The Port of Hamilton seems like one sprawling, muddy construction site on a wet and windy day in late October. While a ship is loaded with grain at the Richardson International Ltd. terminal, trucks line up to have their loads of Ontario-grown wheat tested for quality.
Next door, construction of a new $50-million grain terminal by G3 Canada Ltd. is well underway, with operations set to begin before the 2017 harvest. And down the road at Parrish and Heimbecker Ltd.’s terminal, instantly recognizable because of its two flesh-coloured storage domes, workers lay cement bricks for a new $45-million flour mill — the first such mill to be built in Ontario in 75 years.
More than $200 million has been invested in agricultural handling facilities in Hamilton since 2008, marking a renaissance of sorts for the city known as Steeltown even decades after the metal industry began slumping.
Like any economic rebirth, it is hard to point to one single catalyst. But the privatization of the Winnipeg-based Canadian Wheat Board four years ago and 2,000 kilometres away certainly stands out as one.