CNET News Video
Toronto makes its pitch for Amazon HQ2 and tech greatnessThe Canadian city is on the cusp of becoming a major player in tech. Amazon could help.
Amazon is planning on building a $5 billion, 50,000 employee second headquarter called HQ2. Out of 238 bidders, Amazon picked 20 finalist cities earlier this year. Only one of those is outside the US. That city is Toronto. It'll be great to be able to say, well there's fifty thousand more reasons to stay home now and do it here. I think we'll be great, not just for the fifty thousand people who work for Amazon, but as an encouragement to the start ups that can join a community that exists here of people that have been very successful staying in Toronto. This is Toronto mayor John Torrey. I talked to him about his city's bid and how it could validate Toronto as a major global tech hub. If there was an observation somebody would have made seven years ago, it would have been that we were the greatest farm team for Silicon Valley because we graduated all these fabulous graduates in AI and a whole series of, you know, software engineers, and promptly sent them off to To work in California. That's changed, because we have so many home grown success stories now where people have chosen to stay here. They got the financial support they needed. They certainly had the talent, and they tell you that's one of the reasons they've stayed. Chatting to folks on the street in Toronto, most were enthusiastic about Amazon bringing HQ2 to town. They could have jobs available for 50,000 people, that's a good thing. Maybe there's a little bit of a Canadian swagger we need to have as Canadians. We have this interesting moment in time right now where I think there are great things going on in our country and great things happening in Toronto. When you stack us up to some of the great cities in North America, we should be on that. That list. But there's still plenty of concerns about HQ2. I spoke to Michael Katchen, CEO of financial tech firm Wealthsimple, who said the Toronto tech scene is mixed about the project, fearing Amazon will poach some of their best people. Long term, though, he saw the development as a big help to the city. [MUSIC] There were also worries about higher rents and more traffic. But Mayor Tory said his city was already prepared for some of those issues. We're investing literally $150 billion in transit and other related mobility projects in this region right now. The great thing is, hopefully propelled along even further by Amazon. That there many many reasons for people to stay here. This is [UNKNOWN] with the c|net