Not everyone believes that the Toronto Region, which includes Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton and the Halton, York and Durham regions, is a shoe-in for Amazon’s second North American headquarters (HQ2).
In fact, the region is in last place on OddsShark:
Atlanta is the new favorite to land Amazon HQ2 (@BovadaLV):
Northern VA +1500
Montgomery County/PIT +1700
- Canadians’ interactions with each other significantly reduced: cellphone data study
- Threatening letters a scam, Halton police say
- Selective thieves go hi-tech to steal cars in Oakville
— OddsShark (@OddsShark) January 22, 2018
That said, one of the world’s most famous and well-respected publications believes that Toronto is a viable and wise choice for HQ2 (something Amazon must also agree on, as it selected the region as one of its top 20 picks out of a list of 238 contenders).
The New York Times recently sang the region’s praises in its recent “Why Toronto Made the Playoffs for Amazon’s Headquarters” piece.
Toronto, the only Canadian city to be chosen, has been lauded for its progress.
“…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,” NYT contributor Ian Austen wrote.
Austen points out that the region is already home to a major Google engineering operation, an artificial intelligence research centre and a quantum computing institute. He also mentioned that General Motors is adding up to 1,000 software engineers to develop systems for autonomous vehicles (among other things).
The article also points out that Toronto was selected despite the fact that it failed to offer any sort of tax or other monetary incentive.
The NYT also mentions that Canada has a favourable immigration policy that offers visas to skilled workers within two weeks–a policy that will likely please American workers who want to work for Amazon north of the border.
What could hold the region back?
It’s escalating real estate prices and the subsequent lack of affordability in the home and commercial markets.
That said, some of the U.S. candidates, namely NYC, also boast expensive real estate–so it stands to reason that costly housing isn’t necessarily a dealbreaker.
While the news is encouraging, another earlier third-party report indicated that the Toronto region might have its work cut out for it when it comes to competing with Atlanta, Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia.
That said, it’s not over until it’s over.