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Ontario Mission Builds On Strong Culture And Trade Links

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Ontario Mission Builds On Strong Culture And Trade Links

Toronto International Film Festival Promoted In India

Office of the Premier

Culture and commerce shared centre stage today as Ontario's business mission to India visited Mumbai, the home of Bollywood and many of India's top financial institutions.

"The arts are very important to our mission because they're very important to Indians and Ontarians," Premier Dalton McGuinty said as he attended a special evening hosted by the Toronto International Film Festival.

"Clearly, the movie industry is big business, whether it's India's Bollywood or Ontario's Hollywood North, there's a depth of talent -- but the arts also represent a way to understand ourselves -- and promoting the Toronto International Film Festival will help connect Ontario to India," the Premier said.

Bollywood actor Rahul Bose hosted a reception that was followed by a special screening of the Canadian film Away From Her, Sarah Polley's directorial debut.

Earlier in the day, the Premier emphasized Ontario's financial clout and business acumen at an event organized by the Bombay Chamber of Commerce.

"We are Canada's economic engine. Ontario's GDP of $450 billion (US) puts us ahead of Switzerland, Belgium, Sweden and Austria," Premier McGuinty told his audience of Indian business people. "We are North America's largest auto producer, surpassing even Michigan."

The theme of the gathering was "bringing business capitals together" and the Premier compared Toronto and Mumbai (formerly Bombay).

"Like Mumbai, Toronto is a financial centre. Canada's major banks are headquartered in Toronto -- one of the top three centres for financial services in North America, along with New York and Chicago, and home to one of the top three stock exchanges in North America," Premier McGuinty said.

"Toronto is a cultural centre. The Toronto International Film Festival may be the most famous example -- it's the largest public film festival in the world," he said.

"And like Mumbai, Toronto is a centre for innovation, one of several across our province. With so much in common, we should be doing more together to create prosperity and jobs in India and Ontario."

The Premier attended a ceremony marking the signing of cooperation agreements between Ontarians and groups in the province of Maharashtra, which counts Mumbai as its capital.

"Ontario recognizes India for what it is -- an economic power," Ontario's Minister of Economic Development and Trade Sandra Pupatello said. "The potential for investing in each other and cementing trade relationships is huge."

More than 100 representatives of 87 Ontario companies, universities and colleges and other groups are participating in the India mission, which concludes on January 22.

After meeting with several of Mumbai's top business leaders tomorrow, the Premier, along with the mission, will travel to the Punjab. The itinerary there will include a visit to the holy city of Amritsar.

"The Golden Temple will be a highlight of our visit because of its enormous importance to the people of Ontario and India," McGuinty said. "So many Ontarians are from the Punjab and Terri and I are really looking forward to visiting the Golden Temple and seeing the beauty of the Punjab, which has contributed so much to the strength of our province."

Premier McGuinty and other Ontario delegates will then explore opportunities for trade and partnership in Pakistan from January 22 to 26.

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