Toronto real estate prices entrepreneurs out of the market

Glenn Lowson/The Globe and Mail

They moved into a 3,000-square-foot commercial building in Hespeler, a Southwestern Ontario town that is part of Cambridge./p>

When we first moved here we had no idea where we were moving. We literally saw this really affordable building in a small town that was off the 401,” Ms. de Villiers said. “It was far cheaper than anything we could even think about moving into in Toronto. It just made more financial sense.”

The same kind of math led to Cassie McDaniel and Mark Staplehurst leaving Toronto for Paris, Ont. Although neither had ties to the town, as new parents who could work remotely, they felt its lure. “We came out here a few times and it just clicked. It’s beautiful. There’s no traffic. You don’t have to fight for a spot when you sit down for coffee,” Ms. McDaniel said. “… It just made sense for us and the kind of lifestyle we want.”

That lifestyle now includes booming businesses that neither had intentions of starting when they moved; people like them are transforming small-town business in a broad swath of towns that dot the Greater Golden Horseshoe – a stretch of Southwestern Ontario counties ringing the outer GTA from Niagara in the west to Northumberland in the east.

There’s a whole cadre of people coming in. … They’re offering goods, services and opportunities that are unique for the area but may not be in downtown Toronto,” said Paul Emerson, chief administrative officer for the County of Brant, which includes Paris. “They can really capture a market here without the same type of competition that they would see in downtown Toronto.”

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