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2020 and confetti

2020 Look Back: Our Top 15 York Region Business Community News Stories

2020 was a challenging year for the business community, but there were still moments worth celebrating. Check out our Top 15 list.

Top 15 of 2020 HeaderDespite a challenging year, many businesses across York Region continued to grow and achieve success in 2020. Being mindful of the difficulties still impacting our business community, we wanted to highlight the success of some of those companies who adapted, shifted, and proved their resilience last year. We’ve pulled out fifteen newsworthy stories from the York Region business community in 2020 and shared them here. We also encourage you to browse through our full news section here or follow us on Twitter for daily updates.
In no particular order, here are our top 15 York Region business community news stories from 2020:

ventureLAB opened Canada’s First Advanced-Hardware Technology Incubator in Markham
HCI LabventureLAB opened the Hardware Catalyst Initiative (HCI) incubator lab in Canada; the first-of-its-kind in the country. The new 1,500-square-foot HCI lab is part of the $5 million funding investment by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario. HCI lab features specialized equipment and Electronic Design Automation (EDA) toolsets, critical for manufacturing semiconductor, silicon, or advanced hardware-based solutions.

Walmart Canada Broke Ground on its Next-Generation Distribution Centre in Vaughan
Walmart groundbreakingThe new 550,000-square-foot distribution centre in Vaughan is part of a suite of investments Walmart Canada is making and is expected to create hundreds of direct and construction-related jobs. Over the next five years, the investment will lead to the use of advanced technologies working alongside associates in a state-of the-art facility to move products as quickly as possible.

Celestica’s Newmarket Operation to Manufacture 7,500 Ventilators Supporting Early Coronavirus Response
Celestica VentilatorCelestica won a contract to build 7,500 ventilators for StarFish Medical. They will be supplying ventilators to healthcare professionals across Canada who are treating critical condition COVID-19 patients.

PwC Canada has opened its first Digital Resilience Centre in Vaughan
PWC openingPwC’s Digital Resilience Centre in Vaughan is the first in Canada and provides an end-to-end digital trust framework to help organizations unify their defences against digital cybersecurity. Within the Centre is the Digital Resilience Sandbox, an immersive lab where clients can see, touch and experience the latest technologies, such as industrial systems, robotics, IoT, artificial intelligence (AI), cloud and mixed reality, and simulate offensive and defensive tactics on them.

Markham-based Lind Equipment’s Decontamination Technology is Being Used by the Canadian Government to Protect its Workspaces From COVID-19
UV-C LED LightLind Equipment’s newly developed Apollo UVC LED system has been proven to kill the SARS-CoV-2 virus by Western University’s ImPaKT lab, making it the first Canadian-designed UVC LED system proven effective against the virus that causes COVID-19. The development paves the way for rapid, portable decontamination of shared spaces such as medical facilities, long-term care homes, and high-traffic public spaces, all at the flick of a switch.

Vaughan-based Sterling Industries Contracted to Manufacture 27 million PPE Face Shields in Support of Coronavirus Response
FaceshieldSterling Industries was awarded manufacturing contracts by the Federal Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario, and the Province of Alberta for 27 million face shields.

York University Broke New Ground in Markham
York GroundbreakingConstruction on York University’s Markham Centre Campus – a $275.5-million project – officially began on September 22, 2020 with a groundbreaking event and is expected to open in fall 2023. Public, private and government partnerships and a focus on learning that provides students with essential real-world skills will be part of the DNA of the new Markham Centre Campus. Innovation York and the University’s community innovation hub, YSpace, are already firmly rooted in Markham and York Region, and in 2019, academic programming in Markham began in the IBM Canada headquarters.

Air Canada Piloted COVID-19 Contact Tracing App and Wearable Tech From Richmond Hill Headquartered Facedrive
Facedrive wearable braceletAir Canada implemented Covid-19 contact tracing technology in its workplace using the Bluetooth enabled TraceSCAN app and wearable technology developed by Facedrive. Air Canada has extended the pilot program well into 2021.

Silicon Design Company, NUVIA, Opened its First International R&D Office in Markham
Nuvia office openingThe new office is within York Region’s Regional Innovation Centre, ventureLAB, located in Markham. The R&D office will accommodate as many as 30 employees with continued room for future expansion. Nuvia was recently acquired by Qualcomm in January.

Vaughan-based Drone Delivery Canada Transported Pandemic Supplies to Georgina Island First Nation in Unmanned Drones
DDC Drone being filledA six-month federal government drone delivery project saw small drones fly over Lake Simcoe to deliver personal protection equipment and medical supplies for Georgina Island First Nation residents to support the COVID-19 pandemic response.

Amazon is Building a Delivery Station in Vaughan
Amazon Delivery WarehouseAmazon is building multiple new delivery stations in Ontario that are expected to open in 2021, creating more than 2,500 full-time jobs. The Vaughan delivery station will be in the heart of the Vaughan Enterprise Zone, powering the last mile of Amazon’s order fulfilment process.

Vaughan Headquartered Kontrol Energy’s SARS-CoV-2 Detector Starts to Ship Worldwide
Kontrol BioCloudKontrol Energy has begun shipping its COVID-19 technology, BioCloud, to customers and distributors around the world. BioCloud is a real-time analyzer designed to detect airborne viruses, including SARS-COV-2, by continuously sampling air quality and triggering a silent, cloud-based alert to facility managers.

Next Generation Manufacturing Canada (NGen) Awarded Funding to Aurora-Based CrossWing for the Development of its Cleanbot UV Robots
CleanBotNGen Canada provided funding to manufacturing projects leading to the Canadian production of automated hands-free disinfection technologies to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Cross-Wing received NGen funding for their Cleanbot UV and Cleanbot MIST, two next-generation robots that overcome serious limitations of first-generation disinfecting systems.

Holiday Inn Express Celebrated its Official Grand Opening in Aurora
Aurora Holiday Inn OpensOn November 12th, Gottardo Hotel & Resorts and InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) formally cut the ribbon on the new Holiday Inn Express in Aurora. A 110-room hotel located near Highway 404.

Aurora-based Vexos Approved to Manufacture 10,000 Ventilators for the Canadian Government’s COVID-19 Response Program
Vexos VentilatorAs part of the Government of Canada’s national mobilization program to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, Vexos was awarded the manufacturing contract to produce ventilators in Canada.