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Movement of People

Insights from TELUS Geo-intelligence that examines movement patterns within Canada
Business people riding publick transit

Highlights as of April 2022:

  • The pandemic has had a lasting impact on the movement of workers and visitors across the Innovation Corridor, particularly in employment areas or Business Districts.
  • Each of the COVID-19 waves coincided with sharp drops in the volume of trips to Business Districts. The impacts were least pronounced in the Goods Production and Distribution District (GPDD), where many individuals continued to travel to work as they did not have the ability to work from home.
  • The Metropolitan Centre (MC) and Financial District experienced the most dramatic drops in worker and visitor volumes at the onset of the pandemic. Since then, however, they have both seen a rising number of workers returning to their place of work. In the MC, worker levels were 70% below 2019 levels in June 2020 but as of April 2022 the difference has been reduced to 20%. Similarly, the Financial District had 90% fewer workers in April 2020 relative to 2019 but as of April 2022 that gap is at 66%. Trips to these areas continue to trend upwards.
  • Worker and visitor levels across all Business Districts remain below pre-pandemic levels. This reflects changing behaviours and preferences, particularly for individuals that can continue to work remotely.
  • Data from Avison Young demonstrates that recovery in weekday foot traffic in office buildings has been much slower in Toronto than other North American cities, including Chicago and New York.
  • Still, the long-run changes to mobility patterns across the region remain unknown. As we enter the summer months and COVID-19 moves towards an endemic phase, individual behaviours will likely continue to evolve but trends in return-to-office patterns and the return of domestic and international visitors should be monitored closely.

Exhibits and Charts

All Business Districts experienced a decline in the volume of workers, however the drop was most pronounced in the Metropolitan Centre and the Financial District. Since then, however, they have both seen a rising number of workers returning.

Visitor volumes declined across all Business Districts, most notably in the Metropolitan Centre and the Financial District. Similar to trends seen for workers, both districts are experiencing a rising number of visitors coming back.