Last summer I walked the Toronto harbour and discovered some of the city’s gems: vast green space, funky live music, lots of food and stunning views of Lake Ontario. I later looked over the cityscape from the CN Tower—a striking 147 floor tourist hotspot and telecommunications tower. The overlook offers views of the Toronto Islands, the Niagara Falls as well as downtown and the waterfront. I also walked the streets admiring the beautiful architecture and mix of tourists and locals rushing by me. The buzz about town was almost palpable. Toronto isn’t just Canada’s largest city. And it isn’t just the capital of the Ontario province. It lies at the center of Canada tourism, industry and media. It’s also the heart of Canada sports and sports jobs.
Even the most informed fans fail to recognize Toronto as the sports town it is. Yet the city of over 2.6 million residents boasts five professional sports teams—the Maple Leafs, Raptors, Blue Jays, Toronto FC and the Canadian Football League’s Argonauts. The Maple Leafs, part of the National Hockey League’s Original Six, are perennially in the top ten in home attendance. The most valuable franchise in the NHL has thirteen Stanley Cup championships—second only to the Montreal Canadiens—but hasn’t hoisted one since 1967. Its leadership has the resources, now they just need the talent. Raptors President & GM Masai Ujiri has a plan to bring the only Canadian-based NBA franchise its first championship. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan led the team to a franchise record 49 wins last season and Uijiri has added key defensive pieces this offseason to take the next step. The Blue Jays big bats—Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion—have the team once again challenging in the AL East. While the Jays haven’t won a title for over two decades, it’s a top ten spending franchise striving to compete on an annual basis. Toronto FC is just a decade young and already ranks as the fifth most valuable Major League Soccer franchise by Forbes. These professional teams, along with the Toronto Argonauts CFL team and a handful of amateur clubs, make Toronto a true sports town. But don’t kid yourself, it’s much more than just a sports town.
New York is the finance and business capital of America. Los Angeles is its film and television industry hub. And San Francisco’s Silicon Valley is at the heart of US technology. Toronto is all that (and more) for the country of Canada. Generally considered the finance center of Canada, the Ontario capital hosts the Toronto Stock Exchange, one of the world’s largest exchanges, as well as all five of the country’s largest financial institutions. Major corporations like Bell Media, Rogers Communications and Torstar fill the offices of Toronto skyscrapers as do dozens of other business including: Sun Life Financial, Hudson’s Bay Company, General Electric Canada, Coca-Cola Canada, BMO Financial Group and CIBC. Unsurprisingly, Toronto is also Canada’s largest media market. Major newspaper and digital content companies—Toronto Star, Toronto Sun, The Global and Mail, National Post—are headquartered within the city limits. Higher learning is another critical piece of Toronto’s success. Canada’s largest university, the University of Toronto, was established in 1827 and is home to nearly 50,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Other institutions, like York University and Ryerson University, provide plenty of schooling options to students seeking a first-class learning experience in a first-class town. Canadian media, education and finance all find their way to Toronto because the city’s government, population size and infrastructure gives businesses and people the greatest chance at success.
Why should you call Toronto home? Its population growth is stunning for one. Nearly 200,000 new residents have relocated to the city within the last decade. While growth in major US cities like Chicago have ground to a halt, Toronto is still on the climb. The diverse city offers excellent public transit, clean streets, unique neighborhoods, safety and plenty of culture—the buzzing theatre and performing arts scene includes half-a-dozen operas, ballet and dance troupes as well as orchestras and theatres. So enjoy Toronto, watch its sports teams, join the Toronto sports industry and a live in a metropolitan city that offers something for everybody.