‘Apex of art and engineering’: Ontario premier, MPPs break ground on automotive innovation hub near Barrie

This is one way to get the region’s economy back on track.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford, several provincial cabinet ministers and local politicians were on hand for a groundbreaking at Oro Station, an automotive innovation park north of Barrie, Aug. 20.

The facility is adjacent to Lake Simcoe Regional Airport in Oro-Medonte and, once complete, will feature 500,000 square feet of dedicated industrial and commercial space, housing and a 16-turn, 4.1-kilometre road-racing circuit designed for modern GT and vintage-car racing.

This is set to become a hub for vehicle research, innovation, restoration and performance mechanics and the “apex of art and engineering” that will maintain Ontario’s position as a “global automotive leader,” the project’s managing partner, Geoffrey Campbell, said.

“Over the past seven years, our engineering team has been working diligently to plan and design this incredible new facility,” he said at a podium, with a backdrop of dirt piles and several large construction vehicles. “Oro Station is designed to become Canada’s destination for automotive enthusiasts. Car culture is filled with passionate people. Oro Station will create a new home for that community.”

The development should be built over the next three to eight years.

It will also provide unique training opportunities for students attending nearby Georgian College, Campbell said.

Ford noted the facility should create 1,800 construction jobs and full-time, permanent employment for 700 people.

“When the automotive sector’s doing great, Ontario is doing great,” he said. “This isn’t just a job creator. This is an area where we can show our innovation. This is what happens when we’re all pulling in the same direction.”

The project will help stimulate the local economy. But it’s also located in a key position near the continually-growing airport, County of Simcoe Warden George Cornell said.

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