Toronto loses out as Amazon splits HQ2 between two U.S. cities
In a long-anticipated decision, Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN.O) announced Tuesday that New York City and Arlington, Virginia will be the new homes to the technology giant’s second headquarters, beating out Toronto in the process.
And while Toronto – the only Canadian city to make Amazon’s shortlist of 20 locations that was narrowed down from 238 bids – didn’t win the US$5 billion investment and thousands of promised jobs, some members of the Canadian tech community are breathing a sigh of relief.
“I am certainly very pleased Toronto did not win this bid,” Anthony Lacavera, the chief executive officer and founder of Globalive Technology, told BNN Bloomberg in an email. “We need to shed the branch-plant economy mindset that has crippled Canada for decades.”
Toronto Mayor John Tory also struck a positive tone after the decision was announced, outlining the benefits the bidding process brought the city.
In a release, Tory said Toronto Global, a team of business advisors that actively seeks global companies interested in expanding in the Toronto area, estimates the bidding process generated approximately $143 million in advertising value for the city, which Tory called “an incredible boost to our ongoing efforts to promote Toronto around the world.”
“I also understand that Toronto Global remains in contact with Amazon and is pursuing follow-up opportunities,” Tory added. “I will continue to support those efforts in any way I can, just as I will continue to encourage all companies to invest and grow in Toronto."
Toronto Global issued its own statement touting the benefits the bidding process brought to the city.
“While the Toronto region was not chosen for Amazon’s HQ2, we still feel like we have won,” the statement read. “Through this process and the exposure received as a result of being the only Canadian city to make the shortlist, the Toronto region is now on the radar screens of companies that would not have otherwise considered locating here.”
And while Amazon said it made its decision primarily because of the winning cities’ ability to attract talent, some in Canada’s tech community say Toronto is still a hot spot.
“Leveraging our population here, leveraging the diversity, leveraging our amazing education system with great graduates from [the University of] Waterloo, the University of Toronto, and many other colleges is giving us an unfair advantage that allows us to tackle the global market much more easily than many other countries,” Wattpad CEO Allen Lau told BNN Bloomberg in a television interview Tuesday.
“So we should definitely leverage that.”