Toronto – one of the most dynamic cities in the world
By Sue Holland
Monday, November 27 2017
Toronto - if you live here, you know it, you can feel it and for a change we’re starting to proclaim it.
There’s a confidence, acknowledgement and palpable excitement about our city that there simply wasn’t ten or even five years ago.
I recently travelled to the UK where a colleague in Glasgow admitted “I’ve never been to Toronto, but I imagine it to be quite small.”
I found this perception quite amusing, given that we are experiencing an unprecedented explosion of growth, innovation, culture and quite frankly, swagger. But truth be told, this is not an uncommon misconception.
So, here’s a primer on why Toronto deserves your attention, and why it’s time to take notice of our dynamic, vibrant and inspirational city.
With a population of 2.8 million Toronto is the fourth largest city in North America. Yes, bigger than Chicago and Houston and every other US city except for New York and LA. As one of North America’s fastest growing cities, the Greater Toronto Area is expected to increase from the current 6.4 million, to 9.5 million by 2031.
It’s the most diverse city in the world. Nearly 52% of Toronto residents were born outside of Canada. Locals hail from 230 different nationalities and speak more than 100 different languages.
Toronto Repeatedly tops the most liveable cities index. In fact, it has been named by the Economist as one of the top five Most Liveable Cities in the world for the past 10 years. A combination of consistent economic opportunity, world-class culture, nature (there are 1500 parks and 10 million trees in Toronto) and its location on the massive Lake Ontario, make for a well-rounded, urban lifestyle.
Toronto Breeds innovation across all industries. From life sciences to banking, software and AI, the unconventional mixing of cultures and disciplines reap unique ideas and inventive solutions. With cultural and linguistic ties across the world, the population offers opportunity for collaboration and comprehensive insight in one, efficient, global microcosm.
Toronto is home to the world’s best ethnic food. With so many residents hailing from international countries, it stands to reason that they are bringing their culinary chops with them. People want to enjoy ancestral dishes and the result is a smorgasbord of authentic, ethnic options and incredibly imaginative fusion.
Toronto is emerging as a technology powerhouse. The city added 22,500 tech jobs in 2015/16 – more than NYC and Silicon Valley combined. A deep, diverse talent pool, cheaper real estate and liberal immigration policies have resulted in a start-up boom and attracted major players like Amazon, E-Bay, Apple and Facebook to set up local offices. Toronto has also been selected as the future home of Sidewalk Labs’ (a sister company of Google’s) high-tech, digital district.
Toronto is the 4th safest major city in the world. At a time when cities are becoming more dangerous places to live, Toronto has earned the highest safety ranking of any North American city. The next safest major urban centre on the continent is San Francisco, which trails significantly behind at number 15 on the global list.
Toronto is home to the most highly educated population among OECD countries. Topping the global index, 55% of the Canadian population has a post-secondary degree, and Toronto is host to the most higher-learning institutions in the country. With eight distinguished universities and colleges, Toronto provides a perpetual supply of top talent to the market.
Toronto is a hot-bed for sports and art. It has seven major sports teams, boasting everything from baseball (MLB) to basketball (NBA) to soccer (MLS). And we’re doing remarkably well. Every single team has been in the playoffs over the past couple years. We also have internationally renowned galleries, world-class theatre productions and massive international festivals like Caribana and the Toronto International Film Festival. Plus, who could forget our pop culture darlings Drake and The Weeknd, not to mention honorary Torontonian (and soon to be Duchess of Sussex), Meghan Markle.
Toronto is home to the largest urban population of raccoons in the world. We are overrun with these adorable, yet scarily astute, critters, who starred in the 2016 BBC Planet Earth II docu-series. This final point may be somewhat controversial…but personally I’m fond of our unofficial city mascots.
In summary, we may not be the world’s oldest, biggest or most beautiful city. We celebrate difference, we value inclusivity and embrace a collectively progressive mindset. We are inspired, passionate and we are confidently poised to thrive on the global stage for decades to come.
I warmly, enthusiastically and proudly invite you to come and see for yourself.