June 01, 2004 - St. Thomas, Ontario

Western Ontario and the Forest City hosted a provincial Economic Development Conference this week, which brought 300 participants to the region.  The Ontario Association of Community Futures Development Corporations’ (OACFDC) Annual Conference, entitled "On the Horizon", showcased rural and Northern development excellence.
The OACFDC’s Annual Conference is a mainstay of the Community Futures Program, and featured Keynote Speakers Donna Messer and Robert Parker, and special guest Stuart Black, the Chief Executive of Inverness & Nairn Enterprises, Scotland, to speak about strategic community involvement.  Hosted by western Ontario’s eight Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDCs), the conference ran from May 30 to June 1 at London’s Four Points Sheraton.
“The West Region is completely thrilled with the outcomes of this conference,” says Cara Finn, General Manager, CFDC of Middlesex County and Chair of the 2004 Conference Task Force.  “We have had a chance to showcase all that rural western Ontario has to offer, and we have had a lot of excellent feedback from the delegates – the mood has been super!”
A yearly highlight is the OACFDC Awards Program, which took place this year during a gala event on Monday, May 31.  The Awards Program recognized the exceptional achievements of the Valley Heartland CFDC of Smiths Falls, as well as Niigon Technologies in the Innovation category, a gourmet festival called Foire Gourmande in the category of Community Economic Development, Options 2003 for the Youth Initiative, and Mill Creek Chocolates as the Entrepreneur of the Year.
During the conference, delegates attended six workshop sessions with topics ranging from strategic planning, to loan compliance, to main street revitalization.  Unique to this year’s conference, was opportunity to sample local flavours during a Regional Feast at Quai du Vin Estate Winery north of Sparta.
The conference attracted a cross-section of participants, including CFDC staff and volunteers, as well as municipal, provincial and federal government representatives.
The OACFDC is a provincial association committed to supporting and providing services to its membership to improve capacity, efficiency and effectiveness.  Information about the Community Futures Program and the "On the Horizon" conference is available online at

For media and conference information:  Janine Lunn, Communications Officer, The Ontario Association of CFDCs, at 1-888-633-2326 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.