Long since a top destination for Canadian ‘snowbirds,’ Florida is quickly solidifying its position as a center for Canadian investment.

Miami-based Canadian Consul General Louise Leger recently made an official visit to Pensacola, Florida.  Leger is a 34-year veteran of the Canadian foreign service specializing in international business, and has been the Canadian government’s top trade representative in Florida since 2009. She spent her visit chatting with business groups like the Pensacola Greater Chamber of Commerce.

Canada may be something of an economic mystery to many Floridians who encounter that nation’s citizens mainly as tourists and might not be aware of other, substantial business connections. But they should be given that Canada sees the U.S. as a huge customer for its exports, with a 75 percent share of the international sales by Leger’s homeland.

Particularly in areas like Miami or Cape Canaveral, where easy access to some of the nation’s newly renovated ports makes foreign investment not only probable but highly likely, Leger sees Florida, and certain cities in Florida – such as Pensacola – as having considerable potential to expand on its share of Canadian trade and investment.

“We have a lot of Canadian companies looking for places to invest, and the state of Florida is one of great interest. Canadians love to come here, and I think they’re realizing that Florida is more than nice beaches and a place to escape our winters,” said Leger.

Not surprisingly, Canadian companies are interested in accessing growing supply chains, investment relationships and cultural ties connecting Florida with Latin America.  Indeed, there are already close to 300 Canadian companies with a presence in Florida.  And in recent years, more than 535,000 jobs in Florida depended on trade and investment with Canada.

As Canadian investment in Florida increases, we can expect to see the ties between Florida and our neighbors to the North to strengthen.