Canada is, and always has been, a trading nation. Since our first trade commissioner arrived in Australia in 1895 to increase Canadian exports, the Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) has evolved into a now unmatched network of over 1,000 business-savvy experts in 160 cities worldwide who help Canadian businesses trade, grow and succeed.
The Department of Trade and Commerce was established in 1892 under Minister Mackenzie Bowell, who led a successful trade delegation to Australia the next year. While in Australia, he heard calls for Canada to station a commercial agent in the region to answer “constant enquiries” about export opportunities for Canadian companies.
John Larke (pictured 1893: From Oshawa Museum's Archival Collection A000.1.49a), a former newspaper owner from Oshawa, Ontario, departed Canada for Sydney, Australia, in December 1894 and arrived on January 8, 1895. He was Canada’s first permanent trade commissioner and, thus, first commercial representative abroad. Upon arrival, he was responsible for developing the market for Canadian products in Australia and New Zealand as well as developing a list of Canadian suppliers, promoting sales to the region and reporting back to Ottawa on market conditions.
“I know of no man in Canada so well fitted for this position as Larke,” declared Bowell, who became prime minister of Canada in 1894. “He is an enthusiast on the extension of Canadian trade…He also has a happy aptitude for public speaking and could do much good in addressing boards of trade and other bodies,” says O. Mary Hill in her book, Canada’s Salesman to the World: The Department of Trade and Commerce, 1892‑1939.
And so began the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service (TCS).
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With only approximately 0.5% of the world’s population, 99.5% of your potential consumers are located outside of Canada. Whether a Canadian entrepreneur, startup company or small to medium-sized business, growing globally is just part of growing your business. Begin your export journey here with the TCS:
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