Toronto shortlisted as a new Amazon HQ2 location

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Toronto was recently shortlisted by Amazon as a candidate site for the company’s massive new headquarters.

Alongside Toronto — which was the only Canadian city shortlisted — there are 19 US cities, including Austin, Boston, Los Angeles and Atlanta.

Over 200 cities began vying to be selected when last year, the e-commerce giant Amazon issued a call for cities to submit proposals to be the potential location of the company’s second headquarters.

In response to Amazon’s call for cities to submit their proposals, Toronto Global — a not-for-profit organization established by the government — put forward a proposal on behalf of the Toronto Region, a phrase they use to refer to the “cities of Toronto, Mississauga, and Brampton and the Regions of Durham, York and Halton as well as the neighbouring municipalities of Guelph, Waterloo Region, and Hamilton.”

The proposal emphasizes Canada’s open immigration policies as well as the abundance of science and technology oriented post-secondary institutions in the Greater Toronto Area, which could potentially bring talent to Amazon.

Amazon has said that they plan on making their new headquarters equal in size to its current headquarters in Seattle, which it claims to have made a tremendous contribution to the local economy.

Specifically, the proposal singles out three of the major universities within the GTA and Waterloo Region: McMaster University, the University of Toronto and the University of Waterloo, for their high stature in global university rankings, with an emphasis on the University of Waterloo’s large and robust co-op program.

Amazon has said that they plan on making their new headquarters equal in size to its current headquarters in Seattle, which it claims to have made a tremendous contribution to the local economy.

Unlike a number of other cities that made the shortlist, however, Toronto did not offer Amazon large subsidies as incentive.

“[It’s] critical to remember that the Toronto Amazon HQ2 bid did not offer subsidies as a way to get at the table. Our proposal touted our quality of life, openness to immigration and current/forthcoming transit investments as the key reasons to come,” Jennifer Keesmaat, former chief city planner for City of Toronto, said in a tweet on Jan. 18 following the announcement.

Excited by the announcement was Toronto mayor, John Tory, who tweeted the potential economic boost which Amazon could bring to the region.

“We have incredible homegrown success stories and Amazon would further accelerate our success by investing more than $5 billion in construction and creating as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs. We are excited to have this opportunity and to be able to tell Toronto’s unique story,” Tory said in a Jan. 18 tweet.

Amazon has said that they plan on making their new headquarters equal in size to its current headquarters in Seattle, which it claims to have made a tremendous contribution to the local economy.

“Amazon estimates its investments in Seattle from 2010 through 2016 resulted in an additional $38 billion to the city’s economy — every dollar invested by Amazon in Seattle generated an additional $1.40 for the city’s economy overall,” reads a statement on Amazon’s website.

The next steps for the selection process include more direct communication between Amazon and prospective cities as well as a deeper analysis of each city’s proposal, per an Amazon press release.

 

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