Toronto is the Economic Engine of Canada

As Canada’s largest city, Toronto is a global business hub with world-class talent, post-secondary institutions and international markets. Toronto’s GDP is almost 20% of Canada’s economic output

The City of Toronto has 2.6 million people, with 5.7 million in the Greater Toronto region. It is the capital of Canada’s largest province, Ontario. Toronto is uniquely suited to the global nature of business.

Situated two hours from the U.S. border, Toronto is a major transportation centre including two airports handling 400,000 flights a year and nearly 32 million guests. The workforce is highly educated and diverse, with 65% of the workforce holding post-secondary credentials and 50% of the population is foreign born. This workforce produced 40% of the ICT patents granted in Canada in 2010 and the city is one of the top 20 patent producers on the planet.

Toronto is experiencing a major wave of real estate development that’s reshaping the urban landscape. Toronto was recently ranked number one in the world for having the most skyscraper construction projects. Mega projects such as North America’s largest waterfront revitalization and a $1 billion private-sector tourism development in northwest Toronto are unlocking the potential of the city.

The physical development has continued despite the economic recession because Toronto delivers a first class business environment, unique market opportunities, competitive cost advantages, stable capital markets and an unmatched quality of life. Toronto supports a wide range of economic clusters, most notably: financial services, information and communication technologies and life sciences. As the pillars of Toronto’s economy, these three industries support growing sectors such as digital media, manufacturing, food processing, fashion and green technology, making Toronto one of the most diverse marketplaces in North America.

Why Toronto

KPMG International’s Global Executive Team compared 28 major locations, including Toronto, London, Amsterdam and New York, as they considered relocating the firm’s Global Resource Centre.

Following an extensive two-year review of viable sites, in 2010 Toronto was selected as the preferred destination. Toronto’s attractiveness was based on several key success factors:

  • Toronto is a major global financial centre ranking in the top 10 on the Global Financial Centres Index
  • Toronto is the 7th largest financial exchange in the world
  • Access to other major financial centres – New York, London, Dubai
  • According to the World Economic Forum, Canada is recognized as “the soundest financial system in the world”
  • Access to a diverse, multicultural talent pool
  • A workforce that is highly skilled
  • Excellent international accessibility through transportation hubs
  • A favourable time zone

The KPMG Competitive Alternatives Report 2012 ranks Toronto second in North America for cost competitiveness, ahead of New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Dallas and Vancouver. Globally Toronto is cheaper than Milan, Rome, Berlin, Paris, London, Frankfurt, Melbourne, Sydney and Tokyo.

Business advantage

The City of Toronto is focused on providing superior service to the business community. Invest Toronto plays a significant role in connecting global businesses with the opportunities found in Toronto. Working closely with partners such as the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario and the GTMA, as well as professional service firms, Invest Toronto is responsible for attracting inbound foreign direct investment.

Invest Toronto offers one-on-one consultations to businesses and site selectors who are making global business investment decisions. Invest Toronto’s complimentary concierge service assists companies by facilitating interactions with sector experts, government and business-to-business linkages, plus industry specific analysis and benchmarking.

Once located in Toronto, businesses are able to work with the City of Toronto Economic Development & Culture Division that provides a number of services for local business primarily through their Strategic Growth & Sector Development and Business Retention and Expansion departments. These two departments interact with the business community on a daily basis implementing sector strategies, revitalizing employment areas, fast tracking approvals and administering the City of Toronto’s Imagination, Manufacturing, and Innovation Technology Grants.

Future plans

Toronto's continuing growth and development plans include:

  • An air-rail link from the city’s international airport to the downtown core
  • A waterfront development that when complete will transform 800 hectares of land located minutes from Toronto’s downtown core into 40,000 residential units, 1.2 million sq.ft of commercial space and 300 hectares of parks
  • The Southcore Financial Centre includes two office towers totaling 1.4 million sq.ft, some of which is already complete
  • Commercial, industrial and multi-residential taxes are set to fall to a ratio of 2.5 times residential by 2017
  • New tourism attractions including a $130 million Aquarium in 2013 next to the CN Tower, and the transformation of a 230 hectare region into a tribute to Canada’s aviation heritage and multipurpose recreational space

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