When you think of the GTA as a hotbed of innovation and a magnet for newcomers looking to relocate, the Town of Richmond Hill
may not be the first locale that springs to mind. But according to a study of 50 cities conducted by the Conference Board of Canada
, the suburban municipality just north of Toronto is among Canada's elite "City Magnets."
not that Richmond Hill blows away everybody on all the indicators,"
says Mario Lefebvre, director the Conference Board's Centre for
Municipal Studies, "but it offers a perfect mix of very well-balanced
results across the field." Lefebvre notes that Richmond Hill was second
in all of Canada in the "Innovation" category of the study, a result of
its high proportion of well-educated citizens and of those employed in
the sciences or in computer-related fields. It also did notably well in
the "Education" category, partially a result of the high ratio of
teachers to students in its school system.
Of course, for some
people whose sense of Yonge Street is already oriented north of
Steeles, the news was no surprise. "We have always known that Richmond
Hill is a great place to live, play and work," said Mayor Dave Barrow
in a statement by email. "But it's always nice when it's statistically
proven and people outside the community recognize this as well."
The Conference Board of Canada is a non-profit public policy think tank. The report, entitled "City Magnets II: Benchmarking the Attractiveness of 50 Canadian Cities
graded municipalities for their performance in seven major categories
thought to be attractive to migrants: Society, Health, Economy,
Environment, Education, Innovation, and Housing. Alongside Richmond
Hill, Calgary, Waterloo, Vancouver, St. John's and Ottawa also managed
an overall "A" grade. Five GTA cities scored "B" grades on the
survey (Markham, Vaughan, Oakville, Toronto and Burlington), with the
region securing five of the 14 top spots.
Many might have
expected the City of Toronto to score better, particularly since it
attracts some 85,000 immigrants per year from outside the country, more
than any other city in Canada -- surely a testament to its status as a
"magnet." But Lefebvre notes that this is partially offset by the
25,000 people per year who migrate out of Toronto to other Canadian
cities. "Some of those 25,000 were originally international migrants
who decide to move on.... in this case Montreal and Toronto are not
doing so well when it comes to inter-city and inter-provincial
migration," he says.
Writer: Edward Keenan
Sources: Mario Lefebvre, Director, Centre for Municipal Studies, Conference Board of Canada
Office of Dave Barrow, Mayor, Town of Richmond Hill