The Southwestern Ontario Marketing Alliance (SOMA) represents an area known as Canada’s Industrial Heartland: four counties and seven municipalities that lie in the southwest of Toronto.
The region is a strong industrial power, with key activity spread across five key sectors: automotive, advanced manufacturing, composites, food processing and green technology. It also has strong ties to Japan — companies linked to the country are significant employers in the region.
In late November and early December, a SOMA delegation went to Taiwan and came to Japan. Members of the SOMA delegation included Ted Comiskey, mayor of Ingersoll (photo 1, right); Curtis Tighe, economic development officer for Ingersoll; Trevor Birtch, mayor of Woodstock (photo 2, left); Len Magyar, president of SOMA and economic development officer of Woodstock (photo 2, right); Sean Dyke, SOMA director; and Gary Clark, councillor of St. Thomas. While in Japan, they visited Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya. On the evening of December 3, they met with members of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Japan community at the HyLife Pork Table restaurant in Daikanyama, Tokyo.
The evening was a great opportunity for members of both organizations to share experiences and learn from one another in an informal setting. During his opening remarks, Comiskey spoke about his positive experience working with Japanese businesses: “Certainly the folks here in Japan as we have travelled — I’ve been here five times now — have been so helpful and so gracious. They’ve made us feel at home and allowed us to work closely together.”
Welcoming the guests together in a toast, he called on the attendees to maintain the close ties that were being made that night: “Camaraderie and friendship are two of the best gifts we could ever give each other: responsibility to look after each other. And in this season, and in all the holidays that Japan celebrates this time of year, please take care.”