Success Stories

The Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) has helped thousands of projects take root and grow in the North. Collected here is an archive of stories about our proponents and how the NOHFC helped them turn their business ideas into reality.

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Recipe for success Recipe for success

In 2007, Parmalat Canada announced it was closing the doors on Thornloe Cheese. After nearly 70 years in business, the future looked grim for the historic cheese producer. Then, a non-profit farmer-owned cooperative, Gencor, stepped in with a plan to save the company.  With help from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation, Thornloe Cheese expanded and modernized its operations, and went from making cheddar cheese and curds to producing a wide line of award-winning specialty varieties, including asiago, stilton-style blue cheese and romano.

The Commissary roars back The Commissary roars back

A popular corner store/deli in Thunder Bay, the Commissary is a third-generation business that’s been turning out top-quality smoked meats, including sausage, bacon, ribs and ham, for more than 75 years. But, in May 2012, the unthinkable happened. Broken sewage lines caused by a flood left the Commissary’s basement processing plant in ruins. The four family owners cut staff and continued to run the Commissary as a local corner store, but they knew they had to rebuild quickly or go out of business.

GRIDLINK expansion GRIDLINK expansion

Created in 2000 as a power-line construction and maintenance company, GRIDLINK began with a small crew of linemen and one bucket truck in a 4,000 square-foot shop in Thunder Bay. Fast forward to 2016. GRIDLINK has 70 employees and a fleet of 60 vehicles, including bucket trucks, excavators, loaders, dump trucks, digger derricks and backhoes, and business is growing at 25 per cent a year. The company provides a wide range of services to clients that include TransCanada Pipelines, CP and CN Rail, Thunder Bay Hydro and Enbridge.

The sweet taste of success The sweet taste of success

When German born Gerhard Latka arrived in Parry Sound in 1989 to start a natural jam and juice manufacturing company, not even he could have predicted what a success it would become. “We were on the cusp of the organic wave,” says the founder of Crofter’s Organic. That first year, sales were $90,000. By the end of 1990, they had more than quadrupled. By 2000, the organic market had developed to a point where Crofter’s was supplying major supermarket chains in Canada and the U.S., including Loblaws and Safeway, as well as natural retailers such as Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe’s.

A growing business A growing business

Co-opérative Régionale de Nipissing Sudbury is a going concern. Formed 65 years ago by a group of small co-operatives, today it has close to 4,000 member-owners all across Northern Ontario. Among the many services it provides is grain storage. With grain production increasing every year, in 2014, Co-opérative Régionale found itself needing more storage at its Verner elevator complex.

Northern university business students showcase their abilities Northern university business students showcase their abilities

“I can’t believe how the Northern Ontario Business Case Competition put what we learned in four years into focus in one day,” says Algoma U business student Michael Campbell. The brainchild of Cathy Denomme, associate professor in the Department of Business and Economics at Algoma, the competition, supported by the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation, brings together students from all the northern universities – nearly 100 of them on March 31, 2016 for the 10th annual competition.

Nipissing U’s new Active Learning and Health Research Innovation Centre a hit with students and faculty Nipissing U’s new Active Learning and Health Research Innovation Centre a hit with students and faculty

“It’s the ultimate recruitment tool,” says Dave Drenth, Nipissing University’s facilities director. Drenth is referring to the university’s Active Learning and Health Research Innovation Centre. Constructed in three phases over four years with help from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation, the $30-plus million, 90,000 square-foot facility includes two regulation size gymnasiums, change rooms, cardio rooms and teaching labs.

ICAMP: Accelerating Innovation ICAMP: Accelerating Innovation

On September 17, 2016 Canadore College’s Innovation Centre for Advanced Manufacturing and Production, ICAMP for short, marked its third anniversary. There was a lot to celebrate. The $4,888,000 million, 10,500 square-foot facility – built with help from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation – provides small and medium-sized manufacturers with the means to conceptualize, design, prototype and improve or test new products for the marketplace before they make a significant investment.

Ensuring timely health care Ensuring timely health care

Thanks to innovative proprietary software developed by a North Bay company, more and more emergency departments (EDs) in Ontario are reducing wait times and delivering better patient care .It’s called MetricAid and it’s the brainchild of Les Blackwell, a former clerk in the ED at North Bay Regional Health Centre, and North Bay ED physician Scott Daley. MetricAid takes physician performance data – the number of patient assessments per hour, admission ratios and time to disposition – together with patient volume data and creates efficient ED physician schedules, day after day.

Using Microbes to Clean Mine Sites Using Microbes to Clean Mine Sites

Ontario is a leader in mining innovation, and the new industrial research chair in biomining, bioremediation and science communications aims to help keep it that way. Laurentian University’s Dr. Nadia Mykytczuk and her team are focused on advancing the use of microbes to reduce the environmental impact of mining activity. “Using microbes to clean up mining sites isn’t a new idea,” explains Mykytczuk. “Scientists have been working on them for 30 years with limited success.

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