Commerce & Camaraderie
Toronto’s sister cities foster cultural and economic growth
Toronto is currently paired with four “partnership” and six “friendship” cities. While partnership cities are chosen by city officials with a focus on economic growth, friendship cities are suggested by the community and endorsed by a member of the Toronto City Council. Toronto forged its first partnership in 1986 with sister city Chongqing, China. Since then, Ontario’s capital has established partnerships with Frankfurt, Germany; Milan, Italy; and Chicago, Illinois. The city has also forged ‘friendships’ with six other cities across the globe.
“The whole sister city concept is great, as it helps promote strong ties between cities in trade and business partnering,” comments Joe Rubini, president of Rally Logistics Inc., a truck broker just outside of Toronto. “The advantages are what we make of them; for example, speaking to a board of trade in any particular city can help make introductions to companies that are part of the sister cities. Everyone is always looking to expand business, so why not?”
Reaching Out: The 1980s
Chongqing, China (partnership; established 1986)
The largest municipality in Southwest China, Chongqing is home to nearly 32 million people—more than five times Toronto’s metro area population. This modern port city is located at the merge of the Yangtze and Jialing rivers. Chongqing’s top industries include mining, tourism, and food processing. Much like Toronto, agriculture is a significant economic driver for the city. The area’s primary commodities are rice and various fruits, particularly oranges.
Frankfurt, Germany (partnership; 1989)
With approximately 731,000 residents, Frankfurt’s population is quite a bit smaller than Toronto’s, though the city is at the heart of the larger Frankfurt Rhine-Main Metro-politan Region, which includes a total of 5.8 million people.
As Germany’s financial center, Frankfurt is a global hub for commerce, culture, and tourism. Unlike Ontario, agriculture has little role in Frankfurt’s economy and represents a very small part of Germany’s overall economy, accounting for less than 1 percent of the country’s GDP.
Even so, the Frankfurt Fresh Produce Centre opened its doors in 2004 and covers more than 32 acres, comparable to the Ontario Food Terminal’s 40 acres. Like the Ontario market, the Centre is a modern exchange facility for wholesalers, retailers, and other buyers.
Major Growth: The 1990s
Warsaw, Poland (friendship; 1990)
The capital of Poland, Warsaw is the largest city in a country with nearly 2.6 million people throughout its metro area. Warsaw serves as the financial center of Eastern Europe and is responsible for more than 15 percent of Poland’s national income.
Much like its Polish sister city, Toronto serves as the hub of Canada’s financial industry. With nearly 6 million residents throughout its metro area, Toronto’s population is more than double that of Warsaw.