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As the North American leader in attracting greenfield capital investment for the second straight year, with a total of US$7.1 billion, it is no surprise that several Ontario cities feature prominently in the 2015/2016 American Cities of the Future report. FDi, a division of Financial Times Limited, ranked 421 locations across North and South America across five categories: economic potential, business friendliness, human capital and lifestyle, cost-effectiveness and connectivity.
Ontario cities named in the report include Toronto, Mississauga, Ottawa, Brampton, London, Hamilton, Oshawa, Waterloo, Cambridge, Windsor, Burlington, Niagara Falls, Brantford, Sarnia, Chatham-Kent and Pickering.
In the major American cities category, Toronto rounds out the top five, ahead of Atlanta, Miami and Chicago. Toronto is a dynamic, diverse and vibrant city that generates $304 billion annually. Accounting for about 20% of Canada's GDP, it serves as the nation's financial and business capital.
Toronto is a city of great economic potential and our talented, highly educated and multicultural workforce makes it an ideal city for business investment. We look forward to doing business with you.
-John Tory, Mayor of Toronto
Toronto also placed third in business friendliness, fourth for FDI strategy, seventh in economic potential and 10th for connectivity.
Among its many accolades, Mississauga is recognized for being an early adopter of technology and the third most connected large city in the western hemisphere. Mississauga also placed fourth for business friendliness, ahead of large U.S. sites including Austin, Seattle and Tampa. Mississauga came in fifth for FDI strategy and rounded out the top 10 overall.
Mississauga has a surplus of talented, skilled and educated human capital, and is home to world-class post-secondary institutions, including the University of Toronto Mississauga and Sheridan College's Pilon School of Business. We are strategically located in the heart of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, connected by an extensive network of highways, railways and Canada's largest airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport.
–Bonnie Crombie, Mayor of Mississauga
Ottawa is quickly establishing itself as one of the top hubs for technology innovation in North America. Recently named by the Mercer cost of living index as the most affordable among U.S. and Canadian cities, Ottawa also tops the mid-sized category for business friendliness.
Our knowledge-based industry is burgeoning, with more than 1,700 technology companies here employing over 66,000 people. Our high rankings stand testament to our continuing efforts to cut red tape and to create a business ecosystem that gives investors every reason to choose Ottawa.
– Jim Watson, Mayor of Ottawa
Overall, Ottawa joins Raleigh and Oakland, rounding out the top three, and landing ahead of popular sites including Birmingham, Alabama and Richmond, Virginia. Ottawa also places second in economic potential, sixth for FDI strategy and 10th for human capital and lifestyle.
Brampton is Canada's ninth-largest city. It has a diverse population, state-of-the-art recreation facilities and prospering industries supported by a growing transit network. Adding to Brampton's 2015/16 first place ranking for FDI Strategy, the city placed third for connectivity, seventh for business friendliness and ninth overall in 2015.
Brampton is the second fastest-growing city in Canada with a young, well-educated and diverse population. Every day, we look for ways to showcase our unique city in the global economic community as the right location for business and investment. We are working closely with business and other levels of government to put in place the right investments, which will support an excellent quality of life and a livable, vibrant community. I am proud of our city and what we have to offer the world and I am proud of this recognition.
– Linda Jeffrey, Mayor of Brampton
Brampton has consistently won fDi awards in multiple categories since 2011/12.
Situated halfway between Toronto and Detroit, London is a regional hub for distribution and home to more than 20,000 businesses across a wide variety of sectors, including advanced manufacturing, food and beverage processing, life sciences, and digital creative sectors. Industry leaders located in London, include 3M Canada, Nestle Canada, Cargill Canada, TD Canada Trust and Labatt. FDi named London the second most business friendly city in the mid-sized category and ninth for FDI strategy.
International companies such as Dr. Oetker (Germany) and Natra (Spain) have recently chosen London for investment in North America. London offers benefits to every industry, including a vast pool of skilled labour, 14 original equipment manufacturer (OEM) facilities within a two-hour trucking distance, easy access to raw materials from surrounding farms, and a very affordable cost of living. FDi named London the second most business friendly city in the mid-sized category (2015/16) and ninth for FDI strategy.
Hamilton ranked fourth in connectivity and 10th in FDI strategy in the 2015/2016 FDi report. According to the Conference Board of Canada, Hamilton is Canada's most diversified and Ontario's fastest growing economy. The city is a national manufacturing hub, with burgeoning life sciences and food processing sectors.
Hamilton has welcomed billions of dollars in economic activity and investment over the past several years, and with shovel-ready employment and development lands, a newly announced LRT line and a waterfront poised for new development, the pieces are in place for many more years of significant growth.
– Fred Eisenberger, Mayor of Hamilton
Hamilton is also home to McMaster University, one of Canada's leading research institutions for health sciences and engineering, and to Canada's first human embryonic stem cell library.
Recognized for its FDI strategy, the City of Oshawa, places alongside American cities such as Sunnyvale, California, in fifth place in the small city category.
Companies that locate in Oshawa enjoy competitive costs, access to state-of-the-art research facilities and the brightest young minds of the future.
– John Henry, Mayor of Oshawa
Located just 60 km from downtown Toronto, this dynamic city of 159,000 excels in post-secondary education with three universities and a community college, and has a deep-water port and an executive-level airport. With a diverse economic base including advanced manufacturing, health sciences, energy, multi-modal logistics and information technology, Oshawa lives up to its slogan: "Prepare to be amazed."
Waterloo ranked second overall in the small cities category, second for human capital and lifestyle, fourth for economic potential and seventh for business friendliness. As one of the world's top intelligent communities, Waterloo boasts a knowledge economy that is globally recognized and is home to major employers, global think tanks, leading finance and insurance companies, and world-renowned post-secondary institutions.
When you pair unparalleled talent with a collaborative and supportive business community, and add to the mix, safe neighbourhoods, a strong arts and culture scene and recreation for all ages, you create an exceptional quality of life. Waterloo is the place to be and the world is watching.
– Mayor Dave Jaworsky, City of Waterloo
Waterloo's prosperity is at an all-time high and it consistently exceeds provincial averages for wealth, educational attainment, and talent. From urban design and architecture awards to sustainability and economic development awards, Waterloo wins local, provincial and global acclaim as a premier destination for success.
Cambridge is home to Toyota Canada, Rimowa's North American headquarters and a thriving food-manufacturing sector that benefits from an internationally recognized Institute of Food Processing Technology at Conestoga College.
Cambridge's strategic location, skilled workforce and high quality of life make it the ideal city for relocating or expanding your business. In the heart of Canada's "technology triangle," Cambridge offers a diverse economy, ready to meet today's business needs.
– Mayor Doug Craig, City of Cambridge
At ninth place, Cambridge joins Chattanooga, Tennessee and Plano, Texas as one of the ten most business friendly cities in the small city category. Drawing upon the hotbed of highly skilled talent in the Waterloo Region, Cambridge attracts businesses large and small to its diverse local economy.
The Windsor-Essex region enjoys an exceptional central location with access to half of North America's population within an eight-hour drive. Windsor is the second most business-friendly city in the small city category, according to FDi.
The Windsor-Essex region is widely recognized as a pre-eminent location for making, growing and moving goods. Our region will continue to play to its strengths in advanced manufacturing, agri-business, transportation and logistics, and life sciences sectors to create a stronger, more diverse and sustainable local economy. The region continues to commit to having one of the most business friendly environments anywhere - this is our differentiator and makes us attractive to investors.
– Drew Dilkens, Mayor of the City of Windsor
Windsor's FedEx-anchored cargo hub and Institute for Border Logistics and Security assists small and medium-sized companies to develop, test and implement technology for supply chain operations. The city also benefits from its transportation and logistics strengths, agri-business, advanced manufacturing sectors and a newly launched life sciences hub.
Consistently ranked as one of Canada's Best Places to Live, Burlington is also the eighth most business friendly environment among small cities, joining its neighbour, Cambridge, and Plano, Texas.
Burlington is well positioned as an economic centre with its prime location in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. We also have a talent pool of approximately two million people to draw from within a 45-minute commute. Those factors, combined with the recent redevelopment of the Burlington Economic Development Corporation add up to a bright future for economic development in our city.
– Rick Goldring, Mayor of Burlington
Innovative businesses locating in Burlington benefit from their proximity to several top post-secondary institutions, including McMaster University, University of Toronto, Ryerson University, University of Waterloo, and Guelph University.
FDi listed Niagara Falls sixth in cost-effectiveness among micro-cities in the western hemisphere. Bordering New York State, where $62 billion of trade crosses between Canada and the United States annually, Niagara Falls is best known as a world-renowned tourism brand. But the city's attractiveness goes beyond its famous scenery; global innovators are drawn to a variety of investment opportunities in advanced manufacturing, food and wine processing, professional services and digital media.
Niagara Falls has a distinctive global brand for business. We are fortunate to have great investor opportunities to attract world attention. Led by our strength in tourism, and with an increasingly diversified economic landscape, we are leading the way in growth and development in the global markets. We've always been the place to be. Now we're the place to grow, too!
— Mayor Jim Diodati
The 2015/2016 FDi report recognized Brantford in several categories, including eighth overall among micro-cities, fifth for human capital, lifestyle and business-friendliness, and eighth in cost-effectiveness.
Brantford continues to rank as a top 10 City of the Future as we are a progressive 21st century community, uniquely positioned for business development.
– Chris Friel, Mayor of Brantford
Brantford's success in attracting and retaining foreign investors is a direct result of the community's key competitive advantages: strategic location, access to large urban markets, a progressive labor force, robust infrastructure, favorable real estate values and a pro-business local government.
Located at the centre of the Great Lakes, on the St. Lawrence Seaway system, Sarnia has been the preeminent Canadian chemical and refining cluster in eastern Canada since 1942.
Sarnia Lambton is recognized globally as a leader in being business friendly because of a community-based, collaborative, strategic and innovative approach that engages business, labour, First Nations, educators and local government in working together to create a climate of support and opportunity for business.
– Mike Bradley, Mayor of Sarnia
BioAmber and NOVA Chemicals are two recent major investors who benefit from Sarnia's Bioindustrial Innovation Centre, Sustainable Chemical Alliance and the University of Western Ontario Research Parks. FDi ranked Sarnia eighth among North American micro-cities for business-friendliness.
Chatham-Kent is the western hemisphere's ninth most business friendly environment among micro-cities, with investors appreciating the skilled workforce, low operating costs, and wide range of suppliers and potential partners.
Cultivating sustainable economic growth is our number one priority. We work hard and effectively with investors and our business community to make sure they're getting the support they need.
– Randy Hope, Mayor of Chatham-Kent
More than a million Canadians live within one-hour of Chatham-Kent, an active urban and rural community right in the heart of North America. Easy highway access to Canadian and U.S. markets, and competitive land costs, make Chatham-Kent a great place to locate.
Ranked in the top ten among micro-cities for connectivity and business friendliness (6th, 10th), Pickering also boasts a highly educated workforce and is poised to become an energy-efficient and transit-supportive urban community.
Pickering is emerging as one of Ontario's economic powerhouses, and is expected to lead the nation in growth over the next 25 years. With the advent of Seaton and a potential airport, Pickering offers unrivalled investment opportunities.
– Dave Ryan, Mayor of Pickering
Pickering's diverse and robust economy includes Ontario's strongest energy, environment and engineering cluster, and Durham Region's largest industrial base.
The province of Ontario offers an environment where new ideas can flourish. With the lowest overall business costs in the G7, one of the most internationally competitive corporate tax rates and the most educated workforce of all OECD countries, opportunity exists for those starting or growing businesses in industries such as: Aerospace, Automotive, Financial Services, Food and Beverage Manufacturing, Information Technology, Life Sciences, Mining, Tourism and Water Technology.
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All figures are in Canadian dollars unless otherwise noted. Information is accurate at the time of publication.