Hometown Advantage

Every small town is unique and full of opportunity. Sometimes it just takes a bit of work to see it. To stand out, we western Canadians often make a giant statue of something. (Dinosaur, moose, or oil can, anyone?) But what REALLY makes a town different are its people. YOU are your hometown advantage.

Watch the 7 episodes to learn more.

EPISODE 1 “The towns they are a-changin'”

It’s no secret that towns across Western Canada are changing. 

From evolving industries, ageing, and migrating populations, to thinning job opportunities, living rural in Canada is starting to change — and fast. 

But odds are you already know this. And you’re not alone. In fact, by watching our Hometown Advantage series, you’re joining a network of community leaders, entrepreneurs and decision-makers from across Western Canada who want to see rural Canada thrive and ensure that rural Canadians have a plan for when the changes come. And we want to help.

EPISODE 2 “It’s all been done before”

Rural Canadians know their fair share of hardship, and know-how to weather it when the storm comes.

No strangers to finding innovative solutions for the problems at hand, dedicated rural residents show that adapting is part of rural sustainability. Then, as well as now, rural Canadians prove that this “Do it yourself” mentality is in their DNA.

How do we know this? It’s all been done before.

EPISODE 3 “Rural is Reelin’ in the Years”

Baby Boomers are known to be Hard Working, Competitive, and Resourceful, so It’s no surprise they have played a key role in Canada’s economy. But as the boomers begin to grow up, that’s starting to change. 

A 2017 Business Development Bank of Canada survey found that nearly 60% of Canadian SMB owners are currently over 50. And 4 in 10 of these business owners are aiming to retire in the next five years. Odds are, you know an entrepreneur that fits that bill right from your hometown. 

With the Baby boomers all grown up, and the gen Xers close behind, a big portion of Canada’s workers are leaving the workplace nest to fly off into retirement. But instead of worrying where that leaves the rest of us, we can rest assured that business owners have a plan when retirement comes knocking.

Boomers, you do have a plan, right?

EPISODE 4 “Wide Open Spaces”

Main Streets in Canada are changing, and some are having a harder time changing with the times than others.

If you live in rural Canada or have taken a drive down a small town main street, you’ve likely seen boarded-up storefronts or vacant commercial spaces. The writing on the wall for these spaces may not look good, but we think there’s ample opportunity behind those closed doors. 

In this episode of Hometown Advantage, we’ll show you how to open them.

EPISODE 5 “Takin’ Care of Business”

Think about your town’s main street. Think about the businesses along with it, the thrift store, the hardware, the bank. Think about the people who work there and have worked there. Try not to think about the potholes and how it may not get fixed. It’ll only make things worse.

With this picture in mind, what would make it better? 

Maybe you want to make a park out of an empty lot. Maybe you think that a pizza palace will make a difference. Maybe, you want that pothole fixed. No matter what you came up with, you’re right. You know your home and what investments can better your community. 

But what if I told you that you could better your town by taking care of main street’s businesses while also investing in your home’s future?

EPISODE 6 “Mainstreet Roads Make our Home”

Now, you may be asking yourself, “Are businesses the only important part of our town? Is saving the local bakery and their apple fritters recipe really the most important thing here? What about, say, attracting new homeowners?”

Well, the answer to these questions depends on how good those fritters really are. Odds are, if you love them, others will too.

EPISODE 7 “The End of the Line”

Well, we’ve made it. The end of the line for our Hometown Advantage series. If you’ve been along for the ride from the start, thanks for staying with us. If you’re just tuning in, you may want to start at the beginning.

We hope that Hometown Advantage has you thinking about rural sustainability and how the coming wave of business transitions will impact communities across western Canada.

More than that, we hope the Hometown Advantage series has shown that DIY thinking can help community leaders, entrepreneurs, and economic developers solve the unique challenges and capture the opportunities that are in your town. 

With all the changes going on today, it may require a great deal of blood, sweat, and tears from people who care.

But if history tells us anything, rural Canadians are no strangers to putting in the work.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the Good Governance Matters course offered by Co-operatives First. The course provided a solid background on governance generally and specific examples of good governance practices in co-operatives. It is uncommon to find governance training specific to co-operatives so this was refreshing.”

Janet Taylor (Corporate Secretary)

Libro Credit Union

“The Good Governance Matters Course was a valuable course. I shared it with the [Arctic Co-operatives Limited] Senior Leadership Team. If it ever comes up again, I highly recommend others to take it.”

Mary Nirlungayuk (Corporate Secretary and Vice-President, Corporate Services)

Arctic Co-operatives Limited

“The online course, Good Governance Matters was very informative, easy to navigate and discussed issues relevant to our needs as a Board of Directors. This course is a great tool for boards to build their knowledge to become strong, strategic boards.”

Lori Sanders (President)

Sherwood Co-op

“This course has greatly increased my understanding of what good governance could/should look like and how each part (boards, management, members) plays a vital role in the co-operative’s success.”


“This course was highly enjoyable, and relevant to working in not only the co-op space, but with any group that needs to make decisions.”