of the city's business community to attract business.

“I invite you to look ahead and see a day when even more multinational corporations in manufacturing, logistics, health care, and cybersecurity are putting their shovels in the dirt to establish their headquarters in Brampton,” he said during a speech to BBOT members. “The best opportunity for success, growth, and productivity exists here. You learned about it from Amazon (yourself). If (it's) saying we have a talented pipeline (here in Brampton), then we have to capitalize on that.”

The owner of Daniel’s Chai Bar, a tea company based in the city, discussed the need to eliminate red tape for companies looking to invest, and mulled over the importance of the controversial Highway 413 project to better connect regions north and east of the Greater Toronto Area.

He also talked about transit solutions that present the best business case and detailed the Centre for Innovation, which is due in 2026. Lewis said it is one of the most promising projects in Brampton, as it has the potential to drive growth in the innovation sector, as well as boost technology startups and corporate development.

He added the Centre for Innovation could also promote digital transformation for existing businesses and nurture entrepreneurship with training and resource programs.

“Is all this one day or day one? We must decide that today,” Lewis said.

Watch some of his speech delivered to attendees below:

Lululemon distribution and office facility among highlights

Mayor Brown also addressed the audience, highlighting Brampton’s successes over the last year.

“I love seeing construction trucks and cranes in our community because it means investment in jobs. The amount of construction value in the community has exploded by (approximately) $2 billion in construction investment in 2022 — a 131 per cent increase from $865 million. “Those are extraordinary numbers that demonstrate that industries and businesses are speaking with their wallets; that they believe Brampton is a place to grow your business and predict jobs,” the mayor said.

He discussed the importance of cutting red tape too, adding that Brampton is No. 4 out of 32 municipalities in which to invest. Milton currently holds the No. 1 spot, Brown said.

One of the projects that could change the tide is the city’s construction project on Financial Drive. One of the largest aerospace investments in the province, Brown says that the $100 million project with MDA, a Brampton-based Canadian space technology company with thousands of employees, will see a state-of-the-art facility attract more than 700 rocket science jobs to its core. The mayor added research and robotics designed there could land at the International Space Station.

“Move over, Houston. The robotics (industry) is now the service centre of Brampton. They’re going to have to start saying, ‘Hello Brampton,’” Brown said, quoting a line from an old movie.

He also mentioned companies such as Alectra Utilities, Maple Leaf Foods, Boston Scientific, Canadian Tire, and Brampton Brick have businesses of late that have established headquarters operations in Brampton.

Additionally, the mayor broke some news, announcing that Lululemon, the global athleisure brand, is building a 1,000,000-square-foot distribution and office facility in the city.

“These are going to be tech, innovation, and cybersecurity jobs right in the heart of our downtown, so there are some  exciting economic activities happening in our community,” Brown told the audience.