Yesterday, Amazon revealed the short list of 20 cities selected for its new headquarters.
Of the 20 finalists, Toronto was the only Canadian entry to make the cut out of the 11 other Canadian cities that submitted a bid.
Following the announcement, Toronto Mayor John Tory modestly said that Toronto had only “made the playoffs.”
It was this comment, however, that caught the attention of the New York Times, which prompted writer Ian Austen to write the article “Why Toronto Made ‘the Playoffs’ for Amazon’s Headquarters“.
In the article, Austen highlights what sets Toronto as a top contender against the competing 19 cities, which includes the likes of Boston, Chicago, New York City, and Washington DC.
“But regardless of the outcome, the announcement that the city remains a contender showed how much progress Toronto, and the surrounding region, have made in establishing themselves as a major technology center,” wrote Austen
In the past year alone, Toronto was recognized as North America’s fastest growing tech market by CBRE in addition to becoming the new home of a massive waterfront development from Google’s Sidewalk Labs and the Thompson Reuters Technology Centre.
So yes, you could say that Toronto has definitely established itself as a “major technology center.” (Only you’d spell it centre.)
As Austen put it, “Amazon offered few details on Thursday about how it had come up with its 20 finalists,” yet Toronto stood out for two very important reasons.
Canada’s unparalleled immigration program
Canada’s new immigration program gives visas to certain skilled workers within two weeks, “which will help innovative companies grow by ensuring they can access the highly skilled talent they need quickly,” states the Canada Visa website.
And “unlike the United States, Canada does not limit how many of those visas can be issued each year,” wrote Austen.
But it doesn’t stop there. While US President Trump continues to try to limit the entry of people from “predominately Muslim countries into the United States,” Canada continues to welcome people “of all religions and backgrounds.”
Home to a massive talent pool
Finally, Toronto’s publicly funded university and college system is a huge asset, and because of this, Toronto is home to a strong pipeline of talent that’s second-to-none.
“The University of Waterloo has long been recognized as one of North America’s top technology schools, and the University of Toronto is a major center for research in artificial intelligence,” wrote Austen.
When it comes to Toronto’s flaws, Austen only highlighted one “potentially unattractive feature” and that’s the “ever-escalating prices both for homes and for commercial real estate,” which could become a major deciding factor when it comes time to narrow down possible locations for the new headquarters.
Regardless of the outcome, Toronto will do as it always does in the playoffs, fight like hell… and probably come up short.