Canada is racing up the charts to being home to much of the world’s top tech talent. That has the potential to change the game for big international tech company titans, as well as fueling commercial real estate expansion throughout the nation’s provinces.


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New data from National Real Estate Investor and CBRE reveals North America’s top cities for tech talent. Big companies are still very much in the mode of chasing tech talent. They are used to relocating and locating offices where the talent is. That means these cities could receive more investment and incoming employers.

For the first time Canada has placed a city in the top 5 on this list. In fact, this year Canada has 3 cities ranked in the top 20. This includes Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto.

Toronto ranked 4th, just after San Francisco, Seattle and Washington DC, but ahead of New York. Data shows Toronto now has a tech talent pool that is 241,400 workers strong, a 51.% increase since 2012. While office rent per square foot is high at $34.49, the average wage reported in this space is only $64,205 per year.

Unfortunately, as with many other big tech cities of the last few years, Toronto has also become incredibly expensive and competitive. Fierce battles for commercial real estate and the best tech talent can make it more and more expensive to operate and do business, and less and less profitable. In turn that leads to a need to expand and look further afield for space and staff.

We’ve already seen some benefits of this waterfall effect in Alberta. Look at Edmonton, which has a vibrant startup and entrepreneurial scene. It offers cheaper retail and office space, as well as more affordable rents. Rents alone are one of the big reasons big tech firms and venture capitalists are changing how and where they are doing business. Peter Thiel (former PayPal co-founder and VC) recently pulled out of Silicon Valley because much of the money he was funding new startups with just ended up going to fund entrepreneurs’ rent instead of product development and business growth. Places like Edmonton give tech companies a lot more flexibility and potential when it comes to affordably hiring workers, and expanding space.


Canada is making major strides in attracting and developing hot tech talent. That is highly appealing to international technology companies and employers. While we’re already seeing some of the side effects of this compounding real estate prices in cities like Toronto, the best could be yet to come for secondary cities like Edmonton, as they enjoy the waterfall effect of this activity spilling over into more affordable and profitable marketplaces.

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