Minneapolis and Canada celebrate a 40-year connection
This Canada Day, July 1, Minneapolis and Canada are celebrating a 40-year connection based on trade, jobs, and innovation. 2010 marks the 40th anniversary of the opening of the Canadian Consulate in downtown Minneapolis. Over the last four decades, the economies of Canada and Minnesota have grown more and more interconnected, and today, Canada is Minnesota’s largest export market. More than 150,000 Minnesota jobs are dependent on trade with Canada.
Energy that powers Minnesota homes, the Hiawatha Line’s light-rail cars, Minneapolis’ new bike share system, and Cheerios cereal are just some of the things made possible by the Minnesota-Canada connection. Many major companies call both places home, and cross-border connections move raw materials and finished goods that affect all areas of our lives, from the energy and fuels we use to the food we eat.
In 1970, recognizing the importance of Minnesota and the Upper Midwest, Canada expanded its U.S. diplomatic network by opening a Consulate in Minneapolis. In the 40 years since, the Consulate General of Canada in Minneapolis has worked with many partners to strengthen cross-border connections in Minnesota and the rest of the region. Two-way merchandise trade between Canada and Minnesota topped $5 billion for the first time in 1993. Ten years later, trade surpassed $10 billion, and in 2008 it topped $20 billion.
"The United States and Canada enjoy a unique relationship as the best of friends, partners and allies," said Consul General Martin Loken. "Our links with Minneapolis and Minnesota are especially close, so I'm delighted to join Mayor Rybak to mark Canada Day, and the 40th anniversary of Canada's Consulate General in Minneapolis."
"Canada is Minnesota's biggest export customer, buying more than $4 billion in goods last year," said Loken. "Canada-U.S. trade supports over 157,200 jobs in Minnesota. Many Minneapolis residents work for Canadian-owned companies invested in Minnesota. Justin Morneau and frequent visits by the Cirque du Soleil and other top Canadian acts are among the many things Canada offers to Minneapolis. Canada is also the largest supplier of electricity, oil and natural gas to the state. Over 500,000 Canadians travelled to Minnesota last year; and almost 400,000 Minnesotans visited Canada."
"Just as Canada has weathered the global recession better than most countries, Minneapolis has weathered the recession better than most cities," said Mayor R.T. Rybak. "This is because Minneapolis and Canada share a common commitment to innovation, particularly in clean energy and transportation. Here in Minneapolis, we are seeing the results of two such projects that the relationship between us has made possible. The Nice Ride Minnesota bike-share program uses a system developed in Canada and made by a Canadian company, and right now on the downtown riverfront, a new hydroelectric plant is being completed by a Canadian company that will deliver clean, renewable energy to thousands of households."
The Minneapolis City Council will officially celebrate the Minneapolis-Canada relationship by presenting a resolution honoring the 40th anniversary of the Canadian Consulate General to Consul General Loken at the beginning of its July 2 City Council meeting. The resolution recognizes the economic and cultural contributions of Canada to Minneapolis, and expresses appreciation to the Consulate General for its work in the city and region.
"Canada is a great neighbor and trading partner for Minneapolis and the entire region," said City Council President Barb Johnson. "We’re very happy to be celebrating 40 years of this special partnership, and are looking forward to all the great things we’ll share in the coming years."
Among the many things that tie Minneapolis and Canada together:
- Brookfield Renewable Power Inc. is developing the Lower Saint Anthony Falls Hydro Project, a 10-megawatt hydro power plant situated on the Lower St. Anthony Falls lock and dam on the Mississippi River in downtown. Brookfield, based in Toronto, has a total of 100 hydroelectric power facilities in the U.S. This new facility in Minneapolis will generate enough clean electricity to power about 7,500 homes. Construction began in April 2009, and it’s expected to begin producing electricity by the end of 2010.
- Public Bike System, a Canadian company, created and built Montreal’s BIXI bike share system, which is now being used in Minneapolis for the Nice Ride Minnesota bike share program. The eye-catching green bikes are making short bicycle commutes easier than ever in Minneapolis, with more than 50 kiosks already in place in Downtown and nearby areas.
- Bombardier, a Canadian company, built the passenger cars for the Hiawatha light-rail line and the Northstar commuter rail line.
- Much of General Mills’ Cheerios cereal is made from Canadian-grown oats.
- Minneapolis and Canada share some common French influence, dating back to the first European settlements in the region. In fact, the Minneapolis motto, En Avant, is "Forward" in French. French names are also seen in street names across the City, including Hennepin and LaSalle avenues.
- Canada is the largest supplier of imported oil, natural gas, and electricity to the U.S. and to Minnesota, including Minneapolis. Between 80 and 90 percent of the oil refined in the state comes from Canada.
Published Jul. 1, 2010