Guelph Mayor Cam Guthrie says his city would be the perfect home for a new Moderna vaccine facility.
“I want to make it super easy for Moderna. You don’t need to look anywhere else,” the mayor said on Wednesday.
The federal government announced the day before it had reached an agreement with the Massachusetts-based drug maker to build an mRNA vaccine facility somewhere in Canada in the next two years.
The company has signed a memorandum of understanding with Ottawa that will result in Canada hosting Moderna’s first foreign operation. It’s not yet clear how much money Canada has offered to Moderna for the project.
The location of the new facility hasn’t been determined either, but CEO Stéphane Bancel said the availability of an educated workforce will be the main deciding factor. He said the design is done and they’ll need to start hiring soon so training can begin.
About 24 hours after that announcement, Guelph’s mayor made his elevator pitch to the drug manufacturer with a video posted to Youtube.
“In Guelph, we recognize and value the jobs, economic growth and community building that new businesses bring and we’re ready to help Moderna set up their new Canadian facility here, every step of the way,” Guthrie said.
He pointed to other life sciences businesses already operating in the city, such as Johnson & Johnson, Medline and Precious Biomonitoring.
He also gave a shoutout to the University of Guelph.
“World-renowned in their research, their laboratory work in regards to vaccines for over a century,” Guthrie said.
In a news release, the city said it’s well-positioned geographically by having Highway 401 just a few minutes away, providing access to Toronto’s Pearson Airport, shipping ports and border crossings.
Guelph also boasts a workforce of more than 3.5 million people living within an hour’s commute, the city said.
“Businesses who have located here rave about Guelph’s central location, skilled labour pool, and quality of life,” Guthrie said.
“We offer the best of both worlds — big-city amenities and opportunities with the community spirit and neighbourliness you would only expect to find in a small town.”
— With files from The Canadian Press