It has been a fantastic year in SDG Counties

It has been a fantastic year in SDG Counties

From developing a new strategic plan that will guide decision-makers during this term of council, to making important economic development inroads that create a dynamic landscape for investment, 2023 has laid the groundwork for continued success as we transition to the New Year.

Just one year ago our region was emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic with a plan to capitalize on regional investment opportunities and once again trumpet our strengths as an amazing collection of eastern Ontario communities steeped in equal parts creativity and stability.

Today we can look back on the year that was and point to specific areas where SDG Counties was successful in ensuring residents, businesses and families have the tools necessary to prosper.


SDG Counties launched a new brand that focuses on the good work being done in our region related to economic development.

‘Made in SDG’ was created by SDG Counties Economic Development as a platform to provide information on grants, services and programs available to our businesses and not-for-profits. This new branding highlights ‘Made in SDG’ success stories related to consumer experiences, new product launches and local business highlights.

“We are proud of the stories of our people, and we’re excited to share their tales of growth and success,” said Tara Kirkpatrick, SDG Counties Manager of Economic Development. “In SDG Counties there are boundless opportunities. We have some of the lowest-cost housing in the province and our quality of life is what the Canadian dream is made of.”

‘Made in SDG’ has its own Facebook social media channel, where regular updates are posted. In addition, SDG Counties’ economic development web page is being revamped to include the ‘Made in SDG’ brand.

“Our economic development web presence was augmented this year,” said Kirkpatrick. “We have already been adding new feeds to our economic development site, including access to census data that markets our region as an amazing place to live, operate a business and raise a family.”

The renewed focus on SDG Counties as a community rife with investment opportunities was never more apparent than when a huge new distribution centre opened in South Stormont.

Wills Transfer Limited opened its $25-million facility located on 45th Parallel Drive in Ingleside. The facility boasts an impressive 155,000 sq.-ft. warehouse and there are already plans to expand that footprint in the future.

The warehouse includes 9,000 rack positions, and 4,000 bulk positions to support an array of warehouse storage needs. There’s also 14 dock doors and two ground-level doors available.

“We are excited to open our new distribution warehouse in Ingleside and be a part of the SDG Counties business community,” said Terry Wills, Wills Transfer president. “This site was chosen because of its prime geographical location, right on the 401, between Montreal and Toronto, and close to international bridges.”

Wills indicated the local labour force has embraced the opportunities at the Ingleside distribution centre.

In September SDG Counties hosted a “Welcome Home Party” for our SDG County Brand Ambassadors, Emily Tohana and Michael Bricteau. Emily and Michael were awarded the title of brand ambassadors in 2022 after having been selected as the “Date My County” winners in a nation-wide contest that attracted viral attention.

“We used this opportunity to celebrate Emily and Michael’s move into SDG Counties, and to reveal the community they have chosen to call home. During COVID 19 our communities grew. New residents flocked to our County – and we wanted to celebrate these successes,” said Kirkpatrick.


Millions of dollars in restoration work took place within the SDG Counties road network – the largest such network in Ontario. It goes without saying that the work could not be completed without the support of motorists who were subjected to delays and detours.

SDG Counties thanks motorists and residents who accepted these necessary repairs with characteristic patience. Some highlights include:

South Nation Bridge

The complete rehabilitation of South Nation Bridge in Chesterville was a massive undertaking. The $2.5-million project included the removal and patching of the bridge deck, as well as waterproofing and paving, abutment concrete repairs, pier repairs and deck strengthening to name a few.

Hoople Creek Bridge

This important link in South Stormont on County Road 14 north of Dafoe Road cost $768,000 and resulted in the rehabilitation of the structure. The work highlights included concrete scarifying, overlay and repairs on the deck, localized removal and reinstatement of asphalt on approaches, abutment and wingwall, partial depth concrete repairs and miscellaneous approach works.

Road surface work

SDG Counties installs more than 60,000 metric tonnes of asphalt per year covering approximately 60 km of newly-paved roadway.  SDG’s hot mix contract is one of the largest in Ontario. 


The new look of SDG Tourism’s 2023 Discover Guide brought a fresh perspective on the countless tourism amenities, businesses and people that make our region a wonderful place to visit.

Approximately 40,000 Discover Guides were distributed throughout our region, and the Highway 401 corridor from Toronto to west Quebec, at a number of businesses and attractions.

2023’s revamped Discover Guide format, which focused on specific amenities in our region, like local food, wine, agri-tourism, recreation and accommodations was a hit with visitors and staycationers alike.

“We’re really proud of this new, purpose-driven Discover Guide that is both inviting and informative,” said Karina Belanger, SDG Tourism coordinator. “We enjoyed an amazing 2023 tourism season. Our regional tourism ambassadors were a hit this summer, and the Historic SDG Jail was filled for tours and our newly-popular movie nights!”

This year’s Discover Guide cover features the children of a couple of local families enjoying camping at Milles Roches Campsite in South Stormont.

“The beauty of our guide is that it is perfect for visitors to our region, as well as staycationers who may live here, but also enjoy events and attractions right next door,” said Belanger.

To secure a copy of the Discover Guide, visit any of a number of tourist attractions in our region, or reach out to us directly at


SDG Counties council put the finishing touches to its 2023-2026 Strategic Plan, which brings with it a number of priorities councillors have identified for this term.

Specifically, SDG Counties council has placed fiscal responsibility as the lens through which it will make decisions during this term. Councillors have identified six key areas for specific attention this term, including:

·         Guiding principles

·         Partnerships and Collaboration

·         Advocacy and Governance

·         Branding

·         Green Living

·         Measuring and reporting

Strategic partnerships and collaborative efforts are a hallmark of this plan as SDG Counties creates a system of mutual support and growth, amplifying the collective impact of regional initiatives.

“Our strategic plan emphasizes the significance of strengthening regional partnerships and collaboration,” said Warden Tony Fraser. “By working together with neighboring municipalities and organizations, we can pool resources, reduce duplication, and enhance the effectiveness of the services we provide to our residents.

“Likewise, advocacy and governance will be the foundation from which we represent the interests of our communities, and we will diligently work towards cementing branding protocols to showcase the unique identity of SDG Counties.”


2023 marked the official relaunch of the popular SDG Library program, ‘SDG Reads’. Celebrating its sixth edition, the program made its return following a three-year hiatus, and library staff were pleased to be featuring bestselling Canadian author, Maureen Jennings, and her “Paradise Café Mysteries” series.

The program wrapped in October and included a final event, featuring a visit from the author.

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