Markham is More.
That’s the title of the City’s new Economic Development and Culture Strategy (2023 to 2027), which will serve as a roadmap to grow its economy on a foundation of arts, culture and innovation.
“Markham’s economic strengths and leadership are drawn from a talent pool that embraces creativity and innovation to drive solutions that address market gaps and societal challenges,” Mayor Frank Scarpitti says. “Our goal through this strategy is to continue to foster this creativity and ensure Markham is at the forefront of the Canadian and global innovation community.”
The City describes its approach to developing the strategy as “unique” because – unlike most municipalities – it merged economic development and culture into one strategy, a decision it says recognizes the “interdependent role” arts and culture play in creating the quality of life needed to attract talent to a community.
“Arts and culture play an important role in Markham’s economic growth,” explains Director of Economic Growth, Culture and Entrepreneurship Chris Rickett. “Developing an economic development strategy that does not prioritize their contribution to the community’s quality of life and success would be doomed to fail. Investment follows talent – tech talent is located where educational opportunities and interesting job prospects are found, and in welcoming communities that provide a strong quality of life.”
Markham is currently home to about 54,000 businesses, including more than 400 corporate multinational headquarters and 1,500 technology and life sciences companies. It’s home to Canada’s largest semiconductor cluster and its new urban downtown will welcome York University’s new campus and more than 170,000 residents. The Markham Innovation Exchange (MiX), currently in the development stages, will be home to 1,900 acres of employment lands dedicated to next-generation hardware manufacturing.
The strategy identifies five strategic goals to grow Markham’s economy: focus on global and export-oriented business development; enable a critical concentration of business development through incubation, expansion and retention; enhance the entrepreneurship, innovation and commercialization ecosystem; galvanize a creative ecosystem; and invest in local people and places.
Photo of Markham Centre courtesy of the City of Markham.