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What sun-starved Canadian wouldn’t want to spend their tourism dollars in an indoor tropical facility, such as the Ocean Dome, a former indoor water park in Japan? (Seagaia Resort)
What sun-starved Canadian wouldn’t want to spend their tourism dollars in an indoor tropical facility, such as the Ocean Dome, a former indoor water park in Japan? (Seagaia Resort)

Canada Competes

Who needs casinos? Five better ideas to rev up communities Add to ...

In order to be competitive, Canada’s cities need to be livable places that attract talented people and offer opportunities for people to create businesses and be magnets for investment. Some communities are far from that ideal. So we put the question to notable Canadians: What big project, other than a casino, would you propose to revitalize a stagnant area? An indoor tropical resort was one suggestion.

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Build a dome and the tourists will come

Scott McGillivray

Real estate investor, contractor, writer and host of HGTV Canada’s series Income Property (new season begins September 19).

We’re talking Canada right? I mean seriously, the hardest part of overcoming the tourism situation is the winter. Other than offering people skiing or skating or some sort of winter festival, it’s all still cold and basically eliminates a big portion of the population. How much money do you think Canadians spend travelling to tropical places in the winter?

Why fly all the way to the Caribbean when we can just build the Caribbean here. Imagine a theme park, the size of Canada’s Wonderland, but in a glass dome. You don’t put in roller coasters, you put in palm trees; it’s large enough to be a full-on resort. It’s total vacation … within the city. The Pleasuredome.

You could have an indoor beach, a man-made lake with salt-water controls. Its somewhere you can stay, you can go outside in your shorts. It’s about having an escape from the environment and the reality of the city. It could have a running track – think of all the people who like to go running but all winter you’re stuck running in the slush and the snow.

It’s a special entertainment zone, where all-inclusive rules exist: It has its own unique liquor license, like an open-bar concept with one set price, just like a beach resort.

It doesn’t need a lot of energy [for heat]; you’re basically creating the greenhouse effect with the glass roof. This would be the Truman Show of domes, maybe two Sky Domes [stadiums] worth. That’s doable.

The dome is a critical element. Now, I don’t know if you’re ready for this … but there is another option. You could theoretically launch a satellite that has a large reflective surface, and is constantly reflecting the sun at this point so that it’s always daytime. It doubles the amount of sunshine coming in the winter. You could have sunshine until midnight all year round. I think I saw it on Discovery Channel once. Well, maybe it was on the Simpsons I saw it, not the Discovery Channel.

Think about how many people go on these vacations and they have to travel so far… This is all the conveniences of home with all the pleasure of the Caribbean holiday. I dream I live in this place.

Canada needs to be a tech powerhouse

Chris O’Neill

Managing director of Google Canada and frequent speaker on the topics of innovation and digital media.

We need to start by taking stock of the breakthrough technology being developed in Canada, where we have the potential to be global leaders, whether that’s mobile technology or quantum computing or something else altogether. Then we need to double-down on the development of that technology, supporting our innovators through failure and success, setting audacious goals and delivering radical, world-leading innovation.

World-class talent is also a key ingredient. The highly-skilled people who will take on these breakthrough challenges will be drawn to dynamic cities that have an electricity of opportunity running through the air. To be competitive, our cities need to think of transit, greenspace planning, bike-friendly commutes and other community-building projects as key investments toward attracting and retaining creative, young innovators from Canada and around the world.

Public broadband is a necessity

Dan Mathieson

In his third term as mayor of Stratford, Ont., and recipient of Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance’s techn innovator medal.

The use of broadband connectivity needs to be treated as a basic infrastructure need.

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