The Corporation of The City of London
May 16, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
National study praises London for strong vision and strategic investment in
London’s downtown might be small in area but it is a big contributor to the
city’s success. According to a new study about the value of investing in
Canadian downtowns, London’s core occupies only .2 per cent of the city’s total
area but contributes 9 per cent of the city’s property taxes. Despite its small
land area London’s downtown is a major economic, social and cultural hub.
London’s downtown is defined as the area between York and Kent and Colborne and
The independent study, titled The Value of Investing in Canadian Downtowns,
was conducted by the Canadian Urban Institute and released today in Ottawa. It
examined 10 downtowns across Canada including Halifax, Fredericton, Ottawa,
Toronto, London, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Vancouver and Victoria. While
the study is not intended to be comparative, it rates performance on five
principles: visibility, visionary leadership, prosperity, liveability, strategic
investment. London’s downtown is succeeding in all five areas.
Mayor Fontana was impressed with the number of London’s growth areas cited in
the study. "This report sees the reality in London's downtown vision, and this
independent view of the growth and expansion that's happening in the heart of
our city will inspire us to keep moving in the right direction,” said Fontana.
“Previous Councils made important investments in the core area and the benefits
just keep coming. We must keep the momentum going - keep our eye on our goals.”
The first of its kind in Canada, the study provides benchmarks and clearly
demonstrates the high rate of return on investing in downtowns. The report also
shows that London is a leader in downtown revitalization:
- London leads the other cities for downtown office space as a percentage of
city-wide inventory. The study says downtown London contains 81 per cent of the
city’s office space and is the only city in the study that has seen growth in
- London has a significant concentration of jobs in the downtown, with 303 jobs
per hectare, second only to Ottawa with 318/ha. There are 30,000 workers in the
- The residential population is also experiencing positive growth. Between 1996
and 2006, London’s downtown population grew by 37%, while the city’s overall
growth was only 8%.
- London was also commended for encouraging walking and transit use. Only 44% of
downtown residents use their car to get to work compared to 73% city wide.
- The study also praises London for making “bold and innovative” civic
investments totalling $174 million to build the John Labatt Centre, Covent
Garden Market, Convention Centre and Central Library that attract new users and
“It's great to see our downtown reflected as a leader in Canada," explains James
Yanchula, Manager – Urban Design for City of London. "The CUI report shows that
investments made in Downtown London pay back big dividends of all kinds.”
“Clearly Downtowns are alive and well and London’s Downtown is punching above
its weight. This report is proof that investing in downtown provides a very high
rate of return,” states Janette MacDonald.