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Strange ways Canadian cities made Amazon pitch

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When tech giant Amazon announced last year it wants to build a huge second headquarters, after the first in Seattle, it did more than kick off a continental bidding war among major American cities like Denver, Los Angeles, and New York.

It also offered Canadian cities, and even a few towns, a rare high-profile chance to engage in a favourite civic hobby — explaining why they are better than Toronto.

Winnipeg’s pitch, for example, boldly claimed it was the centre of North America, which might be technically true but, as every Canadian knows, Toronto is the centre of the universe. Sure enough, when the shortlist was announced Thursday, Toronto was the last Canadian standing.

The stakes are high. Amazon proposes to create more than 50,000 jobs and make investments of over $5 billion in whatever region wins the right to host it. One estimate suggested the second HQ would generate nearly $350 billion in total spending. Amazon says its investments in Seattle from 2010 to 2016 added $38 billion to the city’s economy.

But the risks are also high. Welcoming the company that the world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos, created as an online bookseller (before expanding into everything else) would mean heavy pressure for corporate incentives like tax breaks. These would be offered not only to a foreign company, but to the........

© Peterborough Examiner