Japan and Canada have a well-established bilateral friendship that spans 95 years. Among the hallmarks of these vibrant ties are the sister-city relationships between the two nations. One such sister-city affiliation is between Mississauga in the Greater Toronto Area, and Kariya in the central Aichi Prefecture of central Honshu, Japan. This association, now going on 42 years, has helped to establish strong bonds, fostered cultural exchange, paved the way for educational collaborations, and opened doors for business partnerships. As such, it has contributed considerably to the growth and development of both towns.
For all its efforts and endeavors, Mississauga has become one of the key cities for Japanese trade and investment, with over 100 Japanese companies presently conducting business in the city — propelling the local economy.
Ms. Bonnie Crombie, Mayor of Mississauga, spoke to Bridges about this special sister-city relationship, and about what sets Mississauga apart as a hub of Japanese commerce.
Mayor, what are the unique advantages of investing and living in Mississauga that set it apart from other cities in Canada?
As one of Canada’s most vibrant and diverse cities, Mississauga offers a unique set of advantages that make it an attractive destination for both investment and living. Firstly, its strategic location within the Greater Toronto Area provides easy access to global markets and a robust transportation infrastructure, including the Toronto Pearson International Airport, the country’s largest and busiest airport. The City also boasts a highly-skilled and diverse workforce, which is essential for businesses looking to thrive in today’s global economy. The high quality of life can be attributed to the excellent education and healthcare systems, a wide range of cultural amenities, and a strong sense of community. These factors, combined with a supportive business environment and a commitment to sustainability, sets Mississauga apart as a preferred destination for investment and living in Canada.
Could you elaborate on the strong connections between Mississauga and Kariya, Japan, as evidenced by their sister-city relationship? How has this relationship contributed to the growth and development of Mississauga?
This year marks the 42nd anniversary of our relationship with the community of Kariya, which has fostered strong connections and contributed significantly to the growth and development of both cities. This relationship, established in 1981, has facilitated cultural exchanges, educational collaborations, and economic partnerships. The cities have engaged in various initiatives, such as student exchanges, business delegations, and joint projects in areas like technology and innovation. These interactions have not only strengthened the bonds between the two communities but have also promoted economic growth and enhanced understanding between Canada and Japan. The sister-city relationship has created opportunities for businesses, residents, and organizations, in both Mississauga and Kariya, to collaborate and learn from each other, driving innovation and fostering economic prosperity.
Mississauga has attracted over 100 Japanese companies, contributing significantly to the local economy. What factors make Mississauga an attractive destination for Japanese businesses to set up their operations?
Mississauga’s attractiveness to Japanese businesses can be attributed to its strategic location within the Greater Toronto Area. This provides access to a vast consumer market and a diverse talent pool. Additionally, the city offers a supportive business environment, including streamlined processes for establishing and expanding operations, access to funding and grants, and a robust network of business support organizations. The presence of a thriving Japanese community in Mississauga further facilitates business connections and cultural integration. Moreover, the city’s commitment to innovation and advanced manufacturing, as well as its focus on sustainability and clean technology, aligns well with the interests and expertise of many Japanese companies. These factors, combined with the strong Canada-Japan trade relations and the active promotion of Mississauga as an investment destination, have attracted over 100 Japanese companies to set up their operations in the city.
Can you share some of the recent developments and initiatives in Mississauga aimed at making the city more competitive and robust? How are these efforts positioning Mississauga as a prime location for businesses and residents?
Mississauga is actively pursuing initiatives to enhance its competitiveness and attractiveness as a prime location for businesses and residents. The city has invested in infrastructure development, including transit improvements and housing. Mississauga has also prioritized economic diversification and innovation through partnerships with academic institutions, such as the University of Toronto Mississauga, and Sheridan College, and by promoting entrepreneurship and supporting startup ecosystems. These initiatives aim to foster collaboration between academia, industry, and government, supporting innovation and business development. Furthermore, the city has implemented sustainable initiatives, including energy efficiency programs and waste reduction strategies, to position itself as a leader in environmental stewardship. These developments and initiatives reflect Mississauga’s commitment to creating a competitive, resilient, and future-ready city.
In light of increasing competition among cities, what steps is Mississauga taking to ensure its continued growth and success in attracting investment and fostering a vibrant community?
Mississauga is taking proactive steps to ensure its continued growth and success in attracting investment and fostering a vibrant community. The city has focused on building strong relationships with key stakeholders, both domestically and internationally, through trade missions, business delegations, and cultural exchanges. Mississauga actively promotes its strengths and opportunities to investors, leveraging its strategic location, skilled workforce, and supportive business environment. The city also prioritizes economic development and diversification by identifying emerging sectors and fostering innovation ecosystems that align with global trends. Furthermore, Mississauga continues to invest in infrastructure, including transportation networks, to support the needs of businesses and residents. By fostering collaboration between the public and private sectors and by engaging the community in decision-making processes, Mississauga aims to create an inclusive, prosperous, and sustainable city that remains competitive in the global marketplace.