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March 24, 2017
City of Toronto business mission puts Toronto on the map with film and innovation markets in India
A City of Toronto business mission to India, led by Mayor John Tory, has helped expand the city's presence in India’s growing markets. Starting March 15, Mayor Tory was joined by Councillor Michael Thompson (Ward 37 Scarborough Centre), Chair of the Economic Development Committee, Councillor Neethan Shan (Ward 42 Scarborough-Rouge River) and a delegation of more than 30 representatives of Toronto companies and organizations on a 10-day business mission to India. The Mayor and the Councillors also took a couple of days to visit the Northern Province of Sri Lanka.

"This mission allowed us to position Toronto as a strong option for Indian companies currently looking at expanding while supporting Toronto companies doing business there,” said Mayor Tory. "Through Canada’s presence at FICCI Frames, we were able to highlight Toronto as a premier option for media and entertainment companies based in India. With a large diaspora of Sri Lankan Tamils in Toronto, we signed a new agreement with Jaffna in Sri Lanka to strengthen our friendship.”

Mission locations in India included Hyderabad, Mumbai and New Delhi, while locations in Sri Lanka included Colombo and the Northern Province.

Mission highlights included:

• The launch of Paytm Canada app, a bill payment service for Canadians by India’s largest mobile payments and commerce company. This move marked the entry of the first Indian consumer service startup in the Canadian market. Paytm has expanded its operations in Toronto significantly over the last two years, growing from a two-person company to a full-fledged team of data scientists and engineers building technologies for the fastest growing mobile payments and commerce ecosystems.

Commenting on the launch, Harinder Takhar, CEO of Paytm Labs, said, "We are excited to announce that starting today, consumers in Canada will be able to access the seamless Paytm experience that is already well known in India for its convenience. We will continue to add features to make the bill payment experience fast and smooth. We are confident that Canada will prove to be a successful market for us."

• The signing of an agreement with the District of Jaffna in Sri Lanka, which will help establish ongoing partnerships in education and economic development as well as encourage sharing best practices and resources between each city’s library systems and civil service. Toronto is home to the largest Tamil diaspora outside Sri Lanka.

• Toronto’s presence at FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry) Frames in Mumbai, a three-day global convention covering film, television and digital media and one of the largest events of its kind in Asia. This year, Canada was the partner country featuring Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia. Of the 100 Canadian delegates at FICCI Frames, 40 were from Toronto. Mayor Tory and his delegation were centre stage pitching Toronto as the North American destination for film, television and digital media production.

Mayor Tory participated in a keynote discussion with Toronto-based Oscar-nominated filmmaker Deepa Mehta to finish off the first day of FICCI Frames. Toronto was profiled at this year's convention as a result of a 2015 memorandum of understanding between the City of Toronto and FICCI to advance common interests in the creative screen industries in Toronto and India. Mayor Tory also met with senior decision makers from leading film and entertainment Indian production houses to explore Toronto as their next location.

"It's rare that I get an opportunity to unabashedly extol the virtues of my home city Toronto in the country of my birth, India. But this is just what I got an opportunity to do, aided by our very erudite and thoughtful Mayor John Tory in Mumbai for FICCI - Frames. We chatted about film, the multicultural nature of Toronto and Canada's policy of inclusion in the increasingly hostile divisive world we live in. And I got to reiterate my mantra, "If India gives me my stories, Canada gives me the freedom to express them."

• Mayor Tory’s interview at Twitter India’s #BlueRoom conducted by Zaib Shaikh, the City of Toronto’s Film Commissioner and Director of Entertainment Industries, where he spoke about their mission to India. The interview is available at

• Ringing the opening bell at the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), the world’s fastest exchange, with the President of Ryerson University, Dr. Mohamed Lachemi. Ryerson’s collaboration with BSE lays the groundwork to help young businesses expand into both the Indian and Canadian markets and supports innovation and prosperity in both countries.

"Ryerson University was pleased to take part in this trade mission to explore the growing opportunities for collaboration between India and Canada," said Dr. Lachemi. "This has been a fruitful trip for the university. We were able to see our partnerships, such as the BSEI-Ryerson DMZ and Zone Startups India in action, as well as discuss new joint opportunities in innovation and entrepreneurship."

• Launch of Viktre, a Toronto-based company bringing athletes and fans closer together through an online platform, in India. Business officials from Viktre are part of the Mayor’s business delegation to India. The Mayor was joined by famous Indian cricketers Rohit Sharma and Zaheer Khan.

"It was an honour to have the Mayor and the Toronto business delegation at the launch of our operations in India," said Al Steele, CEO and Founder of VIKTRE. "Toronto and India have a strong relationship, and we are very excited to be entering the Indian market and making it a major focus of our future growth."

India is the world's third largest economy at purchasing power parity and one of the most rapidly growing economies. India was Canada's eighth-largest market for exports and 13th largest for imports in 2016.

According to Statistics Canada data from 2011, the Greater Toronto Area is home to Canada's largest Indian, Sri Lankan and Tamil communities and is home to more than half of Canada's South Asian residents.

Toronto is Canada's largest city, the fourth largest in North America, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. It is a global centre for business, finance, arts and culture and is consistently ranked one of the world's most livable cities. In 2017, Toronto will honour Canada's 150th birthday with "TO Canada with Love," a year-long program of celebrations, commemorations and exhibitions. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can visit, call 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or follow us on Twitter at and on Instagram at

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Keerthana Kamalavasan
Office of the Mayor



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