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The Commercial Structure of Canadian Cities


The Commercial Structure of Canadian Cities

By Dr. Jim Simmons, Shizue Kamikihara and Milena Pagano

For the last several years the CSCA has been exploring the variety of commercial concentrations within Canadian cities, based on our national database of stores and locations.  By mapping more than 500,000 stores in 81 of the largest cities we have been able to identify different kinds of commercial locations or polygons, such as downtowns, malls and pedestrian or arterial strips.  We have bounded the polygons, counted their stores and classified them in various ways. 

The two parts of this paper take a different perspective by comparing commercial structures among and within Canadian cities.  The first part, by Jim Simmons and Shizue Kamikihara, examines the variations in commercial structure among the 81 urban centres.  It begins with the compilation of an 'average' commercial structure for all cities; and then compares subsets of cities classified by size, recent growth and region.  Finally, it explores the relationship between the economic specialization of cities and their commercial structure.  The second part, based on work by Milena Pagano, probes the differences in commercial structure for three development rings within the Greater Toronto Area (GTA): the pre-Second World War city, the post-war suburban city (to1971), and the most recent suburban development. 

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