It's impossible not to think of our providence and good luck to work and live in Northern Ontario in a time of fear and loathing in much of the world. From the Palestinian/Israeli war, to the power politics of the Ukraine, to Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, the failure of human communities to rise above distrust and hatred is disheartening.
We are blessed to be where we are. We have always had our economic challenges in Northern Ontario and from time to time economic strife, but nothing that robs us of our innocence and pervasive optimism that tomorrow will be better than yesterday.
Tomorrow is better. This is our 28th year of celebrating the best among us in business in Northern Ontario. In the last 30 years Northern Ontario has come into its own, much of it from facing our demons: cyclical resource economies, a lack of scale, great distances, higher costs of doing business, and a smallish labour pool.
Our winners have found a way to be bold and innovative and entrepreneurial. They like where they live, they contribute to the growth of our communities, and they have an unsinkable spirit that is tied to the land.
We are lucky to be your tour guides. Each year we choose judges from across the North we trust to pick the best among us and each year we travel to a new city in the North to celebrate our good cheer.
I'd like to thank all those folks who have nominated fantastic people to stand for our awards. I'd like to thank the judges who picked our winners, our sponsors who allow us to pull this event together and our staff who make it happen.
Sometimes you have to stop for a minute, stand back and just marvel at what we do in the North. Life is busy and it doesn't come naturally to meditate on success. Once a year we do it.
Welcome to the 28th annual Northern Ontario Business Awards. It doesn't get better than this and we are proud to be the catalyst for this exciting Northern tradition.
As we sit down and break bread together and honour our winners it is impossible not to be grateful for our luck, our shared values and our shared home.
Thank you for your support.