welcome to Bruce County

News & Announcements

2017 Economic Development Grants, a successful year!

For Immediate Release

May 23, 2017

Wiarton, ON - Congratulations to all of our 2017 grant recipients! We are pleased to announce that all Spruce the Bruce and Explore the Bruce grants have all been maximized for 2017, and the 2017 grant intake is now closed. The grant funding was allocated in the first two months this year and we received some innovative and creative applications! Their improvement plans are living proof that, “a little bit goes a long way,” as the expression goes.

Thank you to our Economic Development Grants Committee and our local champions. Without your participation and support, this year’s success would not have been possible.

The following are the awarded applications for Spruce the Bruce:

Façade Improvement & Sidewalk Patio Grants:
o Cindy Lou’s, Lion’s Head
o Aunt Donkey’s, Lion’s Head
o Grey Matter Beer Company, Kincardine
o Revell Real Estate Ltd. Brokerage, Wiarton
o Surfs Up, Kincardine
o Huron Haven Motel, Southampton
o Room 797, Southampton
o Hobley Pharmacy Ltd., Lucknow
o Lakeview Dental Services Ltd., Kincardine
o Devitt-Uttley & Co., Southampton
o The Cabana, Southampton
o West Shore Surf Shoppe, Kincardine
o Offshore Bakery, Southampton
o The Pea Pod, Port Elgin
o Hills Insurance, Southampton

Perpendicular Signage & Awning Grants:
o Aunt Donkey’s, Lion’s Head
o Grey Matter Beer Company, Kincardine
o Revell Real Estate Ltd. Brokerage, Wiarton
o Surfs Up, Kincardine
o Ripley Artisans Shoppe, Ripley
o Ashanti Coffee, Port Elgin
o Room 797, Southampton

Streetscape Beautification Grants:
o Town of Saugeen Shores, Coulter Plaza Port Elgin
o Memory Lane Picnic Pavilion and Shade Structure, Community Improvement Committee, Municipality of Brockton
o Lucknow Chamber of Commerce, Canada 150th Banners and Christmas Lights
o Lions Head Promotions Group, Outdoor Community Centre

Destination Infrastructure Grants:
o Town of Saugeen Shores, Splash Pad Port Elgin
o Town of Saugeen Shores, Splash Pad Southampton

The awarded Explore the Bruce grants are as follows:

Regional Marketing Grants:
o Art Food Map, Colour Pix
o Rural Gardens of Grey and Bruce Counties

Collaborative Marketing Grant:
o Folmer Landscaping and Garden Centre, Walkerton

Are you interested in applying for a Spruce the Bruce or Explore the Bruce grant in 2018? Give us a call and we can help you prepare your application so it is ready for 2018!

Phone: 1-800-268-3838
E-mail: stb@brucecounty.on.ca

Business to Bruce:
Are you a new entrepreneur looking to start your own business? Have you heard of the Business to Bruce, Starter Company Plus Program? This program will you develop a sustainable business plan and you can become eligible to attend some great business workshops such as bookkeeping, business plan writing and marketing.

For more information about the Starter Company Plus Grant, please click here.



Bruce County Prepares to Help New & Existing Entrepreneurs – Again!

Bruce County will be launching its newly expanded Economic Development Grants on March 1, 2017. These grants have evolved the popular “Spruce the Bruce” program to incorporate supports for new and existing entrepreneurs in Bruce County. The County’s “Business to Bruce” and “Explore the Bruce” programs are now part of this expanded grant offering.

The Spruce the Bruce community development program, now in its eighth year, inspires lasting downtown revitalization and community improvements. Spruce the Bruce Grant options include community grants (i.e. Community Signage, Destination Infrastructure, Streetscape Beautification) and supports for local businesses (i.e. Perpendicular Signage & Awning, and Façade Improvement & Sidewalk Patio).

“It is a fantastic program! We are very grateful for the opportunity to have participated in this program. We consider ourselves lucky to do business in an area that offers such an exceptional & forward thinking program. Thank you!” says Mike Graham, Cabana House, Port Elgin.

The Business to Bruce program, in partnership with the Province of Ontario is offering up to $5,000 to eligible entrepreneurs. This year through the expanded grant program, grants will be offered that support local business startups through the “Starter Company Plus Program”. Additionally, community foundations and readiness grants are available through the “Community Business Readiness Grant”.

The Explore the Bruce program will offer two new marketing grants in 2017 namely the “Collaborative Marketing” and the “Regional Marketing” grants which are intended to increase the amounts of visitor’s stays and spending in the county.

“I have always been very pleased with the Spruce the Bruce (STB) program and Lion's Head has done more in 5 years than the previous 25 years with the assistance of STB” says Marydale Ashcroft, Lion’s Head Promotional Group.

For more information on the Economic Development Grants, visit www.sprucethebruce.com. Bruce County entrepreneurs, business owners, and operators are encouraged to reach out the Bruce County Economic Development team for funding assistance in business and community development, as well as creative marketing strategies.





Bruce County Economic Development Strategic Plan 2017 - 2021

Bruce County’s Planning and Development Committee adopted the “Find Yourself in Bruce County” Economic Development Strategic Plan for Bruce County. This Plan outlines the framework and the steps that will be undertaken over the next five years to put the conditions in place to realize the County’s long term goals around Economic Development.

Warden Twolan notes that, “A tremendous amount of time and thought went into the development of the fiveyear strategy to ignite the local economy and create a positive impact on future years. We look forward to the opportunities that will stem from the collaboration with our local municipalities, leaders and stakeholders.”

The “Find Yourself in Bruce County” Economic Development Strategic Plan is as unique as Bruce itself. It is intrinsically linked to the true essence of what makes Bruce - Bruce - to those who live here and those wanting to call Bruce their home. Kelley Coulter, CAO of Bruce County stated, “The strategy is the direct result of input from members of our internal and external community. “The Find Yourself In Bruce County” Economic
Development Strategic Plan builds on our strengths and provides a realistic pathway for sustainable economic growth.”

The Plan details how the County will function from a macro perspective and act in a leadership role promoting the region as a place build a business, live and visit. Strategic priorities outlined include Business Development and Sector Development (Energy, Tourism, Agricultural). Business Development, encapsulated in the new “Business to Bruce” program will focus on the importance of entrepreneur development by providing the necessary supports, outreach and education so vital for successful business growth. An emphasis on marketing and promoting business investment opportunities will also play a key role in this strategic priority.

Sector Development enriches and builds on the strengths of our already successful tourism market via the "Explore the Bruce" program, downtown community development via the “Spruce the Bruce” program while developing capacity around agriculture enhancements and exploring opportunities around energy and engineering cluster development in relation to Bruce Power’s close proximity.

The Bruce County Economic Development Strategic Plan can be found on the Bruce County Website: http://www.brucecounty.on.ca/business/economic-development.php





Spruce the Bruce - Collaborative Marketing

Spruce the Bruce 2016 is well underway, with some exciting projects approved in the first intake.   

One of the grant streams available is our Collaborative Marketing Grant, one of the most dynamic grants in the program. What is it, you ask?  In a nutshell, it is the process of sharing resources and budget to create an experience and increase sales.   

All it takes is a common purpose. Collaboration Marketing is the process of aligning your business’ interests, resources, and marketing muscle with other like-minded companies to accomplish much more than you might be able to do on your own. Below is an example of how the Southampton Art Centre and Sisters on Huron created an experience with measurable successes for an identified target market.

How can your business be benefitting more fully from collaborative marketing approaches? Who could you design a collaborative program with in your community that doesn’t exist yet to create a unique experience for our visitors? We would like to challenge you to think about your own next great opportunity and what business you can partner with to create a concept or an idea that nobody’s thought about yet. What have you got to lose?

Learn more about our Collaborative Marketing Grant.



County of Bruce named recipient of a 2014 Downtown Merit Award by the International Downtown Association

Accepting the Downtown Leadership & Management merit award from the International Downtown Association is Larry Kraemer, Chair of the Agriculture Tourism and Planning Committee and Bruce County Warden John Close. The award was presented to Spruce the Bruce for their “Regional Approach to Revitalizing Downtowns in Bruce County” at the 60th anniversary Conference and Tradeshow held in Ottawa, Ontario.

Ottawa, ON Canada September 4th, 2014 During its 60th Anniversary Conference and Tradeshow, the International Downtown Association recognized The County of Bruce with a Downtown Merit Award for its work and initiatives related to “Spruce the Bruce: A Regional Approach to Revitalizing Downtowns in Bruce County”.

The Spruce the Bruce program was among 10 qualified entries in the category of Downtown Leadership and Management. This category featured comprehensive and unique organizational approaches, projects, or programs that improved the effectiveness of downtown management organizations.

 Chris LaForest, Director of Planning and Economic Development Department with the County of Bruce, noted that “The Spruce the Bruce Program is a comprehensive regional downtown revitalization program that partners multiple levels of government, citizens, businesses and organizations to foster grassroots improvement initiatives. The program continues to gain momentum, stimulate great return on investment and receive both provincial and international recognition.”

 David Downey, IDA President and CEO said that “The County of Bruce’s project received the IDA Merit Award for delivering excellence in downtown management and each year the IDA Awards Jury recognizes organizations that utilize best practices in our industry. The Spruce the Bruce Regional Approach to Revitalizing downtowns is a shining example of excellent downtown management delivering real value to their region.”

 The Washington, D.C. based International Downtown Association (IDA) is a champion for vital and livable urban centers and strives to inform, influence and inspire downtown leaders and advocates.  With 500 members and thousands of friends, IDA is a guiding force in creating healthy and dynamic centers that anchor the well-being of towns, cities, and regions.

 The County of Bruce is a member of the International Downtown Association and additional information about their regional program can be found at www.sprucethebruce.com.

County of Bruce receives $172,500 in provincial funding through the Rural Economic Development Program (RED)

Wiarton, ON – Bruce County has received 2 provincial grants from the Ministry of Rural Affairs to further the development of Bruce County’s downtown destinations!

Bruce County has been awarded funding for two projects from the Ministry of Rural Affairs “Rural Economic Development” (RED) Program for Economic Development Projects which focus on downtowns within Bruce County. Through partnerships between the County, the province, and local municipalities, $345,000 will be invested in projects in Kincardine, Port Elgin, Southampton, Sauble Beach, Wiarton, Lion’s Head, and Tobermory. County of Bruce Warden John Close stated that “through partnership and support, these 2 projects will strengthen Bruce County’s local economies and enhance the development of each downtown.”

The RED Program provides funding to help rural communities remove barriers to community development and promote economic growth to support sustainable rural economies. Since 2003, Ontario has invested more than $167 million in 468 RED projects, generating more than $1.2 billion in local economic activity and creating more than 35,000 jobs.

The “Destination Downtown: Brand Development Project” will receive $95,000 to focus on three key areas: Education, Marketing Campaigns and Implementation. The project will further develop each community’s Brand and connect it to larger scale regional tourism promotion initiatives.

The “Rural Business Recruitment and Enhancement Strategy” will receive $77,500 to turn research into practice by developing and implementing a unique business recruitment strategy for each community that is directly related to their assets and community Brand. This strategy will include targeted investment attraction and the creation of investment packages and recruitment materials.    

These projects compliment the continuing work of the “Spruce the Bruce (STB)” program, created by the County of Bruce in 2010. STB focuses on making downtowns sustainable, attractive and economically viable.  “Downtowns in Bruce County make up to close to 70% of the commercial assessment values” says program lead Kara Van Myall, Senior Planner with the County of Bruce, adding “Spruce the Bruce is a comprehensive and coordinated program to build local capacity and strengthen our downtowns.”

The Ministry of Rural Affairs will present the Project Grants to County of Bruce Warden John Close, CAO Kelley Coulter, and Senior Planner Kara Van Myall in April 2014.

Additional information about the Ministry of Rural Affair’s Rural Economic Development Program (RED) and Bruce County’s Economic Development Projects can be found at www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/rural/red/ and www.sprucethebruce.com  

Benjamin Moore Paint Company teams up with Spruce the Bruce to add a fresh coat of paint to Bruce County Communities!


Saugeen Shores Announces New Programs for Downtown Business and Building Owners - See more at: http://www.saugeenshores.ca/business/blog_item.php?BlogID=20#sthash.2NyQ4Imk.dpuf

Saugeen Shores Announces New Loan Programs for Downtown Business and Building Owners

SAUGEEN SHORES – The Saugeen Shores Mayor and Council announce financial assistance programs: Façade Loan and Building & Sign Permit Fee Reduction Programs.

Creating a strong and vibrate downtown business core is the purpose of the New Façade Loan Program and the Building & Sign Permit Fee’s Reduction Programs.   Approved by the Saugeen Shores Municipal Council, these two programs recognize that storefront appeal is an integral part of creating a downtown experience.

Saugeen Shores has developed these programs to help in creating a seed to germinate a better downtown experience.  Business and building owners within the community improvement areas of Southampton and Port Elgin are eligible for these exciting opportunities. The Façade Loan Program offers up to a maximum of $15,000 in no interest loans. When combined with the Building & Sign Permit Fee’s Reduction Program, there are significant savings in the redevelopment of a storefront façade and/or new signage.

The application process is simple and the form is available on the Municipal Website at www.saugeenshores.ca. Upon receipt of an application for the Façade Loan Program, Municipal staff will complete a review of the existing façade in an effort to understand the redevelopment and ensure that it supports the appropriate core façade guidelines that support the overall brand of the downtown.  A successful applicant executes an agreement with the Municipality and is underway, once the work is finished, the loan terms and agreement are drawn.

The Fee Reduction Program will assist downtown building owners with the enhancement and improvement of existing buildings. All building owners who are undergoing work on a façade or accessibility enhancement are eligible for the Fee Reduction Program.

Learn more about these exciting new programs designed especially for the downtown business core in Southampton and Port Elgin – the communities of Saugeen Shores at www.saugeenshores.ca/municipal.

Community investment truly pays dividends!

The County of Bruce’s “Spruce the Bruce” Program was recently recognized with a 2013 BIA (Business Improvement Area) National Achievement Award by the Ontario BIA Association (OBIAA).

From Left to Right: County of Bruce Warden David Inglis, County of Bruce CAO Kelley Coulter, Spruce the Bruce Team members Kara Van Myall, Vicki Ly and Jack Van Dorp

Wiarton, ON – Community partnership pays dividends!  Bruce County’s “Spruce the Bruce” Program has been recognized with a 2013 BIA (Business Improvement Area) National Achievement Award.

The BIA National Achievement Awards recognize innovative programs in revitalization and management for downtowns.  Spruce the Bruce won the category for “Bricks and Mortar” recognizing the Program’s role in strengthening and promoting downtown physical improvements.  Warden David Inglis stated “This successful program is a partnership between the County, the local municipalities and the private sector that has seen some great projects come forward.”

Spruce the Bruce is a regional community improvement initiative created by the County of Bruce which focuses on making downtowns within Bruce County more livable, attractive and economically viable.  “Downtowns in Bruce County make up to close to 70% of the commercial assessment values” says program lead Kara Van Myall, Senior Planner with the County of Bruce, adding “Spruce the Bruce is a comprehensive program that uses a coordinated approach to revitalizing our downtowns.”

Spruce the Bruce tailors its support to each community in four key areas: Community Organization, Marketing & Promotion, Economic Development and Physical Design.  Additionally it offers matching fund grants related to public and private downtown improvements.  The success of the program can be seen in communities such as Tobermory, Sauble Beach, and Kincardine. Grants are available for Streetscape Beautification, Facade Improvement, Perpendicular Signs and Awnings, Community Signage, Destination Infrastructure, and Destination Marketing is provided by the Program.

CAO Kelley Coulter commented “Staff in the Planning and Economic Development Department have worked really hard to get this Program off the ground. This award also recognizes four years of commitment to the Program by County Council.”  The Spruce the Bruce team will be presented the “Bricks & Mortar” Achievement Award during the 2013 National Conference April 14th-17th in Toronto.

Additional information about the Spruce the Bruce Program and the can be found at: www.sprucethebruce.com.