Calgary Ranks Third In Prosperity Survey

Photo by Jerry Bowley
Photo by Jerry Bowley

Calgary took third place in the overall ranking of the Toronto Board of Trade’s third annual Scorecard on Prosperity. Toronto dropped from fourth to eighth place and the highest ranking city was Paris.

What is the Scorecard on Prosperity?

For the third time, the Toronto Board of Trade released its annual Scorecard on Prosperity, which evaluated 24 cities across the world, including Calgary, Tokyo, and New York. These 24 urban regions are all prosperous and globally competitive, striving to attract investment and a skilled work force.

Calgary in the third place

According to the results of the survey, Calgary is probably climbing its way back to the top-ranked metro region position it earned in the 2009 Scorecard. Calgary has the fastest population growth of all cities because it is so attractive for people seeking work. Another significant advantage is Calgary’s housing affordability and clean air, which further underscore its liveability. “Calgary’s success comes from a combination of solid fundamentals in both economy and labour attractiveness, not just from a robust economy,” the Board concluded. Last year, Calgary took the fifth place.

Large gap between Toronto and U.S. cities

Toronto wasn’t as successful and dropped to eighth place. There is a large gap between Toronto and cities like San Francisco and Boston, particularly with regard to productivity and gross domestic product. It is an attractive place to live, though, with the odd glaring exception. The biggest pitfall: Toronto commuting times are the worst of 19 cities surveyed, including Los Angeles. It also doesn’t attract investment to the same degree as comparably-sized American cities. “This is where Toronto gets its worst results,” explained Carol Wilding, chief executive of the Board of Trade.

Calgary’s economy ranks sixth

Calgary got a B grade in the Economy category — the only one of all Canadian CMAs. Toronto is still chasing Calgary, ranked in 11th place with a grade of C. Calgary compensated for near-bottom rankings in venture capital investment, market size, and IPOs with first- or second-place results in income growth, unemployment rate, residential building permit growth, and GDP growth. Calgary’s average GDP growth is 5.3 per cent, the second highest GDP of the 24 regions surveyed. However, no metro region comes close to the phenomenal growth of Hong Kong, with 11.1 per cent.

Best housing affordability and disposable income growth

Housing affordability is a key factor in deciding where to live. Cities and metro areas with better housing affordability are more attractive. Calgary scored an A grade and the first place in this category. Toronto is four places behind Calgary. Disposable income growth in Calgary is 9.8 per cent — 0.7 per cent more than Shanghai, which took second place.

The Board’s report was prepared by the Conference Board of Canada and the Certified Management Accountants of Ontario.

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