What do Moncton, Dorval, Parry Sound, Canmore and Duncan all have in common?

Today, we’ve announced that they have all won a Google eTown award! 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.

The web is transforming all businesses in Canada, not just those typically considered to be “Internet businesses”. The digital economy is already worth as much as Canada’s agriculture, forestry and fishing industries combined, according to the Boston Consulting Group, and it’s forecast to grow 7.4% annually through 2016.

To provide a snapshot of this vital economic activity, we broke down Canada into five regions and looked at thousands of cities and towns across the country to identify one in each region that demonstrated strong engagement and potential for growth in the digital economy. We considered a variety of factors, including the proportion of small businesses using Google AdWords to find customers, small businesses establishing a web presence with the Canada Get Your Business Online initiative, and small businesses adopting cloud-based technology like Google Apps for Business.

The 5 Google eTown Award winners in Canada are:

AtlanticMoncton, New Brunswick
QuébecDorval, Québec
OntarioParry Sound, Ontario
PrairiesCanmore, Alberta
BC & The NorthDuncan, 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.”

It’s not just Sunny Point Resort. 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.

Geography doesn’t matter when it comes to taking part in the digital economy. Whether you’re located adjacent to a big city like Montreal or in a small town nestled in the scenic Cowichan Valley, the Internet is empowering businesses everywhere as the entire world becomes your local market.

In recognition of their eTown status, we 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.