If You Build It, Technology Companies Will Come – GO Train is Expanding Rail Service in Ontario to Kitchener-Waterloo

Google Maps Screenshots of California and Ontario Transportation via CalTrain and GO Train
Source: Google Maps

I was chatting with someone at a party about a month ago about what Ontario needs to help kick-start our already budding technology industry into high gear and make us even more like “Silicon Valley North”.  We got on the topic of why there needs to be a GO Train service from Waterloo to Toronto – just like the Caltrain in California from Palo Alto to San Francisco.  The distances between these cities in California and Ontario are very similar and having a train from Waterloo to Toronto would tie the cities closer together – with Waterloo as an R&D technology hub and Toronto as a major business center in Ontario.

Someone from Metrolinx must have been listening in on our conversation – or at least had the idea before we did.  A week ago, I read the good news that GO Transit announced that it will be expanding rail service on the Georgetown line to Acton, Guelph and Kitchener-Waterloo by the end of 2011.  Until this happens, you can only take the GO Train as far as Milton from Toronto and then you have to take a bus or drive from Milton to Waterloo (see the Google Maps image above).

Having just left a very large technology company that had offices in both Toronto and Waterloo, I am very much aware of the challenge in commuting between the two cities for meetings.  I had a co-worker who lived in Waterloo and took a GO Bus to Toronto at 5am every morning to come in to work.  I can’t even fathom what his commute must be like every day. We also had clients in Waterloo and we had to rent a car to drive there from Toronto every time we wanted to go for a meeting.  It’s not that driving is so bad but having a train would be so much better for getting work done while commuting.  It would also make for a much more enjoyable commute in harsh winter weather.

I believe that building this train is a major leap forward towards making Toronto/Waterloo a world-class technology and innovation center.  A major parallel between Toronto/Waterloo and San Francisco/Palo Alto is their proximity to high-profile technology universities in Waterloo and Palo Alto (Stanford).  I truly believe that building this train will attract more technology companies to set-up shop in Ontario.

Please share your thoughts on what else you think is needed to make us a true “Silicon Valley North”?

2 thoughts on “If You Build It, Technology Companies Will Come – GO Train is Expanding Rail Service in Ontario to Kitchener-Waterloo

  1. That should be big for companies in Waterloo!

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