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Toronto has been ranked as the 4th most livable city in the world, based on factors such as healthcare, education & culture.

Getting to know Toronto

Toronto is one of the most multicultural urban areas in the world. Each year tens of thousands of newcomers from around the globe choose our city as their new home. Their diverse cultures and communities have helped create Toronto’s identity as a vibrant global city.

Whether you’re just thinking about moving to Toronto or already making plans, you’ll find the information you need right here.

Just arrived? Get support from a settlement worker and download our Newcomer Welcome Brochure PDF.

Best in Toronto

Toronto, city, capital of the province of Ontario, southeastern Canada. It is the most populous city in Canada, a multicultural city, and the country’s financial and commercial centre. This directory can help you find the best business in Toronto?. Its location on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario, which forms part of the border between Canada and the United States, and its access to Atlantic shipping via the St. Lawrence Seaway and to major U.S. industrial centres via the Great Lakes have enabled Toronto to become an important international trading centre. Moreover, the city is positioned on the edge of some of the best farmland in Canada, with a climate favourable to growing a wide range of crops, thereby making Toronto a transportation, distribution, and manufacturing centre. Most importantly, its central location, along with a host of political policies favouring international trade, places this city with the greatest economic ties to, and influence from, the United States. Since the second half of the 20th century the city has grown phenomenally, from a rather sedate provincial town—“Toronto the Good”—to a lively, thriving, cosmopolitan metropolitan area. Area 244 square miles (632 square km); metro. area, 2,280 square miles (5,905 square km). Pop. (2011) 2,615,060; metro. area, 5,583,064; (2016) 2,731,571; metro. area, 5,928,040.

City Site
The melting of ice from the past glacial age altered the Toronto region’s landscape profoundly. Approximately 11,000 years ago a body of water much larger (about 130 feet [40 metres] higher) than the present-day Lake Ontario was in existence there—a glacial lake referred to as Lake Iroquois. With the opening up of the St. Lawrence River, the lake waters receded, dropping in excess of 300 feet (90 metres) below the present level. Over time, the water levels rose to the present condition, leaving a marshy shoreline but a fine natural harbour. The site of the city is almost uniformly flat, although 3 to 4 miles (5 to 6 km) inland there is a fairly sharp rise of some 40 feet (12 metres)—the shoreline elevation of the former glacial lake.

The resources of the surrounding land were also important to Toronto’s development. The rich sedimentary soils of southern Ontario provided excellent farmland, and the ancient rock of the Canadian Shield to the north not only was a source of valuable mineral wealth but also was endowed with forests of spruce and pine. Another physical feature is Toronto’s location at the mouth of the Humber River, a river that facilitated a trade route north to Lake Simcoe and a shortcut to Georgian Bay on Lake Huron.

Toronto has a continental climate that is modified considerably by the proximity of the Great Lakes. Average temperature for January is in the low to mid-20s F (about –4.2 °C), but the wind chill factor can decrease this temperature considerably. In summer, the average July temperature is in the low 70s F (about 22.2 °C); however, it is not unusual to have summer days where the temperature exceeds 90 °F (32 °C) and the humidity is 100 percent. The prevailing westerly winds and the Great Lakes also influence precipitation, which is relatively even year-round, amounting to about 33 inches (834 mm) annually. In winter, though, this precipitation is in the form of snow and totals in excess of 4 feet (131 cm). Latitude plays a role in Toronto’s relatively mild climate (as well as that of the farming region of southern Ontario); at 43°40′ N (with much of the farmland to the south of this latitude), Toronto is located only slightly north of California’s northern boundary (42° N). However, this location can subject the city to hurricanes—such as Hurricane Hazel in 1954, which caused approximately one billion Canadian dollars (in today’s terms) in damage and took 81 lives.


Finance in Toronto

Toronto gained importance as a financial centre with the headquarters of several banks and a dominant stock exchange capitalizing on the many metal mines being opened in Canada generally and in the Canadian Shield to the north particularly.

Toronto is Canada’s business and financial capital, a growing financial hub in North America, and a top ten global financial centre. Toronto’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth is significantly outpacing the national average. The Toronto region’s GDP has grown by an average of 2.4 percent annually since 2009 compared to a national rate of 1.8 percent. In 2017, the Toronto region’s GDP grew by approximately 3.3 percent (Source: Conference Board of Canada, Moody’s, Oxford Analytics, Statistics Canada, 2017).

Toronto is competitive in almost every other major business sector from technology and life sciences to green energy; from fashion and design to food and beverage; from film and television production to music and digital media. Toronto’s rich industrial diversity drives growth, innovation and cross-sectoral synergies and knowledge spillovers have spawned new leading-edge hybrid sectors including med-tech, green-tech and food-tech.


Financial Services Sector

Toronto is Canada’s business and financial capital. The city is the second largest financial services centre in North America and has one of the highest concentrations of financial services company headquarters in the Americas. With its reputation for safety, soundness and stability, Toronto is fast becoming a global location destination for financial services.

Learn more about Toronto’s Financial Services Sector.

Facts & Figures

Canada’s banking system ranks first in the G7 for the 11th year and it is one of the soundest in the world.
–World Economic Forum, Global Competitiveness Index 2018 – 2019 

Canada’s average annual real GDP growth over the last five years (2014-2018) ranked second among G7 economies and is also forecasted to rank first in the G7 in 2020 at 1.9%.
–IMF World Economic Outlook, April 2019

Since May 2014, Canada created more than 1 million jobs, an increase of almost 7%, with over 88% of those being full-time positions.
–Statistics Canada, June 2019

Canada enjoys the lowest net debt-to-GDP ratio in the G7, and its ratio is expected to remain the lowest in 2020 at 26.2%.
–International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Economic Outlook, April 2019

Canada tops the G20 with Germany and Australia for its fiscal soundness, with a triple A credit rating.
Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch Opens in new window

By the 1980s manufacturing jobs in Toronto had become more specialized (e.g. electronics), and the main shift was to service employment as Toronto became a major financial, administration, real estate, insurance, educational, wholesaling, retailing, and tourist destination centre. The city gained national financial supremacy housing five of the six national banks.

The Toronto Stock Exchange (TSE) became part of a publicly traded company, the Toronto-based TSX Group, Inc., in 2002. The exchange adopted TSX as its abbreviation in 2004. The TSX Group also acquired the Canadian Venture Exchange (comprising the former Vancouver and Alberta stock exchanges) and the Montreal Exchange (Bourse de Montreal). TSX itself is one of the largest stock exchanges in North America in value of trading.

Health in Toronto

Toronto—with its expanding population largely from other parts of the world—was faced with numerous health concerns and appointed its first health officer in 1883 to deal with infectious diseases (e.g. smallpox) and to increase public knowledge regarding sanitation and other disease prevention activities. Find the best businesses in Toronto.

Toronto, like many other industrial cities, was challenged by housing for the impoverished who also suffered poor nutrition in slum conditions with poor water and air quality. Garbage collection began in the 1830s, a public water system was in place (but not serving all) by the 1870s, and basic sewage lines had been installed by 1900. However, sewage was dumped into Lake Ontario along with industrial wastes from the many industries lining the shore—and drinking water came from the lake. Sewage and water treatment plants were in place by the early 1900s, with many improvements over time.

Innovation in Toronto

Toronto is alive with enablers of innovation, with over 70 incubators, accelerators and co-working spaces that offers programs to support startups not only in tech, but a range of sectors including manufacturing, food production, fashion, and the arts and music.

At its heart is the MaRS Centre Opens in new window, one of the world’s largest urban innovation hubs and a home for entrepreneurs building Canada’s next generation of growth companies. Toronto is also one of the top technology industries on the continent with a thriving startup community and boasts an impressive amount of established businesses including tech giants like Microsoft, IBM, Cisco Opens in new windowGoogle Opens in new window and Facebook.

The Toronto Region is home to one of North America’s largest life sciences sectors – employing close to 40,000 people in areas such as medical research, biotechnology, medical devices and pharmaceuticals. The Toronto Region is home to one of the most vibrant biotechnology clusters in the world. The region’s Discovery District, a 2.5km2 downtown research park and health innovation hub, is comprised of 7 million square feet of facilities representing Canada’s largest concentration of hospitals, research institutes, business incubators and venture capital organizations. MaRS Health Venture Services supports nearly 300 high-potential health startups that span the full industry spectrum, from health monitoring and disease treatment to information storage and sharing. With more than 650,000 square metres of facilities, this innovation centre represents Canada’s largest concentration of research institutes, business incubators, and banking/venture capital organizations.

Life Sciences Sector

New and improved R&D centres help to retain and attract scientists from Canada and abroad as well as solidify the Toronto region’s position as the centre of Canada’s life sciences sector. Toronto’s sector comprises pharmaceuticals; biotechnology; and medical research, devices, surgical supply and assistive technologies.

Learn more about Toronto’s life sciences sector.

Best businesses in Toronto

Toronto is emerging as a technology hub and attracting increased investment, including ours, because of forward thinking government and amazing access to technology, an incredible talent pool and leading educational institutions, as well as industries and markets in healthcare and financial services.
Dr. Rick Huijbregts, VP of Digital Transformation and Innovation, George Brown College

Find the best businesses in Toronto. Future-ready talent is the catalyst that propels business in the 21st century, and Toronto’s biggest asset is its people.   The City develops, attracts, and retains local and international talent like no other location on the continent. Why? Because we build doors, not walls. And those doors open to highly-skilled economic immigrants as well as world-leading academic institutions and academic-industry partnerships.

Toronto is the largest centre of education, research and innovation in Canada. The breadth and depth of Toronto’s internationally-renowned educational institutions play an integral role in its ability to attract the best businesses and the brightest minds. Innovative post-secondary programs such as the DMZ at Ryerson University Opens in new windowOCAD University’s Strategic Innovation Lab Opens in new window; Humber College’s groundbreaking Barrett Centre for Technology Innovation Opens in new window; George Brown College’s Food Innovation and Research Studio Opens in new window; Sheridan College’s Oscar-winning animation program Opens in new window; and York University’s new academic-industry joint venture to fund 3D Film Innovation Opens in new window, support skills development as well as incubate and accelerate new companies.

The city also boasts many other leading post-secondary programs such as Seneca College’s Office of Research and Innovation Opens in new window, which offers a focus on applied research in manufacturing, and the University of Toronto’s Mechanical and Industrial Engineering program, which houses a research laboratory focused on advanced manufacturing and materials engineering.

Education Services Sector

A leader in academia at all levels of learning; Toronto is a progressive, education-focused city with one of the most highly educated populations in the world.

Learn more about Toronto’s education services sector

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