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Business Districts and the Regional Economy

Assessing five Districts based on key economic, physical, and workforce characteristics.
Man in warehouse in safety vest

The pandemic has had an uneven impact across the Innovation Corridor*, the commercial capital of the country and one of the fastest growing urban regions in North America.

The Economic Blueprint Institute (EBI) – the Board’s data and research arm – has introduced a Business District framework to better understand the complexity and diversity of the regional economy, the uneven impact of COVID-19, and strategies to support recovery.

For each Business District, EBI has produced reports highlighting considerations for reopening and outlining strategies to help the Region transition from crisis towards opportunities for recovery. See below to learn more about each Business District and read the reports.

* The Innovation Corridor comprises the five Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs) of Oshawa, Toronto, Hamilton, Guelph and Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo.

Understanding our Business Districts

Business Districts are a framework for characterizing, understanding and analyzing the Toronto Region’s economic makeup.  

Initially designed by the Board to assess the pandemic’s impact, Business Districts use research and insights to dive deeper into and map our economy beyond municipal borders – instead characterizing it by how people and goods move, where jobs and infrastructure are and which sectors dominate. 

Man crossing downtown street at dusk
Metropolitan Centre

The Metropolitan Centre has been the most dramatically impacted by the pandemic, with two-thirds of its employees having transitioned to working from home.

Aerial view of parked shipping trucks.
Goods Production & Distribution

The essential nature of manufacturing and logistics means it has seen the least amount of economic disruption during the pandemic.

Smiling cashier with shopper
Services & Mixed Use

The Services and Mixed Use District has a diversity of economic activity that has allowed is to escape major economic disruption during the pandemic.

Mississauga Square One bus stop
Regional Centres

Home to major transit hubs and a high concentration of retail activity, Regional Centres were impacted by the large drop in consumer traffic due to the pandemic.

Doctors conferring
Knowledge Creation

Dominated by the presence of the health care and social assistance and educational services sectors, the Knowledge Creation District is critical to the Region’s innovation ecosystem.

Business Profiles

The impact of the pandemic and economic recovery has been uneven across the Region. Ultimately, it is the businesses within the Region and particular Business Districts that face varying challenges in their transition towards recovery and growth. To complement the findings and analysis of our regional analysis of recovery, we're profiling employers to better understand their challenges, what opportunities they are looking to pursue, and what factors they believe are key to coming out stronger at the other end of the pandemic.