Gov. Nathan Deal will spearhead an economic development mission to some of Canada's most prominent business and tourism centers today through July 10. The governor will visit Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Calgary to meet with companies seeking to locate or expand in the United States, diplomatic officials, Canadian business groups and media outlets. The delegation will promote the state as the nation's top location for business investment and Canadian travelers.
"The foundation of Canada's prominence as a trade, business and tourism partner for the state is the friendly, strategic relationships we maintain with our neighbors," said Deal. "This week we celebrate our Independence Day, and Canadians mark Canada Day; it's a great time to thank our Canadian friends for their past investments, and invite them to find out what's new in Georgia."
The mission will include Georgia First Lady Sandra Deal, Chris Cummiskey, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, and Steve Brereton, Consul General of Canada in Atlanta. Deal will meet with prospective businesses and with companies that have existing Georgia operations, including Bombardier and CAE. In Toronto he will address a business investment luncheon hosted by PNC Bank and the Canadian-American Business Council. Later that day Deal will throw out the first pitch of the Toronto Blue Jays v. Kansas City Royals baseball game at Rogers Centre.
The governor and delegation will also attend, as honored guests, celebrations of the U.S. Independence Day hosted by the U.S. consulates in Montreal and Toronto. Georgia-grown products will be showcased during the Independence Day celebration in Montreal. Holly Chute, executive chef at the Georgia Governor's Mansion, will hold a cooking demonstration for the participants and invited media. Chute has worked with six Georgia governors since she joined the Mansion's staff in 1981 and has been designated a "Georgia Grown Executive Chef" by the Georgia Department of Agriculture's Georgia Grown program.
Mrs. Deal will visit a women's shelter and a community center in Toronto. During the latter portion of the week the governor and delegation will be guests of the Province of Alberta and will meet business and government leaders during the Calgary Stampede. While in Alberta, the governor will also visit some of Canada's largest oil sands reserves, for which several Georgia businesses supply equipment and technology, and whose continuing expansion provides growing opportunities for Georgia companies.
Canada has long been Georgia's top export market destination. In 2011, Georgia exports to Canada totaled close to $6.3 billion, an increase of 23 percent over 2010. Canada is sixth among the state's import markets, with 2011 imports totaling almost $3.3 billion. Georgia has numerous other ties to Canada, including an international office located in Toronto for 31 years. More than 80 Georgia companies have operations in Canada, and close to 260 Canadian facilities operate in Georgia, employing almost 9,000 Georgians.
The state is a founding member of the Southeastern United States-Canadian Provinces Alliance (SEUS//CP), which allows businesses to enhance commercial exchanges, promote two-way investment, and encourage technological and scientific exchanges between and among six Southeastern states and seven Canadian provinces. Georgia and Québec are members of the worldwide Regional Leaders Summit, an eight-member alliance focused on sustainability.
Since 1973, Georgia has been home to the Canadian Consulate in Atlanta, which oversees six Southeastern states. Georgia is also host to the Québec Government Delegation and the Canadian-American Society of the Southeast U.S. University System of Georgia institutions that have study-abroad partnerships with Canadian Institutions include Columbus State University, North Georgia College & State University, the University of Georgia and the University of West Georgia.
Monday, July 2, Montreal
* Travel to Montreal
Tuesday, July 3, Montreal
* Business calls
* Mrs. Deal: tour of farmer's market with Gazette reporter and Chef Holly Chute
* U.S. Independence Day Reception hosted by U.S. Consulate Montreal -- Cooking demonstration by Chef Holly Chute, using Georgia products
Wednesday, July 4, Ottawa
* Travel to Ottawa
* Business calls
* Tour of Byward Market
* U.S. Independence Day celebration hosted by U.S. Ambassador Jacobsen
* Travel to Toronto
Thursday, July 5, Toronto
* Business calls
* Luncheon co-hosted by PNC Bank & the Canadian-American Business Council, sponsored by Coca-Cola. Ambassador Gordon Giffin to attend.
* Media appointments with major news outlets
* Mrs. Deal: visits to Yorktown Shelter for Women and St. Stephen's Community House
* U.S. Independence Day celebration hosted by the U.S. Consulate Toronto
* Blue Jays v. Royals game hosted by TD Bank; Gov. Deal throws first pitch
Friday, July 6, Calgary
* Travel to Calgary
* Calgary Stampede attendance hosted by Province of Alberta
Saturday, July 7, Calgary
* Calgary Stampede networking
Sunday, July 8, Calgary
* Day trip to Banff; tour of Canada's oldest national park
Monday, July 9, Calgary
* Day trip to Alberta oil sands; briefing and tour of mining operations
Tuesday, July 10
* Travel to Atlanta