The Dufferin Board of Trade Honours its Past and Builds its Future
For over a century, The Dufferin Board of Trade has become the knot that ties the business community together. DBOT is recognized as an organization that advocates and provides support for its members in Dufferin and the surrounding area.
The current Board of Trade began its humble beginnings in 1909 as the Orangeville Board of Trade, when a group of businessmen voiced the need for a board, which would allow the growing business community to come together.
On September 30th, the Board of Trade was born. Its goal was simple: to become a voice for the business community.
The business community recognized the important role a Board of Trade would play in helping businesses big and small work together to enhance the local economy and form a network of support for members that has now grown to over 500 members strong.
During February of 1911, the Orangeville Board of Trade became a founding member of the Ontario Associate Board of Trade now known as The Ontario Chamber of Commerce. But because of pressing world issues, the board soon faced challenges and went on hiatus during the first and second world wars.
But it was never forgotten. In 1949, Mayor A.D. McKitrick re-established The Board of Trade. He picked up the pieces from the former board, restoring the Board, its values and beliefs and became the President. McKitrick was somewhat of a celebrity. As the publisher and editor of the Banner, he gained the support of other prominent businessmen who soon joined him on the board.
A number of name changes subsequently took place over the years, including its first name change in 1964, from the Orangeville Board of Trade to the Orangeville & District Chamber of Commerce. In 2002, the name changed to The Greater Dufferin Area Chamber of Commerce this time to reflect the diversity of its members. Once again name change seemed appropriate to reflect the new exciting direction of the Chamber and in July of 2015, the new name of the Dufferin Board of Trade was formally approved by Industry Canada.
DBOT has held many meetings at various venues throughout Orangeville but in recent years its home was the caboose, at the bottom of Buena Vista drive where it remained for 17 years. In 1994, the caboose was replaced by a trailer and became shared quarters with the Headwaters Country Tourism Association. Shortly after that move in 1999, DBOT left the trailer behind and journeyed up the road to Mono Plaza were it remained until 2011. The new move to Hockley Road, lead to the sharing of resources and space with Headwaters Tourism and Dufferin.biz.
In 1974, DBOT hosted its first trade show known as Expo Orangeville. That same show grew under the new name of the Home & Lifestyle Show attracting over 4,000 people, helping to create community awareness of local businesses and their products by providing businesses with a venue to showcase their products and services. As technology has overtaken some traditional forms of networking and advertising the Board of Trade made the difficult decision to no longer the show and has replaced it with similar services online.
The first Board of Trade golf tournament was held in 1991, and netted the organization $25.00 in profits. The golf tournament celebrated its 25th Anniversary this year with a spectacular day of golf, prizes and a silent auction benefitting Headwaters Hospital Foundation. The tradition of golfing, networking and meeting new people is one the Board of Trade will continue.
Awards and recognition are an integral part of showcasing the successes within the business community. In order to recognize the new strategic direction of the Board of Trade, the annual Business Excellence Awards were redesigned this year to encompass the changing nature of the business community in Dufferin and to recognize the national and international quality businesses that make their home here in our region. The ceremony features 8 awards that celebrate the achievements of the best of the best businesses, individuals and entrepreneurs in Dufferin. This gala evening is the premier event and is open to all businesses in Dufferin County.
The DBOT of today, still shares the same goals of its forefathers-to improve all aspects of life in the area and to make the County a prosperous place for business.