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Canada: top business destinations

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Canada offers the highest quality of life in the world, according to the United Nations Human Development Index, making it an ideal place to live and raise a family.

The second largest landmass worldwide with only three people living per square kilometre, it also has the fourth lowest population density in the world. 

Oil-rich Canada doesn't just have an abundance of land, it also enjoys a large amount of natural resources. Timber, petroleum, zinc, aluminium and other raw materials add up to considerable revenues from its primary sector, which has helped Canada have the lowest public debt in the developed world and augurs well for the future of infrastructure projects and business taxes.

Spacious, resource-rich Canada is receptive to entrepreneurs who want to immigrate to the country and a business-friendly system and high standard of living means there are no shortage of takers.

For those interested in searching for a business for sale in Canada, here's a breakdown of destinations.

Ottawa

The capital of Canada, Ottowa is nevertheless not the country's largest metropolis. Both Toronto and Montreal are not only larger cities but are also economically more powerful. Vancouver is also bigger, making Ottawa only the fourth largest city in Canada.

The Economist Intelligence Unit and the Mercer Quality of Living Survey rates Toronto as one of the world's most liveable cities year-on-year

The city is formed on the Ottawa River, a channel shaping the boundary between the two provinces of Ontario and Quebec. The region is almost 80% rural and Ottawa's natural landscape and parks are main tourist attractions.

Being the capital the government accounts for a significant source of contracts for small businesses, while many national corporations, especially in research development and telecommunications, base their headquarters in Ottawa. The city is also known as Silicon Valley North and houses more than 800 companies specialising in high technology. 

Ottawa's  public transit service vastly improved in 2001 with the introduction of the O-Train, which alleviated congestion on the bus routes Ottawa has long depended on. Since opening, the O-Train is projected to hit the 10-millionth rider mark by late 2010. 

Toronto

Toronto is the largest city in Canada with a population more than 2.5 million, 50% of which are born overseas, making it a popular destination for Canada-bound migrants. The Economist Intelligence Unit and the Mercer Quality of Living Survey rates Toronto as one of the world's most liveable cities year-on-year.

Regarded as the fiscal capital of Canada and a major international centre for business and finance, Toronto houses a high number of banks and brokerage firms, which cluster in the city's financial district. 

It is also an important centre for the media, publishing, telecommunications, IT and film production industries. And the city and its suburbs produces more than half of Canada's manufactured goods. 

Toronto is well served for shopping centres, notably the Toronto Eaton Centre, which attracts over one million visitors every week.

Montreal

Montreal's official language is French and is the second largest primarily French-speaking city in the world after Paris. Originally called 'Ville-Marie', which translates to the 'City of Mary', Montreal is the second largest city in Canada with approximately 3.6 million residents. 

Montreal is renowned for its churches and was nicknamed 'la ville aux cent clochers', or 'the city of a hundred belltowers'. Its residents are renowned for their sense of sartorial style and Montreal has a reputation as one of the liveliest cities in North America, with Monocle Magazine lauding it as Canada's cultural capital.

Montreal's economy is the second largest of all cities in Canada based on GDP (Gross Domestic Product). Today the city is an important centre for commerce, finance, industry and technology.

Since 1997, the city has developed a significant video gaming industry, with world-leading game developers and publisher studios drawn to the city for its skilled workforce. 

The Port of Montreal is the largest inland port in the world, handling 26 million tonnes of cargo annually, and serves as a transhipment point for grain, sugar, machinery and consumer goods.

Vancouver

Vancouver is the largest metropolis in Western Canada and is the third largest city in the country. Over the last 30 years the city's rapid growth has fuelled a huge volume of immigration and almost a third of the city's inhabitants are now of Chinese or Hong Kong origin.

The alpine resort of Whistler hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, putting Vancouver on the map as a premier sporting destination. The leisure and tourism trade has enjoyed a sustained boost from the event, which was widely praised for the friendly, efficient service provided in bars, restaurants, hotels and other hospitality businesses.

Calgary

Nicknamed the 'gateway to the Rockies', Calgary is approximately 80km east of the front ranges of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. The city is known as a hub for national and international business, particularly in the oil and gas, IT, telecommunications, agriculture and financial service industries.

It is also a transportation hub for much of central and western Canada. Calgary's freeway system is grid-based, where roads are numbered with avenues running east to west and streets running north to south. The city also has one of the most extensive urban pathway networks in the country, with more than 600km of walking and cycle paths.


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