Kitchener, Toronto mayors pitch 2 city innovation corridor

All-day, two-way GO service or high-speed rail between Waterloo Region and Toronto is needed to connect the two cities as an innovation hub, Toronto Mayor John Tory and Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic said Tuesday.

Commuter transit key component in similar world-class innovation hubs, mayors say

Toronto Mayor John Tory was joined by Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic at Shopify in Toronto on Feb. 11 to announce they are working together to create an innovation corridor. The two mayors said transit between the two cities, such as all-day, two-way GO service or high speed rail, is a key part of their plan. (Communitech/Twitter)

Waterloo Region and Toronto need to be connected by all-day GO service or high-speed rail so the two cities can successfully compete with the likes of Silicon Valley and Cambridge-London in the U.K., the mayors of Toronto and Kitchener say.

"Toronto and the Waterloo Region are no further apart than San Francisco and Silicon Valley, and are home to a diverse, highly educated population and game changing ideas," Toronto Mayor John Tory said in a release Thursday following a press conference at Shopify in Toronto. At that event, Tory and Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic announced their collaboration on an innovation corridor.

"We need to build our reputation as a place where great talent is nurtured, industries can grow and where we engage the public in finding innovative solutions," Tory said.

'Transit drives innovation'

The two mayors said a key piece to creating the innovation corridor is transit infrastructure, in particular two-way all-day GO services and/or high speed rail between the two cities.

"Transit drives innovation and innovation drives economic growth," Vrbanovic said. "Without strong infrastructure to connect the two regions, growth potential is limited. Now is the time to lead not only the province, but the country in creating a high quality of life, and a strong and competitive economy."

Without strong infrastructure to connect the two regions, growth potential is limited.- Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic

Vrbanovic added a partnership between the two cities will "strengthen advocacy for effective transit solutions that enable seamless collaboration between tech hubs, academic institutions and financial institutions throughout the innovation corridor."

Tory will visit Waterloo Region in March as part of their campaign for the corridor.

Both mayors will visit San Francisco in April to promote the opportunities in Toronto and Waterloo Region to technology workers and companies looking to relocate or expand, as well as meet with potential venture capital investors.

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