The Greater Sudbury area is receiving an $11-million boost from the provincial government, whose Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation is helping fund 20 local projects.
The funds aim “to support and build our businesses and build our communities,” Northern Development Minister Greg Rickford told a Sudbury crowd on Monday evening.
“We are building strong, vibrant communities and creating real opportunities for the people who live here, for the people who work here and study in the north.”
Included in the list of funding recipients are a number of film projects, including a project called “Umbrella Chronicles,” which is receiving $2 million.
Although no details are provided, “The Umbrella Chronicles” is a Resident Evil video game, and the 2021 movie, “Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City,” was filmed in Sudbury. The production company behind the “Umbrella Chronicles” movie is Raccoon HG Film Productions, which was behind the Sudbury-filmed Resident Evil movie.
Get’er Done Productions is receiving $1 million to produce the television series Letterkenny, which has been filmed in the Greater Sudbury area for the past several years, with other film-related funding going toward:
- $500,000 for Circle Blue Films to produce, in Sudbury, the film "Cafe Daughter," as well as $500,000 to produce, in Sudbury, the film "Orah"
- $43,416 for Sudbury artist Kenny Wilson to produce an animated television series called “Rabbit Girl”
Following Monday’s announcement, city Tourism and Culture manager Lara Fielding told Sudbury.com funding such as this is responsible for “drawing in and sustaining” local film productions.
Local filming is “picking up,” she said, adding that there are approximately eight films slated to be filmed in Greater Sudbury so far this year, but that more could come up in the coming months. The second season of Shoresy is currently being filmed in Greater Sudbury.
The funding offers “a great opportunity for productions that are doing well, but also for new producers and writers to get a jump on money to their projects forward,” Fielding said.
Another big recipient of funds was NORCAT (formerly the Northern Centre for Advanced Technology), which hosted Rickford’s speech. They’re receiving $1.3 million toward the purchase of a battery-electric vehicle and to upgrade the centre to accommodate the new vehicle.
The funds will go toward the purchase of a load haul dump, or a scooptram vehicle, which will be used to train miners in real-life underground mining scenarios.
“Given the migration towards electrification of both underground and surface mines, there is a need for hands-on experience or training for that,” NORCAT CEO Don Duval told Sudbury.com.
“We want to ensure that our hands-on experiential training aligns to training on equipment that is representative of the industry.”
Various ancillary technology will accompany the piece of equipment, which students will also be familiarized with.
“The migration towards electrification is happening, it's well underway, and it's only going to get faster,” Duval said. “I think you're gonna continue to see an expedited adoption of electric vehicles in the mining companies.”
With the Greater Sudbury area “blessed with a huge potential for critical minerals,” he said it’s “an exciting time to be in the mining industry in Ontario and Canada.”
NORCAT has yet to select a preferred vendor for the electric scooptram vehicle, so he said they don’t know yet how much it will end up costing.
The balance of the $11-million in provincial funding announced for the Greater Sudbury area includes:
- $2 million for Cambrian College to build a “state-of-the-art research and development facility" at its Barrydowne Campus in Sudbury.
- $728,433 for a numbered company (1929995 Ontario Inc.) to develop Plowbrush, a snowplowing system that reduces the amount of salt needed to clear roadways.
- $400,000 for Amen Holdings and Consolidated Logistics, both in Sudbury, to purchase equipment and install additional railway track at their track facility
- $400,000 for Barrydowne Animal Hospital in Sudbury to purchase a building,relocate, renovate and buy equipment
- $391,785 for A&M Remediation – an industrial waste management company in Sudbury – to purchase equipment
- $255,000 for Top Steel – a manufacturing and design firm in Val Caron – to purchase equipment
- $250,000 for Rock-Tech – a mining equipment manufacturer in Lively – to develop an automated rockbreaker
- $250,000 for Sofvie Inc. – a health and safety software company in Lively – to develop an industrial grade safety device worn as a sleeve
- $222,150 for Sparrow Health – a medical technology business in Sudbury – to develop an online portal enabling patients to request prescription refills and for their physicians to process requests
- $158,538 to establish, in Val Caron, Rees Rail Services – a service contractor for the rail industry – and $400,000 for the company to purchase equipment
- $104,140 for Chenier Drilling Services – a drilling services provider in Val Caron for the mining and mineral exploration industries – to purchase equipment
- $79,936 for Bio-Mine Ltd. – a clean technology company in Sudbury – to develop a microbial system to be used for the degradation of plastic waste
- $58,290 for FlashTheSloth Technology Inc. – a high-tech delivery service provider in Sudbury – to purchase equipment and software
In a media release issued by the province, Top Steel general manager Savy Bhardwaj credited the funds with helping them hire two people and purchase new machinery so they can produce products in Northern Ontario rather than outsourcing to third-party producers in the south.
Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for Sudbury.com.