What Amazon Could Do To the Toronto Tech Scene

Toronto is one of the 20 finalists for Amazon’s second headquarters, dubbed HQ2. According to CNET, it’s viewed as a bit of a dark horse for the final choice, especially as it is the only city outside of the United States to have made the current shortlist.

But there are a lot of reasons Amazon may choose Toronto in the end. For starters, Toronto added 22,500 new technology jobs in 2017, according to the CBRE’s 2017 North American Scoring Tech Talent report. And those jobs added up — Toronto went from 12th to sixth in the overall annual ranking. That’s a pretty big jump.

Toronto also has highly skilled and diverse locals to fill technology jobs. There’s a lot of talent in the Greater Toronto Area that Amazon may want to tap into. Instead of having to bring in a lot more people to staff a new headquarters, the company could pull from the talented workforce that’s already there.

After all, another big company, Sidewalk Labs, seems to be doing just that. Sidewalk Labs, part of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is already bringing a huge tech project to Toronto. It’s planning a 12-acre plot on the waterfront to be made into a connected neighborhood and living lab, and a hub of urban development.

There are some great indicators of what Toronto could do for Amazon. But why could Amazon do to Toronto when it comes to the tech industry there?

A few years back, Tech Crunch noted that Toronto could be the tech great producer of teach startups. That’s largely proved true. One worry when it comes to what Amazon could do to the overall tech scene is that a giant like Amazon might slow some of that growth.

Plus, when Amazon established itself in Seattle, it definitely drove up real estate prices there. That’s certainly something that could happen in Toronto, which is already stretched thin when it comes to affordable housing for young professionals.

But there are also a lot of positives that Amazon could bring to the Toronto tech scene. For instance, the company said will generate $5 billion in investment and could result in 50,000 new hires. That’s obviously a super attractive prospect for the city.

The company employs 45,000 people in its current Seattle headquarters and has completely transformed the city and surrounding areas in everything from real estate to culture to tech and more. A new headquarters in Toronto has the potential to do the same thing, for better or worse.

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