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When you combine Canada’s smartest workforce, a highly strategic geographic location, and a lucrative mix of incentives, the opportunities are endless writes Donna Gillespie, CEO of Kingston Economic Development Corporation. 


Kingston, Ontario, Canada proves that cost and quality are not mutually exclusive when it comes to investing. Kingston offers all the advantages of an urban setting with dedicated resources and support you would expect from a global partner. With a highly skilled workforce and three strong postsecondary institutions, including one of Canada’s top universities, Kingston is a highly educated and rapidly growing Smart City and is fast becoming a favourite for investors seeking to set up shop in Canada. With its proximity to the United States border and major Canadian cities like Toronto and Montréal, Kingston is an ideal location to establish your business whether your product moves by land, sea, or air.

Considering these advantages, and a local government that is seeking to attract new employers, it is no surprise that the City’s fully serviced business parks are rapidly filling with savvy investors taking advantage of the opportunities in Kingston. Site Selection Magazine identified Kingston as one of the Top 20 Places to Invest in Canada in 2019, and Financial Times UK named Kingston the top Small City for Foreign Direct Investment in the Americas in 2017. 


With Kingston as your home base, you have easy access to global customers and business opportunities. 

One of Canada’s busiest highways, Ontario’s Highway 401, passes through Kingston, offering direct routes to major economic hubs like Toronto, Ottawa, Montréal, and Detroit. Within an eight-hour drive, businesses can reach up to 25 million North Americans in cities like New York, Buffalo, Philadelphia, Boston, Pittsburgh, and Albany to name a few. Kingston also sits along a rail corridor which sees daily passenger trains heading between Toronto and Montréal, as well as cargo trains.

If you are heading stateside, the Kingston area offers numerous American border crossings. Visitors leaving the Kingston area can be in New York state within about 30 minutes. Via Interstate 81, New York City is just a six-hour drive.

Those looking to Kingston’s waterways will also find the city is an ideal place for business. Kingston’s shoreline sits along the St. Lawrence Seaway, making Kingston part of the “Highway H20” which saw $35 billion worth of economic activity pass through in 2017. The waterway stretches from Duluth, Minnesota and western Ontario to the Atlantic Ocean, providing access to global markets and North American coastal states and provinces. Kingston is also the largest city near the Picton Terminals, a recently renovated deep water port with 24/7 loading and unloading facilities.

The local airport has also benefitted from recent investments designed to upgrade its service offerings. In 2019, the City of Kingston extended the runway and expanded the terminal to expand the existing service.


The City of Kingston is keenly interested in creating the right environment for business success. To that end, the City manages several fully serviced business parks with approximately 100 acres of available land across the city. This affordable, shovel-ready industrial land features state-of-the-art infrastructure with easy access to Highway 401 and the city’s downtown core. These employment lands are ideal for industrial businesses, research and development, and other business uses. 

To help ease the start-up costs associated with establishing a new location, the City of Kingston has waived development and impost charges for industrial uses. Additionally, between the Canadian and Ontario governments, eligible businesses can apply to over $10 million in available incentives, as well as Scientific Research and Experimental Development Tax Credits ranging between 15 and 35 per cent.

Powering the success of Kingston-based businesses are organisations like Utilities Kingston, Hydro One, and Enbridge, which supply water, electricity, and natural gas access across the city. Utilities Kingston also maintains over 1,000 route kilometres of fibre optic cable connecting hundreds of institutional and commercial buildings throughout the region. 

Couple these advantages with low corporate taxes and the support of Kingston Economic Development Corporation to help you establish your new venture, and it is easy to see why Kingston is becoming a hotbed for foreign direct investment. The city has recently attracted international food processing giants Feihe and Frulact to the city and has retained its robust manufacturing sector which includes internationally recognised names like Bombardier, Invista, and SNC Lavalin.


Queen’s University, St. Lawrence College, and Royal Military College of Canada bring a steady influx of students and educated faculty to Kingston, and these institutions forge strong relationships with local businesses. By partnering with these institutions, many Kingston-based businesses have enhanced their product offerings and research and development by tapping into what Statistics Canada calls “Canada’s smartest workforce”.

In a highly educated country like Canada, Kingston stands tall with three times the number of PhDs in Kingston versus the Canadian average. Two thirds of Kingston residents aged 25 to 64 have completed some post-secondary education, according to Statistics Canada.

Many students and academics move to Kingston for the schools, and they stay for the great quality of life. This beautiful, modern city benefits from plenty of natural attractions and recreation, a vibrant cultural sector, and short commute times. In fact, in its 2018 rankings of the best places to live in Canada, Maclean’s Magazine named Kingston as one of Canada’s top communities, citing its affordability, strong median income, and safety among other factors. And in 2019, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives named Kingston Canada’s best city to be a woman. These factors make finding and retaining the right talent in Kingston simpler than in many other cities. 


Whether you are looking to break into North America or grow your existing footprint, Kingston offers the right mix of people, place, and price to help you earn a strong return on your investment–as many international players have already discovered. 

With local government agencies keen to help you succeed, the ideal setting to access the North American market, and the right price to keep operations affordable, the conditions are right for success in a wide range of industries. 

To begin your investment journey in Kingston, please visit:   EG

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