The Financial District, downtown
Toronto skyline as seen from the Financial District, downtown. © Destination Toronto

Canada’s largest city was recognized for economic potential, business friendliness and human capital and lifestyle

Toronto, Ontario, a world-class city and the province’s capital, ranked the fourth major city in the world for foreign direct investment in the latest fDi Intelligence Global Cities of the Future report for 2021/22. The esteemed Financial Times-owned publication and influential knowledge centre explores investments at an international level.

Toronto ranked fourth in the world among 129 major cities for its allure and potential for international business, investing and entrepreneurial success in key areas such as cost-effectiveness and connectivity.

Canada’s largest city and the metropolitan powerhouse of Ontario was also recognized for its economic potential, business friendliness and human capital and lifestyle, proving itself as a global entrepreneurial centre with a high potential for further economic growth.

The city’s latest accolades come soon after ranking third overall in the fDi Intelligence American Cities of the Future 2019/20 report in the major cities category, with recognition in several other categories, including foreign direct investment (FDI) strategy and connectivity.

Economic Potential and Business Friendliness

As the second-largest financial centre in North America, Toronto has long been regarded as a critical business and financial hub, both in Canada and internationally.

Where Toronto shines:

  • Startup support—The City of Toronto and the surrounding Greater Toronto Area (GTA) provide fertile ground for startups in various fields, but particularly technology. The region generates close to 20 per cent of Canada’s overall GDP), hosting operational headquarters to Canada’s five largest financial institutions, a significant portion of Canada’s largest corporations.
  • Transportation hub—With prime access to road, air and rail networks, this central transportation hub is strategically located in the heart of North America. Toronto’s location on the Quebec City–Windsor Corridor positions the city as integral to supporting the transportation and distribution of products such as critical minerals, machinery, steel and iron.
    The view outside Toronto’s MaRS Discovery District on College Street—the hub of the city’s innovation and research community. © Destination Toronto
  • Tech leadership—Having positioned itself as a world leader in technological industry and innovation, Toronto is home to more than 4,000 active tech startups and hundreds of thousands of tech-related workers, as noted in KPMG’s Global Technology Innovation report. As the jewel at the centre of the second-largest IT cluster in North America, Toronto companies are in a prime position to provide some of the most advanced tech services and support at highly competitive prices to international investors.
  • Diverse economy—A diverse economy on the cutting-edge of innovative technologies and companies makes Toronto an attractive place to do business.

Human Capital and Lifestyle

With more than six million people residing in the GTA, Toronto is the most populous region in the country and the fourth-largest in North America.

Where Toronto shines:

  • Attracting top talent—Recently named the fastest-growing North American city by Ryerson University’s Centre for Urban Research and Land Development, Toronto continues to attract and retain talent from around the globe. Over 200,000 students per year flock to multiple universities, degree-granting colleges and renowned special-interest institutions in the city.
  • Top-ranking universities—The University of Toronto, per Times Higher Education World University Rankings, is considered the top university in Canada and holds the 18th spot worldwide. U of T’s Toronto Institute of Advanced Manufacturing is affiliated with over a dozen facilities that ensure the city stays on the cutting edge of research and development, innovation and education in multiple areas of focus.
  • Exceptional quality of life—Torontonians’ importance on living healthy and living well is reflected in the numerous special-interest institutions and facilities—spanning art, music, business, technology and more—throughout the city.
  • Diversity—The city’s residents, roughly half of whom were born outside of Canada, form an internationally connected network of skilled workers that fuel the city’s unmatched vibrancy.
    The Toronto International Film Festival sign
    The Toronto International Film Festival sign on King Street West. © Destination Toronto
  • Vibrant arts and culture scene—This international city is as rich in culture as it is in business and financial opportunity—with the Toronto International Film Festival, the internationally recognized Art Gallery of Ontario, a thriving theatre district and events such as Nuit Blanche and the Toronto Biennial of Art.

A Liveable City

With robust transportation infrastructure, universal healthcare, green spaces and a low crime rate, Toronto scores high on livability among major cities across the world.

Where Toronto shines:

  • A safe place to live—Toronto’s low crime rate supports its reputation as one of the safest cities in North America.
  • Accessible and affordable transportation—The city is dedicated to providing accessible, affordable transit that makes it easy for both visitors and locals to enjoy everything that the city—and the rest of Ontario—has to offer. Residents and visitors can access several thoughtfully planned transportation systems dedicated to getting you from Point A to Point B.
    • Public transit—The Toronto Transit Commission’s network of subways, buses and streetcars was recognized as North America’s number one public transportation system in 2017 by American Public Transit Association.
    • Regional transit—The GO network of buses and double-decker commuter trains connects Toronto to nearby urban centres such as Hamilton and London and a rich network of surrounding resources.
    • Investment in transit infrastructure—Toronto continues to invest in effective local transportation with the construction of a light rail transit line, which will connect to existing subway and bus routes in midtown Toronto and make it even easier to get where you need to go.
      Toronto skyline at Riverdale Park in summer
      People sit on the grass with a view of the Toronto skyline at Riverdale Park in summer. © Destination Toronto
  • Abundant green spaces—Toronto’s preservation of parks and nature preserves has remained a high priority. From Rouge Valley National Urban Park to the Don River Valley Park to Evergreen Brick Works, every resident has easy access to green spaces.
  • Accessible healthcare—Internationally renowned hospitals and health research centres, including The Hospital for Sick Children and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, further contribute to the high quality of life enjoyed by Toronto residents.

Invest in Toronto

Toronto’s cultural and economic diversity is one of the city’s greatest strengths, as well as the driving force behind its bustling economy.

The city excels in economic vitality and resilience, skilled workforce and excellent quality of life, placing it in a strong position for renewal, recovery and growth, especially as it continues to address the challenges presented by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Ontario, Canada is open for business, and Toronto—Ontario’s largest city—is a powerhouse that offers incredible opportunities for companies to expand, grow and thrive.

For more information about how to invest in Ontario, contact us.

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