It was during the search on the internet that lead Julie Card and Dan Plouffe to creating the business model for Mycollingwood.ca back in 2004. The business model started with Collingwood being the epicenter of a geographic boundary that they fondly refer to as the Greater Collingwood Region when they describe what area of coverage mycollingwood.ca represents.
They wanted to create a web based platform that celebrates life in and around Collingwood as well, connected consumers with all of their choices for dining, shopping, things to do and so on. As a teenager, Julie worked in my father’s camera store and with a love of photography decided that local event coverage would be a large part of their offering. What better way to showcase the area than through pictures.
It started back in the early 1970’s, when Julie was a toddler and her parents taught her to ski at Alpine Ski Club in what was then, The Township of Collingwood. This was the beginning of a life-long relationship with Collingwood and the surrounding area.
As a family with 4 children, Julie and her partner Dan would look forward to weekend visits to their ski chalet to enjoy Blue Mountain as their kids were all enrolled in ski and race programs. Three of our four children became certified race coaches and taught in the Jozo Weider Race Program and Jeffrey is an active member of the Blue Mountain Special Olympics Alpine Team. It was great to be able to have a single destination where all of them could enjoy outdoor winter activities and get together after a long day on the slopes for family dinners.
“We were always excited to arrive each weekend and always a little sad to leave on Sunday evenings. As we would drive back into Toronto every weekend, we could feel the tension of the city. Soon our winter weekend get-a-aways from Toronto extended into shoulder season. Even if skiing was over, there was still plenty to enjoy in the area. Before long, we were weekend residents all year long,” says Julie.
Not long after that, they decided to make the transition to being permanent residents. Coming from a marketing background it was an easy decision to look for a job in the marketing field as they began to make good on the plan to find a way to make Collingwood their year round home.
Looking to the Future
Mycollingwood.ca is about connecting consumers, both local and visitors to the area, with local attractions, events and businesses – helping people find the choices that are available to them at the click of the mouse, or tap of a screen on one website. It’s about celebrating the fantastic region that we live in.
While the name and brand is mycollingwood.ca, geographically they cover the area from Meaford through to Wasaga Beach, including the Blue Mountains, Collingwood, Craigleith, The Village at Blue, Ravenna, Clarksburg, Thornbury, Stayner, Singhampton and Creemore and every place in between or nearby.
On December 1, 2015 Mycollingwood.ca celebrated 10 years of being in business! We asked Julie and Dan about their plans for the future. “As our community continues to grow rapidly with new businesses and residents we will strive to give great local event coverage, highlight new businesses and celebrate entrepreneurial growth. We will continue to shine a spotlight on the unique individuals that enrich our community through culture, volunteerism, and innovation. We will continue to showcase the wonderful array of dining options and things to do for people visiting our area and we’ll try our best to stay up to speed with the continually rapid changes in technology to make mycollingwood.ca a positive experience for anyone who visits our site. “ Visit mycollingwood.ca to share the dream Julie and Dan built.
Matt Jackson’s family has a long relationship with Collingwood. His parents grew up in the area and when Matt had his own family, they travelled back regularly to see relatives, ski and just enjoy the great lifestyle this region offers. WordJack Media is a digital marketing agency focused exclusively on helping businesses win on the web. As a team of experts in all areas of internet marketing, social media, website development, and online marketing campaigns, they take pride in differentiating themselves from other agencies in a few unique ways. “Most importantly we are affordable,” says Matt, “we have developed a new-to-the-market approach that allows us to offer a full agency experience – with all the customization and personalized service that comes with it – at a price small businesses can afford.” WordJack doesn’t just set you up online and leave you to do the heavy lifting of updates and ongoing management – you get a dedicated marketing manager who is responsible for planning and making every aspect of your online campaign happen. “That marketing manager is the key. Their entire job is designed around truly understanding your business objectives as if part of your extended staff and managing WordJacks’s team of experts to turn your objectives into a workable online plan, and then executing that plan with precision.”
When it came time to setup permanent business premises, Matt wanted to be somewhere with a great family environment, whist still being able to pour himself into the business. With his business partner in Melbourne, Australia and many of their clients in the USA, Wordjack truly could have located head office anywhere. However, after all the years of spending time in Collingwood, enjoying the areas diverse range of amenities, activities and services – Matt knew they had the perfect location. They also believe Collingwood is home to a wealth of talented individuals who have either retired or relocated to the area after successful stints in large organizations in Canadian & international cities…and they expect this trend to continue with more arriving every year.
Looking to the Future
WordJack continues to grow rapidly with North American expansion being the top priority. The company is already hiring both in Collingwood and abroad to facilitate this expansion, having brought on 7 new hires in the last six months. WordJack is also investigating opportunities to acquire other digital agencies throughout Ontario in order to bring WordJack’s unique approach to more local businesses. Collingwood will continue as home base and head office throughout this expansion. As Matt says “We have a good thing going here. Collingwood is a great place to live and work and we see an exciting future ahead – both for WordJack and the Town.”
Born and raised in Toronto, filmmaker Tom Strnad, attended York University’s Film Program and after working on numerous feature films, TV series and documentaries, he soon rediscovered the beauty and charm of the South Georgian Bay area. Tom visited Blue Mountain in the summers with his dad in the late 80s and returned in the early 2000s to try out downhill skiing.
This led to monthly visits, then weekly visits and mini-vacations. In addition to snowboarding, Tom also started a new passion, cross country and downhill mountain biking. In an effort to pioneer a media industry in the South Georgian Bay area and to live where he plays, Tom made the move to Collingwood in the summer of 2010. Tom continued to work with Toronto producers as an editor, post-production supervisor and colourist, but this time his commute was from Collingwood via the Barrie GOTrain. The time to travel from Collingwood to Toronto a few days a week is not significantly longer than travelling from Pickering or Hamilton.
Says Tom “For media professionals seeking a vibrant cultural community rich in landscapes and outdoor activities, there is no other place like Collingwood and the South Georgian Bay area.”
With regional tax credit bonuses available to companies providing film and media services outside of the GTA, the additional 10% bonus was attractive to the Toronto producers and also for Tom’s own upcoming productions. Tom produced his first locally filmed feature, DEAD DREAMS in the summer of 2011 for Summer Pictures Inc, directed by award winning filmmaker Josh Koffman from Toronto. This film was an official selection of the Montreal World Film Festival and also enjoyed a theatrical release in Toronto and Collingwood in AMC and Cineplex cinemas.
The film was licensed to Super Channel and the new work model was made apparent to Tom. Producing films in the Collingwood and South Georgian Bay area offered beautiful locations, unique new offerings for physical locations and an enjoyable vacation style post-work environment for all the cast and crew. With everyone involved in the film being so fond of their experience and cottage accommodations, it was difficult for people to return to the big city on the weekends.
Shortly after the completion of DEAD DREAMS, Tom started his own Collingwood based film production company, Mountain Goat Film Company Inc. The goal of Mountain Goat Film Company was to offer a one stop shop that can develop, write, budget, plan, cast, produce, edit, sound design and mix feature films.
The first production was BLUE GRAVITY, a 45 minute documentary detailing the three downhill races in 2011 at Blue Mountain Resort featuring a local team, the Kamikaze Spyder Riders. This was was released by Platinum Distribution on DVD across Canada and was also a Gold Medal Winner for Best Sports Documentary at the 2012 Worldfest International Film Festival.
Additional productions included the award winning internationally released snowboarding and ski film SHIPWRECKED, focusing on the difficulties of teenagers trying to make it in the sport with the often changing and unpredictable snow conditions in the area. THE TRAIL was a feature length thriller and an Official Selection of the Montreal World Film Festival. This film was a story about an injured mountain biker trying to get out of the woods alive. BEHIND THE RED CARPET was a feature length documentary outlining a behind the scenes look of the Toronto International Film Festival. The film was licensed to CBC and is available worldwide via iTunes and most digital platforms.
Most recent updates include Mountain Goat Film Company Inc. being named Business of the Year by The Blue Mountains Chamber of Commerce for 2016 and the release of the documentary VERTICAL BELLES. This new film is a one hour documentary examining a local circus performance aerial silks group and the struggles of youth retention in the area. The film won a Silver Award for Best Arts Documentary at the 2016 Wordfest and had its Canadian Premiere in Collingwood in May 2016, at a unique screening with a live show by the aerial silks group.
Looking to the Future
In 2014 Mountain Goat Film Company Inc. moved its offices to a larger studio facility in the Blue Mountains, just minutes away from downtown Collingwood.
Mountain Goat Film Company has recently completed a dark comedy period piece feature film entitled THE FORTUNE HILLS, about two brothers who escape from prison to seek out a buried treasure. The film is currently enjoying its festival run with international awards at Los Angeles and St. Petersburg , Russia. Mountain Goat Film is also in post-production on the film KING FOR A DAY, a feature documentary that explores the phenomenon of the Collingwood Elvis Festival and Elvis impersonators worldwide.
Tom works tirelessly to support the growth of this industry in the community, by regularly volunteering his time and expertise in teaching and inspiring the youth to grow their passion for film and media, and his company continues to utilize the infrastructure offered by Collingwood both in catering, screening venues and library facilities.
Mountain Goat Film Company Inc. has several documentaries and feature films in the works and will continue bringing Canadian stories to the region, the nation and the world. Future plans include the expansion into Virtual Realty documentaries where the audience can explore films with 360 degree immersion. Mountain Goat will also continue to be part of the South Georgian Bay Media Association as a sponsor and supporter, in an effort to bring more media professionals and companies to this area. With thriving models in North Bay and Sudbury, the South Georgian Bay area has tremendous growth and development potential primarily with its closer proximity to the major media hub of Toronto.
The future for both Mountain Goat Film Company and the youth inspired by Tom’s passion, looks brighter than ever! Visit www.mountaingoatfilm.com for more information.http://mountaingoatfilm.com/
Steve Roper is a Creative Marketing Specialist with international experience which has included developing and managing Brand Identities for Chrysler Canada, The Bermuda Department of Tourism and the renowned Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria, British Columbia. Steve has been awarded Best in Canada by the Canadian Marketing Association for his work on Chrysler Canada.
Steve also created the website you are reviewing and has created websites for dozens of companies globally.
Currently Steve is managing local projects for The Town of Collingwood, including this website, Charis Developments and The Institue of Southern Georgian Bay and starting up a Cider Company in Collingwood. He is also managing projects for the Marine Megafauna Foundation in Mozambique.
In 2013, Steve relocated his business from Victoria, BC to Collingwood because it made good business sense. Collingwood significantly lower cost of living caught Steve’s attention and as a business owner which specializes in online development, the proximity to Toronto, Montreal and the ease of flights back to Victoria played a big part in his decision to relocate.
Given the nature of our business, we have had the opportunity to locate anywhere as we are a virtual company for the most part. We came to Collingwood to be closer to family and we’ve enjoyed the outdoor aspects of the area for the past three and a half years.
Collingwood is scenic, it’s pleasant, and it’s within driving distance of major centres.
Looking to the Future
Steve Roper is in many ways, an incubator for businesses, small and large and our fundamental goal is to enter into relationships in which revenue goals are set and our services work towards creating the best business experience possible for our clients gleaned from years of award winning work with a focus on revenue generation.
Those services mostly involve developing revenue a brand identity then working with our clients to built the entire business, including revenue generating websites.