Vancouver vs. Toronto

Vancouver is pretty. Toronto is not pretty....

Vancouver is pretty. Toronto is not pretty.

I know this might sound a bit obvious. But I believe it explains why there are differences between advertising in Vancouver and advertising in Toronto.

Allow me to elaborate.

Vancouver is pretty. So people don’t stay late at work. They arrive at 8 a.m., focus like lasers until 6 p.m., then go rollerblade. And because rollerblading recharges your batteries better than working into the dim hours does, Vancouver people get a hefty amount done in less time. Nice work, too.

Toronto is not pretty. So people stay late at work. And in those long hours, they do very nice work as well. But they’re pale. And they talk about holidays more.

Vancouver is pretty. Part of the reason it’s pretty is that there aren’t many factories and head offices around. Therefore, Vancouver accounts tend to be smaller. More radio, more posters, less TV. And because budgets are smaller, there’s less research. Which means more nice work sees the light of day.

Toronto is not pretty. Part of the reason it’s not pretty is that it’s the centre of Canadian business. Lots of people, lots of money, lots of head offices. A pleasant result of this is more agencies, and more big-budget work. More TV, print, poster, radio, interactive, etc., etc. But big budgets bring more research, and more nice work going down the toilet.

Vancouver is pretty. And like other pretty places, Vancouver has a hard time being taken seriously. So people in Toronto have a hard time believing they can move to Vancouver and still have a career. Consequently, it’s hard to lure good people to Vancouver.

Toronto is not pretty. Toronto has no problem being taken seriously. There is no debate that you can further your career here. Consequently, there is a great talent pool, and a fantastic pool of students dying to get into the business.

Vancouver is pretty. So people define ‘going out’ as climbing a mountain. Which means going to restaurants and cool nightspots is less of a priority. So there are less places to go to. And no ad hangouts. Good or bad…you decide.

Toronto is not pretty. So people define ‘going out’ as having an urban experience – going to the latest, greatest restaurant or nightspot. Which means there are zillions of incredible restaurants and clubs. And ad hangouts. Again, I’m not sure if that’s good or not.

Vancouver is pretty. People work to live. They greet you with ‘Hi, what’s your name, do you ski?’

Toronto is not pretty. People live to work. They greet you with ‘Hi, what’s your name, what do you do?’

Let the complaint letters begin.

Marc Stoiber ( is VP and executive creative director at Toronto-based Grey Worldwide.