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Posted by Mark Cohon |
June 06 2019
Started From the Bottom, Now We’re Here
Flash back to the 1990’s, when I worked as an executive in the NBA, the Toronto Raptors were one of two expansion teams that joined the NBA for the 1995–96 season. The team’s logo featured an aggressive dinosaur dribbling a basketball. The Raptors’ inaugural season ended with a 21-61 record, and needless to say, recruiting elite athletes to take a chance on this Canadian team was no easy task.
We’ve come a long way. The Toronto Raptors are coming off a franchise record-breaking season of 58-24. The cartoon dinosaur has been replaced with “We the North” – a rallying cry to unite fans across the country. The NBA Finals have come to Toronto and all of a sudden, the best players in the world want to be here too.
As the first city to host the NBA finals outside the United States, this is our moment to be loud. To shine. To show the world what we’ve got – on the court, and in our streets. If you happen to be in the Toronto Region right now, you can feel the electricity in the air. This city is on fire, and we don’t plan to burn out any time soon.
At the core of this phenomenon is our people. The Toronto Region is a place where people come together. From every nation, speaking hundreds of languages on our streets. It’s a place where bright, young, educated and talented people from across the world converge to live, dream, create, inspire and celebrate. It’s where ideas come to life and game-changing technologies are created and patented. It’s where you get that “Made in Canada” label and wear it with pride. Look no further than the faces in Jurassic Park.
From the elites of basketball to the elites of business, the Toronto Region has never had more Canadian swagger – confident but not cocky, proud but not arrogant. The blistering pace of growth here has attracted the top companies in the world, like Amazon, Samsung, Google, Sidewalk Labs, HSBC and Uber. At the very moment when some countries seem to be shutting their borders, the Toronto Region stands for something very different. We embrace diversity and treat it as our strength. We stand by the claim that we’re getting bigger and better every day. It’s not Silicon Valley North, it’s We The North.
And if you haven’t thought of it yet, you should think North for your business. The Toronto Region is growing faster than any city-region in North America and we have government policies that have been responsive to what people have told us in the tech sector – bringing the best and brightest to the region to help build our businesses. We grow, attract and retain talent.
All of this momentum has made Toronto cooler than ever. Kawhi Leonard is here – and man, we hope he stays – but, why wouldn’t he? We have a red-hot film and entertainment scene, eight professional sports teams, some of the best food from every corner of the world and millennials are flocking here in droves. Local artists like Drake and the Weeknd have staked their claim on Toronto and this city is something to be proud of, unabashedly.
The Raptors are making history for Toronto. They are a team whose moment has come, and the entire nation is behind them. From coast to coast, Canadians are painting their faces, donning their best jerseys, tipping caps in salute. They are gathering together in Jurassic Park, Burlassic Park, Jurassic Park West, and all the pop up parks across the region and the entire country in solidarity. Because that’s what it means to be Canadian. No matter where you are from, you have this quiet pride about who you are.
We are proud in this moment and it is our time to shine, as we watch our Raptors make history. This is an open invitation to head north and be a part of what’s happening in the Toronto Region. The ball is in your court. I guarantee you will love being part of the movement.
About the Author
Chair, Toronto Global
Mark Cohon is the Chair of Toronto Global. For his full bio, please click
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