The insider view: Toronto: Financial Management examines how business is conducted in cities around the world, with local experts acting as guides.

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With its deep economic relationship with the US and close cultural ties to the UK, the provincial capital of Ontario has become "quite attractive from a business perspective", according to Leon Binedell, ACMA, CGMA, mining finance leader at PwC Consulting.

Because Toronto is a large city with access to a significant pool of skilled people, many companies have decided to base themselves here.

It is also the centre of capital in Canada and host to the TSX, the nation's largest stock exchange--and widely seen as a world-class market. This facility makes raising capital relatively easy and effective for new businesses. It has attracted the largest number of junior mining and exploration companies of all exchanges globally, Binedell reports.

Being close to the US and relatively near to Europe also makes Toronto an accessible hub for multinational firms.

"Being in the eastern standard time zone makes it far easier for firms here to do business with the largest markets," Binedell says. "In addition, Toronto has become the centre of the mining and financial sectors, which are both big GDP drivers. The city therefore continues to attract other industries." Historically, Montreal was the preferred location for corporate HQs in Canada, including those of many financial institutions. But, given concerns about Quebec's possible secession, a significant number of companies relocated to Toronto.

"That was a boon--this city has never really looked back," Binedell says.

DOING BUSINESS

GIVEN THAT TORONTO is the nation's commercial and financial hub, it's "definitely the place to do business", Binedell says. "It is a business-friendly city with relatively low taxes and excellent access to goods and services."

Toronto is undergoing a real-estate boom, with office construction projects beginning every day. Although commercial rents are comparatively high in the city centre, these are still competitive by international...

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