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Oro Station, Georgian College join forces in bid to drive innovation

Having 'an educational partner like Georgian College has always been a key part of our vision,' says pioneer behind 200-acre automotive innovation hub in Oro-Medonte
2019-11-04 Campbell JO-001
Geoff Campbell, managing partner of Oakleigh Developments, stands in front of the Line 7 property in Oro-Medonte that will be home to Oro Station, an automotive innovation ark. Jessica Owen/OrilliaMatters File Photo

Through an exciting new partnership, Georgian College and Oro Station will create expanded opportunities in our region for academic programming, research and innovation, and apprenticeship and skilled-labour training focused on emerging automotive technology.

Oro Station is Ontario’s new 200-acre automotive innovation hub located adjacent to the Lake Simcoe Regional Airport in Oro-Medonte. The site will feature 700,000 square feet of industrial space dedicated to automotive research, engineering and development, including a 4.2 km test track with dynamic driving areas.

Set against the backdrop of a rapidly changing Canadian auto industry, Oro Station is an innovative home for nimble, forward-thinking businesses eager to stake a claim in the future of transportation.

“This project has been more than a decade in the making, and an educational partner like Georgian College has always been a key part of our vision,” says Geoffrey Campbell, Managing Partner of the Oro Station project. “Providing current curriculum that reflects the needs of the industry is critical to ensuring Ontario remains competitive in the automotive sector. Our emphasis on innovation naturally aligns with Georgian’s focus on ensuring their graduates are set up for success.”

Georgian is a recognized leader in student work experience, with the support of 6,200 employers. Consistently, it has had one of the highest graduate employment rates among all Ontario colleges.

Georgian is home to more than 130 market-driven programs and the renowned Automotive Business School of Canada (ABSC), built and actively supported by the automotive industry, for the automotive industry.

Georgian is committed to the growth and evolution of the industry by leveraging its students and trained graduates, faculty experts, high-quality programs, and state-of-the-art facilities so industry partners can advance their research, innovation and development goals.

“The automotive industry continues to evolve at a rapid pace and this partnership is an incredible opportunity for Georgian, the ABSC and our students to be part of shaping its future,” said Kevin Weaver, Vice President, Academic, Georgian College. “We look forward to exploring various community and industry collaborations, and working closely with Oro Station through future programming, training and research to meet the innovation needs of the industry and local employers.”

“This partnership will equip students with the skills and knowledge to further innovation in the automotive industry, right from their community,” said Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities.

“Through experiential learning opportunities, students gain valuable insights, a strong knowledge of the industry, and develop the skills they need for a successful career. I want to applaud Georgian College and Oro Station on this innovative partnership and look forward to seeing you work together to prepare students for the careers of today and the future.”

On Nov. 1, 2019, Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, was joined by Doug Downey, Attorney-General and MPP for Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte, Jill Dunlop, MPP for Simcoe North, Andrea Khanjin, MPP for Barrie-Innisfil, and Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation to announce a zoning order clearing the way for the project with construction set to begin this year. The innovation park is forecasted to create 700 full-time jobs within Simcoe County, representing 50% of the forecasted employment growth in Oro-Medonte to 2031.

Oro Station will be the ultimate Canadian destination for innovators and educators, racers and restorers, enthusiasts and entrepreneurs. It’s a place where they will all come together to form a unique community dedicated to all things automotive.

Oro Station is a multi-use facility that will blend an automotive business park with a motorsport road course and club. The park will be home to premier engineering, education, supply, design and manufacturing businesses that will benefit from the track facility for testing, design, development, marketing, events and tourism.

The site will feature 700,000 square feet of industrial space dedicated to automotive research, engineering and development, including a 4.2km test track with dynamic driving areas and the Bexley Motor Club. Oro Station creates connections between individuals and institutions, educators and innovators, enthusiasts and entrepreneurs — all part of a vibrant community with an eye to the future of the automobile in Canada.

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