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MaRS Discovery District

Archived Backgrounder

MaRS Discovery District

Office of the Premier

MaRS is at the heart of the "Discovery District" -- two square kilometers in downtown Toronto and the city's centre of innovation.

MaRS brings science and technology researchers together under one roof with business and investment capital firms.

MaRS Discovery District is a not-for-profit corporation founded by a group of business and community leaders to help foster research and innovation and take discoveries from the lab to the marketplace.

Taking New Ideas To The Market

The McGuinty government's goal is to support the research and development of the best ideas, and help turn those ideas into products and services -- because that will create jobs and prosperity for Ontarians.

MaRS will help the government deliver on its four research and commercialization priorities:

  • Strengthening support for commercialization
  • Attracting, retaining and developing the best and the brightest researchers
  • Sustaining research excellence
  • Building innovation networks.

The Ontario government has invested $50.5 million in MaRS:

  • $29 million for the construction of the MaRS Centre including the Toronto Biotechnology Commercialization Centre incubator
  • $15 million to offset infrastructure development costs
  • $6.5 million to support the development of MaRS programs: the Commercialization Program and the Gateway to Ontario Program.
    • The Commercialization Program is aimed at improving business management skills of entrepreneurs and small companies, providing business mentoring, and establishing links among the research, business and venture capital communities.
    • The Gateway to Ontario Program will include a range of programs that will help market Ontario's technology to the world.

Building A Strong Economy Through Innovation

MaRS will strengthen Ontario's ability to compete in the knowledge-based economy of the 21st century -- leading to better health and more prosperity for Ontarians.

  • 4,000 high-skilled jobs will be concentrated within the MaRS centre
  • MaRS will attract leading edge researchers and venture capital to Ontario
  • MaRS will spur additional downtown commercial development
  • MaRS will return the public investment in research by helping to commercialize and market Ontario's new medical and technological breakthroughs to the world.

The MaRS Project

MaRS is located at 101 College Street, between Elizabeth Street and University Avenue, close to hospitals, and facilities of the University of Toronto. It is expected to be completed in 2008.

Phase 1 includes three buildings, which house publicly sponsored research, small-to-medium-sized technology companies, venture capital businesses, early stage science and technology businesses. Also housed in the facility: the MaRS Incubator, which provides companies with office and lab facilities for research, the Business Resource Centre, the MaRS Collaboration Centre conference facility, business support services and retail operations.

Space has been leased to life sciences companies including NPS Pharmaceuticals, MDS Inc. (MDS Sciex Division), and Merck Frosst Canada. Other tenants include venture capital firms such as RBC Technology Ventures, and professional services firms including Heenan Blaikie LLP and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Phase 2, to be completed in 2008, adds 800,000 square feet to the facility and includes plans for a 200-suite hotel to accommodate visiting scientists, entrepreneurs and other collaborators in the MaRS community.

MaRS Landing

MaRS and three other partners received a $2.9 million grant from the then Ministry of Agriculture and Food's Ontario Small Town and Rural Development Initiative (OSTAR) to create MaRS Landing. Its mission is to link the efforts of the MaRS Discovery District with commercialization arising from research and innovation in Guelph and across the Ontario bio-business sector.



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