Key Sectors

Key Sectors

Durham is extremely well positioned for future economic and job growth because of our strengths in areas that support emerging business opportunities.

Durham has traditionally been very strong in the transportation, energy and agriculture sectors, and these will continue to be important sectors in our economy. Durham also has emerging sectors including information technology, health & wellness, and bioscience - tremendous opportunities lie in the areas of convergence between our traditional and emerging sectors, such as next generation fuel efficient vehicles and components, alternative fuels, and smart metering and smart grid technologies.

Our core strength that will support all of these opportunities are our tremendous capacity in advanced technology-based manufacturing and our emerging research and development capabilities.

Key sector strengths of the Region:

  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Agri-business
  • Film and Television
  • Digital Technology
  • Smart Energy

Advanced Manufacturing

GM HeadquartersDurham Region has long been a centre of traditional manufacturing in Canada, with particular strengths in the automotive, aerospace and automation sectors. However, as technology and other enabling tools have become more sophisticated, Durham’s manufacturers have moved to implement increasingly advanced methods, technologies and structures for developing and delivering their manufactured product to market.

The rise of the "advanced" manufacturing sector has created opportunities related to both the strengthening and deepening of traditional manufacturing activity in the region, and the enhancement or promotion of the region’s competitive strengths. This is a result of the increased level of skills found within a local or resident labour force.


Agriculture is the second largest primary goods producing sector in the region. Production includes various commodities with the top nine generating farm cash receipts of $227.4 million in 2012. This is represented by floriculture/nursery/sod, dairy, corn, poultry, soybeans, cattle/calves, wheat, field vegetables, and fruit.

The agri-food industry prides itself on embracing technology and innovation with some of the most progressive and skilled managers in the industry. Durham agriculture has grown from traditional commodity crops to include new biomass crops for the next generation of energy, biofuels and chemicals, as well as new crops to meet the growing demand from our ethnically diverse population.

As Durham Region moves towards a bio-based economy, opportunities will continue to develop for value-added products. Durham Region’s livestock breeders are world renowned for their quality genetics, which are found in many countries around the world. Food processing continues to expand in the region due to its proximity to market, safe, high-quality food inputs and complementary industry clusters.


Durham Region's rural scenery and historic landmarks are the "silent stars" in favourite film productions from around the world, where you can capture the perfect scene within an hour's drive of downtown Toronto and Lester B. Pearson International Airport. The diverse geography offers a variety of locations from quaint downtowns, picturesque bridges and historical buildings to rural settings, abandoned factories and rustic train stations, with both old and new sites covering a variety of historical period settings. The existing robust tourism industry also has a variety of amenities (restaurants, hotels, shopping) that support the film sector.

The film sector in Durham Region is supported by a rich labour pool of skilled and technical trades providing local expertise and experience, including but not limited to: animal handlers, catering, communications equipment, promotional items, transcript and script, props/set dressing, set construction, special effects, wardrobe, hair and makeup.

Digital Technology

Durham is within a 30 minute drive of downtown Toronto and is part of the GTA's interactive digital media cluster. Growing at a rate of 10 per cent annually, it is the third largest digital media cluster in North America behind only New York and California. By emphasizing digital education, Durham Region is a key player in this growth towards new technology in the areas of digital media, agritech, health tech, advanced manufacturing, clean tech and information tech.

Digital technology companies are drawn to Durham Region because of its stable and growing economy, skilled and reliable workforce, environment of innovation and collaboration, proximity to market, competitive business costs, high quality of life and affordable cost of living.

There are five leading post-secondary institutions with a presence in Durham Region, including Queen's University, Trent University, University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), Centennial College and Durham College. UOIT and Durham College in particular deliver programs in gaming, business and information technology, computer science, electrical and software engineering, education (digital technologies) and information technology security.

Durham tech companies have access to local organizations that support start-ups and entrepreneurship through programming, mentoring, accessing capital and other services such as professional services firms in banking, accounting, and legal with experience in international markets.

Smart Energy

OPG DarlingtonDurham Region produces approximately 30 per cent of Ontario’s electricity, and is a recognized energy cluster. Durham’s two nuclear generating stations set that cluster in motion. Out of the 22 Candu reactors in the country, twelve are located in Durham Region, and have a combined generating capacity of approximately 6,600 megawatts.

Representing a full spectrum of the energy cycle, Durham’s skilled labour force, transmission capacity, and infrastructure, are supported by research and development opportunities, along with specialized training and educational programs to make this a major energy cluster in North America.

Logo for Economic Development, Region of DurhamFor more on any of these key sectors, please visit


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