The MaRS Discovery District, opened in 2005, has rapidly fulfilled its intended function as a hub of research and an accelerator of innovation—an incubator of dozens of start-up companies and a link between researchers, hospitals, universities, entrepreneurs, financiers and venture capitalists. Today, more than 2,300 people are directly employed by the various tenants housed at its College Street MaRS centre, and it recently
an expansion that will see it almost double in square footage and make it, according to the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation
, "the largest urban innovation hub in the world."
The phase two construction—which was always part of the long-term strategy—was halted when the global economic crisis struck in 2008. Now it's back on, with committed tenants and provincial government financing, according to MaRS Discovery District CEO Ilse Treurnicht
The construction, now underway and scheduled for completion in September 2013, will employ 4,000 workers. Information supplied by the office of the minister of innovation suggests the job gains will not all be temporary, either: after completion, 5,000 people are expected to work at the facility, including employees of anchor tenants Public Health Ontario and the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research.
"Today, start-ups are blooming and growing across the GTA," Treurnicht writes
. "These young, high-growth companies create the majority of new jobs in modern economies.... The expanded MaRS Centre will catalyze more startups and help grow companies that will generate thousands more knowledge-based jobs in the years ahead."
Writer: Edward Keenan
Sources: Ilse Treurnicht, CEO, MaRS Discovery District; Office of the Minister of Research and Innovation; Chris Stevenson
Communications Director, MaRS