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.

Building Business Building Business

Kenora’s Sierra Construction has been doing a booming business in the residential and commercial markets for almost 20 years.  But it wanted to keep – and grow – its smaller industrial client base, which includes Weyerhaeuser, TransCanada, H20 Power and North American Palladium. That meant it needed to offer custom steel fabrication. Sierra applied to the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation for help.

Canada’s surprising beach volleyball capital Canada’s surprising beach volleyball capital

Who would have thought that North Bay, a city that’s snow-covered for more than six months a year, would become a regular stop on the international beach volleyball circuit? North Bay resident Amedeo Bernardi, president of Vision Sports and Entertainment, was hopeful it could happen. And, after successfully hosting the North, Central and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation (NORCECA) Beach Volleyball Tour in 2014, the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation agreed. The NOHFC invested $100,000 to build five permanent international standard outdoor courts at the city’s waterfront.

Export Ready Export Ready

iRing Inc. president Mark Sherry is clear about his company’s goal. “We intend to be the dominant player in the field.” The field is mining and iRing’s product is Aegis, a revolutionary software that allows underground mine planners to design optimal drill and blast patterns – with potential savings in the millions of dollars. But having a leading-edge solution and getting it to market are two different things, which is why Sherry took advantage of the Northern Ontario Exports Program, funded in part by the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation.

Flying High Flying High

In the spring of 2015, Chris Biocchi was in his third year of a Bachelor of Business Administration program at Algoma University when an ad in the Sault Star caught his attention. The Sault Ste. Marie Airport was looking for a communications coordinator intern. The Sault College graduate in commercial aviation saw an opportunity to combine his two passions: aviation and business communications. He applied for, and got, the one-year paid internship. And much more than he’d hoped for. “I was hired to set up a new website and social media for the airport, which I did,” he says.

Going Greener

Northern Ontario’s forestry and mining industries are about to get even more environmentally friendly and cost competitive thanks to work being done by Dr. Pedram Fatehi and his research group at Lakehead University. The Iranian-born chemical engineer, who arrived in Thunder Bay in 2011, is working with industrial partners including FPInnovations, Goldcorp and Resolute Forest Products to produce chemicals from waste forestry biomass that will create greener, more cost-effective pulping, mining and oil processes.

Hit Canadian TV Series shot in Sudbury Hit Canadian TV Series shot in Sudbury

In March 2016, Crave TV, together with The Comedy Network, announced it was ordering a second season of the smash hit series Letterkenny. Shot in Sudbury, it’s produced by Toronto-based New Metric Media. Why did the company choose Sudbury? “It was a no brainer,” says executive producer Mark Montefiore, whose first project in the northern city was 2012’s Cas & Dylan, a feature film starring Academy Award winner Richard Dreyfuss and directed by Jason Priestly.

Lights, Camera, Action Lights, Camera, Action

If David Anselmo gets his wish, Hollywood North will one day mean Northern Ontario. And he’s got lots of support for that dream, including the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation. In 2012, Anselmo converted a 20,000 square-foot derelict hockey arena into a film studio.  Over the next three year Northern Ontario Film Studios attracted more than 20 productions to Northern Ontario. Impressed with the results, in 2015, the NOHFC invested $650,000 in new equipment and renovations to the studio, which was named Company of the Year by the Northern Ontario Business Awards.

Mining the Future Mining the Future

Active junior exploration companies are crucial to the continued success of Ontario’s mining industry. But, it’s a high-risk business, and in today’s difficult market, juniors often find it challenging to attract investors. That’s why companies like Sudbury’s Wallbridge Mining applaud the NOHFC’s new Junior Exploration Assistance Program (JEAP). The one-year pilot program provides juniors with a rebate of up to $100,000 per project to plan or conduct exploration work in Northern Ontario.

Ready to Rock Ready to Rock

In March 2015, mining equipment manufacturer Rock-Tech opened a new, $6 million ultra-modern facility with financial help from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation. The 32,000 square-foot plant was designed for maximum productivity, energy efficiency and environmental sustainability, and it has positioned the Sudbury-based company for future growth in the highly competitive global mining industry. “We can do three to four times the volume we did prior to the expansion,” says Rock-Tech president Ricky Lemieux.

Study North

With a looming skills shortage in a number of key sectors, including mining, Northern Ontario is on the hunt to attract, and keep, talent. And it’s getting help from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation through the Study North Initiative. A $3 million, three-year marketing program, Study North aims to attract students from Southern Ontario to attend one of the six publicly-funded colleges in the North.