Amazon's HQ & the bright side of Montréal

Very rarely we look at the city we live in from a tourist or investor's point of view. Through my work at lg2 in the past years, I was lucky to contribute to Tourisme Montréal's efforts to promote the city as a vibrant, open, smart and creative environment. It was a shock to realize tourists sometimes have a much better opinion of Montréal than we have. It's through their eyes that I became aware of Montréal's brightest sides.

This week was the final week to submit a proposal for a chance to host the future headquarters of Amazon, HQ2. Amazon could invest over $5 billion in the construction of its new headquarters and hire up to 50,000 new employees.

Some proposals ended up online (Toronto) and it's extremely interesting to see how the cities present themselves. It's a goldmine of information but also a good proxy to understand how the cities view themselves.

Montréal's proposal not yet to be found online but it was definitely submitted!

(from the press release)

Hubert Bolduc, President and CEO of Montréal International, personally delivered Greater Montréal's bid for Amazon's second North American headquarters yesterday in Seattle. Tasked by the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal (CMM) and supported by the Government of Québec, Montréal International presented a distinct and ambitious proposal to the global e-commerce giant. Amazon could invest over $5 billion in the construction of its new headquarters and hire up to 50,000 new employees. Here are a few highlights in the Montréal bid:
  • A deep and growing pool of relevant talent fueled by a world-class education system (Montréal accounts for the highest number of students in Canada (320,000), spread within 11 university institutions and more than 60 colleges);
  • Canada's world class technology hub (Montréal has the highest concentration of tech sector jobs in any Canadian city and reached the international Top 5 of leading cities in video games, visual effects, artificial intelligence and aerospace);
  • Economic and political stability, including an open and efficient immigration system (As a collaboration between the Government of Quebec and the Government of Canada, the Québec component of Canada's Global Skills Strategy helps innovative companies get workers faster by offering a two-week processing time for work permit);
  • A 20% to 25% cost advantage compared to similar cities (thanks to affordable wages, attractive corporate effective tax rate, and low, stable energy costs);
  • A high purchasing power and exceptional quality of life (Montréal offers young professionals housing that costs 25% less than in Toronto and 86% less than in Boston).

I hope the proposal will be available online soon and that Montrealers will read it. It's a great opportunity to learn more about our own city through the eye of investors.

Whether you like the idea of having Amazon's new HQ here, I think it's a must-read. We often hear and read about Montréal's dark sides in our own media and I'm happy to discover the bright side of Montréal in this document.

extra: this is Jeff Bezos, smashing a champagne bottle 300 feet in the air. It's Friday for everyone after all.