Officials break ground on automotive innovation park near Barrie that will get local economy back on track

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

A ground-breaking ceremony last week kicked off construction of a 500,000-sq. ft. Canadian industrial facility that will combine a business park with a motorsport road course and testing facilities.

The Automotive Innovation Park Oro Station project — located in Oro-Medonte Township just minutes outside Barrie –will be home to automotive engineering, education, service, supply and manufacturing businesses. It’s also expected to create 1,800 construction jobs.

Oro Station will include a 4.1-kilometer motor circuit — planned for completion in 2022 — for performance testing, training, research and commercial use. In partnership with Georgian College, the facility will provide opportunities for students to engage with the automotive industry as it functions as a center for new auto technologies being developed in Ontario.

Construction of commercial and industrial buildings is expected to begin in 2021.

oro station rendering

The circuit has been designed with both modern and vintage GT racing in mind. This probably isn’t going to be a venue that hosts a series like IndyCar, NASCAR, or Formula One, but it’s still a really neat place for local residents to get a taste of racing.

There are several proposed track layouts and two different ways that the course can be split in half for side-by-side competing and testing.

“We make some of the best cars anywhere in the world here in Ontario,” said Doug Ford at the ground-breaking ceremony. “There’s no reason why we can’t make our province the top destination for auto innovation and this project will help us maintain our position as leaders in the sector across North America.”

Geoffrey Campbell, managing partner of Oro Station, said the park was sparked from a passion to preserve the automotive past while looking to an innovative future with education at its core.

Aside from the track itself, there will also be a dynamics pad, an irrigated skid pad, and a kick-plate to cover the basics of development.

“Over the past seven years, our engineering team has been working diligently to plan and design this incredible new facility,” he said. “Oro Station is designed to become Canada’s destination for automotive enthusiasts. Car culture is filled with passionate people. Oro Station will create a new home for that community.”

The development should be built over the next three to eight years.

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