Dufferin county combines agricultural and cultural heritage with innovation and energy-efficiency initiatives

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Ontario Construction Report special feature

Formed in 1881 from parts of Simcoe and Grey Counties on the plateau overlooking Georgian Bay, Dufferin County’s agricultural economy has diversified to include commercial and retail business, construction related industries and manufacturing. Tourism is increasingly important as the county adapts and encourages innovative business development on the Greater Toronto Area’s (GTA) fringe.

Orangeville, the county’s headquarters, has about half of its population of about 60,000. Other significant communities include Grand Valley and Shelburne.

The region has an abundance of art stores and organizations, community theatre groups and productions, with a diversity of musicians, painters, sculptors and visual artists.

New businesses are opening including dental clinics, holistic practitioners, financial service providers and veterinarians, supported by the local chamber of commerce and Dufferin.biz, a collaborative initiative of the County of Dufferin, its member municipalities and local groups designed to facilitate economic growth in the county. 

Dufferin County has a solid equestrian reputation, with top-class coaches, trainers, riders and veterinarians, many of who have been there a while as others are attracted by the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games.

The county has been an early green technology adaptor. The Melancthon I and II Wind Plants were constructed in 2006 and 2008 and solar energy installations followed. The planned Dufferin Eco Energy Park (DEEP) will turn Dufferin County into a centre of energy excellence, research and development.

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