Innovation Cities Index 2011: Toronto Named Among 10 Most Innovative Cities In The World

Innovative Cities 2011 Toronto

The Huffington Post Canada   First Posted: 10/25/11 01:35 PM ET Updated: 10/25/11 01:35 PM ET

A list of the world's most innovative cities places Toronto in the top 10, a sign the city continues to be a vibrant economic centre despite the financial problems of recent years.

Toronto placed tenth in a ranking of 331 benchmark cities from 2thinknow, a Melbourne, Australia-based consultancy.

Boston placed first on the list, while two other U.S. cities -- San Francisco (second) and New York (fourth) -- also placed in the top 10.

The remaining top 10 cities were all in Europe -- Paris (third), Vienna (fifth), Amsterdam (sixth), Munich (seventh), Lyon (eighth) and Copenhagen (ninth).

2thinknow's index is based on 162 indicators that the consultancy groups into three general categories: cultural assets (arts, sports franchises); human infrastructure (startup companies, health, education); and networked markets -- the city's access to and role within the global economy.

Four Canadian cities made the top 100, but only Montreal, at 31st place, was listed along with Toronto as a "nexus" city -- one of 33 urban areas that are at the heart of the global economy.

The other Canadian cities were listed as "hubs," cities that are still vibrant centres of innovation but that play a relatively smaller global role. Those cities were Vancouver at 49th, Quebec City at 79th and Calgary at 81st.

Interestingly, Calgary's burgeoning energy industry was not enough to rank it above Quebec, a city best known for its cultural institutions and tourism.

In a separate list of cities of the Americas, Toronto placed fourth after Boston, San Francisco and New York, while Montreal placed seventh.

The remaining Canadian cities were Vancouver (11th), Quebec (20th), Calgary (21st), and Edmonton (32nd). Fredericton, Halifax, Ottawa and Winnipeg made the list as well, though they were not ranked and were classified as third-tier “node” cities.

Boston's position in first place reflects its strength in financial services and medical industries, as well as the city's disproportionately large education sector.

There are 50 colleges and universities in an 80-kilometre radius of the city, with Harvard and MIT leading the pack in terms of reputation. These institutions tend to wield great influence in political circles, and they produce many of the U.S.’s leading policymakers.

Check out this list of the 10 most innovative cities in the world, as ranked by 2thinknow.

10: Toronto
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Canada's largest city is home to a vibrant media and entertainment industry and a financial sector that weathered the economic storm better than most. Headquartered in Toronto, Canada's big five banks have been lauded as examples of financial responsibility. With the banks' expansion into world markets, particularly the U.S., Toronto is evolving into a major international business hub.
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