Six municipalities in the Greater Toronto Area have banded together in a bid to woo online retailing giant Amazon.com Inc. to set up shop in the region.
Civic leaders from Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Durham Region, Halton Region and York Region have issued a letter pledging a joint bid to be the home of Amazon's planned second North American headquarters, which the company has dubbed HQ2 and suggests could host 50,000 employees.
Leading the combined bid team will be Mark Cohon, a former CFL commissioner and son of McDonald's Canada founder George Cohon, and Janet Ecker, a former Conservative MPP and cabinet member under premier Mike Harris.
"As the commercial centre of the country, this is the Toronto Region's opportunity to showcase our attractive regional building sites, highlight our expansive and rapidly growing technology ecosystem, and introduce the depth and breadth of our global talent pool," the letter reads. "We also look forward to highlighting our unmatched cultural diversity to Amazon executives and frankly, to be a little un-Canadian and show off our amazing quality of life. These are the key attributes Amazon is looking for and we will have an attractive story and creative proposal to share."
The Seattle-based tech giant is conducting a North American search for a new administrative centre, and has detailed its many conditions in a Request For Proposal document. Among the requirements are a "stable and business-friendly environment and tax structure." The document also asks interested cities to list potential financial inducements or incentive programs.
Notable for its absence from the combined bid was Waterloo Region, which forms the other end of the Toronto-Waterloo corridor that Toronto Mayor John Tory has talked up in his comments about luring Amazon to Southern Ontario.
According to Daniel Bitonti, a spokesperson for Ontario's Minister of Economic Development and Growth, Brad Duguid, Kathleen Wynne's Liberal government is hearing from municipalities across the province and it's too soon to suggest there is any bid Queen's Park is ready to get behind. The Queen's Park point man on the project remains Ed Clark, former chief executive officer of TD Bank, and the government's goal remains to get Amazon to Ontario.