Toronto’s Financial District is a ghost town, down huge number of workers

New data from the Toronto Region Board of Trade and Telus shows there are 77% fewer workers in the Financial District compared to 2019 levels.

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Toronto’s Financial District remains a ghost town 19 months into pandemic.

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New data from the Toronto Region Board of Trade and Telus shows there are 77% fewer workers in the Financial District compared to 2019 levels.

The movement of workers and visitors in Toronto (inclusive of the Greater Toronto, Hamilton and Waterloo regions) has been calculated by the Toronto Board of Trade’s The Recovery Tracker using de-identified cellphone data from Telus Insights.

The tracker accesses workers and visitors movements as they come in and out of “business districts.”

Outside of the Financial District, the number of workers in Toronto’s larger downtown core is 34% below 2019 levels while across most business districts throughout T.O., weekday employee volumes are more than 25% below 2019 levels.

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“Workers and visitors are critical to the downtown economy in Toronto and in the centre of other cities across the Innovation Corridor,” said Jan De Silva, President and CEO of the Toronto Region Board of Trade, in a statement.

“This new data from Telus backs up what we have been saying all along – that a more complete recovery first requires workers and visitors to have confidence in public health measures, such as transit and at our borders. This is the only way to compel them to return to our city centres at pre-pandemic levels.”

According to the data, unemployment is driven by T.O. and its suburbs with almost 25% of unemployed people in Canada living in the region (inclusive of Halton, Peel, York and Durham) which is up from 17% in February 2020 just before the pandemic lockdown began.

The largest share of employment losses are in transportation, warehousing, accommodation, food and construction.

However, the data shows accommodation and food is coming back with 93% of pre-pandemic employment levels as of October 2021.

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