Creative and innovative ideas to raise Ontarians’ quality of life.
NORDIK champions research in Northern Ontario
Algoma University’s NORDIK Institute is doing pioneering research to enhance the lives of the people of Northern Ontario. In its 10-year history, NORDIK (Northern Ontario Research, Development, Ideas and Knowledge) has taken on myriad projects, including agricultural innovation, evaluating local mental health systems, promoting social enterprise, and driving economic development and resilience in the Sault Ste. Marie community. NORDIK’s mission is to promote more vibrant, caring and sustainable communities through research, dialogue, analysis and reflection dedicated to the practice of holistic community development. The institute partners with undergraduates in Algoma’s Community Economic and Social Development degree program, providing them with valuable hands-on experience in NORDIK’s research projects.
Putting Eastern Ontario on the 3-D map
Carleton University’s Immersive Media Studio (CIMS) is building a detailed, digital 3-D model of Eastern Ontario that will gather the region’s entire economic and agricultural activity into a visual treasure trove of information. It has started by mapping the region’s breweries, showing locations and detailed, high-definition visualizations of the companies’ exteriors and interiors, layered with data on what they produce and what factors into their supply chain – so that, for example, their needs could be matched to hops producers in the regions. The research team is now mapping the region’s agricultural and food industries, before moving on to manufacturing, and eventually tourism and transportation operations. The studio’s partner in the project, the Ontario East Economic Development Commission, will be able to utilize the 3-D model to better understand and stimulate the region’s economic activity.
Restoring natural life in the Great Lakes
Students at the University of Windsor can now measure the stress levels of a pickerel swimming against a strong current, the turbidity of hazy tributaries feeding into the Great Lakes, and the behaviour of the invasive sea lamprey without wading into remote and distant waters. The Freshwater Restoration Ecology Centre in LaSalle, Ont., is the only research facility of its kind in the Great Lakes Basin and provides students with state-of-the-art technology to study the restoration of damaged ecosystems, invasive species biology and water quality. Situated on the shores of the Detroit River, the centre was launched to meet the need for consolidated expertise around restoration of the Great Lakes, and was born out of a partnership between the University of Windsor and the Town of LaSalle. As well as a hub for environmental research, the centre serves as an educational facility for the community.
Driving economic growth through clean technology
Trent University’s Cleantech Commons, launched in partnership with the City of Peterborough, has opened doors for commercializing the environmental research strengths of the university, while creating opportunities in the community for co-op placements and employment for Trent students and graduates. The partnership between Trent and the city is designed to spur growth in the community by enhancing entrepreneurship, supporting start-ups, attracting new businesses to the Peterborough region, providing future jobs for students and Peterborough residents, and leveraging and expanding research partnerships at the university.
Protecting Canadians against extreme weather disasters
At the Intact Centre on Climate Change Adaptation, a partnership between University of Waterloo and Intact Financial Corporation, researchers examine ways to help homeowners, communities, and businesses reduce risks associated with climate change and extreme weather events in order to safeguard their homes and businesses. Led by researcher Blair Feltmate, chair of the Climate Change Adaptation Project (CCAP), this nationwide initiative is working to protect Canadians from catastrophic losses, saving them billions of dollars in damages. It will be carried out in 20 locations in Alberta, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Quebec. The projects showcase how communities can adapt so that extreme weather results in fewer and less substantial losses. It is the intention that the projects will be ultimately replicated in communities across the country.
Ingenious app helps Inuit community deal with climate change
Inhabitants of an Inuit community in Labrador are using an app developed at the University of Guelph to help keep track of the effects of climate change on their health and their landscape. The residents of Rigolet use the eNuk app to document local climate conditions, such as unsafe ice or dangerous roads, as well as the effect shifting weather patterns are having on their mental well-being. The region is one of the fastest-warming corners of the world, and the shorter winters are affecting the Inuit’s ability to access the land and the activities that have sustained them for generations. Because the area has no cellular and little Internet coverage, the eNuk team has had to create technology that turns the users’ devices into transmitters as well as receivers, allowing for connectivity and the sharing of real-time data.