Calgary and Toronto are ranked among the top 10 in the Toronto Board of Trade's third annual Scorecard on Prosperity, which examines the economies and labour attractiveness of 24 global metropolitan areas.

Calgary ranked third overall in the board's scorecard, while Toronto placed eighth. Paris and San Francisco took first and second place, respectively, in the 2011 report.

Toronto's overall ranking slipped from fourth place in 2010 but it outperformed Vancouver and Montreal, which placed 14th and 20th, respectively.

The Toronto Board of Trade — Canada's largest chamber of commerce representing 10,000 members — said in the report that Calgary had edged back up from fifth spot, "perhaps on the way back to being the top-ranked metro region as it was in the 2009 Scorecard."

Calgary's success comes from a combination of solid fundamentals in both economy and labour attractiveness, not just from a robust economy, the board said.

"The fastest population growth of all metros, Calgary proved that it was an attractive place for people seeking work," the board concluded. "Calgary's housing affordability and clean air provide further evidence of its livability."

Persistent weaknesses

Toronto remains "a good place to live" but persistent weaknesses in the economic indicators that were tracked in the report contributed to its slide in rankings.

The gap between Toronto and U.S. cities, such as San Francisco, Boston and Seattle, remains large, particularly on productivity and gross domestic product (GDP).

Toronto sits in the bottom half of the rankings with C and D grades, performing worse than last year on productivity, the report said. The city was in the bottom half of the rankings on GDP per capita.

The board recommended that Toronto:

  • Support key economic clusters and sectors where the city has a competitive advantage with a combination of public policy action and private investment, including a strong dose of venture capital.
  • Increase investment in productivity-enhancing machinery and equipment, buildings and infrastructure, and remove structural barriers to venture capital investment.
  • Invest in more commuter rail infrastructure in order to lower commute times and improve economic efficiency.

The board's report was prepared by the Conference Board of Canada and the Certified Management Accountants of Ontario.