The Toronto Metropolitan Region – Diversity, Convergence, and Synergy
April 2, 2012
Here are five striking facts about the Toronto metropolitan region, cribbed from my March 23 speech to the Toronto Board of Trade.
- The Toronto metropolitan region is Canada’s high-tech hub. Aerospace, pharma, advanced materials, ICT – it’s all here. 30% of Canada’s ICT firms – and 40% of the Top 250 ICT companies – are headquartered in the Toronto metropolitan region.
- Nearly a third of Canada’s design workforce – more than 28,000 designers – hails from the Toronto metropolitan region. Together they comprise the third largest design sector in North America behind New York and Boston.
- The Toronto metropolitan region’s Food and Beverage sector is the largest in Canada, with the second largest food production and processing centre in North America behind Los Angeles.
- The Toronto metropolitan region is Canada’s startup and entrepreneurial capital, something few people realize. As of February 2012, 36% of Canada’s top 100 startups have their homes in the region. On top of that, the OECD has concluded that Toronto has the fourth highest rate of entrepreneurship of any region in the OECD.
- Toronto’s Gross Metropolitan Product [GMP] represents 45% of Ontario’s GDP and 20% of Canada’s GDP. Estimates vary but even at the conservative end the Toronto metropolitan region contributes more to Canada’s GDP than New York, Chicago, and Boston contribute to the United States’ GDP – combined! According to less conservative estimates, you could throw Los Angeles in, too, to match what we do for Canada. And if the Toronto metropolitan region were a country, it would have a larger GDP than Finland or Denmark or Hungary or Israel. Make no mistake: As the Toronto metropolitan region goes, so goes Canada.
It’s all here in the Toronto metropolitan region. As I pointed out to the Board of Trade, the region is all about convergence and synergy. We have diverse geography with lots of green space and cities of varied sizes and configurations, the most multi-cultural population on the planet, and a huge array of businesses and social purpose enterprises, all supporting each other directly and indirectly. In other words: The Toronto region is good at everything because it is good at everything.
I recognize, of course, that these are not easy times, economically, for Ontario, the Toronto region, or our University. However, what is true for the Toronto metropolitan region is also true for the University of Toronto. From a diverse demography to unique neighbourhoods to multidisciplinary strength to entrepreneurial spirit: It’s all here, too, on our three campuses and in the many partner institutions that work closely with the University. And that alone gives me a strong sense of optimism about our University’s long-term prospects.