EDCO Regional Economic Development Professional Development Event

Earn 3 Economic Development Certification Points for Attending!

Northern Region

Seven Generations Education Institute: Manidoo Baawaatig, Event space

240 Veterans Drive, Kenora, ON P9N 3Y5

Wednesday, September 20, 2023


Social Event!

4:30 PM               Tour of the MUSE: Meet at the Lake of the Woods Museum to hear a special presentation on the Treaty #3: Manidoo Mazina’igan | The Sacred Document. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the signing of Treaty #3 at Northwest Angle on October 3rd, 1873. To honour this occasion the Treaty and adhesions have returned home to Treaty #3 territory.  The historic documents are joined by colourful information panels developed by the Indigenous Advisory Committee of The MUSE that tell the story of the signing of the Treaty and the story of the Anishinaabe of Treaty #3. We will then head across the courtyard to the Douglas Family Arts Centre and view and learn about The Gift of Art: the collection of Walter J. Philips’ Lake of the Woods inspired art.

6:00 PM               Make it Lake Time! The group will head over to the Lake of the Woods Brewing Company for mixing and mingling.

Additional details to follow.

 Thursday, September 21, 2023




Times noted in this agenda are Central Time

8:30 AM          Welcome

9:00 AM          Keynote Speakers: Rob Dokuchie and Taras Manzie, Lake of the Woods Brewing Company. 10 Years of Community Building – one beer at a time.

Speaker profiles:

Taras Manzie; President & CEO, Shareholder, Director, Lake of the Woods Brewing Company

Taras has been a resident of Kenora for the past 21 years and has significant ties to the community as an entrepreneur, business owner, and local citizen. Immediately following his move to Kenora, Taras was employed for five years as a Commercial Manager with Copperfin Credit Union: one of the largest financial institutions in northwestern Ontario. Taras started his career as an entrepreneur and in business ownership while still studying Commerce at Carleton

University in Ottawa and has been an engaged business builder ever since.

Rob Dokuchie; Director of Marketing, Shareholder, Director, Lake of the Woods Brewing Company

Rob has extensive experience in marketing, brand development and design. Prior to hopping on-board at Lake of the Woods Brewing Company in 2011, Rob operated Overdrive Design Labs, a local design, marketing, and web company for 15 years. Rob worked in co-operation with Taras Manzie to develop a strong and unique brand for Lake of the Woods Brewing that supports craft beer sales and distribution, merchandising and retail sales, and the growth of a new regional sector.

10:00 AM        Boom to Bust to Boom: An Ontario Mill town tale

Describing how Planning and Economic Development are intrinsically linked - as exhibited through the story of how Kenora diversified its economy in troubled times through various re-visioning exercises to successful implementation. Kenora’s success is a prime example of how small towns can make tremendous changes through the development of a common vision and the willingness to be bold in approach and readiness. The audience will learn the key ingredients to this tale of economic “boom to bust to boom” and illustrate the importance of planning as the framework for economic recovery. The vision continues to unfold, emboldened by its accomplishments, faithful to the spirit of the plan but pushing the vision in new directions.

Speaker profile:

Constantina Douvris, Principal, HTFC PLANNING & DESIGN
Constantina Douvris, OALA, MALA, CSLA, is a principal of HTFC Planning & Design with over 25 years of experience as a Landscape Architect and Urban Designer. Her involvement from concept to construction on a broad array of projects has provided a firm foundation to conceive and implement grounded, buildable ideas. Having worked collaboratively with a number of communities over her career, Constantina’s work celebrates the cultural and natural attributes of places and has spawned numerous long-term strategies for successful developments. 

Constantina has served as Project Landscape Architect on a number of notable large-scale urban design/tourism projects including the series of HTFC projects for the City of Kenora to reimagine their downtown and waterfront through years of conscientious consultation working with the City of Kenora, Churchill’s downtown revitalization plans, the Halifax Common Master Plan and unique urban design projects such as the University of Winnipeg’s downtown campus, various multi-use subdivision projects such as the Refinery District in Winnipeg, and support of First Nations planning for urban reserves in Winnipeg and Thompson. 

11:00 AM        Break

11:15 AM        How to Twin a Highway: The Four Winds Partnership

The Niiwin Wendaanimok (Four Winds) Partnership is an Indigenous-owned and operated corporation dedicated to providing construction, contracting, and environmental monitoring services in Treaty 3 territory. With a mandate to employ Anishinaabe workers and assets in construction and development projects, the Partnership is committed to rebuilding our economy, being a major part of the regional economy and ensuring Anishinaabe laws and voices are respected throughout development processes within Anishinaabe territory.

The Niiwin Wendaanimok Partnership is comprised of representatives and experts from four Nations—Wauzhushk Onigum Nation, Washagamis Bay First Nation, Shoal Lake 40 First Nation and Niisaachewan Anishinaabe Nation.

Speaker profile:

Allan Luby, General Manafer, Niiwin Wendaanimok Limited Partnership
Mr. Luby (Ogemah) is a professional manager and consultant with over 40 years of business experience.  Currently Mr. Luby is the General Manager of Niiwin Wendaanimok Partnership, a First Nations Partnership focused on large infrastructure projects such as the highway 17 West 4 lane expansion.  Past Chief of the Niisaachewan Anishinaabe Nation (2000 – 2002 and 2004 – 2006), he is President and Captain of a 195 –passenger cruise boat (MS Kenora) on Lake of the Woods, Ontario and of Luby’s 24hr Limited which operates a convenience store and restaurant.  In the past Mr. Luby has hosted the National Chief’s Working Together Economic Development Receptions in major centers across Canada, connecting Aboriginal Governments and Business with the Mainstream Business Community.    Allan has served as a Director of the Indigenous Leadership Development Institute and as a past Director on the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Board.  Mr. Luby was also the former Chief Responsible for Lands and Resources in Treaty #3, former Chair of the National Assembly of Treaty #3 and of the Chiefs meetings for the Grand Council of Treaty #3.  Having assisted a number of communities with treaty and natural resource negotiations, his expertise lies in project management, construction, negotiations, Aboriginal affairs and governance, health services, mediation, strategic planning, business planning, consensus building, problem solving, sales management, manufacturing and tourism development.

12:00 PM        Lunch Break & Networking

1:00 PM          Diversity, equity & inclusion (DEI) in the workplace: How (and why) to take action: BDC

The business case for diversity, equity and inclusion has never been more clear. In these uncertain economic times with persistent labour shortages, businesses that prioritize sustainability will emerge stronger. Research proves companies that build a more inclusive workforce consistently deliver higher revenues, larger profits, and better employee retention. Many entrepreneurs want to take action but are not sure where to begin.

Join us as Laura Didyk, Senior Vice President for the Prairies at BDC, provides an introduction to DEI in the workplace and practical advice to get started. Laura will share what successful business are doing to advance their efforts.

Speaker profile:

Laura Didyk, Senior Vice President, Prairies, BDC
Laura Didyk is Senior Vice President, Prairies at BDC - the bank for Canadian entrepreneurs. Laura is a long-term advocate for small businesses and inclusivity. Since joining BDC in 1994, she has held progressively senior roles across many divisions that always centre on helping entrepreneurs thrive. Most recently Laura led BDC’s national approach to support Canada’s diverse entrepreneurs, including women, Black, Indigenous, LGBTQ2, veterans, and newcomers. When she’s not helping business owners, Laura spends as much time as she can in the mountains skiing and hiking with her husband and two daughters.

1:45 PM          A Winnipeg Favourite at the Lake: BDI

How one of Winnipeg’s oldest ice cream stands made its way back to Kenora after a 40 year hiatus.

Speaker profile:

Justin Jacob, CPA, Owner, Bridge Drive-In

Justin Jacob graduated from The University of Manitoba in 2010, earning his Bachelor of Commerce degree from the I.H. Asper School of Business while double-majoring in Accounting and Small Business Management. After graduating, he also completed his CPA (Certified Public Accountant) Designation.

In 2015, the opportunity presented itself to Justin to purchase The Bridge Drive-In - a locally well-established seasonal ice cream stand in Winnipeg, Manitoba (which also briefly had a Kenora, ON location in the 80s!). At the time, Justin had very little restaurant/management experience, and no experience running a small business. He also didn’t have much free-time to devote to managing a small business while working 50+ hours per week with a 3-hour daily commute. He did like ice cream, though. By 2016, Justin had resigned from his full-time employment as Financial Controller in order to focus on the growth and day-to-day operations of the small business. Opening locations at the University of Manitoba Fort Garry Campus, Bannatyne Campus, as well as Kildonan Place Shopping Mall, the business expanded rapidly since his acquisition. In August 2016, he also introduced a ‘Mobile BDI’ ice cream truck which would make appearances at various events in and around Winnipeg. Check out the presentation to learn more!

2:15 PM          Break

2:45 PM          Big Picture Campaign: How the MUSE Came to Be  

In 2015, summer residents Nicki and Bryce Douglas approached Lori Nelson, Director of the Lake of the Woods Museum, about their collection of Walter J. Phillips’ Lake of the Woods woodcuts and watercolours and its future. That conversation sparked the idea of developing an art centre for Kenora. Lori will share the story of the project, from idea development to fundraising campaign to construction to operation.

Speaker profile:

Lori Nelson, Retired Director, The Muse | Lake of the Woods Museum and Douglas Family Art Centre
Lori Nelson is a born and bred Kenoraite. After attending university and college and working in southern Ontario for a number of years, she returned to Kenora to begin what became a 34-year career in arts/culture at The Muse which includes the Lake of the Woods Museum and the Douglas Family Art Centre. In her role as Director, Lori's focus for the organization built upon a collections-based practice to a community-based cultural hub that encouraged community involvement in exhibition development, curatorial interpretation, and educational programming. Her work, along with that of her skilled and knowledgeable staff, has resulted in multiple awards for exhibits, special projects and community engagement in the museum sector. In 2019, the Douglas Family Art Centre was opened and it is this project which Lori will be speaking about at the conference.

3:15 PM          Eco-Tourism and Community Development: Mosswood Adventures and Rentals

How do community-minded and collaborative approaches in business increase foundational support for rural startups? Learn how unceasing curiosity and an enthusiasm for her newfound environment led Vic Moss, Founder/Operator of Mosswood Adventures and Rentals to launch an eco-tourism business in Kenora, Ontario.

Speaker profile:

Vic Moss, Founder/Operator, Mosswood Adventures and Rentals
Victoria (Vic) Moss is a new-ish transplant to the Kenora region who launched a local eco-tourism business after being entranced by the vastness of the forests and the beauty of the lakes in Northwestern Ontario. Her hope is to create and share unique #LakeLife experiences so that others can enjoy them too! 

4:00 PM               Question & Answer Period from the day


Use code: EDCO Event Kenora when booking and book by August 18, 2023 to receive the group rate.

Super 8


240 Lakeview Drive, Kenora, ON

Days Inn


920 Highway 17 East, Kenora, ON



800 Highway 17 East, Kenora, ON


*Registration Cancellation will receive a full refund less a $50.00 administration fee*

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