Over a Century of Loyal Service...
The roots of the Greater Moncton Chamber of Commerce date back to the year 1891. Driven by the desire to secure cheaper rail rates and build a new railway station and additional wharf accommodations, a group of local merchants signed a petition to form the Moncton Board of Trade. A Board of Directors was elected with C.P. Harris as Chairman.
Main street, 1890, looking west from Church street 1 year before the Board of Trade was founded.
The new Board's first task was to appoint standing committees on finance, harbour and city improvements, legislation, transportation and freight, information and statistics, reception, Merchants' Week and manufacturing. A total of thirty-five businesses joined the Board of Trade in its first year of operation. Moncton's population in 1891 was 8,762.
As the century drew to an end, Moncton enjoyed relative prosperity and had much to offer prospective investors. The golden age of shipbuilding was over, but new investments, particularly the coming of Intercolonial Railway (ICR), provided Moncton with a revitalized economic base. The local economy was also fuelled by federal policy decisions on restrictive tariffs and trade that encouraged local entrepreneurs to take advantage of Canada's protected domestic markets.
The YMCA on the corner of Main and Alma Streets became the site of regular Board of Trade meetings around 1900.
By 1900, Moncton had established itself as an important regional centre for business. A 1915 publication entitled "Moncton: The City of Opportunity" states that the Board of Trade played an active role in developing the city as an industrial centre: "It has been instrumental in bringing to Moncton some of its largest industries."
During the several decades that followed, the Moncton Board of Trade continued to play a vital role in the economic development of the region. Records dating back to 1935 show that the Board of Trade helped persuade the Federal government to establish a national park in Albert County. Fundy National Park was the result.
In 1947, the Moncton Board of Trade worked with the Council of Women to form the Moncton Welfare Council that was responsible for bringing a social worker into the area. A few years later, the Board of Trade formed a Better Business Bureau to insure that businesses in the area were maintaining high standards of business practice. The first was opened in 1949 with Harold Farthing as Secretary-Manager. That same year the first credit reporting service was established, the Credit Bureau of Moncton.
In 1958, the Board of Trade recommended that a civic corporation be formed to purchase property that it would service and make available to prospective industrial purchasers at cost. As a result, Moncton Industrial Development, the first industrial organization in New Brunswick, was established and today more than 300 businesses operate out of Moncton Industrial Park and Caledonia Estates.
Because the term "Board of Trade" is a British tradition, many boards of trade decided to change their names to reflect the North American business culture. The Moncton Board of Trade changed its name to the Greater Moncton Chamber of Commerce in 1971.
In the mid-1970's, the Chamber formed a small committee of volunteers to look into the revitalization of the city's core area. Eventually, this committee evolved into an independent organization, now called Downtown Moncton Incorporated, whose mission is to promote, develop, and enhance the interests of property owners and tenants in a vital and safe downtown core.
The Chamber of Commerce in its role of catalyst or supporter has helped with other notable accomplishments over the years including the:
- formation of the Arthritis and Rheumatism Society - Moncton Chapter
- development of the slogan "Hub of the Maritimes"
- formation of the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council
- creation of the Christmas lighting program
- foundation of the Moncton Jaycees and Junior Achievement Program
- formation of the Atlantic Provinces Transportation Commission
- establishment of United Way Greater Moncton
- establishment of the Greater Moncton Economic Commission
- building of a new regional library
- forming the Westmorland-Albert Solid Waste Commission
- privatization of the Greater Moncton Airport
- establishment of the Greater Moncton Immigration Committee
Over a century has passed since C.P. Harris knocked his gavel for the first time, and the Chamber enjoys a history of notable contributions to the development and the growth of the Greater Moncton area.
Today the Greater Moncton Chamber of Commerce has over 820 members and dozens of volunteers who serve as directors on the board or on various committees. Through the delivery of a wide-variety of programs and services from its headquarters at 1273 Main Street, the GMCC continues to help its members' Connect, Grow and Prosper while still serving as The Voice of the Greater Moncton Business Community.