Five Canadian cities are the recipients of Google's eTown Awards for successfully embracing the digital economy.

Google recognizes Moncton, NB, Dorval, PQ, Parry Sound, ON, Canmore, AB and Duncan, BC as leading centres where small businesses are investing in online tools and resources to find new customers, grow their business, and improve their operations.

"We're delighted to recognize the accomplishments of the small businesses embracing the web in each of these cities," said Chris O'Neill, Managing Director of Google Canada.

O'Neill adds: "We know that the Internet is going to contribute massively to Canada's economic growth, so these eTown awards are designed to showcase those communities leading the way forward."

Google researched thousands of cities and towns across Canada to find one town in each of five regions that demonstrated strong engagement and potential for growth in the digital economy.

Factors under consideration included the proportion of small businesses using Google AdWords to find customers, small businesses establishing a web presence with the Canada Get Your Business Online initiative, and small businesses adopting cloud-based technology like Google Apps for Business.

The Boston Consulting Group forecasts that Canada's Internet economy will grow 7.4 percent annually through 2016, meaning businesses with an online presence will benefit most and contribute more to future Canadian economic growth.

Interestingly, Google's Canada Get Your Business Online campaign finds that slightly more than half of Canadian small and medium-sized businesses still lack a website, highlighting that smaller firms stand to lose out unless they take steps to make their businesses accessible online and from mobile devices.

Google Canada will be presenting the eTown awards to each city during events throughout October where local businesses will be invited to attend and meet Google experts who will provide advice to help businesses succeed online.

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