Business Districts: A New Model for Understanding Our Economy and Guiding Recovery

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. Click below to learn more about each Business District and read the reports.

Metropolitan Centre

This is the dominant urban centre of a region, defined by its density and variety of service industries – such as marketing, consulting, finance, and tourism. It also hosts the greatest concentration of professional services workers.

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Goods Production & Distribution

Areas defined by the production and movement of goods – such as manufacturing, warehousing, and logistics. This District contains a large share of the region’s essential businesses and workers that have worked on-site throughout the pandemic.

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Services & Mixed Use

Less dense areas containing a mix of goods- and services-based activities including professional, industrial, and retail operations. The District is diverse in its economic operations and contains a significant number of essential businesses and workers that continue to operate, despite pandemic restrictions on other activities.

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Regional Centres

Suburban and urban centres that are home to civic and government institutions, as well as professional and retail businesses that serve local workers and nearby residents.

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Knowledge Creation

Engines of the innovation ecosystem, which contain key players in the regional economy, including post-secondary, medical science, and research institutions. This district’s recovery will be essential to the region’s future prosperity.

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

Pilot Zones: highlighting the needs and learnings of a business district

We focused on three areas across the greater Toronto area to determine needs and solutions that can be applied to similar districts, globally. In each, we established a pilot zone, where we engaged key organizations to explore that zone’s needs to operate safely through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Financial District Pilot Zone

Pearson Employment Area Pilot Zone

Scarborough Centre Pilot Zone

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Data Guide

Learn how to apply this framework to your own region

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