Toronto - City of the Future
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Toronto finishes second in North America behind Chicago

Apr 27th 2007.

Toronto has been named runner-up in a British financial magazine's ranking of North America's Cities of the Future.

Chicago was named the top major city by Foreign Direct Investment, the business magazine of the Financial Times of London.

Researchers took more than six months to assess cities on their potential to attract investment projects.

Chicago was selected for its ambitious development plans, massive infrastructure development, reasonable location costs and energetic regional economy.

Toronto scored high for its good affordable housing, low crime levels, strong health and education sectors and falling unemployment.

Cities were grouped in four categories, according to population, and rated on seven criteria: Economic potential, cost effectiveness, human resources, quality of life, infrastructure, business friendliness and development and investment promotion.

Toronto was selected as the top major city for quality of life, ranked fourth for best development and investment promotion, ranked fifth for best human resources and fourth for best infrastructure.

The overall winner is the city that scored the most points across all seven categories.

One other Canadian city made the top-10 list. Montreal came in at No. 7 behind Chicago, Toronto, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Guadalajara, Mexico, and Baltimore. After Montreal came Mexico City, Boston and Miami at No. 10.

Windsor was named the top small North American city of the future, beating out Huntsville, Ala., for cities with populations between 100,000 and 500,000. London, Ont., was No. 4 and Waterloo came in at No. 5, while Chatham, at No. 9, and Saskatoon rounded out the top 10.

The only Canadian city on the top 10 list of large cities, with a population between 500,000 and 2 million, was Edmonton at No. 4.

However, two Canadian cities made the top-10 list of micro cities of the future - those with a population under 100,000.

Sarnia was No. 3 and Fredericton, N.B., was No. 8. The winner in that category was Zapata, Texas.


1. Chicago, Ill., USA

2. Toronto, Ont., Canada

3. Pittsburgh, Pa., USA

4. Atlanta, Ga., USA

5. Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico

6. Baltimore, Mld., USA

7. Montreal, Que., Canada

8. Mexico City, Federal District, Mexico

9. Boston, Mass., USA

10. Miami, Fla., USA

Rural Canadian Murder Rate

OTTAWA — Country dwellers may be surprised to learn that more murders happen in their neck of the woods, on a per capita basis, than in Canada’s big cities, according to a new study.

The Statistics Canada study, that used police-reported data from 2005, also found that it was Canada’s small cities, not the metropolises, that had the country’s highest overall crime rates.

“Crime is not necessarily a large urban phenomenon,” said Joy Francisco, one of the authors of the study released Thursday that compared crime rates in rural areas with those in small and large urban areas. It’s the first time Statistics Canada has conducted such an analysis.

In 2005, police reported 658 homicides with a known location and 427 of those were committed in large urban areas, 135 in rural areas and 95 in small urban areas.

When the population of those areas was taken into account, however, the rate of 2.5 homicides per 100,000 people in rural areas proved to be the highest. In comparison, the rate was 2.0 in large urban areas and 1.7 in small urban areas.

That ranking has held constant over the past decade, Statistics Canada said.

The homicide rates in the three population areas did vary by province, the report pointed out.

“Although homicide rates were highest in rural areas at the national level, this was not the case in all provinces,” Statistics Canada said.

“In Ontario and British Columbia, the highest homicide rates reported were in large urban areas.”

The rural areas of Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta had the highest homicide rates in the country, the data showed.

While rural areas had the highest homicide rates, their overall crime rates were the lowest of the three areas studied. Small cities took the top spot, ahead of large urban areas, which contradicts a popular notion, Francisco said in an interview.

“There’s a common perception that overall crime rates would be highest in large urban areas and here we’re finding that overall crime rates, at least for 2005, are highest in the small cities rather than the big cities,” she said.

The study determined that the overall crime rate in small cities was 43 per cent higher than in large urban areas and 58 per cent higher than in rural areas.

Paul Brantingham, a professor of crime analysis at Simon Fraser University, said that while residents in large cities may run a higher risk of being exposed to certain crimes, they also have more eyes and ears on the streets providing “guardianship” to help prevent crimes.

“Large cities disproportionately tend to have larger police complements around and more private security hired by businesses,” said Brantingham as further explanation.

Rates of total violent crime, total property crime and break-ins were also highest in small urban areas. But big cities are where the cars are getting stolen, according to the data. The car theft rate in large urban areas was about 25 per cent higher than small cities and 80 per cent higher than in rural areas.

Criminologist Neil Boyd said it’s important to consider the character of the crimes committed in the various sized cities and towns.

“The kind of crime that most of us are concerned about is much more likely to be found in large urban areas,” said Boyd, also professor at Simon Fraser University. For example, handguns are much more common in big cities, being victimized by a stranger is more likely and so is robbery, he said.

Large urban areas are defined as census metropolitan areas (CMAs) and they can include several municipalities centred around an urban core of at least 100,000 people. A small urban area is not part of a CMA and has a minimum population of 1,000 while a rural area is defined as all areas of the country that do not fall into either of the other two categories.

Another interesting finding of the study, said Francisco, was that despite the differences in crime rates, residents in all three areas equally reported feeling safe in their communities. About 90 per cent of people said they were satisfied about their safety from crime.

Canada's shrinking workforce to put pressure on economy

OTTAWA - Canada's lagging employment productivity could become even more of an issue as the country faces a shrinking labour force in coming decades, a new report suggests.

Statistics Canada reported Friday that Canada's labour force will continue growing, but the overall participation rate will fall sharply during the next quarter century in the wake of the nation's low fertility and the retirement of millions of baby boomers.

The overall participation rate is the proportion of the total population aged 15 and over actively in the labour force. It is an indicator of the extent of an economy's working-age population that is economically active, and provides an indication of the relative size of the supply of labour available for the production of goods and services, Statistics Canada said.

The decline in the overall participation rate is mainly due to the aging of the population, low fertility over the past three decades and the steady rise in life expectancy. The aging of the population will be exacerbated starting in 2011, when the first baby boomers will reach the age of 65, the report noted.

The expected slowdown in labour force growth might have numerous consequences for the Canadian economy and society, the agency suggested, adding that future economic growth may have to depend less on employment growth and more on higher productivity, which could offset the consequences of a slowdown, or even decline, in the labour force.

Canadians warming toward immigration

OTTAWA - It's official: Canadians are feeling positive about immigration.

An Ipsos-Reid poll found this week that 90 per cent of Canadians disagreed with the view that newcomers should go back "to where they came from." Almost two-thirds of respondents felt recent immigrants should have just as much say in Canada's future as Canadian-born citizens.

Compared to a similar survey in 1993, Canadians today seem more comfortable with granting immigrants the same rights and opportunities for involvement as all Canadians. In fact, over this period, there's been a drop from 35 per cent to about 30 per cent in the proportion of respondents who said it made them "angry" when recent arrivals demanded the same rights as citizens, said the poll, conducted for CanWest News Service and Global Television.

John Wright, senior vice-president of Ipsos Reid, said a recent survey of eight countries revealed that Canada stood out as more positive about immigration than countries such as the U.S., England, Germany and Italy.

"When it comes to a discussion and support of immigrants in those other countries, there are huge debates about cultures clashing, about immigration amnesties, whether they are taking jobs from other people," said Wright. "We simply don't have that kind of language around the debate."

When asked whether they agree or disagree with a number of provocative statements about immigrants, Canadians generally responded more favourably than in the past. For instance, about two-thirds of respondents in 1993 objected to the statement that more "white immigrants" and fewer visible minorities should be accepted into Canada. Today, nearly three-quarters disagreed.

The poll found that three of 10 respondents felt Canada is not taking in enough immigrants. But there were regional differences. In Saskatchewan and Manitoba, almost half agreed there are not enough new arrivals, while only 26 per cent in Alberta agreed with this sentiment.

Wright noted that when the same questions were asked in 1993, Canada was coming out of a recession. Respondents tend to feel better about immigration when the economy is good, as it is now.

With some economists saying the country is currently at full employment, the poll found just two in 10 respondents felt that new immigrants take too many jobs away from Canadians, a decline from 31 per cent in 1993.

Almost half of respondents said Canada should take in about the same number of immigrants as other comparable nations, while the rest were evenly split over the need for more or fewer newcomers.

The telephone survey, which interviewed 1,002 Canadian adults across the country, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. It was conducted June 12 to 14.

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