Networking at the Northern Lights

Danielle Higdon
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Conference opens doors for Labrador business and talent

Scott Pynn is back in his Lab West studio after a successful showing at the Northern Lights conference in Ottawa earlier this month.

The Northern Lights Business and Cultural Showcase was held in Ottawa from Feb. 1-4. The conference is held annually and celebrates Canada’s north, attracting over 1,000 attendees and 140 exhibitors.

Scott Pynn, an artist from Labrador City, was selected to attend the event and given the opportunity to display his talents. He says that the event exceeded anything he could have expected.

“It was awesome,” he said. “They picked us up on a chartered flight, so all of the artists were together right from the get go. We set up when we got there and I didn’t realize until then how big the area was going to be, the Ottawa convention centre is humungous.”

Mr. Pynn says the variety of artists and business representatives that came together made it an excellent chance to network.

“There was over 150 different booths,” he said. “Everyone was representing different companies or trades from their own regions of Canada. There was just a constant flow of people. I’ve already got orders for art, I had phone calls as soon as I got back.”

While attending the event, Mr. Pynn says he was also forced to explore his talent outside of his comfort zone.

“It was different for me, I’m used to painting alone in my basement studio, but up there I had to paint with a dozen people watching over my shoulder at any given time, so it was definitely new for me,” he said.

The only disappointment of the week for Mr. Pynn was discovering that David Suzuki would be unable to make a scheduled luncheon due to being sick.

“I was so disappointed,” he said. “They had him on teleconference but I decided not to go. I was looking forward to seeing him in person.”

Nick McGrath, MHA for the Labrador West district, was also in attendance at the conference and said there was much to be gained from the experience.

“It was a phenomenal show,” he said. “I take my hats off to the organizers who put it together. The amount of correspondence and business that was done there on a corporate level was just unbelievable.”

By having everyone in one location, Mr. McGrath said people were able to see first hand what the other had to offer.

“It put people in touch with one another so that they knew how to move forward in making some very big business proposals,” he said. “I was very proud to say that a group of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians were involved in bringing the whole North of Canada together. It was very worthwhile.”

In a media release, Premier Kathy Dunderdale stated her gratitude and excitement about the province’s role in the event.

“I am delighted to participate in this remarkable celebration of Canada’s north, its people, its history and its future,” she said. “I am proud to see a delegation of more than 20 companies from Newfoundland and Labrador here at the showcase. Northern Lights provides an ideal opportunity for these local companies to explore prospects emerging in the Arctic and at the same time, promote their expanding capabilities and expertise to potential buyers and suppliers.”

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, Ottawa Arctic

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