by Genevieve McCallum
As someone who grew up in Toronto and is now at university in Montreal, I often get asked which city I like better. I’m a Torontonian through and through, with no doubt as to which side of the Montreal/Toronto rivalry I fall on. But now as a student of branding, I started thinking which city has a stronger brand- Montreal or Toronto?
To do a quick comparison on the brand equity of Toronto versus Montreal, I did a couple Google searches. The idea here is that the more returns that come back, the higher the awareness of each city. Google returns about 450,000,000 results from a search on “Toronto” vs. 33,000,0000 results for “Montreal.” That’s a route for Toronto awareness.
So what might be driving Toronto’s big win? Well, here are a few thoughts. First, according to the organizations that track this kind of stuff, Toronto has more than double the number of head offices that Montreal has (175 vs 81). In other words, the greater number of head offices provides Toronto with more high paying jobs, more business visits to the city, driving more hotel visits, more theaters, more restaurants etc. Second, Toronto has 3 major professional sports teams (the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Toronto Jays, and the Toronto Rapters) compared to Montreal’s lonely Canadiens. Translation: Toronto still gets its scores reported more often in more seasons, on more media than Montreal. Finally, Toronto wins on cityscape. The world famous CN tower (for the longest time the tallest free standing structure in the world) simply trumps the Olympic Stadium located away from the downtown core.
I remember my dad telling me that forty years ago, around the time that the ’67 Olympics were held, Montreal was Canada’s leading city. I’ve just argued that this seems to no longer be the case. Perhaps I’m biased because of where I’m from, so I’m curious: to all the born and bred Montrealers out there, how would you argue in Montreal’s defense?