Bringing great leads to Saint John

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Cynthia Benson & Susan Taylor
Skate Canada International 2013

I’m a “skate mom” and Cynthia is a skating judge on the international circuit. We’re both passionate about the sport of skating. When we found out that we could put in a bid to bring Skate Canada International to Saint John we were excited, but it seemed like a daunting task. When we learned that bringing the event to Saint John would result in an economic boom for our city – to the tune of $4 million – that was a big incentive.

We knew we’d need support from the city to have a shot, so we set up a meeting with Discover Saint John. They immediately jumped on board and kept things moving, right up until we won the bid. As busy professionals (and busy moms) we know support from the dedicated team at Discover Saint John was invaluable.

We were impressed with how smoothly things went, but we weren’t surprised.

  • Saint John has the most dedicated, committed and respectful volunteers anywhere – they went the extra mile.
  • We have the right infrastructure – we were able to turn Harbour Station into a “mini community” for the three-day event.
  • The athletes and their families loved the pedway system and our uptown. They had everything they needed, all within walking distance. That makes Saint John unique.

We hosted 60 athletes and officials from 15 countries, and the consistent feedback was that the city was wonderful, and the crowds were amazing. Our community is now on the radar of the international skating circuit – people were still buzzing about their experience in Saint John at an event in Tokyo this year. With the help of Discover Saint John, we brought the world to Saint John, and Saint John to the world.

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Roxanne Fairweather
President and CO-CEO, Innovatia

I’ve worked in the ICT, marketing and customer service industries in some of our nation’s largest cities – Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary. And 20 years after leaving Saint John I felt the pull to come back home. My roots are here – and so is that balance of career and lifestyle for my four kids and their growing families. And now my company is here too.

Along with my business partner, we bought Innovatia almost five years ago. We invested in Saint John. We invested in our people, our vibrant community and our potential. We’re always looking ahead.

In Saint John, we have a few “best kept secrets.”

  • We have untapped talent. Our workforce is smart and we’re hard-working. We’re the oldest city in North America – it’s in our blood.
  • We have the right infrastructure – from buildings and capital assets to our highly integrated network of people and technology. Our city has a lot to offer, and it’s world-class. And I’ve done my fair share of business travel.
  • We have a “can do” attitude – we’ve created the right climate in which to do business. We know we’re capable, and we know we have the resources and the energy.

Our city has a lot to offer, and I see it every day in my business as well as my role as Vice Chair for Enterprise Saint John. Enterprise Saint John wants your business leads. We have a dedicated team who can help you leverage your connections and uncover great opportunities. We’re stronger when we work together. We’re here to help.

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Gary Losier
Proud swim dad

When you have kids involved in sports, it can be exciting and satisfying to support them and watch their progress. All four of my daughters are swimmers – that’s a lot of hours at a lot of pools. And it got me thinking – Saint John is one of the best locations I’ve seen for a swim meet. So, in 2013 we brought four of them to the Aquatic Centre, and $750,000 in revenue to the city.

Aside from our maritime hospitality, we have a host of other attributes that make Saint John, well, the perfect host.

  • The Saint John Aquatic Centre is the only 50-metre pool in the province.
  • Our pedway system connects the hotels to the pool to the uptown core. This is a lifesaver in the colder months – don’t underestimate how important that is – our attendees raved about it.
  • Our city is small enough that it’s easy to navigate and get around, and large enough that there is a lot to do to keep families engaged and busy while they are here.
  • Our community really steps up to the plate when it comes to volunteering. We’ve been told that our volunteers are second to none.

So, how did we bring all these swim meets to Saint John? We got help from Discover Saint John on the bidding process and on raising awareness of swimming in our community. We were so happy with their support and great ideas that we bid on another large event, Masters Swimming Canada, for 2015.

My kids are grown up now, but swimming continues to be a family affair. My daughters still compete and coach. We’re proud to share our sport and our city with the world.

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Ralph Mayfield
Chair, CHES National Conference 2014

I’m originally from Georgia, but my wife and I made this region home in 1975 to be close to her parents. I recently became the chair of CHES National Conference 2014, that’s the Canadian Healthcare Engineering Society. The organization has grown over the years, and it has become challenging to find locations that are equipped to handle our national conference.

Recently the conference has been in Niagara and Whistler, but I’m excited to show off Saint John to my colleagues.

  • With up to 110 exhibitors it’s great to have access not only to the Trade & Convention Centre, but the Marco Polo Cruise Terminal and our conveniently placed hotels for events and meetings.
  • We’re so close to nature, and magnificent nature at that. Attendees are in for a special experience, as they will be whale-watching, touring and learning about the history of our city and region.
  • Access to hotels, shops and restaurants via the pedway is a big plus as well.

And since the participants will be mostly engineers and architects, they will have a special interest in the heritage and architecture of the city. I’m already hearing a lot of chatter about this, and that makes me proud of Saint John.

But I didn’t do this on my own. Far from it, in fact. Our meeting planner and I connected with Discover Saint John early in the planning process, and they have been instrumental in making connections and supporting our plans. Taking on such a large project can be a little daunting, but with great facilities, attractions and partners I’m excited to show off the city and province that I now call home.

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Mayor Mel Norton
Mayor, Saint John

Saint John has had some great wins over the last year. We brought world-class events to our city and people from all over have visited to attend meetings, conventions and sporting competitions. The word on the street is that they have great things to say about our city. And our people.

What makes these wins extra special is that our community worked together to bring events and new business to our city. Each opportunity started at the grassroots level. And from there, community champions connected with people in their network and took their leads to the teams at Enterprise Saint John or Discover Saint John. Both organizations worked hard to convert these leads into business and investment for our community.

We’re looking for your leads.

Let’s attract new businesses, sporting events and meetings and conventions. We have dedicated teams at Enterprise Saint John and Discover Saint John who can help.


Debbie Haynes
Longtime Volleyball Player

I started playing volleyball at a very early age, and loved it from the start. It’s been a big part of my life ever since. My daughter got involved with the sport in middle school, which inspired me to coach and eventually start the KV Volleyball Club. The support we’ve received from the community has been amazing. Our club has grown to 80 players and we host tournaments that bring players from all over New Brunswick to Saint John.

This year we decided to bid on the NBIAA Volleyball Showcase, Typically this is a series of six tournaments that happen in different locations all around the province but we offered to host all six tournaments – attended by 300 players and 500 fans– in one location. Right here in Saint John.

We have the ideal venue for an event of this nature.

  • UNBSJ’s G. Forbes Elliot Athletics Centre is a well-equipped facility allowing athletes to play almost any sport like volleyball, basketball, soccer and tennis.
  • Everything is close at hand, from hotels and courts to restaurants, sights and shopping centres. There’s easy access to anything you need.
  • Our devoted volunteers helped make our event a huge success.

We had never undertaken such a formal bidding process before, so we approached Discover Saint John for guidance and they were there for us every step of the way. They provided us with knowledge and insight on how to approach the bid and how to demonstrate that we could handle the showcase. In the end we won the bid, delivered a successful event and earned the contract to host it for the next two years.

I am proud to have had the chance to showcase my sport in Saint John and also to share my city with the rest of the province. One of the attendees even told me that she will be coming back just to visit Saint John because she liked it so much.


Jeff Lacey
2014 Ford World Women’s Curling Championship

I always enjoyed watching curling and found it a fascinating sport, even before I starting playing myself. When I was in my early 20’s I got into it competitively and apart from being challenging and exciting, it introduced me to so many wonderful people…including my wife. As the years passed, curling continued to become a bigger, more important part of my life and I wanted to give back to the sport that gave me so much.

I couldn’t think of a better way to do that than by bringing the World Women’s Curling Championship to Saint John. I wanted to share my sport with Saint John, and Saint John with the world. The last time the championship was hosted in the city was in 1999. With the help of Discover Saint John, we put together a pitch that highlighted why the City was still the perfect host. Key to our pitch:

  • The close proximity of all our facilities like hotels, restaurants and shopping centres making it convenient for athletes and the visitors to access anything they might need.
  • A venue like Harbour Station that promises a world-class experience for both athletes and attendees and the pedway that connects the station with so many other key locations.

The process took a year and a half, with Discover Saint John helping us all the way and in the end, Saint John was picked as the venue for the 2014 Championship. It was amazing to see how people from all over the world reacted to the city. Visitors loved Saint John, and couldn’t say enough about the city. And on top of offering a memorable experience and showcasing our city to the world, we also brought $9 million in revenue to the city. It felt great to be able to give back to my sport and my city at the same time.

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Jim Quinn & Paula Copeland
Port Saint John

We both work at Port Saint John, so we know that our community has unique and highly functional infrastructure for large-scale meetings and conventions. When we found out that we could bring Green Marine’s GreenTech annual conference to Saint John, and align it with our Port Days event, we worked with Discover Saint John on the bid – and won. This was the first time that the conference was on the east coast, proving that Saint John can host it all.


Dave Shiels
Basketball player, coach & champion

When I started playing basketball in high school I quickly realized that we had an extremely strong basketball community in Saint John. It didn’t take me long to realize I had a real passion for the sport. I always wanted to stay connected with the community, so when I graduated from high school I decided to coach. Throughout my playing and coaching career I’d been going to compete in the New Brunswick High School Basketball championships. It was held in the same city every year, and at a certain point it occurred to me – why not host the Championship in Saint John for a change? I felt confident that we could offer a great experience. Here’s why:

  • We have one of the best sports venues in the maritimes, Harbour Station. It can accommodate almost any sport.
  • Our pedway system is a huge asset, especially in colder months.
  • Our community is friendly, supportive and committed to helping Saint John prosper. Due to this, we were able to find sponsors.

After discussing the idea with my colleagues, we approached Discover Saint John and they helped us put together a bid. With their help, we won the bid and hosted The Final 12 in Saint John this past February. The event attracted 12 teams, coaches and managers as well as 3,500 family members. We got great feedback on the event, and the city itself. It meant a lot to me to share my city with the New Brunswick basketball community and I couldn’t be more proud. We’ll be hosting the event for the next two years and we have a bid in to host it for three years after that.