Situated on the shores of Lake Ontario, Toronto is the capital of the province of Ontario and, with a population of more than 2.6 million, the largest city in Canada and the fifth largest in North America. Including the surrounding suburbs, the Greater Toronto Area has more than 5.5 million residents. This number is expected to grow to nearly 7.5 million by 2031. Diversity and multiculturalism are hallmarks of Toronto life, with nearly 50% of city residents born outside of Canada as of the last census. More than 180 languages and dialects are spoken by Toronto’s citizens, offering employers a labour pool well-suited to doing business around the world.
Toronto is considered the financial capital of Canada – home to more corporate headquarters than any other Canadian city, along with the country’s five largest banks, many of its largest insurers and pension plan funds, and the Toronto Stock Exchange, which is the second largest in North America and lists more energy and mining stocks than any other in the world. In addition, the city is an important base of operations for publishing, media, telecommunications, film production and information technology.
Toronto is Canada’s largest office market, and among the five largest in North America, with inventory in excess of 168 million square feet. Toronto’s office market houses a diverse tenant base, including financial and professional services, law firms, and the head offices of resources and mining companies. The last five years have seen a revival in development projects in the city’s downtown, expanding the traditional boundaries of the district as new building sites have been located both within and just outside the downtown core. Office submarkets along the subway lines in midtown and at the north end of the city offer good alternatives within the city limits, while the suburbs also boast a wide selection of spaces.
With more than 5 million consumers in the Greater Toronto Area, the city’s stock of retail real estate has historically enjoyed low vacancy rates and stable rental rates. Regional malls and big-box centres scattered across the region augment the city’s smaller plazas and local shopping amenities. As Canada’s largest retail market, Toronto has attracted the attention of retailers from around the world. Over the past five years, high-end retail chains have contributed to the up-market transformation of the posh Bloor-Yorkville area, creating the city’s premier designer-brand shopping district.
With more than 850 million square feet of space, the Greater Toronto Area industrial market is Canada’s largest and among the top three on the continent. Traditionally part of the manufacturing heartland, the area is undergoing a transition from manufacturing to a focus on warehousing, logistics and distribution, with some of the largest logistics and supply-chain management companies operating facilities in the area. With 120 million people living within a 500-mile radius of Toronto, the city benefits from its proximity to the most densely populated part of Canada and the United States, the 400-series highways, cross-border railway distribution lines, and air and sea cargo connections to the rest of the world.
Toronto, like the Canadian market overall, is viewed internationally as a safe, stable and transparent place to invest, and thus has attracted attention from foreign buyers. Given the institutional-grade quality of assets in the city, the size of the market and the high profile it enjoys among the international commercial real estate investment community, it is not surprising that Toronto captures the lion’s share of dollar volume in the Canadian investment market.
Avison Young’s presence in Toronto began with the founding of Avison & Associates in 1989 and has grown steadily ever since. Avison Young’s brokerage team in Toronto has consistently completed major leasing and investment sales transactions involving all types of assets on behalf of tenants, landlords, vendors and buyers alike, including many large national and international corporate clients. As Toronto serves as the national headquarters for many corporations, Avison Young’s Toronto office frequently partners with the company’s brokerage operations in both Canada and the United States, collaborating on transactions for branch offices, distribution and retail facilities across the continent.