While the fight for the latest Amazon HQ is long over, many of the cities who lost out on hosting the tech giant's newest home are left still wondering why they weren't chosen. Torontonians were especially a little shocked that Amazon wouldn't be establishing a Canadian HQ after all, despite Toronto making it to Amazon's shortlist of candidates.
Unfortunately, the reasoning behind Amazon looking to other pastures wasn't necessarily because they were greener, but because they were cheaper. It looks like in the case of this latest HQ, the destination had everything to do with tax breaks and financial incentives - in other words, the city that could offer Amazon the best deal.
Toronto's bid itself advertised the diverse community in the city, the massive amount of current and potential talent amongst Toronto tech workers, as well as overall quality of life in Toronto and Canadian healthcare. The city even teamed up with neighbouring areas such as York, Durham, Waterloo, Guelph and Hamilton, all of whom backed Toronto's pitch.
Unfortunately, even with all of this, plus the reality that Canadian workers would be cheaper to pay in CAD than American employees in USD, Amazon wanted more. That being specific financial incentives such as billions of dollars in tax breaks.
One man, Richard Florida, who spoke with CBC claimed that the "expensive carrots" that cities were putting on the table to entice Amazon to choose them as their new HQ destination was a dangerous game.
Thankfully, Tory was not interested in playing that game, Florida says. "If everyone would've behaved like Toronto and Ontario, this would've been a much better process."
Florida noted that while Amazon coming to a new city brings more jobs and entices new residents, he noted that it can come with costly problems as well. If you spend all your money bringing Amazon to your city in the first place but have no money to maintain all of the new people, it's pointless and destructive. A Stanford professor named Roger Noll even went as far as to say "in terms of local economic activity, there's essentially no benefit" when it comes to the fight for tech giants and their new HQs.
On the bright side, Tory noted earlier this week that over 16,000 people had read Toronto's bid for Amazon's HQ. Meaning that of those 16,000 there could be new companies considering Toronto as their new office's home.
It's definitely too early to see if any large companies similar to Amazon are now considering Toronto as their home base. But since Google decided the city was a good place to create their Sidewalk Labs project, it seems Toronto is officially on the tech map. Whether that's actually a good thing is an entirely different debate.
Source: Toronto Star