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Counting construction cranes is a thing, and Toronto and Calgary are first and fourth in the latest total crane counts. Toronto has a huge lead over all US and Canadian cities, according to The Rider Levett Bucknall (RLB) Crane Index, which shows the city had 120 active construction cranes in July.

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Easily the most active development market in North America, Toronto had more than twice the number of active cranes as the next two cities on the list, Seattle and Los Angeles. RLB said they each had 49 cranes in operation in July. Calgary had 34.

According to betterdwelling.com, an independent Canadian construction portal, the crane count is a strong indicator of development activity and “when development is booming, so is the economy …there’s cash for more employment, offices, and retail spaces need to be created …The 2019 crane total in Toronto reflected an increase of 16 cranes from January and an increase of 23 cranes from last July’s numbers.”

Most of Toronto’s development is now outside of the city core. Projects are split between residential and mixed-use. Development in the city may slow in the near future. RLB says Toronto is in the mid-decline phase for single-family development and that multi-family developments are at peak growth.

In Calgary, high-rise multi-family projects are significant. Most of the action is in downtown areas such as the University District, East Village, and the Beltline areas.

Los Angeles experienced an 11% increase in cranes, which included a high profile sports project and some hospitality projects in Hollywood. And new residential projects are expected to continue increasing Los Angeles development activity. The city has added 15,000 to 17,000 new units every year since 2014. New York City has seen a minor reduction of cranes since January, but year-on-year, has experienced a 35% increase.

RLB’s Crane Index for North America is published biannually, tracking the number of operating tower cranes in 13 major cities across the U.S. and Canada. In general, major cities are healthy. The July 2019 survey marks the fourth consecutive increase in crane counts.