Madame Louise Leger, the Consul General of Canada visited Marco Island on May 5, 2011. She traveled to Marco to discuss Canada’s impact on the Florida economy. The Consul is located in Miami, and although she travels most of Florida on business, this was a rare opportunity for her to visit the west coast and Marco Island in particular.
The event was hosted by the RBC bank and drew nearly forty people to the Marco Island Center for the Arts to hear Madame Louise’s lecture. Gary Elliot, of ERA Realty, brought the Canadian Consul to Marco Island and arranged her stay at the Hilton Hotel and Beach Resort. Her visit to the Island was encouraged due in part to show off Marco Island’s beauty to Madame Leger and demonstrate what it has to offer potential Canadian real-estate buyers. A further goal was to encourage Canadians of Marco Island to start a Canadian Club.
The event began with a ‘meet and greet’ which included wine and light refreshments. Those who were in attendance were able to introduce themselves and share a few words with the Consul. There were a wide variety of wines, soda and tea to enjoy as well as a Canadian Flag iced cake.
The Consul discussed the Florida-Canada relationship, real-estate investment opportunity, and the difference that Canada makes in the Florida economy. This is due in part to all of the tourists who visit, the investments they have here, and the products that are sold and bought between each country.
To give you an idea of Canada’s impact on Florida; according to the Consul, five hundred thousand Canadians own property in the state of Florida, while three thousand own property in Collier County, and seven hundred own property on Marco Island. Three million Canadians also visit Florida each year.
In terms of investments and trade, second to China, Florida imports four billion dollars in products from Canada each year. Approximately eight billion dollars in Florida trade is from Canada. Nearly one hundred percent of Canada’s oil exports go to the United States, which makes them the largest supplier of natural gas and oil to the United States, including Florida. This explains the massive impact they have on our economy.
At the end of the lecture, both American and Canadian citizens in attendance asked numerous questions regarding observations of the night’s discussions. The Americans in attendance were interested in Canada’s policies, and Imports-Exports to America, specifically Florida.
One other concern of the night was, “If Canadian citizens were interested in buying real-estate in Florida; how would they go about getting their credit checked, in order to take out a mortgage?” This is understandable since if Canadians wanted to buy a house in the United States, they don’t have credit, so they would not be able to take out a mortgage. According to the Consul, this is where the RBC bank steps in. They will check your credit for you in Canada and allow you to take out a mortgage. They are considered to be the largest mortgage providers to Canadians in Florida.
Special guests in attendance were Tania Ward, Relationship Manager of Private Banking of the RBC bank, Jack Wert, Executive Director of Tourism in Collier County, and Dr. Richard Pegnetter, Founding Dean of Business and Professor of Management at Florida Gulf Coast University’s Lutgert College of Business.