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Smiths Falls: A History of Innovation and Industry

Smiths Falls - Canopy growing
Smiths Falls - Canopy growing

As one of Eastern Ontario’s fastest growing communities, Smiths Falls is working tirelessly to welcome both innovative businesses and skilled workers to the community’s industrial and commercial base. This commitment is nothing new to the community of roughly 9,000 found just outside Ottawa; originality and perseverance have always seemed to go hand in hand in Smiths Falls.

“The building of the Rideau Canal in 1832, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, first established Smiths Falls for economic growth,” says Jennifer Miller, Manager of Economic Development and Tourism. “The next boom came in 1884 when the Canadian Pacific Railway established Smiths Falls as a transportation hub in Canada.”

Smiths Falls has a long history of being home to leading manufacturing industries such as the Hershey Factory, Coca-Cola, and Frost & Wood, a world leader in farm implements and weaponry for WWII, that called Smiths Falls home for over a century.

Smiths Falls is still home to Guildline Instruments, a leading designer of ultra-precise metrology and oceanography equipment that came to Smiths Falls in 1957 during the opportunities created by the Cold War and the “Space Race.” The first Beatles albums were pressed in Smiths Falls at the RCA Victor Plant. 

Canopy Growth brings jobs and innovation to town

Smiths Falls is now home to the world’s largest cannabis company, Canopy Growth Corporation, which is located in the former Hershey Chocolate Factory. Founded in 2013, Canopy promised to create 100 local jobs and the Town of Smiths Falls took a chance on this new industry. The company currently employs more than 2,000 people, with hundreds more scheduled to be hired as the second phase of cannabis legalization — edibles and oils — comes into effect later this year.

“Needless to say, we are very grateful that the council of the time took a chance on this industry.” says Ms. Miller. “Thanks to their foresight, Smiths Falls is now at the epicentre of the emerging cannabis industry.”

Tourism and business are both on the rise

That leap of faith has paid off, with Canopy’s presence leading to increases in tourism and the number of cannabis-related businesses located in Smith Falls. A significant increase in tourism is being driven by the Tweed Visitors’ Centre, which is one-part cannabis museum, another part behind-the-scenes grow-op tour. 

The need for a variety of ancillary businesses to support the activities at Canopy is the driver in the growth of the local cannabis economy.

Smiths Falls is dedicated to helping businesses grow

One long-time local business that has thrived in Smiths Falls is Kilmarnock Enterprise, an end-to-end industry solution provider that uses the latest technology in robotics and engineering and is dedicated to helping manufacturers and industry. President and CEO, Isabelle Graveline, has received multiple awards including Chatelaine’s 100 Top Female Entrepreneurs and Canada’s PROFIT 500: Canada’s Fastest Growing Companies.

The Town of Smiths Falls is dedicated to supporting businesses and skilled workers. With affordable housing, rapid economic growth, and a community that supports industry, there is nowhere better to grow than Smiths Falls.

To learn more, follow Smiths Falls on Facebook and Instagram @townofsmithsfalls.

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