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32 Markham Articles | Page: | Show All

8 GTA cultural orgs get over $2.76 million to build diversity infrastructure

In a move that provincial Minister of Tourism and Culture says will help the province's "diverse cultural communities" and contribute to the economic development of the province, his government has given grants totalling slightly more than $2.76 million to eight Greater Toronto Area cultural organizations.

The grants are part of the province's Community Capital Fund, administered by the Trilium Foundation, which is a $50 million pool of grants specifically designed to help non-profit organizations who serve "diverse cultural communities." According to a spokesperson, the funding is explicitly designed to stimulate the economy and create jobs.

This round of grants go to the following GTA groups:

Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention: $49,600 to renovate its Financial District office

Catholic Family Services Peel Dufferin: $310,400 to retrofit its Brampton location to begin offering services to abused families in 12 languages as well as specialized services for South Asians

Dejinta Beesha Somali Multi Service Centre: $409,100 for a designated office and programming space in Rexdale

J.H. Chinese Professionals Association of Canada: $342,200 for classroom and counselling space for its programs serving skilled foreign-trained professionals

Parya Trillium Foundation: $439,200 to transform its Markham office building into a community service centre for the region's Farsi-speaking community

Sampradaya Dance Creations:
$233,800 for the South Asian dance company to expand its performance and training space in Mississauga

Sanatan Mandir Cultural Centre: $500,000 to build an addition onto its Markham community centre serving the Hindu and Indian communities (read more details in our Development News section here)

The Church of the Virgin Mary and Saint Athanasius
: $500,000 to build a recreation and wellness centre for Arabic speaking seniors in Dufferin County

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Alexis Mantell, Ontario Trillium Foundation

Town of Markham provides a model of voter engagement through social media

During the last municipal election, the Town of Markham employed a novel approach to getting voters engaged. DIY Markham used Facebook, Twitter and other social media to get people involved. In a presentation in Ottawa last week, a two PhD students at Carleton University presented a study of the project as a model for other governments to follow.

"The Town of Markham's integration of social media into the 2010 municipal election highlights its experience in dealing with some of the common concerns raised by government," PhD student Nicole Goodman writes in her report. "The steps that it followed to ensure all legal and political conditions were satisfied could be used as a model for the development of social media programs by governments and election agencies elsewhere."

The innovative project was run for the GTA municipality by the digital consulting firm Delvinia. Company CEO Adam Froman says that the campaign was used alongside more traditional voter outreach initiatives to make Markham a "leader in e-democracy and public engagement."

In a statement sent out by Delvinia, Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti said, "Social media is now a critical element of any municipal communications campaign. We know that social media users represent the highest proportion of our election demographics and expect this trend to increase dramatically. Markham now has an effective and proven platform to capitalize on this in future."

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Susan O'Neil, Delvinia

Markham Convergence Centre will incubate medical tech, drive jobs

The Town of Markham, just outside Toronto, bills itself as "Canada's High-Tech Capital." Already, the town is home to more than 800 technology and life sciences companies, including AMD Microprocessors (whose new processor took the recent CES convention by storm). It's a reputation the municipality is looking to build on with their "Markham 2020" plan, which urbanist Richard Florida called "the tightest, the smartest and the best" such plan he'd ever seen when it was released in 2009.

Late last year, the physical focal point of that plan opened its doors. The Markham Convergence Centre is a 30,000-square-foot home for technology business incubation in the heart of the town. As of its opening, it becomes the new home of York Region's existing technology and life sciences organizations including NCMDD/YORKbiotech, ISCM, Innovation York, Markham Small Business Centre, Markham Board of Trade and York Technology Alliance. The Mayor of Markham, Frank Scarpitti, declined to comment for this story -- his office cited a major announcement regarding the MCC coming at a press conference this week. Last May, Scarpitti said of the MCC, "This facility will allow Canada to compete globally in the medical devices industry while attracting highly skilled jobs to our community."

Since it opened it's doors in October 2010, it has already begun accomplishing that, according to Jeremy Laurin ISCM. "
Still early days here, we get a lot of industry traffic already," Laurin writes in a post this month on the MaRS blog. "The MCC offices see some of York Region's top industry and academic people here on a regular basis. That's a good sign." Laurin notes that he expects the incubator concept to come alive at MCC this year.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Sources: Office of the Mayor of the Town of Markham; yorkregion.com; Jeremy Laurin, ISCM; Markham Convergence Centre

Markham-based AMD launches "game-changing" processor, development created 122 new jobs

At the the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which could be considered the world series of the tech world (it's where Apple's iPod, iPhone and iPad were unveiled in past years), last week Markham's Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) launched a world-leading technology of its own. The Fusion family of Accelerated Processing Units (APUs) are chips that AMD claims will revolutionize computing.

The Fusion APUs allow home computers, laptops and processing devices to perform tasks that were previously only available to industrial computers, including displaying high-definition graphics, supercomputing through access to GPUs and extending the battery life of laptops up to 10 hours. AMD senior VP Rick Bergman says the company believes this is "quite simply, the greatest advancement in processing since the introduction of the x86 architecture more than 40 years ago."

The development of the Fusion APU chips took place at AMD's GTA plant, helped along by an investment last year of $56.4 million from the provincial government. In addition to the previous AMD staff of 637, the development of this processor created an additional 122 jobs. Ontario Minister of Economic Development Sandra Pupatello congratulated AMD on their "game-changing" technological leap, noting that this APU will "help put made-in-Ontario technology inside millions of computers, laptops, notebooks, netbooks, tablets and other mobile devices," and said that AMD is continuing to help establish the Greater Toronto Area's reputation as a global hub for innovation in graphics and media processing.

Outside reviews were equally effusive. Matthew Murray of PC Magazine writes that the Fusion APU was one of two technologies at CES that are already "reshaping the industry as a whole," and notes that the APUs will put a surprising amount of power into very cheap laptops. Jeremy Laird of TechRadar writes that AMD has developed the "the most revolutionary CPU architecture in living memory," and that, "Its design fundamentally challenges the very concept of a CPU core."

AMD says it expects to announce soon that major laptop manufacturers will be shipping laptops containing the APU processors in the coming year.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Sources: Sarah Youngbauer, AMD; Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Trade; PCmag.com; TechRadar

Markham Stouffville Hospital redevelopment will create 300 construction jobs, 875 staff positions

Construction on the redevelopment of Markham Stouffville Hospital began Dec. 6, after a fixed-price contract was signed with PCL Constructors Canada for $200.4 million. The redeveloped facility will include two new wings and renovations to existing areas of the hospital, that will double the size of the facility. The expansion will include a new emergency department, more beds, and new diagnostic imaging, maternity and mental health units.

According to Jim Dougan, regional president of PCL, the construction itself will create about 300 on-ste jobs during its peak. The enhanced facility will create even more new jobs once it opens -- an estimated 875 staff will be added to the current 1,700, including 60 new physicians (in addition to the 275 currently employed).

Hospital President and CEO Janet Breed credited partners at Infrastructure Ontario and the Ministry of Health for helping fund 90 per cent of the project's construction costs, and said it will benefit residents of York Region. "This announcement assures our community they will have access to a state-of-the-art hospital," she said.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Lisa Joyce, Markham Stouffville Hospital

Allergan Inc gets approval for new eye medication, looks to hire 5 in the GTA

Allergan Inc, a global healthcare company with a Canadian head office in Markham, recently got approval from Health Canada for its eye medication Restasis, which the company claims is the "first prescription eye drop to target the underlying causes of chronic Dry Eye."

University of Ottawa opthamology professor Dr. Bruce Jackson explains that the condition can cause reduced vision and impair such tasks as driving. "By increasing tear production, Restasis is the first approved drug that targets the underlying causes of Dry Eye," which, he says, can improve quality of life for patients.

Allergan has been in the eye care business internationally for over 60 years, though it has since branched out into other specialties including neurosciences and obesity. It's Canadian operation currently employs 170 people and is currently hiring five more in the GTA.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Amanda Mills Sirois, Allergan Inc.

Markham's Real Matters ranked second fastest growing tech company in Canada, hiring 16 now

Showing more than 40,000% revenue growth over the past five years, Markham-based Real Matters has ranked second on Deloitte's annual "Fast Fifty" list of the Canada's fastest growing technology companies. The company provides real estate information to institutions. As if to underscore the point, the company is looking to add 16 members to its staff -- including eight staffers to its tech hub redihive -- right now.

Real Matters' President and CEO Jason Smith says that redihive is the core that is driving the growth of the company. "Real Matters brings together the components required to effectively provide property information services: subject matter expertise and unique data. When fused through the innovative technology of redihive, we provide a solution that helps our clients make incredibly smart decisions," he said in a statement about the Deloitte ranking.

Founded in 2004 as Solidifi, the company was rebranded Real Matters just this July (a parent company for Solidifi, an appraisal management branch; iv3, a property insurance branch; and redhive, a cloud-based community that allows innovative data processing).

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Brent Artemchuk, Director, Corporate Marketing & Communications, Real Matters

Fast-growing Nightgale sees gross profits rise to 80%, hiring 7 in the GTA now

Earlier this summer, Markham-based electronic medical records innovator Nightingale was named 10th on PROFIT magazine's annual list of the fastest-growing companies in Canada. Last month, as the company reported its first-quarter results for fiscal 2011, the pace of growth showed no signs of slowing.

"Fiscal 2011 is off to an encouraging start, with more than 200 emergency medical records (EMR) seats sold across Canada in Q1, compared to only eight seats sold in Q1 of last year," said Sam Chebib, President and CEO, Nightingale. He attributed the sales increase to government funding encouraging doctors to adopt the healthcare innovation of EMRs.

The company also recorded its highest quarterly gross profit -- up 80 per cent year-over year since the year before.

Nightingale is hiring for seven positions now in the GTA, in order to achieve Chebibs stated goal for the year ahead of rapidly increasing sales and revenues.

Writer: Edward Keenan    
Source: Michael Ford, CFO, Nightingale Informatix Corporation

Got an Innovation & Job News tip? Email [email protected].

Thornhill mobile innovators mobiroo hiring 3

The greater Toronto area has seen an explosion of smartphone application developers. It is an area that offers unique opportunities to monetize digital content -- something that was notoriously difficult on the web.

Thornhill-based mobiroo has developed a patent-pending process to allow companies to brand popular applications and give them out as promotional gift cards for Blackberrys. Officially launched in January of this year, the company  is experienceing an encouraging repsonse, and is preparing to grow, expanding its service.

Mobiroo is currently hiring for three developer positions -- a Blackberry/Android Developer, an ASP.NET/C# Developer and a Web Portal Designer/Developer.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: mobiroo

905 electricity distributors PowerStream add new transformer to accommodate growth, will hire

PowerStream, an electricity distributor jointly owned by the cities of Vaughan, Markham and Barrie, last week opened the first new transformer constructed in its service territory since 2002. The facility, named the Robert Fabro Transformer Station after a long-serving employee of PowerStream's predecessor company, Markham Hydro, will have enough capacity to serve 40,000 homes.

According to information supplied by Powerstream spokesperson Eric Fagan, the company owns 11 such facilities, more "transmission grid direct-connect transformer stations than any other municipally owned electricity distribution company in Ontario," and is the second-largest municipally owned electricity distributor in the province.

Fagan says that the company serves roughly 325,000 consumers now, and is consistently adding roughly 6,000-8,000 new customers per year. He chalks the growth up to a combination of the large-scale development taking place in the area north of Toronto served by the company and to an aggressive program that attracts condo building owners by offering to retrofit their properties with individual-unit metering.

Currently, the company employs 500 staff. And while Fagan says they attempt to keep human resources costs low in order to deliver better prices to consumers, the company is often hiring to accommodate the constant growth. In particular, he says, attempting to meet load reduction targets mandated by provincial authorities next year will mean substantial hiring in the conservation department of the company.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Eric Fagan, Director of Corporate Communications, PowerStream

Got an Innovation & Job News tip? Email [email protected].

Bell Canada announces innovative "green data centre" in Markham, is hiring

Using green power and chilled water to run critical data systems, and a heat recapture system that will increase efficiency and heat the community, are among the innovations announced by Bell Canada June 3 for its new "green data centre." The 50,000-square-foot facility, to be located in Markham, Ontario, will house thousands of data servers for the company's Business Markets division.

The innovative energy features are provided through a partnership with Markham District Energy. The new facility will "represent the state of the art in terms of both data hosting technology and environmental sustainability," Stéphane Boisvert, president of Bell Business Markets, said in a statement. "Bell is eager to leverage MDE's highly efficient and fully redundant energy infrastructure to reduce Bell's energy footprint, while also providing unique opportunities such as capturing the significant heat generated by large-scale data centre operations for use in community heating."

Although a Bell Canada media relations spokesperson said that information about the number of employees who will work at the new facility is currently unavailable, the company is hiring in the Toronto area. According to its website, Bell Canada has at least 31 jobs listed as available in the GTA.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Julie Smithers, Bell Media Relations

Got an Innovation & Job News tip? Email [email protected].

Aecon Group gets $19 million 407 contract, will lead to substantial employment

Etobicoke-based Aecon Group -- the largest construction and development infrastructure company in the country -- has landed a $19 million contract to widen a section of the 407 toll highway. The nine-kilometre stretch between Highway 404 and Markham Road will see its median widened to accomodate two new lanes in each direction.

Construction is set to begin immediately and be finished in September. Aecon Senior VP Mitch Patten, could not immediately say how many workers the project is expected to employ, though the number should be substantial.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Mitch Patten, Senior Vice-President, Corporate Affairs, Aecon Group Inc.

Got an Innovation & Job News tip? Email [email protected].

Markham-based Redline brings on 3 senior staff after announcing 2 multi-million-dollar deals

You could say that Markham-based Redline Communications is on a bit of a roll. Last month, the broadband company announced their part in a US$50 million contract to supply wireless infrastructure across Romania. Earlier this month, they announced they'd won a $1.8 million contract for the "Digital Rio" program in Brazil. And just this week, on April 23, Redline announced the appointment of three senior management staff to help lead the company in its growth.

As of May, Bruce MacInnis will be joining the company as Chief Financial Officer, Robert Williams as Senior Vice President of Operations and Engineering and Lynda Partner as Vice President, Marketing. "I am pleased to welcome Robert, Lynda and Bruce to the Redline management team," acting CEO Eric Melkasaid said in announcing the appointments. "We are excited to have three seasoned executives who, through their extensive experience and unique perspectives, will enhance our ability to execute on our strategic vision and drive our success over the long-term."

Redline was founded in 1999 and set up headquarters just north of Toronto. In just over 10 years of operation, they claim more than 50,000 installations in 80 countries, making it a world leader in broadband technology and innovation.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Duval Yeager, Redline Communications

Samtack's award-winning diversity (90% immigrant-staffed) means $130 million in annual revenue

With a staff of just over 100, Markham-based technology distributor Samtack punches above its weight -- in 2009 it saw over $130 million in revenue. And according to company President Royson Ng, a lot of that success can be attributed to the fact that more than 90 per cent of his staff are immigrants to Canada.

Samtack was recognized this week at the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council Immigrant Success Awards, on a stage with companies many times their size. The award, the RBC Immigrant Advantage Award shared with fellow winner Pitney Bowes, recognized how the company "leveraged skilled immigrant talent to respond to changing needs of mass merchant customers; increased market share with smaller, local, diverse retailers and purchased parts from overseas suppliers."

Samtack was founded in Markham 20 years ago but has seen business boom significantly since it went public on the Hong Kong stock exchange six years ago. It now has 27 per cent of the Canadian market in computer parts, supplying such giants as Best Buy and Wal-Mart.

Ng says that hiring people who are immigrants to Canada helps a company to better do business in an international environment. "Immigrants, regardless of where they come from, have a better understanding of local markets around the world," he says. That has helped Samtack set up supply chains and source parts from various global locations, especially China.

And the company isn't about to rest on its laurels. Currently, according to Ng, Samtack is looking to crack South American markets, and so is looking to hire people who speak Spanish.

Author: Edward Keenan
Source: TRIEC; Royson Ng, President, Samtack

Got an Innovation and Job News tip? Email [email protected].

AMD's $432.8 million five-year multi-media processor project in Markham will add 100 jobs

Global technology giant Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and the Ontario government have announced a five-year, $432.8 million innovation project for the company's Markham, Ontario campus that will employ 637 people, including 100 new hires.

The R&D project will aim to "merge high-performance computer and graphics processors that excel at processing multimedia, like video or 3D games, onto a single silicon die." The project will receive $56.4 million in funding from the Ontario government and see $376.4 million in investment from AMD. The company's Markham office currently employs 1,600 tech professionals, and the company says 527 of those will be retained to work on this project, while an additional 100 new staff will be hired.

"Dirk Meyer, AMD president and CEO, says, "AMD Fusion technology is set to enable significant breakthroughs in personal computing and our R&D facility in Markham, Ontario is playing an instrumental role in creating this technology." He calls the company's Markham office  a wellspring of technical innovation.

The Ontario government hopes the investment will make Markham a hub for the global graphics industry. Minister of Economic Development and Trade pointed out the "immense potential" that the industry represents for Ontario's economy, given the growth of digital animation and video games.

Author: Edward Keenan
Source: Eric Shapiro, Communications, Government of Ontario

Got an Innovation and Job News tip? Contact Edward Keenan at [email protected].
32 Markham Articles | Page: | Show All
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