Bruce Linton optimistic about Smiths Falls’ future

Bruce Linton
Bruce Linton. Photo credit: Submitted.
Posted on: March 10, 2023

On February 9, Canopy Growth announced massive measures for restructuring and downsizing, including closing their headquarters in the Smiths Falls campus, where they will no longer grow cannabis. The campus at 1 Hershey Drive, including labs, production, and the visitor’s centre, will be closed, while the remaining employees will work out of the facility across the street and on Air Care Drive.

When Canopy announced hundreds of layoffs in Smiths Falls, this came as a shock to much of the town. But Bruce Linton, the well-known former CEO of Canopy Growth has many thoughts about the potential life of the Canopy building at 1 Hershey Drive. He believes the town is in a much better place now than before Tweed (now Canopy Growth) moved into the former chocolate factory. “I’m optimistic. What we have as an asset in the town is so much more valuable now than it was ten years ago. The buildings are in top shape; they will be good for another 20 years without another penny spent.”

When Linton first explored the possibility of purchasing the factory at 1 Hershey Drive, there were big leaks in every building on the campus. “Over time, there had been a lot of infrastructure deterioration,” Linton recalls. “Areas which were supposed to be protected against earthquakes weren’t. It was in relatively terrible shape.”

Tweed did extensive renovations and upgraded the facilities. “Every building is currently in top shape,” Linton explains. “The building closest to the Queen Street end is upgraded for medical production, pharmaceuticals: there is a very big opportunity for that building.”

The central part of the facility has been upgraded in power, and has potential for a shipping/logistics centre. The growing rooms were built in 2013, only a decade ago. “If you took them out it could easily be a logistics centre,” he suggests.

In another area, two laboratories offer yet another array of opportunities. “Depending on how they sell them, there are a diverse number of business plans that could go to them.”

The north end of the building was used for shipping and receiving. These contain high end technical shelving systems. “If they leave those assets, it could be really enticing to an expanding business,” Linton says. “Usually when they’re in a big hurry, someone is going to get a very terrific deal.”

The real question, Linton says, when it comes to the town attracting businesses to move into these prime facilities, is, “How quickly can [Canopy] get out of the way? How long until they’re out so someone who wants to be in can get things rolling and start hiring?” 

Linton, of course, is no longer connected with Canopy Growth, but still has a soft spot for Smiths Falls. “This place was nice to me, I feel fondly for it,” he says, with obvious warmth in his voice.

The restoration of the former post office on the corner of Market and Russell Streets in Smiths Falls was Linton’s labour of love for the town, a way to say thank you. He invested an “absolutely unreasonable amount” of money into the restoration, “it was necessary, to make it really nice.”

As for his impact on Smiths Falls, Linton recalls speaking with town council when he first wanted to bring Tweed into the facility at 1 Hershey Drive. “I told them I hoped to bring a hundred jobs to town, and I think they will still see more than one hundred jobs retained,” he says, referring to the two Canopy Growth buildings that will continue to process cannabis products. 

“I do think about this place, and what I could do with it,” Linton confesses, explaining that he can’t help dreaming of the possibilities that await 1 Hershey Drive, and what could grow from the seed of an idea. “My father once built a fireplace because someone gave him a log lifter. I might get that from him.”

The metaphor is clear: opportunity is once again knocking in Smiths Falls, and the infrastructure is ready for a myriad of possibilities. This is a town that continues to be open for business.

Article by Janelle Labelle

Hometown News
Author: Hometown News

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