Ontario Construction Report staff writer
The Northern Lights Conference and Trade Show will take place Jan. 29 through Feb. 1, 2014 at the Ottawa Convention Centre. The event, co-produced by the Baffin Regional Chamber of Commerce (BRCC) and the Labrador North Chamber of Commerce (LNCC), is a high-profile business and cultural showcase of Nunavut, Nunavik, and Labrador / Nunatsiavut, presenting business opportunities, culture, arts and the complexities of working in the region.
The fourth edition of this event is expected to attract 200 exhibitors and 1,500 delegates. LNCC executive director Brian Fowlow says the event has grown by 50 per cent over each of the previous shows and he expects this year will be no different. “When we came up with the idea for this event there was nothing else like it in terms of a place to find information on business opportunities in Canada’s eastern arctic and north without actually visiting the region.”
Understanding the potential cost of such a fact-finding mission, the conference brings the northern experience and its opportunities together under one roof, allowing people the opportunity to explore and discover more easily.
Combining a trade show, conference, arts and cultural experience and social aspects, the event is intended as something for everyone and a means of truly understanding the northern experience. It is also intended to form relationships and to keep people coming back.
“In 2006 when we signed on to develop this initiative, the management group decided it needed to be high-end. It had to have something for everyone, and so each component has its own draw. We wanted Northern Lights to be an experience people would want to come back to.”
Fowlow says over its history the event took place in Montreal once, but Ottawa in general, with its connection to Parliament Hill and government, is the desired location.
The event’s website notes that “the trade show floor will include exhibits from private businesses, all levels of government, not-for-profit organizations and many other groups. Representation will come primarily from Nunavut, Nunavik and Labrador/ Nunatsiavut, but also from across Canada and abroad. Many industries and sectors will be represented during the trade show including mining, oil and gas, transportation, military groups, all levels of government, educational institutions, as well as many other organizations.”
Thursday the conference is a business-to-business day during which individuals who arrive with a business card can access the event. On Friday and Saturday, the event is open to the public.
Conference topics are expected to include topics such as Arctic ocean technology, northern mining development, northern energy solutions, tourism opportunities, economic development opportunities, and climate change and its impact on northern infrastructure.
The Arts and Culture Pavilion will showcase the works and creations of upwards of 80 artists. “There is a stage show that will be going constantly, demonstrations and a point of sale area for northern crafts and goods to be purchased.”
Fowlow encourages anyone considering doing business in the north, interested in working in the north, or curious about the north in general to attend, and to come with an open mind. “Establishing connections with the north takes time and has challenges but there is great potential reward. This is the one place to explore the north’s Inuit and Aboriginal cultures, opportunities our vast regions hold, and to find out what it takes to establish successful business partnerships”
For more information, visit northernlightsottawa.com.