Stephen Fischer is the Executive Director of the Welland Recreational Canal Corporation (WRCC), a post held since 2006. Stephen is a Welland native, returning to his hometown after earning his Honours Degree in Business from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario in 1992. Before arriving at the WRCC, Stephen enjoyed over a decade of entrepreneurial success in the hospitality industry. He has served as Director of Tourism of Welland and as Chair of the Niagara Food Festival.
Since his tenure with the WRCC, Stephen has expanded the WRCC portfolio, and his own, to include: the post of Executive Director of the Welland International Flatwater Centre (WIFC); Creative Director of IlluminAqua ~ The Waterway's Arts & Culture Series; and Director of "Art on Water" a cultural installation in Niagara's reign as Cultural Capital of Canada. Stephen and the WRCC has seen the successful awarding of the inaugural 2012 World Junior Open Water Swimming Championships; 2013 ICF Canoe Sprint Junior & U23 World Championships; canoe, kayak & open water swimming venues for the 2015 Pan American Games; and the landing the 2015 World Dragon Boat Racing Championship.
Stephen resides in Welland with his wife, Tracey, and daughter, Stephanie. An active community member and supporter, Stephen sits in an advisory capacity on boards and agencies throughout the region including the Niagara Regional Pan American Games Steering Committee.
The story of this medium-sized town start like that of so many other medium-sized towns in North America: Early industrialization and heavy manufacturing provided post-WWII economic windfalls to shareholders, employees and citizens alike. The 1980's then resulted in a consecutive collapse of industrial operations. The town is left with vast tracks of vacant lands and the resulting economic hardship. But in this story, the town identifies an under-utilized, seemingly unused asset that can help to create jobs, rebrand the city identity and rally a community around a new source of future economic gain.
TEDxCity2.0 Talk Video