Timeline of innovation in Durham (part 4)

By Glenn Hendry

Posted on October 25, 2021 at 11:08 a.m.

From wind tunnels capable of simulating any type of weather to the latest innovations in robotics, Durham Region continues to grow and attract the brightest and most innovative minds.

This is the fourth part in a continuing timeline of inventions and innovations in Durham over the past century and a half, in collaboration with Invest Durham, the economic development and tourism wing of Durham Region.

Some of the world’s biggest challenges lie here and it is the entrepreneurial spirit that has helped Durham create a robust innovation ecosystem that translates research and development assets into jobs and investment.


ACE climatic wind tunnel The state-of-the-art ACE climatic wind tunnel is operational. The world-class facility, which can simulate the weather from a blizzard to a hot day in Arizona, is used by major automakers to test vehicles. With its ground plan in motion, it is one of the most technologically advanced facilities of its kind in the world. ACE is also able to simulate a wide range of environments, and testing has included cases, bridges, product packaging, and even athletes.


Galen Weston Center for Food (CFF) Durham College opens the W. Galen Weston Center for Food (CFF) in Whitby, one of the first culinary education institutions in Canada to bring the Farm to Fork concept to life. CFF focuses on local food, regionalism, sustainability and well-being, and it plays a leading role in providing students with hands-on experience of the full production cycle: agriculture, preparation, service and celebration of the food.


ByBlacks.com, the top ranked online magazine for black Canadians is founded and in 2020 they receive a grant from Heritage Canada to grow their business. The website promotes black Canadian entrepreneurs and serves as a hub where viewers can learn about topics surrounding the black community.


Darlington nuclear power plant The World Association of Nuclear Operators has named Darlington Nuclear Power Plant in Clarington one of the safest and most efficient nuclear power plants in the world for the third time in a row.


Durham College Artificial Intelligence Center Durham College launches AI / Hub, a one-of-a-kind applied research center focused on how ‘narrow AI’ such as machine learning, decision support, natural language processing and automation to recommend strategic options, can make decisions autonomously.


360insights 360insights is named one of the best places to work in Canada by the Great Place To Work Institute. Proudly located in Whitby, 360insights has pioneered a software platform for large manufacturers to launch and run flexible incentive programs. By 2020, 360insights is one of the largest global channel incentive management providers in the world.


Autonomous vehicle innovation network (AVIN) at ACE Ontario Tech University The ACE climatic wind tunnel at the University of Technology of Ontario is identified as a key hub within the Ontario Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network. ACE provides precise sensing technologies and reliable machine learning techniques to improve urban traffic management, design and connectivity.


smartARM A student from Ontario Tech University and his teammate from the University of Toronto win the Imagine Cup, Microsoft’s annual innovation competition, for their invention, the smartARM, a robotic hand prosthesis. The competition saw more than 40,000 students register and 49 teams from 33 countries qualified for the Imagine Cup World Final.


Capacity building for young people The Brock Youth Center is renaming its organization Building Youth Capacity (BYC) to reflect the services offered in the three municipalities in North Durham. The organization offers innovative programs and services to improve the social and economic well-being of young people and encourage entrepreneurship. Success stories include a virtual hackathon which resulted in the development of a youth mental health app.


Life-saving medical isotope Darlington Nuclear announces planned production of the vital medical isotope molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) —used for patients who need skeletal, brain and organ imaging to detect and diagnose harmful diseases — pursuing the OPG’s decades-long commitment to providing the world with valuable Radioactive Isotopes.

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