Five Canadian cities have won a Google eTown Award, Google Canada  announced today. At a time when the Internet is spurring economic growth, this new Google award is designed to recognize those towns where small businesses are investing in online tools and resources to find new customers, grow their business, and improve their operations.
“We’re delighted to recognize the accomplishments of the small businesses embracing the web in each of these cities,” said Chris O’Neill, Managing Director of Google Canada, “We know that the Internet is going to contribute massively to Canada’s economic growth, so these eTown awards are designed to showcase those communities leading the way forward.”
To highlight this vital economic activity, Google looked at thousands of cities and towns across Canada to identify one town in each of five regions that demonstrated strong engagement and potential for growth in the digital economy. With its online advertising service, Google AdWords, the Canada Get Your Business Online initiative, and products such as Google Apps for Business, Google works with businesses across Canada to help them succeed online.
The 5 Google eTown Award winners in Canada are:
|Atlantic||Moncton, New Brunswick|
|Ontario||Parry Sound, Ontario|
|BC & The North||Duncan, British Columbia|
Sunny Point Resort  in Parry Sound is a family-owned resort that has been operating since 1966. Though well-established, the recent recession took its toll on the business. As a result, current owners Andy and Susan Vitch started using AdWords in 2009. According to Mr. Vitch:
“Tourism is one business where the Internet can be the most beneficial to a small guy like me. I can compete with the bigger resorts. Our site may not be as flashy, but it’s out there. You just have to get people to your site, which is why AdWords is so useful to our business.”
Earlier this year, the Internet Economy in the G-20  report published by the Boston Consulting Group predicted that Canada’s Internet economy will grow 7.4% annually through 2016, meaning businesses with an online presence will benefit most and contribute more to future Canadian economic growth.
At the same time, the Canada Get Your Business Online  campaign has estimated that more than half of Canadian small and medium-sized businesses still lack a website, raising concerns that many SMBs could lose out unless they take steps to make their businesses accessible online and from mobile devices.
Across each of the winning towns, business are discovering that the Internet has become a vital tool for reaching new customers and engaging with existing ones. In Moncton, there’s 4 Paws Pet Resort ; in Dorval, it’s CrossFit de l’Ouest , in Canmore, there’s pest control company Progressive Maintenance ; and in Duncan, it’s Eye Design Optometry .
In recognition of their eTown status, Google Canada will be presenting the awards to each city during events throughout October. Local businesses will be invited to attend and meet Google experts who will be on hand to provide advice on growing your business online.