Toronto only Canadian city to make #AmazonHQ2 shortlist

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Out of 20 cities, Toronto is the only Canadian city to make the AmazonHQ2 shortlist.

Toronto finds itself in company with cities like New York City, Austin, Raleigh, and Dallas. Amazon expects to invest $5 billion in USD in construction of its second headquarters and hire 50,000 people. After putting out a request for proposals from cities in September, cities like Calgary, Vancouver, and Windsor — who pitched with Detroit with a $136 million incentive package — were among the cities rallying for the retail giant to set up shop in their city.

Toronto was the only Canadian city to share its whole proposal publicly, and laid out its plans in a 189-page bid. Submitted for ‘Toronto Region’ including Greater Toronto Area cities, Toronto outlined the cost savings Amazon could expect if they set up shop in Canada. Like other cities, Toronto made the point that Canada’s free healthcare system meant Amazon could save $600 million a year in health insurance for employees.

Toronto Global, the city’s economic agency, also made the point that Amazon could save $1.5 billion a year on talent compared to the US, meaning that the company could save $15 billion over 10 years. It did not offer additional tax incentives.

The Ontario government also announced that it would invest $30 million in the Vector Institute to graduate at least 1,000 master students with expertise in AI; the goal was to attract Amazon, but the idea was that if the city failed to shortlist, it would still be supporting its tech ecosystem.

“Among the U.S. metros on Amazon’s shortlist, the four that look least like a Seattle-style tech hub are Nashville, Columbus, Indianapolis, and Miami. Let’s call those the biggest surprises on their list,” said Indeed economist Jed Kolko on Twitter. “The least surprising inclusion? Toronto. No way would Amazon have released this long a shortlist after calling this a North American search and not included a Canadian finalist, and Toronto is the clear Canadian choice.”

Over the coming months, Amazon will work closely with each city to to dive deeper into the proposals and evaluate the feasibility of partnerships before making a decision this year.

Jessica Galang

Jessica Galang

Jessica Galang is BetaKit's News Editor. Follow her on Twitter @jessicagalangg or send her pitches to jessica.galang@betakit.com.