“An industrial park dedicated to innovation in the agri-food, veterinary and agri-environmental sectors”
Due to its remarkable concentration of specialists in agri-food, veterinary and agri-environmental biotechnology, Saint-Hyacinthe became the first Canadian city to join the very prestigious International Association of Science Parks (IASP) in 1993, when it was accredited by the Association.
In addition to being Quebec’s main agricultural production centre, with some 1 200 crop and livestock farms, the region has also developed a prosperous food processing industry. Its territory has over 150 research, higher education and technology transfer institutions and industries specializing in agri-food. It employs over 8 000 people in this sector and has a pool of over 200 world-class researchers.
Saint-Hyacinthe also has some of Canada’s main agri-food companies on its territory (Agropur, Lassonde, Lallemand, Saputo), including two leading export companies, Olymel and Barry Callebaut.
A technology park dedicated to the bio-food industry
Drawing on its large number of high-level businesses and stakeholders, Saint-Hyacinthe Technopole inaugurated the City of Agri-Food, Veterinary and Agri-Environmental Biotechnology in 2003. Covering nearly 10 million square feet, the City is North America’s first technology park devoted exclusively to the bio-food sector. It already houses major players in this field and will enable numerous scientists to conduct their research. The major institutions surrounding the City and the tax advantages available make it an ideal location for developing agri-food, biotechnology and pharmaceutical businesses.
In 2011, the Association of University Research Parks (AURP) named the City of Agri-Food, Veterinary and Agri-Environmental Biotechnology the “World’s Best Emerging Research Park” during an award ceremony in New Orleans. That same year, it was the only technology park in Canada and one of only two in North America (along with a park in San Diego, U.S.A.) to be included in a prestigious study PricewaterhouseCoopers conducted for the European Commission on the performance of bioclusters. Of all the parks studied, the City was ranked at the same development level as parks in Paris, Oslo and Munich, coming in behind only Cambridge and San Diego.
A hotbed of knowledge
In the midst of all this momentum is the University of Montréal’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. The only veterinary school in North America where French is spoken, it is internationally recognized in animal husbandry, infectious swine diseases, equine medicine, and food quality and safety.
College-level professional programs also provide training in agri-food biotechnology industry. The Saint-Hyacinthe College of General and Vocational Education (CEGEP) offers biotechnology and dietetics programs (food management consultancy) and the Agri-Food Technology Institute (ITA) includes livestock production, agricultural equipment, food processing, horticultural and environmental production among its programs.
Product development infrastructures
The region offers agri-food businesses excellent technological guidance thanks to its research and development support centres, which can help businesses develop their products and production processes.
- Biotechnology Development Centre (CDB)
Businesses starting up in the agri-food or biotechnology sectors can grow in one of the Saint-Hyacinthe Technopole’s industrial incubators. The CDB offers competitive rental fees and helpful services, as well as cost-effective tax advantages.
- Saint-Hyacinthe Food Research and Development Centre (FRDC)
Specializing in food preservation, processing, quality and safety, the FRDC is the largest food processing research centre in Canada. It supports food and beverage processing businesses in their R&D efforts by giving them access to its human resources, infrastructures and documentary sources and through the transfer of technologies.
- Cintech Agroalimentaire (agri-food)
Drawing on its multidisciplinary expertise, Cintech supports innovation and technology transfer in agri-food, from product design to marketing. It offers R&D laboratories, pilot plants and test kitchens.