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Markham pushing to lure Amazon

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MARKHAM, Ont.—A city just north of Toronto is making a play to try to position itself as the home for Amazon's second North American headquarters.

Markham, Ont.—one of 10 Canadian cities that joined with Toronto to bid for the hub—installed 23 bright orange signs today throughout the city, dubbing it the “possible home of Amazon HQ2.”

It simultaneously launched a social media campaign and website called #ChooseMarkham.

The Greater Toronto Area is the lone Canadian candidate to make the shortlist of 20 cities—whittled down from 238 proposals—still vying for the multi-billion-dollar headquarters.

Markham's campaign signals a shift away from the GTA's passive approach to marketing itself against the American metropolises still in contention, such as Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, and Atlanta.

“I wanted to inform our business community and our residents that when you hear the Toronto bid, that Markham is very much a part of that,” Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti said in a call to the Canadian Press that he made while standing by one of the newly-erected signs he said were generating honks but also shock from locals who had no idea Markham was in the running for the headquarters.

“It is no surprise we think we have the best site for Amazon in terms of the criteria we are looking for,” Scarpitti added.

“It is a bid to capture their attention.”

Scarpitti scoffed at the idea that Markham's campaign would make the other cities included within the Toronto-bid feel slighted because he said he expected all of the municipalities to be pushing for the headquarters and using it as an opportunity to boast about what they have to offer.

In Markham's case, that's 37,000 jobs in technology and related sectors and 1,500 high-tech companies.

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