Exploring a National Database of Commercial Activity
By Dr. Jim Simmons, Pina Barbiero, Gleb Bylov, Shizue Kamikihara, Garbor Zsigovics
The Centre for the Study of Commercial Activity has begun an ambitious project: to describe the national commercial structure of Canada. The Centre is trying to develop and maintain an inventory of the major commercial nodes in the country, including information about their size, location, store membership and other significant characteristics. At present, the location of most stores in Canada is known and can be aggregated to a variety of conventional spatial units such as the postal code or municipality. But it is also necessary to distinguish groups of stores that are meaningful within the real landscape - the kinds of store groups that people recognize and use in daily life: such as downtown Barrie, the Danforth and Pape ethnic retail area, or a row of car dealerships in suburban Scarborough. These are the store groups that retailers see as attractive or competitive locations.
This report describes the procedures, results and problems associated with identifying commercial activity across Canada. It proceeds from the initial conceptualization, to the procedures developed for defining commercial areas, to a description of the results and the implications for further research.