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July 11, 2007

Richard Florida

Toronto and Me

« Creative Class Queen Bucks Housing Market Trends | Main | By the Numbers: Movers from Abroad »

Toronto Lots of media on Toronto and me, here, here, here and here.  We had been trying to wait on the announcement until I visit the city again in late August but the cat's now very far out of the bag as they say. So here's the skinny.

First off let me say that our time in Washington DC and at George Mason's School of Public Policy has been terrific.  The leadership of the school, Kingsley Haynes and Roger Stough are dear old friends and colleagues. What they and their team have done to build a new school of public policy in less than a decade is phenomenal.  My GMU colleagues have been great. Washington is a wonderful city that has been a great place to work.  Also, our remarkable CCG team is mainly here - David, Steven, Amanda, and our interns (with other key folks in Pittsburgh). CCG will stay a DC and Pittsburgh based company. We'll miss our colleagues, and our friends, our house, neighborhood and neighbors and especially our neighborhood pool. There is no push here, only pull, which brings me to ...

Toronto - It's a city I've long admired. My own calculations put the broad Tor-Buff-Chester mega-region as one of the world's ten largest.  Toronto is at the cutting edge of innovative, dare I say creative, urbanism and economic development. Some of the media say it reflects my principles.  The truth is more the reverse: What Toronto has done has informed my work.

The main reason for the move is Roger Martin, Dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. Its Roger's vision that has created the major new Centre for Jurisdictional Advantage and Prosperity funded, as has been reported in the press, by some $100 million in funds from the Province of Ontario and private sector sources.  Ontario's Premier, Dalton McGuinty and his team could not have been more generous.  Joseph Rotman provided part of that funding to get the initial research agenda of the Centre up and running.  The Centre will have amazing quarters in the MaRs Centre, essentially the old Toronto General Hospital, near campus and almost directly across from the Ontario Parliament. The space, which we are working on now, is phenomenal.  For the first time in my career I will have a stable source of research funding to build a team, develop data, support other researchers, and really build capability and knowledge in this area. My title will be Director of the Centre and Professor of Business and Creativity.

My wife Rana and I have found a wonderful house in Toronto's Rosedale neighborhood overlooking the ravine.  We hope to move in early September.

If there's more you'd like to know, just give a shout.


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Welcome to Canada! That sounds like a tremendous opportunity and the government funding is an example of how (I believe) many Canadian policy makers are trying to find ways to support and build upon what already works so well in Canada's major cities.

On another note, I do hope that you write about your experience adjusting to a new country as well as city. When I moved to the USA for grad school, having been born and raised in Canada, I was shocked at how different the culture, attitudes, ideas, etc. politics, assumptions etc. were. I wasn't expecting this. (Now, granted I initially moved from Vancouver to Ft. Worth, not NJ, Pittsburg and Washington to Toronto.)

Since your research indicates or argues that many of the best and brightest will relocate -- a key question is will they stay or eventually return "home" because something in the new place just doesn't feel familiar enough.


Washington's loss is certainly Toronto's gain. Welcome to our great city and good luck with your research. I hope this relationship will be inspirational for all invovled.


Good luck, Richard. I hope you continue to focus a lot of effort on the US - it needs your ideas more than Canada.


As the others have said, welcome to Canada, Dr. Florida. It's great that you have found a new home that shares and funds your vision. As a transplant to Calgary from Montreal, I wish that the University of Calgary and this province had similar vision.

Toronto and the U of T are lucky. Toronto's spike just got noticeably larger.

Best of luck.

P.S. Please evangelize in Calgary when you swing through town.


Seems like the rat(Richard Florida) is deserting the sinking ship (America) and moving to Canada. Right on time also since the dollar index is heading back down to the historic lows and a dollar crisis is now happening. Florida's movement is another indicator that the American dollar is going to collapse for good this time. I urge everyone to buy gold and silver before it is too late.

Miraj K

so the prophet comes to town! there's a saying: "..if Mecca doesn't come to the prophet, the prophet should go to Mecca." welcome to our beautiful country Dr. Florida.

i hope you would drop by some time soon to another great Canadian city Vancouver and check out promising creative initiatives like the School of Interactive Arts and Technology [www.siat.sfu.ca] and Center for Digital Media [www.gnwc.ca/mdm].

Michael Jones

Just finished Flight of the Creative Class. Rather ironic and quite opportune that you're fleeing, but you've picked a good place - there's a distinct feeling here that the Toronto creative class is starting to flex its muscles both economically and culturally. Even talk of an arts and architecture golden age. Now, if we can only realize we're a waterfront city and do that right...

An advance welcome, and I too would love to hear anecdotes of the relocation experience. I'm sure everyone from TO here will be happy to help out if you have any questions.

Tom Tresser

Well, he's been studying, tracking and writing about what motivates creative workers for a number of years. Is it no wonder that Florida's own choices about where to live and work mirror the trends and political currents he's been helping us to see? If America wants to succeed in the era of big brains and new ideas, she better align her educational, civic and commercial policies to nourish, celebrate and accelerate creativity - not stifle it or chase it away. Toronto's gain is our loss.

GMU Student

Great! Despite you, Richard, having good words about the dean of the GMU's SPP, Kingsley Haynes, the fact remains that he along with the administration of that school actually doesn't deserve you. It's so pathetic that this guy, Haynes, never changes and is unable and incompetent to take advantage of the location and take the school to new heights. He not only lost you this month, he also lost Frank Sesno of CNN who was with the SPP until last semester. You guys are just the latest reflection of how a great school with a great location and potential to rival its best peers in the country, is slowly and painfully slipping to mediocrity due to a bunch of incompetent people.
Shame on you, Kingsley Haynes!


That's a fantastic move. The Rotman School is on its way to become one of the top business schools in the world. You will make the school stronger and vice versa...

David Esch

Hi Richard

You've picked the perfect time to move to Toronto. The massive buildout of our cultural institutions is almost complete, the Toronto Act has been passed giving more powers to the city and some exciting things are happening on the waterfront. All the city needs is someone like you to raise the image of Toronto in the eyes of the world.

Welcome and I hope you enjoy your stay in our great city.



Seeing the economist's article on Toronto as a sinking city, we certainly need your creative energy to help advocate for the provincial funding needed to save our city. I've forwarded on your story to my American friends who I am continually trying to lure.

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