The Greater Toronto Area encompasses four airports: one with international service and three regional airports with commercial services. Toronto Pearson International Airport is Canada’s busiest airport, handling 25.9 million passengers in 2002. Established in 1939, Pearson Airport now handles more than 1200 arrivals and departures every day – more than 383,000 aircraft movements last year. By 2020, the number of travellers passing through the airport’s gates is expected to reach 50 million.
Seven major highways connect Toronto to Ontario and beyond. Almost 40% of the population of North America is within one day’s drive of southern Ontario.
Toronto is addressing mass transit issues. A rapid transit system runs through the city. Regional rail services offer 125 trains a day and there is a regional bus service. The city has two seaports.
Calgary placed second and Waterloo came third.
Ontario also leads on quality of transport system. The province has an extensive 72,347km network of paved roads and 16,500km of highways, including four-lane highways, with advanced freeway traffic management systems to improve efficiency and safety.
An extremely competitive trucking industry operates in the province. About two-thirds of the value of all Ontario exports is moved by truck. Cross-border truck trips have increased by about 5% every year for the past 18 years.
Ontario provides financial and technological assistance to municipalities for the provision of public transit services. More than 95% of the province’s residents have access to municipal transit. The province was the first jurisdiction in North America to develop and introduce natural gas-powered buses into transit service.
Transcontinental railway lines provide freight services to eastern and western Canada and to the US. The province provides six intermodal rail terminals.
There are 20 airports for jet traffic in the province and seven airports capable of handling large cargo shipments. In 2002, 24 million passengers passed through Toronto International Airport. Toronto serves as the principle transportation hub for Ontario.
The Great Lakes/St Lawrence Seaway, connecting Ontario to the Atlantic Ocean, has 95,000 square miles of navigable waters and serves the waterborne cargo needs of 17 US states and four Canadian provinces. Ontario has 33 cargo loading ports on the Canadian Coast Guard managed system, and there are several more private ports in Ontario. Seven marine ports operate for Great Lakes and Atlantic cargo.
Alberta ranks second in this category with Nova Scotia coming in third.
BEST IT AND TELECOMS:
With Toronto being Ontario’s premier business city, telecoms in the province plays a key role. In Ontario, there are 1080 telephone lines per 1000 households according to data for 2005 provided by Bell Canada and the Ministry of Economic Development & Trade.
Mobile phones are important. In Canada, 52% of the population owns a mobile phone.
Broadband is available to 90% of Ontario households and 41% of households subscribe to it. The penetration rate of Bell Canada DSL in the Greater Toronto Area is about 91%.
The runner-up in this category was Waterloo, and Calgary came third.
Ontario’s communications networks are efficient, affordable and among the best in world. Its firms are leaders in communication technologies, including telecoms, broadcasting, satellite and space technologies, short and long-distance telephone, fibre-optics and terminal equipment, such as private business exchanges and customer premises equipment.
Telecoms companies in the province offer a full range of voice and data telecoms services, including public and private line services and long distance – message toll and 800/888 service. Wireless services, including cellular telephone, radio-telephone (exchange or high frequency), personal communications services, multichannel multipoint distribution systems and local multipoint communications services are also available in the province. Public and private telecommunications networks provide a number of enhanced calling features.
Canada is ahead of the US in digitisation and has maintained its position relative to other industrialised nations. The conversion to digital technology is almost 100%. Canada has also constructed the longest terrestrial fibre optic network in the world using state-of-the-art design, manufacturing capability and construction methods.
A full range of business-related data communications networks and services are available in Ontario.
Alberta came second and Nova Scotia third.
BEST QUALITY OF LIFE:
There are many reasons why Toronto offers the best quality of life for expatriate executives in Canada. The cost and availability of housing is one. Toronto’s historical district, known as Cabbagetown, has a fine collection of Victorian homes priced at about C$530,000. The Beach district is Toronto’s playground by the lake with homes selling for C$436,500. In Mississauga, both a business centre and a recreational area, affordable housing costs C$290,000.
Toronto offers excellent healthcare facilities. Among the leading hospitals are: Princess Margaret Hospital, Canada’s leading cancer hospital and the Hospital for Sick Children; one of the world’s largest pediatric science centres.
There are excellent education options. Sheridan College, the Harvard of animation, is a leader in digital education. The Schulich School of Business was ranked among the top 25 Masters of Business Administration (MBA) programmes in the world in 2004. Ontario College of Art and Design is Canada’s largest institute dedicated to the education of professional artists and designers.
Among the city’s most distinctive features is its cosmopolitan nature – about 44% of all immigrants in Canada settle in the Greater Toronto Area.
Every municipality maintains parks with pleasant footpaths and nature trails. The Lake Ontario shoreline is dotted with marinas, beaches and dozens of major recreational facilities
Toronto is the third largest live theatre centre in the English-speaking world and home of The National Ballet of Canada. An eclectic range of museums, galleries and exhibition spaces contribute to the city’s diverse art scene, including the Royal Ontario Museum and the Art Gallery of Ontario.
Calgary ranked second in the category; Oakville, Ontario and Edmonton tied for third place.
Toronto provides good medical facilities as does the City of London with its London Health Sciences Centre, and the City of Hamilton with the Hamilton Health Sciences, among others.
Education is a leading attraction, too, with the University of Waterloo, University of Guelph, and Toronto’s York University. A broad range of PhD programmes and research, as well as medical schools, is available. There are 869 private schools, 366 secondary schools and 720 elementary schools in Ontario.
The province offers a diverse culture, climate and tourism activities. The art scene thrives, including festivals of playwrights George Bernard Shaw and William Shakespeare. The Royal Ontario Museum and Art Gallery of Ontario are located there. The Four Seasons Centre for Performing Arts is due to open next year, which will be the new home of the National Ballet and Canadian Opera.
Millions of tourists visit Ontario annually to see popular attractions like Niagara Falls, Thousand Islands and CN Tower.
Alberta came second in the category and Prince Edward Island third.
BEST FDI PROMOTION:
Toronto is a well-promoted city. The Greater Toronto Metropolitan Area promotes the city to international audiences at trade shows, seminars, conferences and through targeted investment attraction missions and ‘pre-qualified meetings’, primarily aimed at the US and the UK, its major trading partners and investors, as well as India and Australia. In the long term, other parts of Europe and Asia are potential target regions.
Among the most important factors in securing investment is the pool of well-educated, creative and culturally-diverse people who are key to developing a globally competitive economy. Among major cities, Toronto is the third most competitive jurisdiction worldwide for business costs. The Greater Toronto Area offers a sophisticated, safe, comfortable and cosmopolitan lifestyle that is affordable.
Investment incentives available to potential investors include the Co-operative Education Tax Credit, which provides up to C$1000 per co-op placement; the Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) programme, which offers a refundable tax credit of up to 35%; and the Ontario Automotive Investment Strategy, a new five-year C$500m programme that is designed to support private investment.
Oakville, in Ontario, ranked second in this category and Waterloo, in Ontario, came third.
Ontario has a dynamic FDI promotion strategy in place that involves Invest Ontario, a programme that markets the advantages of the province to the international business community. The marketing campaign is aggressive and designed to attract, expand and retain investment. The campaign uses paid advertising and unpaid media to increase awareness, and an international sales force to generate new investment leads and build relationships with potential investors.
Among some of the most important factors in influencing investment into Ontario are performance on competitive corporate tax rates, labour costs and overall productivity and quality of workforce, and easy access to North American Free Trade Agreement nations.
A variety of investment incentives is available to potential investors.
Alberta came second in the category and Nova Scotia came third.