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San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, and … so many Canadian cities. Canada's tech scene is growing, with Toronto (no surprise there) leading the charge and "spreading the wealth in that sense, and it is growing," our very own CEO of Lighthouse Labs, Jeremy Shaki, put it.

Many Canadian cities are seeing impressive growth in tech, and we’re here for it.

Toronto leads the charge; other cities follow

CBRE's Tech Talent ranking puts Toronto in the top five, after San Francisco, Seattle, New York, and Washington, DC. The big news seems that Toronto fell two places from last year gasp, though it remains in the top five. However, this doesn't paint a clear picture of what's happening in the rest of the country. Calgary was the top market, moving up seven spots from last year, while Waterloo moved up six places, and Quebec City jumped four spots.

Toronto's slight drop in the past year has people talking. Still, between 2017 and 2022, Toronto had the second-highest growth in terms of talent hired (63,800), with Montreal in third, adding 51,500 jobs.

Additionally, markets with the highest tech job growth rates were Vancouver (69%), Calgary (61%), the Waterloo Region (52%), and Edmonton and Madison (45%). Out of the top 20 tech cities, five are Canadian, and another three more round out the top fifty.

Tech in other Canadian cities

As Jeremy clarified, "The tech market is going through an adjustment, not a massive downturn." Toronto is paving the way for other Canadian cities which are growing in popularity for tech workers.

For starters, Google's largest Canadian office is located in Kitchener-Waterloo. Shopify, the online e-commerce platform, has Ottawa booming and making way for more tech talent in the country's capital. In fact, Ottawa boasts the highest concentration of tech workers, 13.3%, higher than San Francisco's 11.6%. The Waterloo Region sits at 10.1%, double the 5.6% average, and Toronto and Seattle (9.5%) round out the top five most concentrated tech markets.

Tech talent in other industries

The beauty of a tech career is flexibility. Those with a technical background can find employment in many industries, even those that don't seem so open to tech.

"Tech overall is growing, non-tech companies are now able to grab some of that talent they weren't able to before like in industries such as finance and oil and gas."

Once again, Ottawa tops the list of tech talent in non-tech industries at a 42% concentration in finance, insurance and real estate.

Looking at the bigger picture

Sensationalist headlines and talking points can lead to assumptions that lack nuance. A top tech city falling a few points pales in comparison to the progress made by other Canadian cities and the fact it's still batting alongside other massive tech hubs like San Francisco.

As Jeremy stated, "There's a lot of room for tech talent still in Toronto, and Toronto is still producing an amazing amount of tech graduates … I do believe that Toronto is still a really strong tech market."

To parrot a common Canadian sentiment, "Canada is more than just Toronto." Ontario's capital and business centre still has a lot to offer, but the fact that the city is stepping back and letting others shine isn't something to be worried about. If anything, we should be excited that Canada's tech industry is more than just the GTA and that Canada is a serious contender in tech.

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