Toronto is now the third-largest tech hub in North America
The New York Times continues to discover that Toronto, the fourth-largest city on this continent, is more than a multicultural melting pot with great food and a propensity for pumping out superstars.
According to the prestigious American newspaper, we now live in what can also be considered a "quietly booming tech town." Lol, town.
"As the tech industry continues to expand and communities all over the world compete for tech jobs outside Silicon Valley, many executives, investors and entrepreneurs are promoting warm climes like Austin and Miami as the next big tech hubs," wrote NYT technology correspondent Cade Metz in a piece published Monday morning.
"But they are tiny tech communities compared with the new hub growing in the cool air along the shore of Lake Ontario."
A great read about Toronto's tech ecosystem and why it works (education, immigration policy, talent, government investment), with a focus on AI.
Crediting "years of investment from local universities, government agencies and business leaders and Canada's liberal immigration policies," Metz declares (based on data from CBRE) that "Toronto is now the third-largest tech hub in North America," trailing only behind New York City and Silicon Valley.— Keerthana Rang (@keerthanarang) March 21, 2022
Also, Toronto being called a 'town' in the headline 😅 We are the fourth largest city in North America! https://t.co/0QhGl7buf9
This is far from the first feather in Toronto's cap, however. The city has been popping up over the past few years in more and more various rankings of the biggest, best, and top tech-related cities.
We're number one, according to CBRE, for high-tech job growth, and consistently rank as one of the best cities in North America for tech talent. The Global Entrepreneurship Network currently ranks Toronto as 14th on its list of the top startup ecosystems in the world, and fDi Intelligence recently put Toronto in second place (behind New York) on its list of North America's top "cities of the future."
Homegrown startups like Shopify and Wattpad are killing it on the world stage, while institutions such as U of T and the University of Waterloo continue to advance important technologies and pump out highly-desirable grads.
"In and around Toronto, local institutions are intent on feeding the tech ecosystem. Ontario recently passed a law that explicitly bars companies from enforcing noncompete clauses in employment contracts, encouraging employees to found their own start-ups," reads the Times piece.
"Backed by a $100 million donation from local business leaders, the University of Toronto is building a complex that will house A.I. and biotech companies."
Toronto now has the third most tech workers of any North American city. Canada has benefited from bad US immigration policy. Ontario has also smartly banned non competes. https://t.co/NlI0UW7kKA— Michael Jackson (@WorkMJ) March 21, 2022
The piece gives much-deserved credit to individuals associated with Toronto, such as artificial intelligence innovator Dr. Geoffrey Hinton, oft hailed as "The Godfather of Deep Learning," and Waabi founder / U of T prof / Canada Research Chair Dr. Raquel Urtasun.
It also highlights the exciting work of researchers like Aidan Gomez and Nick Frosst, whose AI company "specializes in technology that helps machines understand the natural way people write and talk."
And then there are all of the American giants opening up shop north of the border: Amazon, Netflix, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, IBM, Infosys, Wayfair, Stripe, Tiktok, Reddit, Pinterest, DoorDash and Hubspot have all created or expanded offices in Toronto over the past decade because of, according to Metz, "the researchers and engineers who are already here."
Experts believe Toronto is well-poised to develop an even larger talent pool in future years thanks to our prestigious academic institutions, strong government investment programs, and immigration laws (it's a lot harder to work in the U.S. for a skilled immigrant than it is in Canada.)
100% this. This generation of young people in Toronto are going up against the hottest RE market in the world, and ensuring a lifeline for locals to be able to build careers and lives here—not just outsiders who move in for a job—is cricual. @3_stan https://t.co/AXTihPwEKU pic.twitter.com/0PhVdnfoax— eric zaworski.eth 🔆 (@ericzawo) March 21, 2022
According to Toronto Global, an "arms-length organization" that works with all three levels of government to promote tech investment in The 6ix, the Toronto region graduates over 25,000 STEM students every year and already has nearly 300,000 people employed in tech related jobs.
"Investment in new Toronto companies is still tiny compared with Silicon Valley. In 2021 and 2022, investors pumped $132 billion into Silicon Valley tech start-ups, according to the research firm Tracxn. In Toronto, that figure was $5.4 billion," notes the Times. "But ultimately, it is tech talent that drives a tech hub."
Let's hope we can retain said tech talent despite an ever-worsening housing crisis... and hope that we're not the next San Francisco, as far as real estate is concerned.
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