Canada’s capital once had a nickname likening it to the sunny California home of companies like Apple and Google – Silicon Valley North.
This month, Ottawa’s former high-tech start Nortel began selling the company off, piece by piece, after seeking bankruptcy protection. Which begs the question, is Ottawa still Silicon Valley North?
Canada’s high-tech clusters have long been dependent on larger anchor companies – Nortel in Ottawa, Research in Motion in Waterloo, and Electronic Arts in Vancouver – to serve as incubators for the next generation of tech companies.
Anchor companies spawn new companies with experienced managers and creates an environment that understands the global markets. In the case of Nortel, they can be credited with helping companies like Mitel Networks, Newbridge Networks, Mosaid Technologies and Tundra Semiconductor get their start.
CBC.ca tackles the question on whether Ottawa stills deserves the Silicon Valley North moniker and it sounds like the answer is no. Statistics Canada reports that there were 54,000 employees in Ottawa’s technology sector last year, down by almost 5,000 from the year before.