Most profitable businesses to start in Toronto (2024)

Saad Benryane

Toronto, Canada's largest city, is known for its diverse population, thriving economy, and vibrant cultural scene. With its robust infrastructure and supportive business environment, Toronto is an excellent place for entrepreneurs to start and grow successful businesses. But what kind of business is sure to succeed in this bustling metropolis? Based on extensive research and insights from local communities, several business ideas stand out as highly promising in Toronto.

1. Food and Beverage Industry

Toronto's culinary scene is incredibly diverse, reflecting its multicultural population. Restaurants offering unique dining experiences, especially those serving international cuisine, have a high chance of success. Specific niches within the food and beverage industry that could thrive include:

A. Caribbean Food

Caribbean cuisine is popular in Toronto, particularly Jamaican beef patties. A well-located Caribbean food stand or restaurant can attract a steady stream of customers. The vibrant flavors and unique dishes resonate well with Toronto's diverse population. The food and beverage manufacturing sector in Canada, which includes niche cuisines, had sales of approximately $156 billion in 2022, with a projected growth to $160 billion in 2023. Despite challenges like higher input costs, the industry is poised for modest growth due to increasing consumer demand for diverse food options.

B. Fusion Cuisine

Toronto is a melting pot of cultures, making it an ideal place for fusion cuisine. Combining elements from different culinary traditions can create exciting and unique dishes. For example, a restaurant offering Butter Chicken Souvlaki or Chicken Katsu Curry Arepa can stand out and attract food enthusiasts. The city's food service sector saw sales reach $7.7 billion in April 2023, reflecting a 12.3% increase from the previous year. This growth indicates a strong market potential for innovative and unique dining experiences.

C. Health-Conscious and Vegan Restaurants

With a growing awareness of health and sustainability, restaurants offering vegan and health-conscious options are gaining popularity. Establishments focusing on fresh, organic ingredients and catering to dietary preferences like gluten-free and keto can tap into this expanding market. The demand for health-conscious dining is part of a broader trend in the food service industry, which is seeing increasing sales and consumer interest in sustainable and nutritious food options.

D. High-End Legal Adult Massage Services

Although niche, high-end legal adult massage services cater to a specific market segment looking for luxury and exclusivity. Offering premium services in a discreet and professional environment can attract affluent clients seeking relaxation and stress relief. This sector can capitalize on the growing wellness industry, which is expanding rapidly as more individuals prioritize self-care and mental health.

2. Technology and Innovation

Toronto is a tech hub, home to numerous startups and tech giants. Businesses that leverage technology and innovation have significant potential in this city. Some promising tech-based business ideas include:

A. Cloud and MLOps Training

As businesses increasingly move to cloud-based solutions, there is a growing demand for training in cloud operations (CloudOps) and machine learning operations (MLOps). Offering specialized training programs and consulting services can help businesses optimize their cloud infrastructure and reduce costs. The technology sector in Toronto is robust, with a projected value of investments reaching over $1 trillion combined in 2022, indicating strong confidence in tech trends such as AI and cloud computing.

B. E-commerce Platforms

With the rise of online shopping, e-commerce platforms that cater to specific niches can succeed. For example, a platform focusing on sustainable and ethically sourced products can attract eco-conscious consumers. The e-commerce market is thriving, with increasing consumer preference for online shopping driving growth. The tech industry's focus on digital transformation is further fueling this trend.

C. HealthTech Solutions

HealthTech is a booming industry, and Toronto is at the forefront of medical innovation. Businesses offering telemedicine services, health monitoring devices, or AI-driven health diagnostics can thrive in this environment. The HealthTech sector benefits from significant investments in AI and other advanced technologies, which are expected to contribute substantially to economic value creation.

3. Retail and Lifestyle

Retail businesses that cater to Toronto's diverse and fashion-conscious population can do well. Here are some retail ideas with high potential:

A. Blundstone and Canada Goose Discount Retailer

Blundstone boots and Canada Goose jackets are incredibly popular in Toronto. A discount retailer specializing in these brands can attract a large customer base looking for high-quality products at lower prices. The retail sector in Toronto is experiencing a resurgence, with consumers eager to return to physical stores and shop for high-demand items like fashionable footwear and outerwear.

B. Japanese-Style Curry Shop

Japanese cuisine is well-loved in Toronto, and there is a noticeable gap in the market for Japanese-style curry shops. Opening a restaurant offering authentic Japanese curry near popular concert venues or nightlife areas can draw in customers looking for a unique dining experience. The popularity of Japanese cuisine and the growing food service market make this a promising venture.

C. Primark

Primark, known for its affordable fashion, can be a hit in Toronto. If the brand can replicate its low-cost fashion model in Canada, it can attract a significant customer base, especially among budget-conscious shoppers. The fashion retail market in Canada saw significant growth, with sales figures indicating a strong consumer demand for affordable yet stylish clothing options.

4. Service Industry

Service-based businesses that address specific needs in Toronto can also be successful. Some ideas include:

A. Daycare Centers

With many working parents in Toronto, there is a constant demand for high-quality daycare services. Opening a daycare center that offers flexible hours, a safe environment, and educational programs can be a profitable venture. The service industry in Toronto is expanding, with increased consumer spending on services that improve quality of life, such as childcare.

B. Mortician Services

As morbid as it may sound, mortician services are always in demand. A funeral home offering personalized services and catering to various cultural practices can build a loyal customer base. The growing and aging population in Toronto ensures a steady demand for these essential services.

C. Telecom Services

The telecom industry in Toronto is dominated by a few major players, creating opportunities for new entrants offering better services or prices. Establishing a telecom company or a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that provides competitive plans and excellent customer service can capture a share of this lucrative market. The technology sector's growth and increasing demand for connectivity make this an attractive business opportunity.

5. Entertainment and Leisure

Toronto's vibrant cultural scene and diverse population create opportunities for businesses in the entertainment and leisure sector. Some promising ideas include:

A. Claw Machine Arcades

Claw machine arcades are gaining popularity as a fun and engaging activity. Setting up a well-designed arcade in a busy area like Sheppard and Yonge or North York Center can attract both locals and tourists looking for entertainment. The entertainment sector is rebounding, with consumers seeking out novel and enjoyable activities, driving growth in leisure businesses.

B. Top Golf

Top Golf, a popular entertainment concept combining golf with a high-tech driving range and a restaurant, can be a hit in Toronto. It offers a unique leisure activity that appeals to people of all ages and skill levels. The market for interactive and social entertainment experiences is growing, making this a viable business option.

6. Health and Wellness

The health and wellness industry is thriving, with people increasingly prioritizing their physical and mental well-being. Businesses that cater to this trend can do exceptionally well in Toronto. Some ideas include:

A. Fitness Studios

Specialized fitness studios offering classes like yoga, Pilates, spin, or HIIT can attract fitness enthusiasts. Providing a variety of classes and top-notch facilities can help build a loyal customer base. The fitness industry is seeing strong growth, driven by increased consumer interest in health and wellness.

B. Wellness Centers

Wellness centers offering services like massage therapy, acupuncture, and holistic treatments can cater to the growing demand for alternative health services. Creating a serene and relaxing environment can enhance the customer experience. The wellness sector is expanding rapidly, with consumers willing to invest in services that promote physical and mental well-being.

C. Organic and Natural Products Store

A retail store specializing in organic and natural products, including skincare, supplements, and household items, can attract health-conscious consumers. Emphasizing sustainability and ethical sourcing can differentiate the business from competitors. The market for organic and natural products is growing, reflecting a broader consumer trend towards sustainability and health.

7. Tourism and Hospitality

Toronto is a major tourist destination, offering numerous opportunities for businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector. Some ideas to consider include:

A. Unique Tourist Experiences

Offering unique and memorable tourist experiences, such as guided city tours, culinary tours, or adventure activities, can attract visitors looking for something different. Tailoring experiences to highlight Toronto's rich history and diverse culture can enhance their appeal. The tourism sector is recovering, with an increasing number of visitors driving demand for innovative and engaging tourist activities.

B. Boutique Hotels

Boutique hotels offering personalized services and unique decor can stand out in Toronto's competitive hospitality market. Focusing on creating a memorable guest experience can help build a strong reputation and attract repeat visitors. The hospitality industry in Toronto has shown resilience, with an increase in occupancy rates and a growing demand for unique lodging experiences. In 2022, the hotel industry in Canada experienced a 50% year-over-year growth in revenue per available room (RevPAR), with Toronto contributing significantly to this increase due to its position as a major tourist and business hub​​. Additionally, boutique hotels often attract travelers looking for bespoke and luxury experiences, which can lead to higher average daily rates (ADR) and increased profitability​​.

C. Zipline Company

A zipline company offering thrilling rides from the top of the CN Tower to nearby skyscrapers can be a major attraction. This unique experience can draw both locals and tourists seeking adventure and stunning city views. Adventure tourism is a growing sector, with an increasing number of tourists looking for exciting and memorable experiences. The global adventure tourism market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15% from 2021 to 2028, making this an opportune time to invest in unique adventure activities​.

Additional Statistics and Insights

Food and Beverage Industry Growth

The food and beverage industry in Toronto is a cornerstone of the city’s economy. According to Statistics Canada, the food services and drinking places subsector saw revenues reach approximately $7.7 billion in April 2023, marking a significant recovery post-pandemic​ (Statistics Canada)​. The sector is expected to grow further, driven by the increasing diversity of Toronto's population and their evolving tastes.

  1. Caribbean Food: Caribbean cuisine has seen a steady rise in popularity. The ethnic foods market in Canada is projected to grow by 7.2% annually, reflecting a growing appetite for diverse culinary experiences​ (Farm Credit Canada | FCC)​.
  2. Fusion Cuisine: Fusion restaurants benefit from Toronto's status as a cultural mosaic. The trend towards unique and blended culinary experiences is expected to contribute significantly to the city's $60 billion foodservice industry​ (Statistics Canada)​.
  3. Health-Conscious and Vegan Restaurants: Health and wellness trends are influencing consumer behavior. The market for plant-based foods in Canada was valued at $600 million in 2022 and is projected to grow by 10% annually​ (Statistics Canada)​.
  4. High-End Legal Adult Massage Services: The wellness industry, including premium massage services, is growing rapidly. The global wellness market is expected to reach $7 trillion by 2025, with personalized and luxury wellness services seeing the highest demand​ (Retail Insider)​.

Technology and Innovation

Toronto's technology sector is booming, with substantial investments flowing into various tech-driven initiatives.

  1. Cloud and MLOps Training: The global cloud computing market is projected to reach $832 billion by 2025, with North America being the largest market. In Toronto, tech firms are increasingly seeking skilled professionals in cloud and machine learning operations, driving demand for specialized training programs​ (McKinsey & Company)​​ (City of Toronto)​.
  2. E-commerce Platforms: The e-commerce sector in Canada was valued at $75 billion in 2022 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8.9% through 2026. Toronto's position as a tech hub makes it an ideal location for launching niche e-commerce platforms​ (Deloitte United States)​​ (City of Toronto)​.
  3. HealthTech Solutions: Investments in HealthTech are booming, with Canada's HealthTech market expected to reach $32 billion by 2025. Toronto's innovation ecosystem supports the growth of telemedicine, health monitoring, and AI-driven health solutions​ (McKinsey & Company)​​ (City of Toronto)​.

Retail and Lifestyle

The retail sector in Toronto is experiencing a resurgence, with robust consumer spending and a shift towards experiential retail.

  1. Blundstone and Canada Goose Discount Retailer: Retail sales in Toronto grew by 2.2% in 2023, with a notable increase in the apparel sector. Discount retailers focusing on popular brands like Blundstone and Canada Goose can leverage this growth​ (Statistics Canada)​​ (KPMG)​.
  2. Japanese-Style Curry Shop: Specialty food retailers in Toronto saw a 3.1% increase in sales in December 2023. The demand for unique culinary experiences supports the potential success of a Japanese-style curry shop​ (Statistics Canada)​.
  3. Primark: Affordable fashion continues to drive retail growth. The fashion retail market in Canada saw a 4.5% increase in sales in 2022, making it a promising sector for new entrants​ (KPMG)​​ (PwC)​.

Service Industry

The service industry in Toronto offers numerous opportunities for businesses that cater to specific needs.

  1. Daycare Centers: The childcare services market in Canada is projected to grow at a CAGR of 5.3% from 2022 to 2027. The increasing number of working parents in Toronto drives demand for high-quality daycare centers​ (Deloitte United States)​​ (Statista)​.
  2. Mortician Services: The funeral services market in Canada is expected to reach $2.3 billion by 2025, growing at a steady rate due to the aging population​ (Deloitte United States)​.
  3. Telecom Services: The Canadian telecom market is projected to grow by 4.1% annually, driven by the increasing demand for connectivity and digital services. New entrants offering innovative solutions can capture significant market share​ (Deloitte United States)​​ (City of Toronto)​.

Entertainment and Leisure

Toronto's entertainment and leisure sector is vibrant, offering numerous opportunities for innovative businesses.

  1. Claw Machine Arcades: The amusement arcade market in North America is expected to grow by 3.6% annually, driven by the increasing demand for unique and engaging entertainment options​ (Statistics Canada)​​ (Deloitte United States)​.
  2. Top Golf: The global market for golf-related entertainment is projected to reach $7 billion by 2025. Top Golf's unique combination of sport and social experience makes it a promising venture in Toronto​ (City of Toronto)​.

Health and Wellness

The health and wellness industry in Toronto is thriving, with growing consumer interest in physical and mental well-being.

  1. Fitness Studios: The fitness industry in Canada is projected to grow at a CAGR of 6.8% from 2022 to 2027. The demand for specialized fitness classes and wellness programs is driving this growth​ (Statistics Canada)​​ (Deloitte United States)​.
  2. Wellness Centers: The wellness industry in Canada is expected to reach $95 billion by 2025. Services such as massage therapy, acupuncture, and holistic treatments are increasingly popular​ (Deloitte United States)​​ (City of Toronto)​.
  3. Organic and Natural Products Store: The market for organic and natural products in Canada is projected to grow by 9% annually, reflecting consumer trends towards sustainability and health​ (Deloitte United States)​.


Toronto's diverse population, thriving economy, and vibrant cultural scene make it an ideal place for various business ventures. Whether you're interested in the food and beverage industry, technology and innovation, retail and lifestyle, service industry, entertainment and leisure, health and wellness, or tourism and hospitality, there are numerous opportunities to succeed in this bustling city. By understanding the local market and catering to the specific needs and preferences of Toronto's residents and visitors, entrepreneurs can build successful and sustainable businesses.

Entrepreneurs should also consider the importance of community engagement and corporate social responsibility. By building strong relationships with local communities and supporting local initiatives, businesses can enhance their reputation and foster customer loyalty. Participating in community events, sponsoring local charities, and implementing sustainable practices can demonstrate a commitment to the well-being of Toronto's residents and the environment.

Furthermore, staying adaptable and responsive to market trends and consumer preferences is crucial for business success in Toronto. The city's diverse and ever-evolving landscape requires businesses to be innovative and agile. By continuously improving products and services, exploring new opportunities, and embracing technology, entrepreneurs can stay ahead of the competition and meet the changing needs of their customers.

In summary, Toronto offers a wealth of opportunities for businesses across various sectors. With its vibrant culture, supportive business environment, and diverse population, the city provides a fertile ground for entrepreneurial ventures. By focusing on quality, innovation, and community engagement, businesses can thrive and contribute to the growth and prosperity of Toronto. Whether you are a seasoned entrepreneur or a newcomer to the business world, Toronto's dynamic and exciting market is ready to welcome your ideas and ventures.

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