Toronto Region Board of Trade
The Toronto Region Board of Trade is Toronto's chamber of commerce, the largest local chamber of commerce in Canada, representing more than 12,000 individuals and 250,000 business professionals and influencers throughout the Toronto Region, who reflect the breadth of the Toronto region's diverse business community - from established corporations to emerging start-ups.
It is a non-profit organization with a mandate to serve, represent and unite Toronto's business community. The Toronto Region Board of Trade offers business services, facilities, events, policy development and analysis, and advocacy to the city, provincial and federal governments. It develops and promotes policies and programs including affordable housing, public transit, youth/immigrant employment, and the development of a more competitive business environment.
It operates at two locations across Toronto: the Downtown Centre in the heart of the city's financial district, another near Toronto Pearson International Airport. The Board also owns and operates the World Trade Centre Toronto, part of the global network of World Trade Centre operations, with a mandate to help the business community conduct business globally by alerting them to services and opportunities available locally and abroad.
It was founded 10 February 1845 by an act of the legislature of Canada:
To promote and/or support such measures as, upon due consideration, are deemed calculated to advance and render prosperous the lawful trade and commerce and to foster the economic and social welfare of the City of Toronto... To advance in all lawful ways the commercial interests of the members of the Corporation generally and to secure the advantages to be obtained by mutual co-operation. ...each and every person carrying on trade and commerce of any kind, or being a Cashier, Manager or Director of any Financial Institution, Railway or Insurance Company, shall be eligible to become a member of the said Corporation.
Its first president was George Percival Ridout, who served in that position until 1852 when he was elected to the legislature. It grew slowly, and had only acquired 60 members by 1856. Until the 1860s, most members were traders, specifically wholesalers.
In 1884, it was amalgamated with the Toronto Corn Exchange Association. The Old Toronto Board of Trade Building (1892–1958), which housed the board, was Toronto's first skyscraper at seven storeys. In 1932−33, the board's name was officially changed to "The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Toronto". In 2012, the board changed its name to "Toronto Region Board of Trade".