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Globalization and the Economic Geography of the GGH Story Map

Story by Alexandra Chernoff-

What are the relevant indicators of economic change and development in the GGH?
  • Secondary industry jobs have been moved offshore to countries such as Mexico, China, India, Bangladesh, and Vietnam

  • The closures and relocations of secondary industry work have been a huge contributor to the 200,000  job loss in the Toronto region and the GGH, 300,000 job losses in Ontario, and 600,000 in Canada since 2001

  • At the same time, the quaternary industry has grown and more people are working in markets developing: new products and industries, computers and communications technologies, software, and biotech

  • Some of the fastest growing industries in Ontario are computer systems design, financial investment services, software developers, engineering services, and telecoms

  • GGH employment data shows that assembly-line workers, machine operators, secretaries, and clerical functions have seen job loss since 2001

  • At the same time, the areas that have seen huge job growth since 2001 are financial and investment analysts, computer and information systems analysts, and engineers

  • Level C jobs (secondary industry) are being relocated, offshored, or automated

  • From 2001-2011, downtown Toronto’s employment sector grew by about 42,000 core jobs

  • The employment sector increased in jobs in areas such as media design and architecture, digital industries, finance, business services, tourism, arts, research institutions, engineering and information, and communications technology

  • Downtown core represents 17.5% of core employment in the GGH as of 2011

  • The airport megazone is the second largest concentration of employment in all of Canada after Toronto representing nearly 300,000 jobs which are more than the central business districts of Calgary, Montreal and Vancouver individually

  • The three megazones together represent 543,000 jobs

  • Downtown Toronto represents approximately 464,7000 jobs

  • More than 80% of the jobs in these megazones are core employment jobs compared to 62% in the GGH

  • From 2001-2011 there has been a 27% increase in jobs in SKIDs (35,500 jobs)

Where have the changes in the patterns of economic development and urbanization occurred in the GGH?
  • Downtown Toronto - Financial District (Front Street, Yonge Street, University Avenue, Queen Street)

  • Three megazones

    • Pearson International Airport in Mississauga (Highway 409 and Highway 427 Intersection)

    • Highway 404/407 interchange

    • The intersection of Highway 400/407 east to Keele Street

  • SKIDs (Suburban Knowledge-Intensive Districts)

    • 2 SKIDs in Mississauga (Highway 401 and Highway 403 Intersection)

    • 1 SKID in Markham (Highway 404 and Highway 407 Intersection)

    • 1 SKID in Waterloo (Highway 7 and Highway 8 Intersection)

    • 1 SKID in Oakville (Highway 403 and Queen Elizabeth Way Intersection)

How have globalization and associated economic forces affected the economic geography of the GGH?
After the industrial revolution, the economy adopted Fordism. Fordism is tied directly to secondary industry, assembly line work that dominated the GGH at the time. One of the forces that propelled Fordism was Keynesianism. Keynesianism is an economic approach created by John Maynard Keynes that proposed lower taxes, regulation and control, and social welfare provision. Regulation and control were the prevailing principles implemented in Fordism and assembly line work, therefore, the two approaches worked well together. Secondary industry workers don’t require high levels of education because most of the skills you need to complete the tasks set out are gained through experience from working in the field. Therefore, most people working in the secondary industry 100 years ago could get jobs directly out of high school without the need for a university degree.  However, 100 years later our economic landscape has changed drastically. Through the forces of globalization, neoliberalism, and deindustrialization, our economic society has changed to one fuelled by cognitive cultural capitalism and the rise of the “creative class”. The creative class is more commonly known as the quaternary industry which is the knowledge-based sector of our economic pyramid. The rise of the creative class came due to the shift from Fordism to post-Fordism. Post-Fordist economies like that of the GGH are driven by globalization, neoliberalism, and a push for a deindustrialized economic and urban landscape. This change has caused almost all industrial plants in the Greater Golden Horseshoe to close down as secondary industry work is being moved offshore to east-Asian countries such as China, India, Mexico, Bangladesh, Vietnam to make room for the fast-growing quaternary industry in Toronto, and in three megazones located in the GGH. From 2001-2011, there were 200,000 job losses in the secondary industry in positions including assembly line workers, machine operators, payroll clerks, data entry clerks, and secretaries in Toronto and the Greater Golden Horseshoe. At the same time, however, there has been a 27% increase in jobs in SKIDs. SKID is short for Suburban Knowledge-Intensive Districts. SKIDs represent an intensification of quaternary industry work across the GGH. SKIDs are proof that quaternary industry work is no longer something unique to Toronto’s financial district. Some of the fastest growing job sectors in Ontario are computer systems design, financial investment services, software developers, engineering services, and telecoms. Quaternary industry work has spread out across the GGH as old factories become office spaces for startup companies and more and more skyscrapers are built to create room for the ever growing population.

How have the changing patterns of urbanization in Toronto been influenced by changes in economic development in the GGH?
The shift from Fordism to post-Fordism has created a change in the patterns of urbanization in Toronto. The downtown core has ‘hyper-concentrated’ as employment has increased significantly from 2001-2011. The new economy that is powered by globalization and deindustrialization has caused an intensification of people and buildings in the financial district as well as the creation of three megazones in the northern parts of the GGH. In Toronto, this has caused the construction of an increasing number of highrises and redevelopment projects to keep up with the demand for nicer housing that fits the profile of the workers that dominate our economic scene. A perfect example of this is Honest Eds, which is located at the intersection of Bathurst Street and Bloor Street West and is currently undergoing gentrification as a result of the influence stemming from the downtown core. The new economy and the growing creative class has also created clusters which are popping up across the Greater Golden Horseshoe. These clusters are also known as megazones and there are three main megazones located in the GGH. One surrounding Pearson International Airport, one at the Highway 404/407 interchange, and one at the intersection of highway 400/407 east to Keele Street. Located in these megazones are concentrations of people and jobs similar to that of the downtown core as well as the growing presence and influence of SKIDs. SKIDs also known as Suburban Knowledge-Intensive Districts are concentrated areas of economic growth in the quaternary industry. These now densely populated areas account for 450,000 core jobs compared to the 386,000 in the downtown core of Toronto. Another example of how the changing patterns of urbanization have been influenced by economic change is the Distillery District. Historically, it was a large whiskey distillery but is now closed to all but pedestrians and it filled with small local businesses. As whiskey production moved offshore to other countries, international exports increased and deindustrialization occurred in Toronto. The Gooderham and Worts Distillery space has been redeveloped and is now used for restaurants, cafes, offices, shops, and homes. It’s widely known that people follow work and will move to where employment is offered. The steady increase of employment opportunities in the downtown core has caused a vacuum-like effect, bringing people into either the city or to one of the three megazones where jobs have become plentiful. In recent years, developers have been searching for innovative ways to integrate condos into the city landscape in both the 416 and the growing megazones in the 905. Condos represent intensification in an area where there is a lot of travel and presence. The downtown core is the heart of the city because it is where so many different systems come together. The GO Train line, TTC, VIA Rail, and the Gardiner Expressway all meet and overlap in the financial district at Union Station. These transit lines give people from everywhere access to the heart of the city and this is a huge reason why the financial district has been able to grow in the way that it has.

How have economic development and globalization impacted on the GGH from a social, environmental, economic, and political perspective?

The rise of the creative class and the growing quaternary industry have impacted the GGH socially, environmentally, economically, and politically. An environmental impact that economic development and globalization have on the GGH is the use of more cars. The three megazones are located along the 401 highway and therefore can only be accessed by car. As a result, there are 1 million car trips daily which have many associated environmental impacts. More cars mean more carbon dioxide. Furthermore, if there are 1 million car trips happening daily there is likely to be some traffic and travel congestion at some point throughout the day which means that at times, cars are sitting idle, and polluting our air. In addition, more cars mean a higher demand for oil. This creates an increased demand for the production of oil in the Alberta tar sands. In 2011, the tar sands were producing 1.8 million barrels of crude oil per day. This resulted in 47.1 million metric tons of carbon emissions being pumped into the atmosphere. Oil production, oil transportation, and then the use of oil in fossil fuel-dependent vehicles drives our greenhouse gas emissions through the roof, furthering the already life-threatening effects of climate change and global warming. An economic impact that economic development and globalization has had on the GGH is the mass job loss across the secondary industry. A Campbell Soup factory that had been open for 87 years in south Etobicoke has closed due to globalization and the moving of factories and production plants to offshore locations. Since 2001, there have been 300,000 job losses in the secondary industry across Ontario and 600,000 in Canada. The types of jobs that are being lost are assembly-line workers, machine operators, secretaries, and clerical functions. While at the same time, jobs in markets developing: new products and industries, computers and communications technologies, software, and biotech have grown substantially. The problem arises not just in the job loss but also in the fact that employees who lose their jobs in the secondary industry are left trying to find a job often without adequate education. For families who have planned their lives around a certain salary, a change can be detrimental to their lives. A social impact that economic development and globalization has had on the GGH is that people have to be in school for longer in order to get a steady job in our current job market. 100 years ago you could get a job with a high school diploma and now that is simply not the case. Even now, a university undergraduate degree could not get you a job in today’s market which speaks to just how high the level of education that is required. Another social impact that economic development and globalization on the GGH is the cost of living and the search for affordable housing. The financial district in downtown Toronto has some of the highest rent and buying costs in the world. On the list of 214 most expensive cities to live in globally, Toronto is number 61 on the list. Countless people are being priced out of the city and the homeless population is growing because people simply cannot keep up with the cost of living in this city. A political impact that economic development and globalization has had on the GGH is the pressure on the municipal and provincial government to update and maintain transportation services across the GTA especially, but also including the upkeep of highways across the Greater Golden Horseshoe. Proper transportation is what allows people to get to and from work every day and there is tremendous pressure on the government to maintain a high quality of transportation services for all of those who need it. However, the issue that arises is that with population growth slows the development of projects because a greater population is accompanied by increased levels of congestion. The construction of the Metrolinx project has been going on for upwards of 5 years now and to the public eye, it appears as though no progress has been made. This angers people because due to huge amounts of traffic that come from living in a big city, especially one under major construction, it takes longer to get to their destinations at any time of day.


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