District Profile

The diversity of businesses in the Services and Mixed Use District (SMUD) – which range from suburban office parks to light industrial parks and include manufacturing, retail and wholesale trade, and construction – has allowed the District to escape major economic disruption during the pandemic. But the ‘open for business’ status of many firms in the SMUD does not mean the District is without its challenges. Like the Goods Production & Distribution District, many essential on-site workers in the SMUD are at a higher risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus.

Services and Mixed Use Graph
Suburban commercial real estate markets in the region have been experiencing challenging conditions. A lack of convenient and efficient commuting options has created challenges related to congestion, as the vast majority of travel to work occurs by car. At the same time, the demand for industrial space has been booming, creating opportunities for growth for local players.

As the pandemic upended our economy, it also drove a surge in e-commerce activity. Businesses in the SMUD were key beneficiaries of this trend as year-over-year growth in e-commerce retail spending averaged 34% between April and December of 2020. However, demand for commercial office space in the suburbs has further declined as many workers shifted to remote work. Still, more workers choosing to move from urban centres to the suburbs may help reverse this trend. The potential impact of automation on workers in the District has intensified as automation efforts have been accelerated by the pandemic.

Positioning the District for a successful post-COVID recovery will require stakeholders to address key challenges and leverage opportunities brought about by the pandemic. A rising prominence of e-commerce will require governments to work with business to better protect and assess the demand and supply of employment lands. At the same time, the shift to hybrid work creates an opportunity to reimagine suburban office parks as coworking spaces and as complete live, work and play environments. Increasing automation and technological adoption will also require business to invest in the workforce to align their skills to the jobs of tomorrow.

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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: Services & Mixed Use District

~690k Employment (2016)
51% Employees with Remote Work Capacity (% share)
138KM2Geographic Size

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

  • Small (1-19): 36,240
  • Medium (20-99): 5,820
  • Large (100+): 1,390

Top 3 Sectors by Employment (% share):

  • Manufacturing (13%)
  • Retail Trade (13%)
  • Professional, scientific and technical services (11%)

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

Regional Centres

Knowledge Creation

Leading Practices

Search this online database of the Services & Mixed Use 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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