District Profile

Distinct from the large concentration of residents and workers in downtown Toronto, these mini downtowns serve as smaller central hubs for local communities in cities across the region. The Regional Centres (RC) also host a range of major transit hubs that provide access to workers in the District, and also serve as connection points for commuters traveling to other locations.

Regional Centre Graph
The RC’s office real estate market had been facing weak demand even prior to the pandemic as knowledge-oriented jobs increasingly concentrated in the Metropolitan Centre. Despite hosting key transit hubs, the District was challenged by low service levels and lack of local feeder transit service. Still, the District’s physical and institutional infrastructure are key assets that can be leveraged for long-term prosperity.

The District faced a steep decline in consumer traffic with the closure of restaurants, bars, and large community hubs such as shopping malls, as well as a reduced presence of office workers. The demand for commercial real estate, already lower in the RC than in downtown Toronto,weakened further as a result.

There is an opportunity for stakeholders in the District to reimagine these centres as live, work, and play destinations. This includes investing in innovative housing and coworking spaces that address the new realities of hybrid work and the desire of more individuals to live outside major urban centres. The successful implementation of Regional Express Rail (RER) and fare and service integration can further contribute to the District’s recovery. Employers, governments, and training providers must work together to address gaps in the labour market and futureproof our workforce.

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Business District Reports developed in partnership with Moneris
Business District Reports supported by EBI Founding Partner GTAA

Stats at a Glance: Regional Centres

>290k Employment (2016)
53% Employees with Remote Work Capacity (% share)
32KM2Geographic Size

# of Businesses
(Dec. 2018, 1+ employees):

  • Small (1-19): 18,560
  • Medium (20-99): 2,280
  • Large (100+): 520

Top 3 Sectors by Employment (% share):

  • Retail trade (12%)
  • Health care and social assistance (12%)
  • Public administration (12%)

Pilot Zone in this District

Scarborough Centre Pilot Zone
A Regional Centre, this zone includes many types of workplaces and public-facing spaces—including a mall, a civic centre, library, small businesses, big box stores, and office towers—and employed more than 17,500 workers pre-pandemic.
Explore Pilot Zone

Explore Other Districts

Learn more about the other types of business districts and what they need to be revitalized and strengthened.

Metropolitan Centre

Goods Production & Distribution

Services & Mixed Use

Knowledge Creation

Leading Practices

Search this online database of the Regional Centre Business District’s leading practices to identify COVID-19 safety measures appropriate for your business. These measures have been informed by public health expertise.

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