I recently finished working with a terrific team on a 3 Region Creative Economy Analysis and Action Plan for most of Southern Ontario, minus Metro Toronto. The 3 regions included Eastern Ontario:Canada’s Creative Corridor, Durham Region:Creativity on the City’s Edge and Southwestern Ontario;Creative Potential Straddling Two Mega Regions.
From a Bird’s Eye view what I learned is that both Geography and Place Matter.
Eastern Ontario is in the Mega Region surrounded by Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto, three of the nation’s Creative Economy powerhouses. Not surprisingly Eastern Ontario had a fairly strong Creative Economy with decent growth.
Durham Region is a jursition immediately west of Canada’s Creative Corridor and butts up against the GTA – Metro Toronto. The economic overflow and pull of the GTA is reflected in Durham’s strong creative occupation numbers and incredible 49% growth in creative workers over the last decade.
Southwestern Ontario is not yet faring as well with lower than provincial average concentration of creative occupations and growth over the last decade. Understandably this can be explained by the region’s distance from Toronto, its agriculture and manufacturing legacy and the fact that the next large and strong economy is the Chi-Pitts mega region several hours drive away.
My take away from all of this is that not surprisingly for smaller centres, proximity to similar larger markets has a significant impact on one’s economic make up. In the case of these three studies the closer and more integrated your economy is to other significant creative economies the better your chances are of having a strong and growing Creative Economy yourself.
For a greater understanding of this topic the reports are available here.