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Vaughan Rising Podcast – Vaughan Enterprise Zone Part 1: International Gateway

This blog is a summary of the Vaughan Rising Podcast Season 1 Episode 3 by the host, Michelle Samson. For more detail, listen to the full episode (links below).

About the episode

The Vaughan Enterprise Zone (VEZ) is 1,660 hectares (4,100 acres) of huge opportunity. It’s home to Canadian Pacific Railway’s (CP Rail) largest intermodal terminal, 607 hectares (1,500 acres) of developable land, and big names like Home Depot of Canada Inc., Longo Brothers Fruit Market Inc. and Adidas Canada – and that’s before the Highway 427 extension is built which will increase mobility (opening in 2020). The City of Vaughan’s Director of Economic and Cultural Development, Dennis Cutajar, gives an overview while CP Rail’s Managing Director of Domestic Intermodal Sales and Marketing, Rob Nichols, connects the dots on the advantages of having an intermodal terminal within the VEZ.

Thoughts from the host

Vacant land is becoming increasingly rare in the Greater Toronto Area, making it difficult to build or find large spaces close to economic action. What if I told you there are 607 hectares (1,500 acres) of developable land within a half hour of Toronto, five 400-series highways, Toronto Pearson International Airport and two intermodal rail terminals?

This place is real. It’s the Vaughan Enterprise Zone (VEZ), a 1,660-hectare business park (4,100 acres) in the city’s west end. This park is so huge that it needs two podcast episodes to cover! In part one of our two-part look at the VEZ, we get an overview of one of its key assets: the largest intermodal terminal in the Canadian Pacific Railway’s (CP Rail) network.

Dennis Cutajar, the City of Vaughan’s Director of Economic and Cultural Development, rejoins the podcast for episode three to give us an overview of the VEZ.

As Dennis explains, the VEZ is a premier business park with significant goods-movement infrastructure, including Highway 427 (expanding through the middle of the VEZ) and CP Rail’s Intermodal Terminal. The City has plans to build west Vaughan into an employment hub with 60,000 employees and 50-million square feet of industrial, office and accessory commercial space. The VEZ’s boundaries were selected to accommodate this growth, stretching from Steeles Avenue to Nashville Road and from Highway 50 to Highway 27.

One of the biggest selling points of the VEZ is that it offers flexibility. It’s one of the few business parks in the GTA and Ontario with vacant employment land. Even more rare is that there are large connecting lots.

This area is already attracting major players like FedEx Corp., Home Depot of Canada Inc., Sobeys Inc., Longo Brothers Fruit Markets Inc. and Adidas Canada’s headquarters. They’re here because Vaughan is a gateway between the Greater Toronto Area and the world. Toronto Pearson International Airport, with direct service to 180 destinations, is a 10-minute drive from the VEZ, while highways 427, 400 and 401 provide easy trucking and the CP Rail’s Intermodal Terminal provides rail service across North America and beyond.

The Vaughan Intermodal Terminal is CP Rail’s largest, handling 1,800 containers per day. To learn more, we invited CP Rail’s Managing Director of Domestic Intermodal Sales and Marketing Rob Nichols to the podcast.

We started with some basics: an intermodal terminal is a place where shipping containers can be transferred from trucks to trains, and vice versa. This is an important service for big box retailers, grocery chains and other companies that move a lot of goods. With 20,117 kilometres (12,500 miles) of track, facilities in all of Canada’s major cities and some in the U.S., and partnerships with other railroads in the U.S., CP Rail can deliver goods across North America. CP Rail offers the extra benefits of balancing speed and cost effectiveness, with a lower environmental impact and reduced congestion on the roads.

Who takes advantage of these benefits and keeps the Vaughan terminal busy? The biggest users right now are transportation providers and consolidators, big box retailers and couriers meeting the rising demands of e-commerce. However, CP Rail is staying nimble and is ready to accommodate whatever type of user comes next. They have some flexibility on that front: the terminal has a 202-hectare footprint (500 acres) with 61 hectares (150 acres) left to develop.”

This episode was recorded on location at CP Rail’s Vaughan Intermodal Terminal.