BMO Report: Ontario Communities are Small Business "Hotbeds"

    -   Ontario's Greater Golden Horseshoe region (Toronto, Guelph, Oshawa,
        and Barrie) national leaders in Small Business Growth
    -   Ottawa/Gatineau community also ranks in Small Business Growth Top 10
    -   Toronto ranks in Top 10 for intensity of Small Business activity
        among Canada's large urban centres

TORONTO, Oct. 14 /CNW/ - The communities of Ontario's Greater Golden Horseshoe region and the Ottawa-Gatineau area are national "hotbeds" for small business growth according to a report released today by BMO Financial Group.

From 2004 to 2009, Toronto, Guelph, Oshawa, Barrie and the cross-border Ottawa-Gatineau community were national leaders in small business growth.

Toronto also placed tenth in the Canada-wide rankings for the intensity of small business activity in larger urban centres.

The results reflect the relatively high degree of industrial diversity in Ontario, providing a wider venue for the creation and growth of small businesses. Plus, centres like Toronto benefit from ethnic diversity, making it a destination of choice for immigrants.

These findings are part of a study, entitled Canada's Small Business Juggernaut, by BMO Financial Group's Chief Economist Dr. Sherry Cooper. The report, a post-recession perspective of this vital segment of Canada's economy, offers an optimistic prognosis for Canadian entrepreneurs.

Among the report's conclusions: not only will the great majority of Canada's small businesses survive the recession, but also, as the recovery continues, many will become stronger than ever.

"Today, business understands the importance of maintaining sufficient capital to ride the cyclical bumps," said Dr. Sherry Cooper, Chief Economist, BMO Capital Markets. "There is a new appreciation for the dangers of building up too much overhead or overinvesting in every new technological system. Companies that survived the recession will have learned to be flexible, to be low-cost/high-value businesses.

"As the report shows, Ontario's small and medium-sized business have experienced challenging conditions in the past year," said Bob Bissett, Senior Vice-President, Commercial, Greater Toronto Area. "We are seeing a growing sense that's behind us now and cautious optimism starting to emerge."

Although a moderate economic recovery is underway, Dr. Cooper cautioned small businesses against settling into a comfort zone. "'Business as usual' is a concept of the past, as economic forces are subject to intense volatility and change. Whether it's expanding into unknown markets, refocusing customer bases, or jettisoning non-core businesses, successful enterprises should not be afraid to forego the familiar and embrace the risks that can lead to higher rewards. But prudent analysis of the risks and opportunities is essential."

"BMO is working hard to be there for our business customers, to ensure they have the banking solutions and advice that will enable them to lead their companies successfully into the future," said Mr. Bissett.

BMO Economics examined the latest data to assess the intensity of small business activity in communities across Canada, by ranking the number of small business enterprises per one thousand population. This was done for large centres by looking at each of the 33 Canadian census metropolitan areas (CMAs), and for small centres by examining each of the 111 Canadian census agglomerations (CAs).

Looking at the 33 CMAs, growth leaders are located in three regions: Ontario's Greater Golden Horseshoe region (Toronto, Guelph, Oshawa, and Barrie); Alberta's Calgary-Edmonton corridor; and British Columbia's Lower Mainland and southern Vancouver Island (Vancouver, Abbotsford, and Victoria). Ottawa-Gatineau also showed strength on this list.

    TOP 10 CMA SMALL BUSINESS GROWTH, 2004-2009 (% change in number)

    1. Toronto, ON (15.1)             6. Kelowna, BC (8.4)
    2. Guelph, ON (13.8)              7. Calgary, AB (7.4)
    3. Abbotsford, BC (10.2)          8. Barrie, ON (6.6)
    4. Vancouver, BC (9.3)            9. Ottawa-Gatineau, ON/QC (6.3)
    5. Oshawa, ON (9.1)               10. Victoria, BC (6.1)

    Toronto also figured in the Top 10 List for Canada's Small Business
"Hotbeds" communities with the greatest intensity of small business activity.
British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan centres dominate here. Other
centres include: St. John's, NL and Moncton, NB.

    TOP 10 CMA SMALL BUSINESS HOTBEDS (No. small businesses/1,000 pop)

    1. Kelowna, BC (39.7)             6. St. John's, NL (32.9)
    2. Calgary, AB (38.9)             7. Moncton, NB (32.4)
    3. Vancouver, BC (37.2)           8. Abbotsford, BC (32.2)
    4. Edmonton, AB (36.6)            9. Saskatoon, SK (31.9)
    5. Victoria, BC (35.0)            10. Toronto, ON (30.0)

    TOP 10 CA SMALL BUSINESS HOTBEDS (No. small businesses/1,000 pop)

    1. Fort St. John, BC (71.2)       6. Grande Prairie, AB (53.8)
    2. Lloydminster, AB/SK (69.0)     7. Brooks, AB (51.0)
    3. Canmore, AB (57.9)             8. Swift Current, SK (51.0)
    4. Camrose, AB (54.9)             9. Salmon Arm, BC (50.4)
    5. Okotoks, AB (54.1)             10. Estevan, SK (50.2)

The complete report can be found at


For further information: For further information: Media Contacts: Neil Matheson, Toronto,, (416) 867-6371; Peter Scott, Toronto,, (416) 867-3996; Internet:

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