4 Best Cities in Canada to Start Your Business

Canada is a land of opportunity, one of vast open lands yet to be discovered and cities that range from the midwestern feel of Winnipeg and Calgary to the Pacific powerhouse of Vancouver, the economic capital of Canada; Toronto, the hub of French Canada, Montreal and finally the Atlantic coast city of Halifax. All of these are bustling hubs in their own right with a different feel, different people and different markets yet all at the same time, open and ready for business.

With such huge territory and diversity, you might wonder where the best place for a business venture may be. We are here to show you just that. Just remember, each city has its own unique demographics and a business that caters to one of those specific demographics may in fact be better suited for another city that is not listed in these 4. Otherwise, when talking in general, according to the statistics, these are the 4 best cities in Canada to choose from.

1) Toronto

This is a city that many looking through information about Canada naturally expect to find at the top of the list for everything. Toronto is a bustling city with an urban population of 3 million, but don’t let that fool you. Toronto features large sprawling suburban cities at its borders which add to its economic prowess and at the end of the day comprising a total population of 6 million in the Greater Toronto Area.

Toronto has been called the economic capital of Canada since the 1980s and makes up about 20% of Canada’s national GDP. Toronto’s GDP has also been growing at a rate faster than the national average, averaging 2.4% growth since 2009 compared to the 1.8% average and with a strong growth rate of 3.3% in 2017. Annual business operating costs are significantly lower than in many other international hubs and its proximity to numerous other population centres in Southern Ontario make it an ideal place to start off.

2) Calgary

Canada’s wild west, a territory that one hundred years ago was known for being the massive frontier from which the nation was supplied with food. Nowadays, however, it has become so much more. Leading the charge in this region has been Calgary, a new city founded in 1875 as nothing more than an outpost fort has bloomed into becoming Canada’s 4th largest metropolitan area with a total population of roughly 1.4 million. Calgary is now known as one of Canada’s most bustling centres.

In fact, it had the highest rate of millionaires per capita out of any major Canadian city in a document published by Calgary Economic Development in 2015. It also contains the highest number of Canadian corporate head offices and 2nd highest small business concentration in major cities. In addition, it boasts a 27% combined corporate tax rate for general business. For startups, however, the combined federal/provincial tax rate is around 14% and varies for manufacturers. The city of Calgary is also offering a unique program of small business incubators in which these ‘incubators’ connect entrepreneurs with mentors and experts who help them to navigate through the early stages of starting up a business. If you are one of these people, with not a lot of experience, Calgary may be your next destination.

3) Vancouver

Almost everyone has heard of Canada’s pacific jewel, Vancouver. A city nestled in between the mountains near a river and supplying Canada’s access to the wider Pacific Ocean. Besides having stunning views, landscapes and wildlife which attract tourists from around the world as well as many from throughout Canada, it also has a thriving small business community. A business venture here will not go to waste. It is a massive hub that connects Canada to trade with East Asia and with a metropolitan population of 2.5 million, it is the 3rd largest city in Canada.

Vancouver is incredibly diverse with many immigrant communities almost to the level of Toronto. This incredible diversity has spurred on large sums of foreingn investment from East Asian economies, in particular, China. Companies such as First West Credit Union, Lululemon Athletica and Expedia Cruises are all based in Vancouver, BC. Vancouver experiences massive annual revenue from the tourism industry with 11 million overnight visitors coming annually to the city. To walk around, see, eat, sleep and most importantly, spend their money.

4) Edmonton

This is perhaps a city that seems out of the way, on the periphery and not really an ideal place to start up your business at first glance. However, a second look at Edmonton can show that there’s much more hiding under the surface than it at first may seem. The city was founded as a fur trading outpost in 1795 but only became more than a fort in the 1890s. In short, just like Calgary, both cities are incredibly modern and reap the benefits of modern infrastructure without having to deal with the constraints of the old. As the capital and 2nd largest city in Alberta, Edmonton has an urban population of 950,000 and a metropolitan area population of 1.3 million. It is also the northernmost city in North America with a population over 1 million.

Edmonton has many things going for it such as the city’s growth rate was higher than the provincial average of 1.9% thus making Edmonton a faster-growing city than Calgary. It is possible in the not-so distant future that Edmonton will become the major hub of Alberta instead of Calgary. The massive Calgary-Edmonton corridor connecting the lifeblood of this province is a great place to set up shop close to the major cities and service your ever-expanding consumer base while also saving up on municipal rent and property taxes.  All of this is convenient although Edmonton still features a very competitive 23% combined corporate tax and 11% for small business (i.e. those with a revenue below $500,000).

Conclusion

To start a business in any of these 4 cities is to unlock yourself to a world of opportunities just waiting out there to be explored. You might be surprised by just how much each city has to offer when it comes to expenses, consumers and overall atmosphere.

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