Toronto has seen an evolution in its artificial intelligence sector over the years, bolstered by academic contributions, government strategies, and evolving entrepreneurial dynamics.

Geoffrey Hinton’s Influence

A major catalyst for Toronto’s ascension in the AI sphere has been Geoffrey Hinton, known for his work in the field of artificial intelligence. Hinton has been a key figure in developing AI expertise in Toronto for over three decades.

AI Research & Development Infrastructure

Hinton’s groundwork in AI over the years led to the creation of the Vector Institute in 2017. The independent nonprofit, focused on AI research, provides training, fosters public-private partnerships, and supports startups and students.

Canada’s AI Strategy and Talent Attraction

In the past, Toronto was often a source of talent export. However, by 2017, Canada emerged as the first country to craft a dedicated strategy on artificial intelligence. Concurrently, the country’s open-door immigration policy, aimed at AI specialties, played a role in talent migration to Toronto.

Jordan Jacobs of Radical Ventures remarked on the city’s transformation, noting that there’s now a trend of experienced AI professionals choosing to stay in Toronto, either to found startups or join existing ventures.

Investment Flows and Job Creation

According to a report by the Vector Institute and Deloitte, venture capital investments in Ontario amounted to $2.86 billion by March 2022, marking an increase from previous years. Meanwhile, AI job creation in Toronto and Ontario jumped by 210%, with 22,458 positions filled in the same period.

The Silicon Valley Comparison

While there’s noticeable growth in Toronto’s AI sector, Silicon Valley continues to be a prominent location for many tech professionals and entrepreneurs. A study from the Brookings Institution suggests that in the domain of generative AI, Toronto still trails behind some American cities. However, Toronto’s tech job market was the third fastest-growing in North America in 2021, following San Francisco and Seattle.

Bernie Li of Antler noted that while Toronto may not emulate Silicon Valley’s success, it shares a promising trajectory with cities like Bangalore, Boston, London, and Beijing, all characterized by burgeoning tech ecosystems.

Engagement of Global Corporations

Several multinational companies, including Samsung, Nvidia, and Google, have initiated AI-related operations in Toronto. Their decisions to establish bases in the city offer insights into the evolving perception of Toronto within the AI sector.


Toronto’s rise in the AI domain might be attributed to a combination of factors such as academic endeavors, governmental strategies, and shifts in business perspectives. While challenges remain, Toronto’s increasing investment, talent pool, and supportive infrastructure make it a key player in the global AI landscape.