June 2013

Manitoba Chamber of Commerce

Issue link: http://publications.winnipegfreepress.com/i/141831

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140th anniversary GROWING OLDER AND BOLDER Popular satirist Rick Mercer delivered the keynote rant at the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce 140th anniversary luncheon. T hat went well. The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce is celebrating 140 years in 2013, looking back on a rich and colourful history as it moves on to a bold new future. Incorporated as the Winnipeg Board of Trade in March 1873 — eight months before the City of Winnipeg incorporated — its first members tackled issues such as rapid transit, which in those days meant finding a way for merchant ships on the Red River to avoid the St. Andrews Rapids. "We've stood on certain principles over the years and the issues may have changed but the principles are the same, related to creating an environment in which Winnipeg business can prosper," president and CEO Dave Angus says. Founding businessmen whose names still resonate in Winnipeg — J.A. Ashdown and A.G.M. Bannatyne among them — had daily meetings in Bannatyne's cellar, about which one local wag quipped, "Although there is not a good deal of solidity in their proceedings, there is certainly a degree of liquidity." Angus, who narrated the chamber's Opening the Archives online video series for the anniversary year, says it was a different era, but it's interesting to look back and see that the core function of the chamber hasn't changed. "It really is a meeting place, and whether they met in the parlour or met around a board table or met in A.G. Bannatyne's (cellar), that was the essence," he says. "It was local businesses getting together. And yep, sometimes there were some liquid refreshments involved in chamber meetings over the years, but the essence of it hasn't changed." Liquidity is not an issue these days. One of the five biggest chambers in Canada, with about 2,050 corporate members, the Winnipeg organization is on solid footing. Angus was named Canada's top chamber executive at the 2012 Chamber of Commerce Executives of Canada Awards in Hamilton, Ont. And the chamber has been instrumental in shaping public policy in our city and province, including lobbying for Sunday shopping in the early 1990s and pushing for modernized liquor laws in 2013. Progressive and always working to give Winnipeg a competitive edge, the chamber is well situated to take a leadership role in downtown revitalization from its headquarters in the historic Paris Building on Portage Avenue. Angus says satirist Rick Mercer did a great job of setting a celebratory tone for members when he was invited to deliver a keynote rant at a 140th anniversary luncheon April 5. And it seems this party is just getting started. Going forward, the chamber will continue to invite community members and businesspeople to share innovative new ideas through its BOLD initiative."We're going to continue with that effort because I think that's something that's needed today," Angus says. "With the way the world is changing we need to push ourselves beyond the envelope and come up with some ideas. So you'll see more and more of the bold thinking coming out of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, hopefully for the next 140." PROGRESSIVE AND ALWAYS WORKING TO GIVE WINNIPEG A COMPETITIVE EDGE, THE CHAMBER IS WELL SITUATED TO TAKE A LEADERSHIP ROLE IN DOWNTOWN REVITALIZATION. 6 | SUMMER 2013 'peg BIZ MBiz June 2013_final.indd Sec2:f 6/21/13 4:48:38 PM

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