Canadian Tire to Open Advanced Cloud Computing Centre in Downtown Winnipeg

Retailing giant Canadian Tire plans to open up an “Advanced Cloud Computing Centre” in downtown Winnipeg this year.

Canadian Tire says its computer technical services centre will be housed in the Air Canada Centre on Portage Avenue. Slated to launch in October, the 28,000 square foot is expected to create 50 local jobs.

As an incentive, Manitoba premier Greg Selinger says the province is offering Canadian Tire up to $1 million in tax breaks.

Recently, Canadian Tire also announced that it selected Waterloo’s BlackBerry as the official smartphone for its corporate team across Canada. The company says that employees across its family of companies—including Mark’s, Sport Chek, and Atmosphere—will use BlackBerry 10 smartphones as their primary business device, deploying “several thousand units in the coming months,” comprised of a mix of Z10s and Q10s.

Last month, Canadian Tire launched The Canadian Way, which was made in collaboration with Tribal DDB Toronto and is described as “the next evolution in Canadian Tire’s digital customer experience.” It’s a slick online product catalogue that includes interactive videos, social sharing and commenting, and user-generated content. All this from a company that at one point shut down its own online store just as e-commerce in Canada exploded.

In March, the retailing giant inked a deal with Communitech, a startup incubator in Waterloo: there are now five Canadian Tire employees at Communitech on a permanent basis, creating what chief technology officer Eugene Roman described as “a two-way dialogue around new possibilities.”