In 1855 John Frost wrote a book entitled 'Great cities of the world: their glory and desolation', in which he stated "Great cities mark the progress of mankind in arts, commerce and civilization and form a sort of index to the rise and fall of greatness". In 1976 as Montreal hosted the 'Olympic Games' there is no doubt that the city achieved greatness in the sense Frost wrote about.
The 2008 Kearney 'Global Cities Index' which ranks globally connected cities on five key dimensions (business acitivity, human capital, information exchange,cultural experience and political engagement), ranked Toronto (#10) as the only Canadian city in its 60 cities surveyed. How far Montreal has fallen since 1976!
Perhaps a bit more encouraging is the #22 spot Montreal occupies in the 2009 Mercer Quality of Living Survey, where 215 global cities are regularly evaluated to determine how desireable a city is to live in. Unfortunately, Montreal ranks below Vancouver (#4), Toronto (#15) and Ottawa (#19).
Fortunately it would seem that Montreal's business leaders have woken up to the reality that the city needs to re-invent itself, just as other great cities such as London, Paris and New York have repeatedly done. On April 22, 2010 'The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal' will be hosting the Quebec 2010 Strategic Focus.
According to Michel Leblanc, President and CEO of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal. "We are convinced that it is important for Quebec to adopt an ambitious, clear and consistent economic strategy. The discussions during this event will contribute to the collective effort to prepare Quebec for the post-crisis period. Everyone will have an eye on the ultimate goal: building the Quebec of tomorrow."
This initiative is to be welcomed. Montreal has so much to offer, but certainly has its share of problems that need to be addressed. Hopefully the Quebec 2010 Strategic Focus will help place the city on a sound footing once again and help move Montreal back up the survey lists mentioned.
In the lead up to this event, the Montreal Small Business Examiner will be looking at various business sectors that hold great promise for the future of our city and some of the challenges the Strategic Focus will hopefully address in order to once again ensure that Montreal is a great place to do business.
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