Economy of Toronto: Wikis

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The distinctly black skyscrapers of the Toronto-Dominion (TD) Centre in the heart of downtown, designed by Mies van der Rohe

Toronto is a commercial, distribution, financial and industrial centre. It is the banking and stock exchange centre of Canada, and is the country's primary wholesale and distribution point. Ontario's wealth of raw materials and hydroelectric power have made Toronto a primary centre of industry. The city and its surrounding area produces more than half of Canada's manufactured goods.

Contents

Growth

Toronto is located on a crossroads dating back to aboriginal times with an excellent harbour. The economy grew based on the settlement of Ontario. Toronto became the centre of railways and the supplier of goods to Ontario. Its status as a political centre gave it some stability during periods of economic uncertainty. Toronto saw a large boom after World War II when immigrants, especially from war-decimated Europe, chose the area to settle. Manufacturing, notably automotive manufacturing, grew to supply the growth in population. Toronto grew at a faster rate than the other great centre of Canada at the time, Montreal and surpassed it in the 1970s. Shipping by water was instrumental in Toronto's early growth but this has diminished to the point where the harbour is lightly used by industry. The area around Pearson Airport, the country's busiest airport, has become one of the largest industrial areas.

Further growth in the Toronto area is often attributed to the rise of Quebec separatism, though the extent of its influence is still contested by some, who argue that its effect was exaggerated by the English media. During the 1970s, the Quebec Liberal Party and the Parti Québécois enacted a series of French-language laws, which were perceived as unfavourable towards English-language businesses (especially multinational corporations, whose markets extended far beyond Quebec's borders) and English-speaking Montrealers. Some of the former (including the Bank of Montreal) and a number of the latter subsequently relocated to Toronto where French proficiency is not a necessity for business or employment.

Exterior view of the former Toronto Stock Exchange on Bay Street; the TD Centre was partially built around and incorporated the TSX

In the past 25 years, Toronto has lost most of its manufacturing capacity, most of it moving to outlying suburbs in the Greater Toronto area, seeking lower land costs and land for expansion. This is not a new trend; it has been present for over 100 years. Early suburbs, such as West Toronto, developed for industry and were later engulfed by the expansion of the City of Toronto. West Toronto once had a large stock yards which has moved well north of the city. Much of the older industrial land has been converted into new residential neighbourhoods, supporting loft and condominium development and the industrial concerns have moved further away.

Toronto itself has diversified into service-based industries. It is the center of the English-speaking media industry in Canada, the advertising industry, the entertainment industry, the fashion industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the retail industry and the center of the financial industry in Canada. The area is a large site of computer software development. Toronto has also become the site of many headquarters of companies which have their primary activities elsewhere, such as mining and real estate, which need to stay close to the centre of finance. As Toronto developed, it has also developed its tourism industry, developing attractions such as the Rogers Centre and the live theatre.

Finance

As the business and financial capital of the country, Toronto hosts the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX), the third largest stock exchange in the Americas by market capitalisation and eighth in the world (see List of stock exchanges for complete rankings) (as of Sept 3, 2009). The TSX has led North American exchanges by being the second to trade electronically and the first to become listed publicly.[1] In the last decade, it outperformed many other stock exchanges worldwide. The financial district in Toronto centers on Bay Street, the equivalent to Wall Street in New York. Toronto is the third largest financial center in North America, after New York City and Chicago, with approximately 205,000 staff in the Canada's biggest banks and brokerages.[2] In 2008, Forbes Magazine named Toronto the 10th most economically powerful city in the world, ahead of Madrid, Philadelphia and Mexico City. [3]

The city's budget for the fiscal year 2008 was $8.170 billion and is funded primarily by property taxes (the net budget) totaling $3.322 billion[4].

Media

See also: Hollywood North: Toronto

Toronto has recently become one of the centres of Canada's film and television industry, due in part to the lower cost of production in Canada. The city's streets and landmarks are seen in a variety of films, mimicking the scenes of American cities such as Chicago and New York. The city provides a diversity of settings and neighbourhoods to shoot films, with production facilitated by Toronto's Film and Television Office.

A major new film studio, Filmport, started construction in 2006, with the first phase opening in March 2008 and the second phase in 2010,[5] and will feature the largest soundstage in North America, at 4,000 square metres.[6] The city also hosts the annual Toronto International Film Festival, one of the largest in North America. BLAK Toronto's film industry has extended beyond the Toronto CMA area into adjoining cities such as Hamilton and Oshawa.

Tourism

See also: Hotels in Toronto

Toronto is home to a sprawling and diverse commercial infrastructure. The Toronto Eaton Centre is the primary tourist attraction in Toronto, with over one million visitors a week. The PATH network, which is the world's largest underground shopping complex and the eclectic Kensington and St. Lawrence markets[7]. The Bloor-Yorkville neighborhood is one of the most elegant shopping and dining districts in Toronto.

Along Queen St. East can be found Toronto's biggest camera stores. Big-box stores are not generally found in downtown Toronto, but the suburbs have many large malls, big-box stores as well as specialty stores, for example, stores selling discount fashions and lighting nearby Orfus Road close to Yorkdale mall.

The fashion district is located near King and Spadina, close to the old Chinatown to the north and entertainment district to the east. The Sunday shopping in Toronto first got its start in the fashion district in the 1980s.

St. Lawrence market is a large, historic vendors market with an open air section in summer selling fresh locally grown produce. Kensington Market also has an outdoor vendor section located close to Chinatown.

The city itself has many large and unique malls and shopping centers. Shopping in Toronto has become a large draw for tourists, with, for example, the Eaton Centre being designated as a tourist attraction in the 1980s.

Toronto boasts a wide variety of different high-end cuisines because of its cultural diversity. It has recently become noted for the availability of quality restaurants.

Firms with headquarters in Toronto

Rogers Building, the Rogers Communications head office building in Toronto

A number of major corporations are based in the city, including the Hudson's Bay Company, Manulife Financial, TD Canada Trust, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Royal Bank of Canada, Scotiabank, Bank of Montreal, Celestica, Four Seasons Hotels, Rogers Communications, MDS Inc. and many others. Many other companies are also based in the Greater Toronto Area outside of the city limits, such as Nortel, IBM Canada, Citibank Canada and Magna International.

Other companies with head offices in Toronto:

Prior to its dissolution, Canada 3000, an airline, was headquartered in the city, near Lester B. Pearson Airport.[11]

See also

References

  1. ^ TSX Group History at a Glance, Steve Kee. Retrieved on 2006-12-03.
  2. ^ Toronto Transit Strike Looms as Talks Pass Deadline, Joe Schneider. Retrieved on 2008-04-24.
  3. ^ [1], Rob Taylor. Retrieved on 2008-08-23.
  4. ^ "2008 Budget Committee Recommended Operating Budget". http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2008/bu/bgrd/backgroundfile-11380.pdf. Retrieved 2008-10-18.  
  5. ^ "e-architect: "Toronto Architecture - Key Buildings in North America."". http://www.e-architect.co.uk/toronto/filmport_toronto.htm. Retrieved 2008-02-04.  
  6. ^ "Torontoist: "Curtain Rising On New Film Megastudio."". http://torontoist.com/2007/07/filmport.php. Retrieved 2008-02-04.  
  7. ^ City of Toronto, Attractions, City of Toronto. Retrieved on 2006-12-03.
  8. ^ "Contact Us." Nelvana. Retrieved on August 24, 2009.
  9. ^ "Contact Us." Porter Airlines. Retrieved on May 25, 2009.
  10. ^ "Contact Us Mail or Fax." Rogers Communications. Retrieved on August 24, 2009.
  11. ^ "Canada 3000 Airlines Worldwide Offices." Canada 3000. January 18, 2001. Retrieved on May 20, 2009.
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