Gone are the days when tech was the domain of Silicon Valley and Seattle. Tech hubs are popping up all over the world, from Amsterdam to Bangalore. Canada is right up there with the new tech havens and is actually experiencing a brain gain in the industry. According to Forbes, tech talent has been arriving in the country in record numbers in recent years. While the bulk of Canada’s tech businesses are located in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, other cities are showing real promise too. These cities are candidates to become Canada’s next tech hub. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2018/07/02/why-tech-workers-and-global-companies-are-choosing-canada/#65b730b159a0
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According to Expert Market’s ranking of Canada’s best tech hubs to live and work in, Ottawa tops the list, beating out Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal. If you’re looking to pursue one of the best careers for women in tech, you may want to consider Ottawa too: it’s rated as the city with the best tech diversity, with a female to male ratio of 27/73.
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Waterloo has been capitalizing on its proximity to Toronto to develop a vibrant tech industry. According to CBRE’s Canada Scoring Tech Talent 2018 report, Waterloo ranks just behind Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal in terms of local tech firms. Some of the tech companies based in Waterloo include BlackBerry, Descartes Systems Group, Google, Maplesoft, Kik and Sandvine. The University of Waterloo is also home to the Institute for Quantum Computing.
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Kitchener, along with Waterloo and Cambridge, is one of the best places in Canada for tech startups, according to Expert Market. The hub for the city’s tech industry is the Tannery Building, where tenants include Communitech, Velocity Garage, Google and Desire2Learn.
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If you’re interested in pursuing one of the highest paying jobs for Generation Z, Cambridge is a good city to get started in. Not only does Expert Market rank it as one of the best cities in Canada for tech startups, but it’s also home to the Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning’s School of Engineering and Information Technology.
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Long known for the many gas and oil companies having their headquarters here, Calgary is now a tech city to watch, according to Expert Market. The city offers the highest average salaries and the highest wage growth in the sector and ranks joint second in terms of tech diversity. It is also one of the best places to visit in July.
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Halifax, Nova Scotia
As the region’s business, banking and government centre, Halifax is also leading the Maritimes in terms of tech. Expert Market ranks the city second for wage growth and joint second for tech diversity. In 2017, Global News reported that the Nova Scotia government’s $2.25 million investment in Volta Labs until 2020 could mean Halifax’s tech industry could triple in size.
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CBRE ranked Hamilton as the leading mid-sized city in Canada for tech. Between 2012 and 2017, the city saw a growth rate of 64.8% in the sector, with a tech workforce of more than 50,000. With exciting and fast growing tech startups based in the city, Hamilton is a good option for aspiring app and software developers. With its many waterfalls, it’s also one of the most beautiful places in Ontario.
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Home to the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Oshawa is much more than Canada’s automotive capital. CBRE rates it as the leading small city for tech in Canada, with the fastest growing tech talent market between 2012 and 2017: a whopping 71.4%.
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Edmonton is another city that ranks among the top 10 in Market Expert’s list of the best Canadian tech cities to live and work in. The city ranks third for average wages in the sector and tech diversity. According to the Edmonton Journal, even Google executives have praised the city as a mover in the tech industry. In fact, DeepMind, Google’s AI company, now has a research office in Edmonton.
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Quebec City, Quebec
Quebec City is one of the most beautiful Canadian cities to live in. If you work in tech, there’s another reason to consider relocating to Quebec City: a thriving tech sector, according to CBRE. Some of the tech companies you’ll find here are Ubisoft, Beenox, Frima Studio, Sarbakan, Gearbox Software and the National Optics Institute.
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One of the best tech hubs in Canada for small markets, according to CBRE, is Barrie. Even though it’s a bedroom community for nearby Toronto, Barrie has a small, but growing tech sector of its own. The city is also home to the Georgian College of Applied Arts and Tech.
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Van Hack says that generous tax credits for tech investing and R&D spending has encouraged partnerships between Winnipeg’s tech startups and government institutions, making it one of the fastest growing tech hubs in Canada. Expert Market ranks Winnipeg as one of its top 10 best tech hubs in Canada to live and work in and rates it especially high for the low cost of living, average rent and average commute time. This should make up for the fact that Winnipeg is also one of the Canadian cities with the worst winters.
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Another city that Van Hack counts among the fastest growing tech hubs in Canada is Saskatoon, mainly because of the opening of Innovation Place Research Park, one of two of its kind in the province. Some of the tech companies based in Saskatoon are Vendasta Technologies, Coconut Software, Territorial and SafetyTek.
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One of the best places in Canada to visit in summer, Regina is another city with a small, but burgeoning tech scene. The hub for Regina’s tech sector is Innovation Place Research Park near the University of Regina, where ISM Canada has its main office. Another notable tech company you’ll find in the city is FrontRunner Technologies.
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CRBE rates Windsor as one of the best small cities for tech talent. Home to car manufacturing companies like FCA Canada and Ford Motor Company, the city is especially a hub for tech companies that specialize in automation.
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Victoria, British Columbia
While Vancouver may be more famous as a tech hub, Victoria is home to a booming tech industry too. According to Nearshore Americas, the city is Canada’s new tech hub. In fact, there are over 880 tech companies in Victoria, employing more than 15,000 people. The great weather and the fact that it’s one of the places with the lowest taxes in Canada may continue to draw top tech talent.
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Nanaimo, British Columbia
Nanaimo may be home to the annual bathtub races, but the city is also home to more modern technology. According to Business Examiner, Nanaimo has the fourth fastest growing tech development in the province. Tech association Innovation Island gives tech startups access to tools, venture capital and education. Nanaimo is an especially good choice if you’re interested in robotics.
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Kelowna, British Columbia
According to the Daily Hive, Kelowna is now a hotbed for tech innovation in Canada. More than 8,000 people in the Okanagan Valley are employed in the tech sector. Tech companies with offices here include Bardel Entertainment, Disney Interactive Studios and AgriForest Biotechnologies. The low cost of living now attracts more than just people who know that Kelowna is one of the best places to retire in Canada.
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London is not only the birthplace of Ryan Gosling, one of the wealthiest Canadian actors, it’s also home to a thriving tech scene, according to the London Free Press. In fact, the tech industry is one of the main employers in the city, with more than 300 tech companies employing some 3% of the city’s workforce. Many tech companies based in London focus on digital media.
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Expert Market ranks Gatineau as another one of the best cities in Canada for launching your tech startup. Located just across the Ottawa River from the nation’s capital, Gatineau especially attracts tech companies specializing in cybersecurity. It's also one of the cheapest cities to live in Canada.