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Toronto's Place On Amazon HQ2 Shortlist Means 'It's Team Canada Now'

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Amazon HQ Toronto finalist tech Mayor John Tory
Toronto has been named the lone Canadian finalist for Amazon's highly touted new headquarters.

Toronto Mayor John Tory was sounding a bit like a hockey coach in touting Toronto’s inclusion on the shortlist for Amazon’s new headquarters. 

“We’re in the playoffs now. But we’re still a long way from the prize,” Tory said at a crowded news conference following Amazon's announcement. “This is a team effort. It’s Team Canada now.”

Toronto and 19 other locations will now vie for the chance to host Amazon’s second headquarters, a prize that comes with a $5B investment by Amazon and 50,000 jobs. 

Toronto was the only non-American city to make the list.

“Last year, I said I would put the Toronto region up against any city in North America as the place for ambitious, forward-looking companies looking for a home,” Tory said. “I think the world is taking notice of our incredible success.“

According to the mayor, Toronto’s bid eschewed significant tax incentives to emphasize quality of life and talent, particularly workers in the city’s growing tech industry. Recent studies have named the city as the fastest-growing in North America and the sixth-best tech city in the world based on cost, livability and access to talent.

Mayor John Tory Amazon tech industry STEM AI Toronto
Toronto Mayor John Tory

So what are the chances that Toronto can emerge on top against other finalists like Boston, Chicago or Denver?

In a CBC interview, Canadian telecom entrepreneur Anthony Lacavera said it is unlikely Toronto will become Amazon's next headquarters.

"The Trump administration has been very clear on expectations of prioritizing U.S. domestic job creation and repatriation of jobs that are currently abroad," he said. "I highly doubt Amazon would want to draw any negative fire from the U.S. administration."

When a reporter asked Tory if he thought Amazon might decide to pick Toronto despite that concern, the mayor chose not to speculate.

"[Amazon’s] motivations are to do what’s best for shareholders and customers,” he said. “I’ve learned whether in sports or in politics or in business not to make bets."